Senior Program Officer, Government Engagement (Bilingual French & English)

The Susan T. Buffett FoundationKigali, Rwanda

About The Susan T. Buffett Foundation

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is a private grant-making Foundation with a U.S. home office in Omaha, Nebraska, and a global office in Kigali, Rwanda.  With annual spending in excess of $500 million, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. The Foundation is unusual for donors of such size as it has only two main areas of grant making: 1) supporting efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and ensure access to safe abortion for women in the U.S. and around the world and 2) to enable low-income students in Nebraska to attend and succeed in college. The Foundation currently employs 43 staff across 14 states in the U.S. and 7 staff in Kigali, Rwanda. 

STBF’s Global Programs (GP) strategy invests in sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world. At the core of their strategy is the central tenet that their funding will lead to sustainable change: they want their funding to help transform systems and strengthen the organizations and institutions that will outlive their grantmaking so that women and girls will continue to receive services when our funding comes to an end. 

The Foundation is intent on safeguarding the values that drive their culture: Mission, Respect for Donor Intent, Appetite for Risk and Tolerance for Failure, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Humility, Passion Tempered by Objectivity and Evidence, Compassion and Love of Humanity, Honesty and Integrity, Kindness and Respect, Shared Accountability.

The Government Engagement Senior Program Officer needs to have a genuine understanding of, and appreciation for, the significance of these values and aspirations and how they are operationalized in the work the Foundation undertakes. The candidate will need to be aligned with the Foundation’s progressive values, including unambiguous support for individual’s reproductive freedom.

The Opportunity

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will serve as a critical program and technical lead and support the implementation of the team’s strategy through managing a discrete portfolio of grants and grantee relationships, under the guidance of the Director. Through STBF’s government engagement approach, they collaborate with government institutions, non-governmental actors, and other donors to enable and champion transformative change in the sexual and reproductive health landscape and the future of women and girls in the countries the foundation supports. The SPO will report to the Director of Global Programs Service Delivery and Government Engagement and see themselves as a team member who embraces the opportunity to positively influence — through curiosity, empathy, humor and assistance — their colleagues in the development and vetting of proposals and the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of programs. 

This Senior Program Officer role requires candidates who are bilingual in French and English. Only candidates with professional proficiency in written and speaking for both languages will be considered. 

Key Responsibilities:

Grants Management, Assessment, and Strategy

  • Manage a discrete portfolio of public sector grants including collaborating with and providing guidance to government institutions and grantees throughout proposal development, program implementation and the reporting process. 
  • Collaborate on the development, management, and refinement of Government Engagement strategy, while considering and evaluating grantmaking opportunities that align with the strategy 
  • Lead on assessing grantee performance and progress, strategy alignment and financial reports, and prepare recommendations and updates to Government Engagement team.
  • Provide strategic analysis regarding the quality of performance reported to the Foundation, including the quality of services and technical support in the projects supported by the Foundation’s grant-making.
  • Under the guidance of the Director, work closely with Research and Evaluation (R&E) colleagues to develop metrics frameworks to assess progress against grantee objectives.
  • Perform routine grants administration, including processing new grants and renewals, maintaining internal database and tracking budget expenditure and grantee documents  

Stakeholder Communication

  • Prepare terms of references for local consultants and coordinate their work.
  • Prepare briefing memos, trip reports and grantee reports regarding overall country progress and new opportunities and developments.
  • Continuously update the Government Engagement team on recent sociopolitical developments that are relevant to the success of programs funded by the Foundation.

Team and Stakeholder Relationship Management

  • Represent the Foundation at professional meetings and to the broader community of donors, grantees, and other grant-making organizations in the country.
  • Support, mentor, and cultivate the growth of junior staff, and supervise one or more Program Officers and/or Program Associates who support grant management. 
  • Participate in unit-wide working groups where appropriate, including cross-functional strategic initiatives, our teamwide inclusion and racial equity committee, race-based caucuses, ad hoc planning committees, etc. 
  • Work collaboratively with other donors and stakeholders in countries to develop and maintain relationships. 


