South Africa Oceans Program Manager

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Cape Town, South Africa 🇿🇦

Job ID: 52586

Location: South Africa

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular


Cape Town, South Africa 


The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want a better insight to TNC? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube  or on Glassdoor.  

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. In addition to the requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of inclusion! Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote myriad TNC staff members, “you’ll join for our mission, and you’ll stay for our people.”

The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Africa Oceans Strategy focuses on securing large scale ocean protection by supporting effective marine spatial planning and community-based conservation approaches. Our work seeks to establish sustainable financing (e.g. through Blue Bonds – debt conversion-based instruments) to enable conservation outcomes at large marine ecosystem scale, by supporting policy and regulatory frameworks, as well as local capacity, with emphasis on linking science and communities to habitat protection and management. TNC’s work on fisheries aims to safeguard productive marine and freshwater fisheries for ecosystem health and as important foundations of food and livelihood security. TNC has established partnerships with several non-government and government agencies to support fisheries and coastal community-based conservation throughout Africa.


The South Africa Oceans Program Manager will lead the design, development, and implementation of TNC’s activities in support of protection, science, stewardship, and community relations for the coastal and marine areas of South Africa. This includes advancing the role of marine spatial planning at the EEZ scale, strengthening opportunities for and commitments to the expansion of marine protected areas, and helping connect activities in South Africa to regional conservation outcomes within the relevant large marine ecosystems. The role will also help establish the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within the marine community of South Africa and work with government and non-government stakeholders to define ocean conservation priorities and long-term conservation strategies aligned with the ongoing marine spatial planning process and within the context of the national Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy initiative). The position will build scientific and technical capacity and develop key partnerships with public and private organizations to identify and resolve technical issues and promote the integration of best practices. The role will directly support the national marine spatial planning process and supervise at least one technical staff position (MSP Coordinator, to be hired). Project management responsibilities will include a broad set of activities, including but not limited to marine conservation value analysis and mapping, feasibility for application of community-based fisheries management tools, and support for the National Protected Area Expansion Strategy. Where possible, this position will assist TNC global and regional teams in scoping activities for a potential Blue Bonds (sustainable financing via debt conversion) project. The South Africa Oceans Program Manager will work dynamically and effectively with government and non-government partners and coastal community stakeholders to support local conservation efforts and negotiate complex and innovative solutions. The South Africa Program Manager will work closely with TNC’s Africa and Global Oceans Teams, this position will report to the Africa Oceans Strategy Director and will be based at the TNC office in Cape Town, South Africa. No employment visas or assistance is being offered with this position except for the local labor employment requirements.


If you’re looking for a career where you can find meaning and purpose, come join TNC’S South Africa Program as the South Africa Ocean Program Manager Not only will you fulfill conservation objectives in the beautiful Country f South Africa, but you’ll contribute to conservation goals through many networks!

We’re looking for a passionate, dedicated person to lead our Ocean Program in South Africa and work within our division. Come join TNC and apply today!

Role scope and key responsibilities:

  • Manage the establishment and elaboration of the Oceans Program for South Africa, consistent
  • Lead TNC’s support for and relationship with the national government to assist national ocean conservation priorities and objectives
  • Advancing national-level planning efforts that increase ocean conservation outcomes, including climate mitigation and resilience plans, marine spatial plans, and coastal zone plans.
  • Supports efforts to create and advance community-based strategies for better-managed coastal fisheries and marine areas.
  •  Assists in developing reports, presentations, and assessments on related topics, as well as internal and external communications materials that reflect the program’s objectives and priorities.
  • Leads and manages local project team to support and improve marine conservation efforts.
  •  Works within a budget to complete projects negotiate contracts with vendors and assist with budget development.
  •  Supports fundraising by contributing to proposals and representing the Africa Ocean Program where/when needed.
  • Responsible for ensuring that public and private funds are raised to meet program needs.
  •  Builds cooperation from outside parties and strategic partnerships to accomplish program goals.
  •  May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.

 Frequently makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and context


  • BA/BS degree and 5 years experience in marine conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including staffing, workloads, and finances under deadlines.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives, and managing performance.
  •  Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups, and/or government agencies
  • The ideal candidate will have experience in conservation, policy, and sustainable programs for oceans and/or coasts. Experience facilitating and leading multiple objective planning processes and working across matrix organizations in the region will also be valuable.


  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experiences are appreciated.
  • MSc degree in relevant field and 7+ years experience in marine conservation practice or related field.
  • Experience with marine spatial planning, including stakeholder engagements and implementation of ocean protection initiatives.
  • Familiarity with South Africa’s coastal and marine ecosystems, communities, and related governance systems.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing, and implementing conservation policy and plans.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in marine conservation, especially within the region.
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives or related fields.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English.
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising.
  • Experience negotiation and being politically savvy.


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world! 

TNC offers competitive and comprehensive benefits packages tailored to the individual countries where we work. These may include health care benefits, retirement benefits, parental leave, paid time off, life insurance, and disability coverage as well as an employee assistance program and other life and well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on 

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports the health and well-being of the people we employ.


To apply for job ID 52586, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19.   By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.

An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role committing to being equitable across groups and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.

Since we support flexible and remote work for our employees, many positions have a flexible location within countries where we’re registered as a Non-government Organization and established as an employer. This may mean we’re unable to provide a hiring salary range in the posting for some of our positions. However, candidates invited to be part of our interview process will be provided their location specific range upon request.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development