Hivos is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Project Officer – Connect, Defend, Act!

Scope: Southern Africa

Hours: Full Time (37.5 Hours Per Week)

Reports to: Global Project Manager – Connect, Defend, Act!

Term: This appointment is for an initial term of one year, renewable based on results and performance.

Office: Lilongwe, Malawi

Deadline: 10 May 2024


With Support from NORAD, Hivos is implementing a project called ‘Connect, Defend, Act!’. To respond to the issue of shrinking civic space and amplify civil society-led action, the “Connect, Defend, Act!” (CDA) project will support Civil Society Actors in Colombia, Indonesia, Malawi and the occupied Palestinian territory in their efforts to defend and expand civic space through three strategic objectives:

  • By promoting coalition building among diverse Civil Society Actors, including Human Rights Defenders, Rights holder-led civil society organizations and independent media actors, grounded in civil society-led evidence gathering and knowledge production, and facilitated by context-specific Communities of Action.
  • By contributing to safe and inclusive digital civic spaces for sustained collaboration and action among Civil Society Actors through localized holistic digital security capacity strengthening, knowledge production and active referral to digital protection providers.
  • By increasing Civil Society Actors’ flexibility to rapidly respond to changes in civic space through organizational capacity strengthening and the provision of strategic funding for sustainable action.

The project aims to strategically support relevant actors within civil society whose work actively contributes to civic space from the perspective of different sectors and interests, while particularly including groups who are marginalized within civil society, such as women, youth, LGBTIQ+ persons, Indigenous People and others.


The Project Officer will provide technical advice, assistance and capacity building under the Connect, Defend, Act! Project and support planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting at country and regional level.


The key responsibilities of the role include:

Project Management

  • Oversee the day-to-day implementation of project activities in alignment with project goals and objectives.
  • Facilitate the formation and strengthening of coalitions among diverse Civil Society Actors, including Human Rights Defenders, rights holder-led organizations, and independent media actors.
  • Support the development and implementation of digital security initiatives to enhance the safety and resilience of Civil Society Actors in online spaces.
  • Provide support to Civil Society Actors in enhancing their organizational capacity, including governance structures, financial management, and strategic planning.
  • Assist in the identification and allocation of strategic funding to support sustainable action by Civil Society Actors, ensuring alignment with project goals and priorities.
  • Contribute to the production of evidence-based knowledge products, including research reports, policy briefs, and case studies, to inform advocacy efforts and decision-making.
  • Facilitate community engagement and participation in project activities, ensuring the inclusion of marginalized groups such as women, youth, LGBTIQ+ persons, and Indigenous People.
  • Provide active referral and support to Civil Society Actors in accessing digital protection resources and services, including digital security tools and training.
  • Conduct ongoing analysis of the socio-political context in project locations to inform strategic decision-making and adaptation of project approaches.
  • Ensure project activities are implemented in a conflict-sensitive manner, taking into account the local context and dynamics to minimize potential harm and maximize positive impact.
  • Integrate gender and inclusive considerations and mainstream equality principles throughout project activities to promote inclusivity and address gender-based inequalities

Provide specialist technical assistance and advice to support the development and implementation of the Connect, Defend, Act! Project

  • Establish links with relevant technical specialists, both within the region and internationally, and draw on these to provide technical advice and inputs.
  • Ensure all reports are of high quality and completed in a timely manner.
  • Support the Project Manager with the planning and implementation of project activities including setting annual and / or periodic workplans budgets and activity schedules
  • Ensure that all activities are in line with the funding agreement and comply with donor and Hivos requirements.
  • Project progress information is provided on a timely basis and when required for reporting and management decision making
  • Ensure that activities are well linked to the project log frame and budget for ease of reference and reporting.
  • Provide support with the budgeting for activities and provide budget execution reports when required.
  • Preparation terms of references and/or specifications for project requests for quotations (RFQs) and proposals (RFPs) in line with Hivos policies and processes
  • Ensure compliance with organizational policies, donor regulations, and project guidelines throughout the implementation process.

Provide technical assistance, advice and support to CDA partners

  • Provide technical assistance, advice and support to stakeholders to build capacity in adolescent safeguarding and engagement.
  • Promote and represent the CDA project with key stakeholders.
  • Support the capacity building of Civil Society Actors through training sessions, workshops, and knowledge sharing initiatives.
  • Identify potential risks and challenges to project implementation and work with the project team to develop mitigation strategies.

Support and manage CDA Regional Learning Network activities

  • Manage and coordinate regional network meetings and program partner learning exchanges
  • Represent CDA at national, regional and international forums.
  • Collaborate with other technical units across Hivos.

Stakeholder engagement, networking and coordination

  • Support stakeholder engagement, networking and coordination to advance divisional objectives at national, regional and institutional levels.
  • Engage in working groups, task forces and other technical committees.
  • Coordinate with project partners, stakeholders, and beneficiaries to ensure smooth implementation and collaboration.
  • Maintain regular communication with the Global Project Manager, project team members, and relevant stakeholders to provide updates, share progress, and address challenges.
  • Develop and maintain excellent relationship with relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, NGOs, and community groups, to foster partnerships and promote / advance project objectives at national, regional and institutional levels.

Monitoring and Evaluation, Learning and Support

  • Ensure accurate and timely documentation of project activities, including reports, meeting minutes, and other relevant documentation.
  • Contribute to the monitoring and evaluation of project activities, including data collection, analysis, and reporting.
  • Ensure that the project risk management plan is monitored and updated on a timely basis
  • Support the development of the progress reports against project indicators.
  • Maintain all project disaggregated data collated through trainings/workshops/meetings for analysis and reporting purposes
  • Support the identification of impact stories for communication products.



  • A Bachelor’s degree in in political studies, development, social sciences, program management or a related discipline

Knowledge / Experience

  • Minimum of 5 years relevant project management experience, preferable in an international or donor organization.
  • Experience working with Civil Society Actors and knowledge of civic space issues in Malawi is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated capacity to interact with various stakeholders and facilitate linkages between organisations.
  • Excellent interpersonal and representational skills with experience in building and maintaining effective working relationships with a range of different individuals and organisations.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, with strong writing ability at a project donor reporting level.
  • Proven record of accomplishment in coordination and partnership building with donors, governments, development partners and civil society.
  • Demonstrated understanding and knowledge of Malawi cultural values and international human rights principles and standards.
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills, with the ability to manage multiple tasks and meet deadlines effectively
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to work collaboratively in a diverse team environment
  • Fluency in English, both written and verbal

Key Skills /Attributes

  • Applied knowledge of national, regional and international human rights, gender and social inclusion, and youth development frameworks and development challenges in the Region.
  • Cultural, political and religious sensitivities.
  • Critical analysis and innovative thinking.
  • Complex multisector coordination, planning and design.
  • Presentation, communication, reporting writing and facilitation skills.
  • Networking and stakeholder engagement.
  • Project management.
  • Monitoring, evaluation and learning frameworks.
  • Resource mobilization and proposal writing.
  • Strong team player

What we offer

Hivos offers a challenging position in an international environment.

The Regional office is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. This position will be based in Lilongwe, Malawi.  Hivos welcomes International & Regional applicants but can only offer a position to only those with a valid work permit for Malawi. Hivos can only offer employment on local terms and conditions.

Want to apply?

Please apply before 10 May 2024. If you meet the above-mentioned qualifications by filling in a digital application form and adding a cover letter explaining your motivation and your CV.