Candidates Must Meet the Following Qualifications to be Considered

  • Professional fluency in English and French required. Candidates must demonstrate excellent knowledge of written and spoken French and English. 
  • Bachelor’s or a higher degree in health care related field, political science, public health, advocacy etc. 
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in the field providing, implementing, and managing health services and programs, preferably in leading or supporting integrated delivery of primary health care, sexual and reproductive health, and safe abortion in the public sector in Sub Saharan Africa. A minimum of 4-5 years of technical and managerial experience in government is required. 
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, and expertise in, national health systems and strategies, and sexual and reproductive health service delivery approaches in Sub Saharan Africa. 
  • A track record of creating positive relationships with stakeholders through the appropriate management of their expectations and agreed objectives. 
  • Excellent written and interpersonal communications skills, including being responsive, thoughtful, culturally humble, and able to convey complex content in clear ways to a range of audiences.
  • Ability to proactively take initiative, work independently and solve problems with limited supervision. 
  • Experience working in an environment with colleagues across multiple locations. Service-oriented, adaptable to the needs and styles of country stakeholders.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint required.
  • Ability to travel regionally and internationally as needed (Expect to travel up to 50%)

Ideal Candidate

The Senior Program Officer will bring deep knowledge of, and expertise in, national health systems and strategies, and sexual and reproductive health service delivery approaches in Sub Saharan Africa. 

In addition to the local context, they have a track record as a strategy and program leader and a gifted project manager who works with and through teams, as well as strong analytical, communication, and experience navigating or managing a grants management process. 

A minimum of 10 years of experience in the field providing, implementing, and managing health services and programs, preferably in leading or supporting integrated delivery of primary health care, sexual and reproductive health, and safe abortion in the public sector in Sub Saharan Africa. A minimum of 4-5 years in government is required. 

Additionally, the ideal candidate: 

  • Is a strategic leader exhibiting a leadership mind-set, who is capable of maintaining a swift pace of work with high quality for themselves and their team. Willing to support, mentor, and cultivate the growth of junior staff.
  • Is aligned with and understands the Government Engagement strategy and scope of work and is able to break down a complex vision into actionable steps. 
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships with team members, internal and external partners, and senior government officials using strong interpersonal skills. Work effectively with people outside formal authority to accomplish goals and navigate complex relationships while maintaining discretion and diplomacy. Practice kindness, authenticity, and optimism when working with others.
  • Works effectively with individuals of diverse cultures, interpersonal styles, abilities, motivations, or backgrounds. Challenges practices or policies that may be exclusionary. Proven commitment to race equity. 
  • Demonstrates expansive knowledge of tools, methods, and resources in the area of reproductive health service delivery and health systems strengthening efforts. 
  • Ask good questions and probes all sources for answers; sees underlying or hidden patterns. Uses rigorous logic and methods to learn, analyze and understand why problems occur to generate and implement creative, cost effective and realistic solutions.
  • Looks for new or alternative ideas from a wide range of sources. Considers future consequences and trends while considering future possibilities.
  • Communicates effectively both in writing and verbally. Responsive, thoughtful, culturally humble, and able to convey complex content in clear ways to a range of audiences.
  • Comfortable in situations of conflict. Demonstrates an ability to say “no” when necessary and appropriate and has the confidence to choose the correct answer over the popular one. Shows tolerance for ambiguity and is comfortable with constant change brought on by internal and external pressures or expectations. Understands the value of flexibility and adaptability. 

Salary and Location

This role is based at The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) global office in Kigali, Rwanda. Candidates must be residents living and working in Kigali or willing to relocate to Kigali. 

The annual salary range for this position is competitive and will be commensurate with experience. The Foundation offers a full and generous benefits package.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses, subject to applicable laws.

Susan T. Buffet Foundation’s EEO Statement

We are committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. This includes not only creating a diverse team where everyone feels represented, respected, and included, but also embedding these values across our work and practices. All applicants who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.

To Be Considered

Using the “Become a Candidate” button, please submit your resume and a cover letter. Applications must include a cover letter to be considered. Your cover letter should answer the following questions:

  • English and French language proficiency (written and speaking)
  • Your interest in supporting sexual and reproductive health
  • Your experiencing working within the public sector or supporting governments in Sub Saharan Africa. 
  • How your experience matches the ideal candidate profile

Applicants applying by July 28, 2023 will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled. Cover Letters may be addressed to Jailan Adly. 

French-English Bilingual Senior Program Officer, Government EngagementThe Susan T. Buffett Foundation Kigali, Rwanda

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by Susan T. Buffet Foundation to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Jailan Adly
Managing Director
Direct: 202.933.7976

Tonisha Idowu
Senior Associate
Direct: 206.753.9075

Kevin Bryant
Managing Director

Mollie Smith
Engagement Manager
Direct: 206.462.6190