Director of Emergency Assistance Program (Human Rights Defenders/CSOs at risk)

Freedom House


  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Salary: Negotiable
  • Contract Type: Full-time
  • Closing Date: 15/02/2018

Freedom House promotes the spread of freedom and democracy around the world through research, advocacy, and programs that support frontline activists. We are a leader in identifying threats to freedom through our highly regarded analytic reports, including Freedom of in the World, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of the Net, and Nations in Transit. With 13 field offices and 2 in the U.S. offices, we support the right of every individual to be free.

Position Summary:

Freedom House’s Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) provides rapid response funding and other support to human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) that are under threat or attack because of their work to promote and protect human rights. The EAP Director provides leadership, overall strategic direction, and day-to-day management of the EAP staff and portfolio so that assistance to HRDs and CSOs is delivered in an effective, innovative, and cost-efficient manner and so that assistance activities, funded by various individual (and in some cases overlapping) donor awards, are implemented in an integrated manner. To achieve these over-arching goals, the Director manages EAP team members to identify individual program priorities and oversee program activities; maintains and develops close working relationships with international civil society leaders, consortium partners, and existing and potential donors (governments, foundations, corporations, individuals); fosters ongoing coordination and communication between EAP and other FH teams; ensures and advances practices related to physical and digital data security; and manages the EAP budget and operations.

The Director also leads external outreach on behalf of EAP to develop new relationships and collaboration with consortium partners and peer organizations; provides strategic direction for fundraising efforts to diversify funding sources; advances a learning agenda related to key developments in the field of emergency assistance and protection for HRDs and CSOs; and engages in advocacy to push back against closing civic space and protection of basic human rights.

Principal Duties, Responsibilities, and Expectations:

•Strategic leadership – develop and lead the implementation of an EAP vision and strategy that will take EAP to the next level in its ability to be innovative, nimble, responsive, and efficient. Strategic direction should integrate all aspects of EAP engagement, including program design and implementation; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; advancing advocacy priorities; data security; communications and outreach; and advancing best practices in emergency assistance to HRDs, CSOs, and specific populations.
•Staff development - recruit top talent, build and lead cohesive and effective teams, coach, motivate, and ensure professional growth and development of staff, effectively manage culturally diverse staff, and provide timely and targeted performance feedback. This includes providing ongoing and clear direction to EAP staff to ensure that program objectives and results are met in a timely manner and are aligned with FH’s mission.
•External outreach - build and maintain strong and effective coalitions and forge partnerships aimed at advancing EAP program and advocacy objectives. Engage with funders, partners, policymakers, diplomatic representatives, media, and other stakeholders on issues related to emergency assistance, human rights, and democracy with op-eds, press releases, briefings, blog entries, and other substantive documents from time to time.
•Thought leadership – develop and implement activities to create and share knowledge and best practices aimed at strengthening emergency assistance to HRDs.
•Stewardship of external partnerships and institutional advancement – provide strategic direction in maintaining and strengthening relationships with existing and new donors, guide teams in development of funding proposals, and lead efforts to broaden the base of funding support for emergency assistance programs in order to strengthen EAP’s ability to effectively respond to the urgent needs of at-risk HRDs and CSOs. Maintain excellent, collaborative working relationships with donors and lead negotiations with donors to ensure consistency across awards.
•Operational leadership and management – ensure that all needed EAP team and project management mechanisms (including financial management mechanisms) are designed, implemented, and applied, so as to ensure effective, responsive, confidential, and secure EAP grant-making practices. Oversee emergency assistance to ensure that it rapidly addresses the needs of beneficiaries, while maintaining cost-effectiveness and compliance with donor award requirements. Mechanisms shall include but not be limited to appropriate team manuals, protocols, standard operating procedures, budget monitors and trackers, and IT and security tools and policies.
•Financial leadership and management – with up to date budget data provided by individual award managers, manage EAP-wide program finances, including budget monitoring, projections, and analysis, so as to ensure full compliance with FH and funders’ requirements, as well as integration of available funding so as to support a smoothly functioning EAP team as a whole.
•Collaboration with other units of Freedom House - participate in FH activities geared toward organizational success and strength, including support for cross-team collaboration. Maintain an effective and collaborative working relationship with all other FH departments and units (with a particular focus on the regional program teams to ensure that synergies between the regional and EAP activities are captured and leveraged), and keep them apprised of events and decisions within EAP, including the timely completion of grant-funded activities, results achieved through programs, appropriate performance issues with program staff, team publications, and external relations and outreach.

