Overview of AJWS

Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS advances the health and rights of women, girls and LGBT people; promotes recovery from conflict, disasters and oppression; and defends access to food, land and livelihoods. AJWS pursues lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and by mobilizing supporters in the U.S. to advocate for global justice. Working together, the AJWS community strives to build a more just and equitable world.


AJWS’s international programs division works to build civil society in select countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia by supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) that are advancing human rights. AJWS partners with organizations that work on three critical issues:

Natural Resource Rights: Defending the Right to Food, Land and Livelihoods

AJWS supports organizations that advocate for the rights of rural, indigenous and poor communities who are displaced from their land or prevented from earning a living because of mining, dams and other development that threaten their way of life.

Sexual Health and Rights: Advancing the Rights of Women, Girls and Sexual Minorities

AJWS works to increase access to services and end discrimination, violence and abuse of women, girls, LGBTI people and sex workers, so that they can access the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety and dignity.

Civil and Political Rights: Promoting Recovery from Conflict and Oppression

AJWS supports communities to recover from conflict and oppression, speak out against injustice and create vibrant, peaceful, societies that respect the rights of all citizens.


AJWS seeks a talented and experienced grantmaker to work in one of its three critical thematic areas. The program officer manages a dynamic grants portfolio in the Natural Resource Rights issue area, coordinates capacity-building and programmatic opportunities for grantees, and engages in strategic learning and evaluation in order to document AJWS’s impact and to improve grantmaking strategies Kenya, Uganda, and Liberia. S/he collaborates closely with country consultants and the Director of the Natural Resource Rights department to shape AJWS’s work and to raise its visibility with key stakeholders. The program officer seeks strategic opportunities for partnership and collaboration that leverage AJWS’s grantmaking and promote the work of grantees, develops initiatives that advance AJWS and grantees’ work, and contributes to funder affinity groups and networks to deepen knowledge in the field. S/he also works as part of a closely knit international programs division and with other AJWS programs, including development, communications, advocacy, campaigns and experiential education.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Develop, implement, monitor and evaluate grantmaking strategies in Kenya, Uganda and Liberia in collaboration with the Director of Natural Resource Rights, staff and consultants;

Advance AJWS’s grantmaking program in Natural Resource Rights by identifying new grantees, developing proposals, supporting grantees with technical assistance and access to opportunities, and refining grantmaking strategies based on learning and evaluation;

Identify and deepen relationships with collegial donors, civil society organizations, activists, policymakers and other allies;

Manages AJWS country consultants in Kenya, Uganda, and Liberia, and work closely with them to recommend new grants, build grantee capacity, and monitor and evaluate country grantmaking strategies;

Monitor Natural Resource Rights grantmaking budget and operational plans in conjunction with the Program Director;

Work with in-country and external stakeholders to conduct evaluations, provide technical assistance, facilitate peer exchanges, and respond to crises and emergencies in support of grantees;

Identify emerging issues and trends and utilize findings to determine funding priorities and develop grantmaking strategies and initiatives;

Collaborate with grantmaking colleagues to identify and analyze global trends and document lessons learned;

Organize and conduct two to three trips to the region per year for exploratory research, site visits, partner meetings, and monitoring and evaluation;

Increase AJWS’s visibility and profile by presenting AJWS’s work to donors, collegial organizations, networks and policymakers, and by working closely with AJWS’s communications department;

Collaborate with members of the national programs division to ensure a close integration of the priorities of AJWS’s grantees with AJWS’s domestic advocacy and national action campaigns; and

Partner with development staff to manage relationships, write reports and fulfill other contractual obligations of donors that are supporting AJWS's work; cultivate and engage individual donors by speaking at fundraising and advocacy events.


BA/BS required; Masters degree strongly preferred;

Three to five years of experience working at a foundation, international development or human rights organization in the field of natural resource rights, economic justice, sustainable development, transparency and accountability, and/or climate change;

Demonstrated issue area expertise in one or more of the following fields: natural resource rights, economic justice, sustainable development, transparency and accountability, and/or climate change;

Demonstrated experience with, and commitment to, grassroots social justice and human rights movements;

Excellent analytical and writing skills; experience writing or reviewing grant proposals; strong public speaking and presentation skills;

Strategic planning or other organizational development skills strongly preferred;

Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English required; ability to speak Kiswahili highly desirable;

Minimum of two years’ experience living and/or working in the Global South;

Expertise in human rights law, norms and practices, global development theory and grassroots social movement building;

Knowledge of current political, social and economic trends in the region;

Proficiency analyzing, monitoring and evaluating budgets;

Staff management experience preferred;

Enthusiastic about spending 6-9 weeks per year traveling internationally, either with colleagues or alone;

Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends;

Team player and flexible about the challenges of working in a fast-paced environment with shifting priorities;

Highly organized, with the proven ability to work independently, prioritize and complete multiple projects, meet deadlines and maintain consistent attention to detail; and

Ability to work in and with diverse communities.

How to apply:

For immediate consideration, please forward your resume and cover letter and two writing samples toopportunities@ajws.org and indicate your name and “Program Officer, Natural Resource Rights" in the subject line. Applications submitted without a personalized cover letter will not be considered.

Applications are due by May 16th.

We thank you for your interest in career opportunities with AJWS. Due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

AJWS is an equal opportunity employer and provides competitive salaries and benefits

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