Local recruitment (Kenya and South Africa): Regional Programme Officer, Drylands Resilience

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪

Pretoria, South Africa 🇿🇦

Vacancy #:  5988
Unit:  Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR), ESARO
Organisation:  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:  Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya
Reporting to:  Regional Head, Land Systems / Country Representative, Rwanda
Work percentage:  100%
Grade:  P2
Expected start date:  01 June 2022
Type of contract:  Fixed-term (24 months)
Closing date:  11 May 2022





Sub-Saharan Africa drylands cover 13.9 million km and hold about 425 million people. The region is susceptible to land degradation and bears the greatest impact of drought and desertification/hyper-aridity. The goal of the IUCN’s dryland programme is to slow and reverse land degradation in the drylands in order to positively impact the livelihoods of millions of vulnerable households.

IUCN has reconstituted its programmes in ESARO to include Drylands in Land Systems programme, together with forests and conservation agriculture. The objective of this programme in regards to drylands is to restore degraded drylands systems, improve governance and management systems of drylands regions, improve current livelihood activities, and to provide leading edge science and knowledge essential for improved drylands management.

To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Land Systems team, IUCN ESARO is seeking to recruit a Regional Programme Officer, Drylands Resilience who will work under supervision of the Regional Head, Land Systems to provide high level technical support on activities ranging from Drylands assessment processes, resource mobilization, networking with parties to UNCCD and other conventions related to Drylands and their restoration and management.

The incumbent must have knowledge in Drylands Management and restoration, and be able to provide a technical leadership in related projects development, implementation and promotion of IUCN’s approaches to the inclusive drylands’ restoration and conservation.



The Regional Programme Officer, Drylands Resilience will play a lead role in supporting Country Representatives and the Regional Programme on Land Systems in developing and supporting the effective delivery of IUCN’s programme of work for the ESARO and global programmes. This will include programme and project development and delivery, as well as resource mobilization/fundraising and operationalization.


Under the direct guidance of, and working closely with the Regional Head, Land Systems the specific responsibilities of the Regional Programme Officer, Dryland Resilience are to;
Develop the programmatic drylands strategy for ESARO;
Working in close collaboration and with the support of the ESARO Programme Team as well as the Regional Head, Land Systems;
Assist in identifying, establishing and building relationships with strategic partners (including, but not limited to Members and Donors) relevant and necessary for Programme delivery and growth;
In consultation with the IUCN members as well other key stakeholders – Identify key programmatic strategic priorities relevant to the current and emerging needs around drylands conservation and restoration;
Develop and coordinate the implementation of strategies to position IUCN as a key technical partner for Governments as well as other strategic partners in the region;
Identify and secure funding opportunities to operationalise the priorities related to Drylands conservation and restoration through the implementation of projects and programmatic initiatives

Manage and where appropriate provide oversight and coordination of the regional Programme Portfolio of drylands projects;
In consultation with project staff and the Finance Department, prepare and update the Regional Portfolio ABC lists on a regular basis and as requested by ESARO leadership;
Convene regular meetings with project staff to review progress on projects as well as cost recovery and provide monthly reports to the Regional Head, Land Systems for onward submission to the Regional Director and Global office;
Along with the Country Representative/ Regional Head, Land Systems, attend the regional technical programme monthly briefing meetings as well as the regional technical coordination group meetings and actively contribute to the substance of these meetings;
Support monitoring and evaluation process of projects ensuring that evaluations are carried out in accordance within contracting requirements.

Provide technical backstopping and support Programmatic initiatives;
Working closely and with the support of relevant Regional Thematic Heads, provide leadership and oversight to Programmatic initiatives assigned by the line manager:

Work with project teams to develop strategic and operational work plans for the delivery of projects and other programmatic initiatives
Coordinate and take responsibility for ensuring that projects and other programmatic initiatives assigned are delivered in accordance with approved contracts, work plans and budgets;
Contribute directly to the delivery of technical outputs, ensuring high quality, relevance and technical accuracy;
Develop and implement strategies for drylands knowledge generation from ongoing initiatives for sharing with the wider Regional Team as well as the broader IUCN Constituency;
Ensure that IUCN’s work on Drylands is effectively shared and communicated widely.

Play a leading role in partner and stakeholder relationships;
Maintain/develop excellent relationships with government stakeholders including at Ministers, Directors and technical levels across ESARO countries.
Maintain excellent relationships with development partners in the region and represent IUCN at key events.

Other Duties;
Carry out other relevant tasks assigned by, and mutually agreed with, the line manager



A PhD or Master’s Degree in natural sciences, Drylands Ecology, or in fields related to drylands resources management, environmental economics or other closely related fields;

Work Experience;
At least 7 years’ work experience in managing and coordinating projects, primarily in the conservation or sustainable development field, preferably with drylands/ semi-arid linkage.
Good knowledge in soil and land degradation assessments.
Demonstrated experience and an in-depth understanding of Eastern and Southern Africa Region, especially transboundary ecosystems will be an added advantage.
Demonstrated experience in programme development and fundraising.
Demonstrated fundraising, budgeting and programme planning abilities and past performance, including experience of development and successful marketing of project proposals with donors, and subsequent delivery and reporting;
Experience with result-based portfolio and project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation methodologies and principles and facilitation skills;
Demonstrated experience in scientific publication and reporting skills;

Excellent verbal and communication skills in English is a must. Working knowledge of French, Swahili and/ or Portuguese is an added advantage;

Core Competencies;
Transparency: Able to build trust and contribute to informed and responsible decision making by carrying out the work of IUCN in a transparent manner; provides clear guidance to ensure that objectives and desired measurable results are understood by members of the team.
Inclusiveness: Understands and accepts cultural diversity, and provide a tolerant, positive and supportive working environment that fosters respect for diversity, demonstrates ability to work in a multicultural, multi ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
Professionalism: Promote the organization’s interests, objectives and values in a diligent and professional manner.
Accountability: Takes responsibility of individual and collective actions, promotes the IUCN One Programme approach.

Functional competencies;
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint, some GIS knowledge) use of internet and online communication tools, good knowledge in information management through portals.
Adheres to IUCN ESARO core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability.
Strong interpersonal, management and supervisory skills and experience, with a minimum of 4 years’ experience in managing teams.
Excellent interpersonal skills and a strong team player with proven communication and diplomacy with the ability to work effectively with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
Highly motivated and results-oriented individual.
Demonstrated ability to work with limited supervision to prioritize tasking and manage workflow in a high-pressure environment;
Must be a proactive individual who is able to energize and motivate teams;
Committed to continuous learning and proactive and mature attitude towards self-development;
Be willing to undertake frequent travel (approx. 30% of their time).


Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System, by opening the vacancy announcement and pressing the “Apply” button.

Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST). Please note that only selected applicants will be personally contacted for interviews.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: http://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 10,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.

Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.