Program Manager for Lifeline

Freedom House
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Mar 17

Position description

Freedom House promotes the spread of freedom and democracy around the world through research, advocacy, and programs that support frontline activists.  We are a leader in identifying threats to freedom through our highly regarded analytic reports, including Freedom in the World, Freedom of the Press, Freedom on the Net, and Nations in Transit.  With 13 field offices and two U.S. offices, we  support the right of every individual to be free.

Position Summary:

The Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) of Freedom House (FH) provides small, short-term grants to human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) that are under threat or attack because of their human rights work. Freedom House is hiring for a Program Manager (PM) to oversee the Lifeline Embattled CSO Fund ( Lifeline is a consortium of 7 INGOs that provides rapid response grants to local CSOs to address attacks, boost the resiliency of most at-risk organizations, and mount challenges to closing civic space. Since its inception in 2011, Lifeline has supported over 1,000 CSOs in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world.


  • Award management/implementation - manage and supervise all aspects of Lifeline, including work plan development and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, budget monitoring and management, reporting, and collaboration with donors and other partners. This will include management and leadership of a partner consortium, identifying countries and areas of focus, developinggrant-making strategies, boosting funding from the donor steering committee, and addressing consortium-wide challenges and areas for growth. 
  • Oversee emergency assistance to embattled CSOs - work with a team of regional specialists covering the world to identify, vet, and deliver timely financial assistance to CSOs at-risk because of their human rights work. Assistance allows CSOs to improve security, relocate threatened staff, push back against legal challenges, replace stolen or destroyed equipment, and other support to enable organizations to overcome the threats they face and return to their work. The Program Manager will ensure that special attention is paid to the digital and physical security needs of potential beneficiaries. 
  • Financial management – proactively manage and monitor budget for Lifeline including maintaining up to date budget tracker and spending projections, so as to ensure that programming decisions are made based upon accurate financial analysis. 
  • Staff management - recruit, select and train, assign, organize, manage, and supervise work of all staff needed to implement Lifeline; motivate, coach and mentor staff and provide timely and frequent performance feedback.  
  • Fundraising - identify opportunities for new programs and additional funding for existing programs, design and develop program concepts for proposals, draft and negotiate proposals and budgets.   
  • External outreach and representation - serve as the point of contact and speak with authority on Lifeline with donors and delegations, at informational interviews, and other external meetings. Write op-eds, press releases, briefings, policy papers, and other substantive documents as required, and review other publications as requested
  • Travel - as needed to implement Lifeline, or to secure new funding for new activities, travel internationally. 
  • Other related duties as assigned.


Education, training, and/or certification:

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations, public policy or related field
  • Master’s degree in political science, international relations, public policy or related field is preferred


  • At least six to ten years of experience in human rights, including of grant-making to CSOs in restrictive contexts, including experience analyzing and solving complex problems related to the digital/physical safety and security of CSOs and HRDs.
  • Experience designing and implementing programs that provide grant support to protect HRDs and human rights CSOs around the globe, including experience in the mechanics of providing donor-funded emergency assistance to HRDs and CSOs in restrictive contexts, including the development of funding proposals and the effective and secure implementation of emergency assistance activities  
  • Experience managing, monitoring, and analyzing donor-funded budgets
  • Experience achieving results through application of strong interpersonal skills including an ability to forge productive working relationships both internally and externally  
  • Five years of experience managing staff

Skills and Competencies:

  • Understanding of human rights principles and mechanisms, and of the democracy promotion field more broadly, including donors active in the field  
  • Knowledge and understanding of country-based threats to HRD safety and security
  • Outstanding staff leadership and management skills  
  • Ability to recruit, develop, manage, and lead staff, and provide timely performance feedback
  • Proven track record collaborating with others and successfully working as a team member, including a track record of transparency with professional colleagues 
  • Expert results-based project management skills from conception through implementation, budget management, evaluations, and close-out
  • Outstanding financial management and budgeting skills including ability to develop and manage donor budgets in a compliant manner  
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of donor award agreements and requirements 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to persuade and facilitate cooperation among persons with divergent views

Work Environment and Physical Demands: Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Disclaimer: This job description is only a summary of the typical functions of the job.  It is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks and duties.  The responsibilities, tasks, and duties of the jobholder may differ from those outlined in the job description and that other duties as assigned, may be part of the job. Freedom House may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time.

Application instructions

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