Community Development Lead, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR)
Closing date : 31 May 2021
Location: Epulu, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR), Democratic Republic of Congo
Reports To: OWR Head of Programs & OWR Director
Direct Reports: All staff in the Community Development Unit
Start date: As soon as possible
Duration: Minimum 2 years
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been active in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR) for more than 30 years, supporting its creation, and subsequently working closely with ICCN (Institut Congolaise pour la Conservation de la Nature) – the government agency responsible for protected areas and wildlife - in its management. In December 2018, WCS and ICCN signed a 10-year management agreement that delegated management authority of the OWR to WCS. This mandate is implemented through the OWR Management Unit (RMU), which is led by the Reserve Director and which is the executive body in charge of all day-to-day management activities and personnel in the OWR.
WCS is seeking a Community Development Lead to design, develop and lead implementation of a portfolio of work that promotes the well-being of rights-holding people living within and surrounding OWR while guaranteeing the biological integrity of the reserve. The portfolio of the position will be diverse and will respond to i) the expressed desires and needs of rights-holding people and working with the people to overcome the risks to their well-being, and ii) the complex socio-political context of OWR and the Ituri Province as a whole. The portfolio will include, but not be limited to: countering the dehumanization and marginalization of rights-holding people living in the forest; leading and building a team of people to implement the work; ensuring rights-based access to and use of land and natural resources; achieving improved, diversified and contextually appropriate livelihoods; contributing to conflict mitigation among diverse groups of people; responding to the needs to trauma caused by conflict and gender-based violence; enterprise development; working with the team to seek sustainable solutions to the threats posed by artisanal and (illegal) semi-industrial mining in the reserve; ensuring social safeguarding and the implementation of a grievance redress mechanism; building and implementing effective and contextually-relevant education; designing and implementing other contextually appropriate work that leads to improved well-being of rights-holding people living within or surrounding the reserve; and ensuring the coordination of and collaboration with a diverse group of actors also working on development portfolios within and surrounding the reserve.
The Community Development Lead is a key position within the reserve’s management structure and s/he is one of six Heads of Department in the RMU. The position is based permanently on-site at the OWR headquarters in Epulu, Ituri Province.
The Community Development Lead is expected to oversee the design and development of the OWR’s portfolio of work targeting people living within and surrounding the reserve. S/He will lead a growing team to ensure effective implementation of the portfolio.1. Manage an effective socio-economic team
The Community Development Lead will build, train, mentor and manage a team of people to implement the portfolio of work with people living within and surrounding the reserve. This will include ensuring that technical capacity of the team responds to the priority needs of the people.
- Prepare deliverables and proposals
The Community Development Lead will lead designing annual, trimestral and monthly work plans, regular donor progress reports, and technical reports. S/He will also lead and contribute to fundraising proposals.
- Coordinate actors and partners working on community development within and, to a lesser extent, surrounding the reserve
In addition to implementing development activities, the Community Development Lead will coordinate and work with other actors, OWR partners and private enterprises to enhance the Reserve’s approaches with people living within and surrounding the reserve, ensuring that these function within the environmental framework and objectives of the reserve. Part of this work will be to develop a community development strategy for the reserve and to ensure that all work that is carried out in and surrounding the reserve adheres to that strategy, and that efforts are harmonized and not duplicated. The work will include building relationships and harnessing the investments that are made by different actors in the area.
- Ensure that gender and Indigenous Peoples (IP) issues are fully incorporated into all aspects of the reserve’s community development program
Under the leadership of the Community Development Lead, the work of the reserve management shall be transformative towards gender and rights-holding people living within the reserve; therefore, the reserve will not just mainstream gender and indigenous people in its programs. Overall, this means that the work is carried out in recognition of the role that women and indigenous people play in the use of natural resources, and that there shall be a balanced gender- and rights-holder sharing of planning, implementing and managing of activities - rather than women only following male instructions in line with traditional androcentric practices and rather than indigenous people being continually dehumanized and marginalized in line with historic, colonial and post-colonial practices. In addition, the Community Development Lead will ensure that the reserve adheres to the highest social safeguarding standards (including, for example, having proactive gender and people equality policies, with particular reference to disadvantaged groups and the ethical considerations of the work). The work on gender and indigenous people will include designing and collaboration with the WCS DRC, regional and global technical team to deliver gender-based training modules, monitor gender/IP approaches in the landscape, update gender/IP strategies, and ensure each year gender/IPs are incorporated into the workplan.
- Adaptation, monitoring and evaluation, and learning
The Community Development Lead will develop, coordinate and maintain a comprehensive framework and monitoring system for all community development activities that shows a clear theory of change to people’s well-being.
- A brilliant, analytical mind that grasps complex issues facing the people living with and surrounding the reserve and finds the most pragmatic, practical and optimum ways to respond to the issues within the environmental context of the reserve
- Ability to communicate and explain complex processes and ideas effectively and efficiently
- A minimum of a master’s degree in social sciences, or environmental sciences
- Five or more years of proven field experience implementing community development projects in Central Africa and preferably in DRC
- Ability to build and manage a diverse team of people
- A strong desire to work in a collaborative environment, with an ability to maintain good working relationships with a diverse group of colleagues
- Outstanding communication, organizational and coordination skills
- Excellent understanding of and practical experience with international safeguarding standards in a development context; experience with Environmental and Social Management systems preferred
- Experience working on US government and/or bilateral/multilateral funded projects is an advantage
- Ability to work, present trainings and write in French and in English; Kiswahili is an advantage
- Ability to operate in remote areas under challenging living conditions
How to apply
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply by emailing a detailed application/cover letter and CV together with the names and contact information of three references to: AfricaApplications@wcs.org. Please include “Community Development Lead, Okapi” in the subject line of your email. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews. If you have any queries related to this position please contact: AfricaApplications@wcs.org
Application Deadline: The position needs to be filled as soon as possible and WCS will receive applications until the position is filled
Created in 1992, the OWR, at more than 13,000km2, is the single largest protected tract of intact lowland tropical forest remaining in the DRC. The OWR harbors one of the largest remaining population of forest elephants and the largest stronghold of okapi in the DRC and the single largest population of the eastern chimpanzee in Africa. OWR is situated in the larger Ituri landscape; comprising more than 40,000km2 of contiguous forests, in which WCS is actively building conservation constituencies and supporting sustainable agricultural practices amongst the local communities who depend upon the forest resources for their livelihoods, and on whom the future integrity of the OWR is inextricably linked. The Ituri forests also have a rich cultural heritage and are home to the indigenous Mbuti and Efé peoples. The OWR presents a challenging environment and is faced with a number of threats to its biodiversity and operations, including poaching, gold mining, increased urbanization of surrounding towns and sporadic insecurity from armed groups.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is an international NGO headquartered at Bronx Zoo in New York City working to save wildlife and wild lands and to meet global challenges in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the world’s oceans. The Africa Program is the largest of WCS’s field programs, with approximately 1,100 staff in 12 country programs focused across four major regions (Central Africa, Sudano-Sahel, East and Southern Africa, and Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean).
Our MISSION is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature. Our VISION is a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. Our GOAL is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 16 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity. Our VALUES are Respect, Accountability and Transparency, Innovation, Diversity and Inclusion, Collaboration, Integrity.