Program Officer, Government Engagement (Bilingual French & English)

The Susan T. Buffett Foundation Kigali, 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 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

This an exciting time to join STBF as a Program Officer (PO) to support the development and management of a public sector grant portfolio which aims to advance sexual and reproductive health services in Sub Saharan African countries. The PO will be a member of the Government Engagement team and will serve as a key driver of STBF’s impact strategy across Sub Saharan Africa. 

The Program Officer will need to be adaptable to manage and address the needs of different stakeholders, both internal and external. The PO will report to a Senior Program Officer (SPO) and play a critical role in modeling the mind-sets and behaviors of a collaborative and inclusive team culture, helping to implement GP’s ambitious strategy.

Key Responsibilities:

Grants Management and Assessment

  • Provide a range of flexible and responsive support to the SPO and to public sector grantees to help shape concepts for funding initiatives that advance integration of sexual and reproductive health into primary health care. 
  • Support grantees in alignment with the government engagement strategy, throughout proposal development, program implementation, and the reporting process.
  • Support the assessment of grantee performance, program progress, and strategy alignment through written/oral communications and in-person visits. 
  • Support grants administration, including processing new grants and renewals, maintaining our internal database, and tracking budget expenditure and grantee documents.
  • Anticipate, analyze, and document grant specific or programmatic risks and issues, and define potential mitigation strategies and plans. 
  • Identify and recommend investments to increase access to quality SRHR services and subsequently support the SPO to define and shape grants. 

Stakeholder Communication

  • Review concept notes and grant proposals, provide clear and concise analyses and recommendations to Senior Program Officers, including drafting proposal summaries and progress reports for review.
  • Support the SPO in preparing for key meetings with grantee partners and other stakeholders. 
  • Participate in introductory and scoping calls with potential grantees to undertake due diligence learnings and landscape analyses.

Relationship Management

  • Identify and recommend investments to increase access to quality SRHR services and subsequently support the SPO to define and shape grants. 
  • Collaborate and communicate with team members, stakeholders, and leadership, and contribute to initiatives, efforts, and activities across the Global Programs team.
  • 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. 


Candidates Must Meet the Following Qualifications to be Considered

  • Professional fluency in English and French. Excellent knowledge of written and spoken English and French language required.
  • Bachelor’s or a higher degree in health care related field, political science, public health, advocacy etc. 
  • Strong background (~5-10 years) of relevant professional experience, including sexual and reproductive health programming, public health, and/or medicine/service delivery. Experience in leading or supporting integrated delivery of primary health care and safe abortion in the public sector in Sub Saharan Africa is an advantage.
  • Minimum 5 years of relevant professional experience in grants management or project management in public health in Sub Saharan Africa and minimum of 2 years working in government. 
  • Proven commitment to reproductive justice and power shift within the global health and development field, including in philanthropy 
  • Excellent relationship manager, with a track record of fostering and maintaining trusting relationships with a wide range of stakeholders 
  • Experience working in an environment with colleagues across multiple countries, regions, and cultures
  • Excellent relationship manager, with a track record of fostering and maintaining trusting relationships with a wide range of stakeholders 
  • Strong analytical skills and project management experience with some managerial responsibility 
  • 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 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 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 five years working in a health care related field, government, public health or advocacy organization is critical. At least two years working in government is required. Experience in philanthropy is valued.

Additionally, the ideal candidate: 

  • Is organized, efficient, and highly detail oriented. Capable of maintaining a swift pace of work with high quality. 
  • Is a strong project manager exceptionally skilled at juggling multiple tasks, staying on top of projects, and managing timelines and moving parts. You provide a high standard of service to staff, external partners, and senior government officials.
  • 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. 
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships with team members, internal and external partners and others using strong interpersonal skills. Works effectively with people outside formal authority to accomplish goals. Practices kindness, authenticity, and optimism when working with others.
  • Demonstrates expansive knowledge of tools, methods, and resources in sexual and reproductive health access, primary health care, and health policy and systems.
  • Is a strong writer and verbal communicator. Is responsive, thoughtful, culturally humble, and able to convey complex content in clear ways to a range of audiences.
  • Is 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.
  • Thinks creatively, ambitiously, and nimbly with strong initiative and ability to work independently.

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:

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

Applicants applying by March 17, 2023 will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled. Cover Letters may be addressed to Jailan Adly. 

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