Job Qualifications:

Education, training, and/or certification:
•Bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations, public policy or related field
•Master’s degree in political science, international relations, public policy or related field is preferred
•MS Office (specifically Excel, PowerPoint and Word)


•Experience designing and implementing programs that provide grant support to protect HRDs and CSOs around the globe (including those working to protect religious freedom and to protect rights of historically marginalized populations) at risk because of their work
•12-15 years of related experience in the human rights, democracy, and governance or civil society field including work in closed societies/sensitive environments; 3-5 years of field experience preferred
•A strong commitment to, passion for, and knowledge of the principles and practice of human rights
•Experience leading successful fundraising and proposal development efforts; and building relationships with a range of institutional and individual donors
•Experience successfully leading, managing, and motivating a diverse team of professionals with diverse cultural backgrounds
•Experience achieving results through application of strong interpersonal skills including an ability to forge productive working relationships both internally and externally
•8-10 years of experience managing staff, including 3-5 managing senior staff
•Experience managing U.S. and European donor-funded programs and ensuring reporting and financial compliance

Skills and Competencies:

•Outstanding staff leadership and management skills
•Proven track record collaborating with others and successfully working as a team member, including a track record of transparency with professional colleagues and discretion and excellent judgment working on sensitive topics in restrictive environments
•Strong ability to coach and mentor staff, and provide visionary leadership to a team of talented professionals, including senior project managers
•Strong political judgment, strategic thinking, problem-solving , and leadership skills
•Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to persuade and facilitate cooperation among persons with divergent views
•Demonstrated ability to initiate, foster, interact, and maintain relationships with contacts and stakeholders in diverse and cross-cultural environments, with sensitivity and a high degree of courtesy, discretion, tact, and professionalism
•Mastery of international human rights principles and mechanisms, and understanding of democracy promotion field more broadly
•Knowledge and understanding of regional and country-based threats to HRD safety and security
•Outstanding written and verbal communication skills in English (the ability to communicate in a second relevant language is also strongly preferred)
•Superior fundraising skills with demonstrated ability to successfully cultivate public and private donors (required)
•Outstanding skills in proposal development (from development of concept through to final proposal negotiations)
•Expertise in USG and other principle donor rules and regulations and familiarity with U.S. legislative processes (required)
•Outstanding skills developing and managing donor budgets in a compliant manner
•Strong knowledge and understanding of donor award agreements
•Expert results-based project management skills from conception through implementation, budget management, evaluations, and close-out
•Familiarity with cutting edge as well as widely used ICT and social media communications technology and applications
•Understanding of basic issues related to digital security and of effective tools and approaches to address them
•Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times

Attributes and Characteristics:

•Exhibit strong and sustained commitment to the FH mission
•Demonstrate outstanding inter-personal, management, and team-building skills
•Show good stewardship in the use of FH resources
•Demonstrate sound skills in ethical discernment, analysis, and action
•Consistently use good judgment when dealing with all issues and persons
•Exhibit strong organizational skills and professional standards, adherence to procedures, and responsibility for assigned tasks
•Exhibit outstanding ability to multi-task and work with minimal supervision; and high degree of self-motivation and professional management
•Demonstrate strong desire for excellence, and desire to inspire others to attain professional excellence
•Assess own strengths and weaknesses; pursue training and development opportunities, and strive to continuously build knowledge and skills
•Comply with all relevant FH policies and procedures

Primary Contacts:

•Internal: Employees throughout FH
•External: Partners, funders, donors, consultants, implementers, congressional staffers, legislators, government officials, human rights and civil society organizations, embassy staffers, the press, vendors, board members, and members of the general public

Working Conditions:

General Working Conditions:
•General working office environment
•Some long hours, including evenings and/or weekends as reasonable to complete essential tasks or attend important events and to be responsive in a timely manner to requests for emergency assistance
•Travel to event and meeting sites
•Exposed to outside weather conditions when required to attend event venues or travel
•May involve work in regions that are remote and lack basic modern infrastructure, and in countries under U.S. travel advisory due to threats of terrorist attacks, civil unrest, kidnappings, and disease outbreaks

Physical Requirements:

•Sedentary, regularly required to sit for extended periods of time; constantly talk, hear and understand speech at normal levels using a telephone. Occasionally required to stand, walk, and bend over, reach overhead, use hands,wrists and fingers, to grasp, push, pull, move, handle, feel, and type. Constantly required to use close vision and distance vision for regular computer work. Occasionally required to life and/or move up to 25 lbs. to waist height.

Qualified and Interested Applicants:

We invite qualified candidates to complete an online application and submit a resume and cover letter.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted