Director, Rwanda – African Wildlife Foundation

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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has led innovation in African conservation approaches for nearly 60 years. AWF advocates for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. AWF articulates a uniquely African vision, bridges science and public policy, and demonstrates the economic and social benefits of conservation to with outcomes that are simultaneously ‘good’ for both wildlife and people.

AWF is proud to have partnered with the Government of Rwanda (GoR) and people living in the Virungas for more than four decades resulting in increasing populations of endangered mountain gorillas and improved human livelihoods. AWF enthusiastically endorses the ‘green growth’ conservation model for which Rwanda is globally known. AWF’s 10-year vision aspires to replicate this model throughout Africa.

Rwanda has demonstrated to the world that conservation and development are not mutually exclusive. The country is leading holistic conservation and green growth initiatives as part of ambitious Vision 2050 plans. These efforts will create 1.5 million jobs by 2024. AWF’s ambition is to contribute to these plans by catalyzing biodiversity-based economic growth. While communities living around protected areas are benefitting from conservation – $5.8 million USD were invested in community projects over the last 14 years – the ambition is to increase these benefits and link economic development across all sectors around the park in a way that secures wildlife as a source of opportunity for Rwandans. Wildlife tourism, ecological restoration, agricultural processing, and innovative forestry products for domestic and regional and international export markets are all part of an integrated solution to catalyzing an economic transformation anchored on the protection and restoration of wildlife and the ecological system around the park. The park expansion plan presents an opportunity to jumpstart this transformation.

Position Summary

The Director will be responsible for providing overall leadership, strategic focus, management and accountability for performance of AWF’s work in Rwanda which aims to demonstrate to Africa and the world how conservation and development go hand-in-hand by creating a Conservation Investment Blueprint for the Volcanoes National Park Landscape combining policy, investment, and business-engagement elements in an integrated framework for economic development to accompany plans to expand the area designated for protection of the mountain gorilla. Key to success will be working with the GOR, communities and the private sector to identify viable strategies for securing the livelihoods of the people living in the landscape and trigger a transformation of the economy around the park towards green growth. The Director will also lead efforts to expand this model across Rwanda and work closely with the External Affairs and Strategic Communications teams to articulate lessons and insights from the experience into international forums planned to take place in Rwanda such as the Africa Protected Areas Congress and the Commonwealth set of meetings.

Ultimately the aim is to enable the Government of Rwanda; Rwanda Development Board; the leadership of the Musanze, Burera, Nyabihu and Rubavu Districts and the 12 Sectors directly implicated in the park expansion plan; businesses and investors operating in the landscape; and the people living around the park to create one or more economic scenarios with policy and investment options that RDB can use to catalyze investment in the region.

Key Duties and Responsibilities Country Leadership

  • Spearhead the design and implementation of a strategic approach to delivering inclusive green growth using work in the Volcanoes landscape as a model for Rwanda, Africa and the world.
  • Represent AWF at national, district, and provincial government levels and with other donors to ensure effective collaboration.
  • Participate in the development and design of a strategic direction for AWF’s work in Rwanda and accompanying proposals for submission to key donors for support of the country program.
  • Build AWF’s presence in Rwanda including through additional staffing and/or partnerships as relevant/feasible.
  • Be the technical point of contact with the key donors in Rwanda on inclusive green growth.
  • Initiate and develop country-level relationships with major stakeholder groups, national governments, protected area authorities, local government, communities, NGO’s and private sector.
  • Ensure AWF’s work in Volcanoes Landscape is informing and informed by the regional context for biodiversity conservation such as the Congo Basin Forest Partnership Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, the Africa Protected Areas Congress, and the Commonwealth meetings.
  • Responsible for AWF public relations, corporate communications and marketing roll-out in Rwanda.

Landscape Leadership

  • Provide overall leadership for the technical and managerial aspects of the Volcanoes Landscape Program including implementation to ensure the program attains its goals, meets its deliverables and produces results required in a timely manner.
  • Be the technical point of contact with the key donors in Rwanda that are funding projects in the Volcanoes Landscape, program implementing partners, and stakeholders on all aspects of the program/grants.
  • Foster strong and productive working relationships with major stakeholder groups, national governments, protected area authorities, local government, communities, NGO’s and private sector in the landscape.
  • Oversee the work of AWF’s secondee to Rwanda Development Board and keep AWF senior management briefed on developments related to the Volcanoes National Park expansion.

