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Program Officer, Transparency and Accountability Initiative

Open Society Foundations
Location: London, UK
Last Date: July 15, 2011



The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism. Our activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Each Foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.

The Transparency and Accountability field is one of the fastest growing public movements of recent years. The International Budget Partnership, Transparency International, Revenue Watch Institute, Global Witness, the nascent aid transparency movement and many other leading civil society organisations have laid the groundwork. There is now a huge potential to make ambitious, concrete gains in the next decade by bringing together the different strands of what has emerged as a thriving movement of transparency and accountability initiatives worldwide.

The Transparency and Accountability Initiative is a donor collaborative that aims to seize this momentum and expand the impact, scale and coordination of funding and activity in the transparency and accountability field, as well as explore applications of this work in new areas. The Initiative was created by a group of global, private and government funders committed to strengthening democracy and development through empowering people to hold their governing institutions to account.

Without a better understanding of impact and better learning, transparency and accountability initiatives will not deliver on their promise. The Transparency and Accountability Initiative seeks a Program Officer to support its impact and learning working group. The goal of this working group is for funders and transparency/accountability practitioners to learn about where, when and how initiatives succeed, and use this knowledge to inform more effective transparency and accountability interventions that build on the field’s past two decades of experience. We support longitudinal research across contexts and transparency and accountability sectors (e.g. budgets, freedom of information, natural resource governance) as well as case studies of policy and programmatic innovations. We support leading transparency and accountability organisations in designing their impact and learning programs. We are exploring the possibility of supporting long term institutional funding for transparency and accountability impact and learning initiatives.

The Program Officer will report to the T/A Initiative Program Manager. The position will be based at the London-based Open Society Foundations, which hosts the Transparency and Accountability Initiative.

We are looking for an individual with a passion and interest in transparency and accountability, together with broad experience in impact and learning tools and techniques. This position provides a unique opportunity to use knowledge of diverse methods in impact and learning to help strengthen, influence and improve the next generation of transparency and accountability initiatives.

The Transparency and Accountability Initiative is led by a diverse group of eight leading funders in the field that includes private foundations, a leading bilateral donor and regranting NGOs: Ford Foundation, Hivos, International Budget Partnership, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, Revenue Watch Institute, United Kingdom Department for International Development and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It is co-chaired by OSF and DFID.


• Ensure that the impact and learning working group delivers its intended outputs, working towards the group’s overall outcome: a greater evidence base informs more effective transparency / accountability interventions
• Lead the Transparency and Accountability Initiative’s impact and learning network, which advises and supports the impact and learning approaches of leading civil society organisations working on transparency and accountability.
• Manage the impact and learning network’s mentorship scheme, commission learning products (e.g. case studies), design and manage an outwards facing web and networking presence
• Commission, broker and manage longitudinal research programs across contexts and transparency and accountability sectors (e.g. budgets, freedom of information, natural resource governance, new technologies) and case studies of policy innovations (includes drafting ToRs, identifying researchers and research teams and representing the interests of TAI members in negotiations with researchers).
• Quality control and oversight of commissioned research during implementation
• Advise on avenues for long term institutional funding for transparency and accountability impact and learning initiatives
• Liaise, collaborate and engage with the Initiative’s other working groups on a pro active basis.
• Develop additional funder/partner interest, specifically to engage with the working group when new funding opportunities are surfaced as a result of research and further idea development
• Identify opportunistic moments to advance this work and vision of the initiative among partners, external players and/or events
• Oversee the design and implementation of briefings on the impact and learning working group’s findings
• Act as a public representative of the initiative when necessary


• Minimum Masters degree or equivalent in Economics, Development Studies, International Relations, Human Rights, or any other related field;
• Extensive experience designing, developing and implementing impact and learning initiatives
• Knowledge of evaluation and impact assessment methods including qualitative, quantitative, mixed and participatory methods.
• Knowledge of and relevant experience in the transparency and accountability field, and, preferably, government and foundation funding communities.
• Proven ability to think strategically, innovate, learn fast and interact with a multitude of stakeholders, and deliver outcomes.
• Possess exceptional interpersonal skills, including relationship building, presentation skills, and partnership development
• Ability to work independently and perform as a self-starter who can take initiative and sustain work with little supervision
• Ability to work under pressure and on a range of tasks and meeting deadlines

If you are passionate about impact of transparency and accountability interventions, we encourage you to apply. We appreciate that multiple skills are required and that not all candidates will combine deep knowledge in both impact and learning as well as transparency and accountability.

START DATE/DURATION: ASAP. The successful candidate will be offered a position until December 2012 which marks the end of the current life cycle of the Initiative.

COMPENSATION: Commensurate with experience, excellent benefits package.

To Apply

Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements before Wednesday, 6th July 2011, to:  Include job code in subject line: PO/TA

Interviews will be conducted on Friday, 15th July 2011, telephone interviews will occur before this.

No phone calls, please. The Open Society Foundations is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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