Position Description

Program Manager for Afghanistan
Work Location Washington, DC or Remote
Requisition Number 1216
# of Openings 1
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Freedom House’s Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) seeks a seasoned Program Manager (PM) to lead a new two-year initiative entitled Safeguarding Afghan Democratic Actors (SADA). SADA will provide short- and medium-term support to a broader range of Afghan civil society members at imminent risk, including human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society organizations (CSOs), women leaders, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTI+ individuals, democracy champions, and other supporters of democratic norms. SADA will work with partner networks and organizations at the national, regional, and international levels to provide relevant, flexible, effective, and tailored support to Afghan HRDs, CSOs, and marginalized populations in their specific, dynamic contexts. The goal of SADA is to protect civic actors and marginalized and/or at-risk populations so that they can continue to work towards a democratic and resilient Afghanistan.

Utilizing EAP’s existing infrastructure for the provision of emergency assistance grants, SADA will deploy three types of short and medium-term assistance to HRDs, CSOs, and marginalized populations at risk to safeguard their ability to continue participating in society: 1) provide timely emergency assistance to HRDs, CSO, and individuals at risk to address needs for security, medical costs, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, temporary relocation, equipment replacement, safe houses, and other urgent expenses; 2) protect and incubate scholars, artists, activists, and journalists to preserve freedom of expression and the free sharing of ideas, with a particular focus on women and marginalized groups; and 3) enable Afghan CSOs – particularly those run by and that serve women and marginalized communities – to re-orient themselves to their new context, continue their work, and raise their voices.

Freedom House’s approach to achieving these objectives will center on coalition and alliance building, a robust learning agenda, a holistic approach to protection, and an intersectional lens. SADA will directly benefit from the vast networks and strategic alliances of EAP. EAP has years of experience working with Afghan HRDs, CSOs, and the international networks of support that are active in the country.



  • Strategic leadership and management.  Lead the start-up phase of SADA and ongoing day-to-day implementation of project activities.  This includes carrying out a vision and strategy for the program based upon strong relationships with human rights civil society organizations in Afghanistan, knowledge of needs for rapid response financial assistance to at-risk individuals, human rights defenders, and civil society organizations, managing staff that support the program, and effectively managing relationships with the primary donor.
  • Coalition-building and developing partnerships.  The SADA project is envisioned to work collaboratively with local Afghan CSOs and INGO partners engaged in Afghanistan.  Building strong relationships, managing external stakeholders with competing priorities, and actively participating in related coalitions will be a core component of the PM’s job responsibilities.
  • Team cohesion and collaboration. Ensure close and ongoing collaboration with staff in EAP implementing other, separately funded, emergency assistance programs to ensure that the multiple programs are implemented in a coordinated manner and that staff shared across the programs are effectively managed. Participate in FH activities geared toward organizational success and strength, including cross-team collaboration activities. Maintain an effective and collaborative working relationship with all other FH units.
  • Staff leadership and management.  Select, lead, and manage staff responsible for program implementation in a manner that fosters professional development, teamwork, and collaboration.
  • Reporting. Provide program updates, as needed, to donors, FH leadership and colleagues
  • Subgrant and financial management.  Oversee the portfolio of emergency assistance grants, manage the larger subgrants that SADA will provide, and manage the program’s finances, including spending analysis and forecasting, to ensure effective, timely program implementation in full compliance with donor rules/regulations; ensure adequate staffing levels.
  • Advocacy and external relations.  Represent FH and EAP publicly. Build strong external alliances and collaborative approaches with donors and the diplomatic community, congressional staff, partners and grantees, policy community, peer NGOs, and thinktanks.
  • Travel.  Travel within U.S. and abroad as required.




  • Bachelor's degree in political science, international relations, anthropology or related field
  • Master’s degree in political science, international relations, anthropology or related field preferred



  • Six to eight years of directly related experience; two years at senior staff level
  • At least six years of involvement in the field of global human rights
  • Two years of field experience preferred
  • Two years of experience directly supervising and managing staff


Skills and Competencies :

  • Experience working in Afghanistan or with Afghan civil society, preferred
  • Mastery of human rights principles and mechanisms, knowledge of and experience in democracy promotion and specifically emergency/rapid assistance to frontline defenders
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing; ability to communicate effectively in a second relevant language strongly preferred
  • Proven ability to clearly and succinctly communicate complex concepts verbally and in writing; ability to draft “camera ready” (i.e., final) documents of all types for external audiences including donors, congress, media, etc., is a MUST
  • Strong program management skills from design through implementation, evaluation, and close-out; strong ability to manage own time, multi-task, and meet tight deadlines
  • Proven understanding of budgets and rules/regulations including restrictions on use of funds and ability to manage and forecast expenditures so as to maximize use of available funds while not over-spending budgets and ensuring compliance with governing rules.  Experience with USG grants preferred.
  • Proven ability to recruit and manage highly capable staff including diverse teams. Strong ability to lead by example, with integrity, purpose, and commitment to attainment of FH goals
  • Ability to collaborate with others and work as an effective team member
  • Excellent inter-personal, diplomatic, and cross-cultural skills
  • Excellent crisis management and conflict mediation skills
  • Excellent judgment in problem solving and decision-making
  • Familiarity with new communications technology and social networking sites
  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times
  • Ability to work independently without supervision, and to coordinate the efforts of other professionals to effectively meet program needs


Training or Certification:

  • MS Office Suite, specifically Excel and Word
  • Budget and financial management
  • USG rules and regulations
  • Program management
  • Proposal writing
  • Staff supervision and management
  • Monitoring and evaluation of USG programs
  • Ability to use digitally secure means of communication and secure digital databases



Attributes and Characteristics:

  • Strong and sustained commitment to FH mission
  • Good stewardship in use of FH resources
  • Responsiveness to stakeholder (including donor) needs and willingness to solicit stakeholder feedback to improve service quality
  • Professionalism, pleasant demeanor, positive attitude, and ethical conduct  
  • Sound judgment
  • Strong desire for excellence, and ability to inspire others to attain it
  • Awareness of own strengths and weaknesses; commitment to learning from experience and through training and development opportunities
  • Ability to work as effective team member and successfully balance individual and team responsibilities
  • Commitment to working transparently and respectfully with supervisors



  • Internal :  U.S. and field employees throughout Freedom House
  • External : Partners, subgrantees, donors, consultants, other implementers, congressional staffers, embassy staff, media, vendors, board members, members of the general public, etc., without supervision



General Working Conditions:

  • General working office environment
  • Some long hours including evenings and weekends to complete tasks or attend events
  • Overseas travel minimum 20% of the time
  • Exposed to outside weather conditions when required to attend event venues or travel
  • May involve work in regions that are remote and lack basic modern infrastructure, and in countries under U.S. travel advisory due to threats of terrorist attacks, civil unrest, kidnappings, disease outbreaks, etc.

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 other duties, as assigned, may be part of the job. Freedom House may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time.

Qualified and Interested Applicants:

We invite qualified candidates  to complete  an online application and submit a resume and cover letter .

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted.

Only candidates authorized to work in the U.S. without any restrictions  need  apply.




Diversity makes our work stronger. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. 

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