Project Management

  • Manage day-to-day operations of the program, which includes building and managing an effective team, effective administration and tracking of project finances, program monitoring and evaluation, timely donor reporting, and effective coordination and cooperation between project implementing partners among others.
  • Ensure full compliance with AWF policies and procedures including, in particular, AWF’s Policy and Standard for Rights Based Conservation.
  • Oversee sub-grantees, facilitate technical assistance, and steer them towards results-oriented activities; and ensure grantee compliance with terms and conditions of their agreements.
  • Convene program management meetings with staff and appropriate partners to oversee program implementation.
  • Work with AWF senior program team and key implementing partners to design annual work and performance management plans that will deliver program-level goals.
  • Provide leadership in tracking and reporting of program performance against prescribed criteria to EU, AWF, and partners in a timely manner.
  • Host donor and partner visits in a professional way.
  • Schedule technical inputs from AWF and implementing partners HQ offices to support implementation of the program.
  • Build and manage a team of professional staff; ensure roles & responsibilities are clearly defined and performance is managed with the required focus and discipline.
  • Optimize utilization of AWF Project Management methodologies by comprehensively updating plans in the prescribed formats.
  • Ensure quarterly and yearly means of verification (MOVs) are defined, delivered and recorded in a timely and transparent manner.
  • Ensure implementation of activities and expected outputs in line with respective grants’ terms and conditions, and donor expectations.
  • Oversee sub-grantees and facilitate technical assistance, steer them towards results oriented activities.

Financial, compliance and administrative responsibilities

  • Work closely with the Finance and Administration officer to:
    • develop and track working annual budgets;
    • Ensure full compliance with the EU grant and AWF policies and procedures;
    • ensure grantee compliance with terms and conditions of their agreements;
  • Provide adequate technical progress and financial reports for the project;
  • Ensure effective procurement of project equipment and other essential resources;
  • Monitor vehicle usage and maintenance; and
  • Ensure effective use of petty cash.
  • The Director will be responsible for ensuring proper use and accounting for all funds used in Rwanda.

Technical

  • Build on the planning work that RDB has undertaken to create an integrated multi-sectoral development plan for all investment into the wider landscape to achieve the transformative development that delivers for people and nature.
  • Realign incentives to drive the development plan through policies and industry standards that reshape relationships between tourism partners and communities and incentivize other industries to grow in a way that is well suited to the larger vision for growth in the region.
  • Improve local livelihoods by improving community [youth and women targeted] capacity [governance, financial literacy, business management, etc.] to own, manage and invest in tourism, agriculture, natural product enterprises that add value locally and grow the local economy.
  • Guide growth in the region by attracting targeted domestic and foreign direct investment / impact investment in tourism, agriculture, timber [bamboo], and nature-based product sectors that incorporate conservation in their business models.
  • Any other relevant duties as assigned by supervisor.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Post graduate qualification (MSc or PhD) in natural sciences, social science, economics or any other field directly related to conservation.
  • Minimum 12 years of proven managerial and field experience in conservation and development.
  • Experience in leading implementation of large and complex projects in Rwanda with a solid understanding of conservation and development in Rwanda and how to deliver effective sustainable conservation programs that benefit wildlife and communities.
  • Results focused orientation with track record of delivery.
  • Ability to manage and motivate a highly qualified team of professionals in different fields.
  • Solid understanding of financial management and budgeting.
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written) essential, proficiency in French (spoken and written) desirable.
  • Experience leading and managing large complex projects budgets, delivering and reporting results, and ensuring compliance with donor requirements.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to build coalitions, negotiate, and manage conflict situations.
  • Outstanding communication skills with ability to clarify vision and strategy.
  • Experience working with different levels of government (especially senior levels) and partners in Rwanda.
  • Genuine respect for the skills and perspectives of communities, partner organizations and the private sector.
  • Good report writing skills and working knowledge of computers and MS Office software package.
  • Sound understanding and motivational fit in conservation.
  • Commitment to AWF and its mission.

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