Location: Epena, Lac Tele Community Reserve headquarters, Republic of Congo
Reports To: WCS Congo Technical Director
Start date: January 2023
Position type: Full-time
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct utilization of natural resources.
Republic of Congo Program Overview:
Over the past 25 years WCS Congo has been the government’s principle conservation partner, assisting the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in managing wildlife and its habitat in several of the country’s national parks, reserves, and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites WCS is developing and implementing actions for effective wildlife protection; community based natural resource management; ecological monitoring; scientific research; and environmental education. The program is the largest in WCS’s global portfolio and reports to the Regional Program for Central Africa and Gulf of Guinea. WCS Congo’s current portfolio of programs includes the management of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park through a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Congo, wildlife management in the substantial buffer zones of the park, co-management of Lac Tele Community Reserve, a national program to support reform of marine conservation and resource management and a substantial policy support program to the central government in Brazzaville.
The Lac Tele Community Reserve (LTCR) comprises over 70% of swamp and seasonally inundated forests. It is part of the world’s largest transboundary Ramsar site (together with the Democratic Republic of Congo/DRC) and sits upon the single largest tropical peatland, Africa’s second largest wetland. Around 20 000 people live in the LTCR, and these communities depend heavily on the Reserve’s natural resources for fish, agriculture, and construction materials. The impact of this region on the Congo Basin’s climate regulation, river flow, and carbon sequestration is likely highly significant though poorly understood. The Reserve has been co-managed by the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in partnership with WCS Congo since 2001.
WCS is thus supporting a wide range of activities, including strengthening protected area management and law enforcement, strengthening community governance of forests and resources, and promoting livelihood and enterprise development, and conducting applied research and ecological surveys. Currently, more than 40 staff are deployed on the Reserve.
There is a growing interest, at the international level, of the role of peatland to reduce and mitigate climate change, and thus, the LTCR is at the heart of international discussions and is becoming a key area attracting interest worldwide.
We are seeking a dynamic Project Director to oversee implementation, coordination and administration of all activities being implemented on the LTCR. The successful candidate will have project management experience, a strong background in community conservation approaches and an interest in the nexus between wildlife, forests, climate change and local people. This is a full-time position that will require managing a team of several staff, and a close coordination and cooperation with the local authorities.
The LCTR Project Director will deliver on the following principal responsibilities in full coordination with, and supported by, the WCS Congo management team and the WCS Central Africa Regional team:
- Oversee the coordination and management of the RCLT portfolio projects.
- Lead proposals for the development of project activities in the LTCR.
- Work in close coordination with the Technical Director to revise the strategic approach being used in the reserve.
- Coordinate and oversee the WCS team community conservation outreach team and the research team.
- Coordinate and oversee the anti-poaching activities alongside MEF.
- Work with international and national staff and organizations to create an awareness to promote wildlife conservation, sustainable natural resource management, and conflict resolution, and address particular land-use management issues.
- Advise on development priorities and work with other senior staff to plan and implement activities related to health, human rights, education, etc.
- Work with the WCS staff to integrate the socio-economic and land-use/tenure data into the relevant GIS databases to contribute to the overall natural resource, protected area, and zoning plans.
- As a senior member of the WCS RoC Program Team, participate in strategy meetings and the tasks identified to help ensure sound operations of the program.
- Work with the WCS RoC staff and Director to ensure work plans, reporting, and budgets, organization of logistics, and responsibility for his section budget.
- Proven experience of project management.
- Strong program and project management skills based on at least 5 years’ experience in a relevant role
- Experience working in interdisciplinary and multi-cultural teams and managing several major activities simultaneously, proven ability to achieve project targets and objectives
- Experience managing international donor-funded projects, with multiple project partners and diverse project elements preferred.
- Experience in gender mainstreaming and the ability to conduct gendered power analyses, effectiveness and needs assessments as required by the program and the ability to encourage active participation of diverse stakeholders preferred.
- Experience implementing monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
- Strong technical, logistical and financial management of projects (planning, budgets, implementation, monitoring and evaluation).
- Knowledge of African conservation issues.
- A master’s degree (or higher education level) in community conservation, natural resource management, or other relevant field experience in African conservation.
- Experience working on conservation projects in field settings preferred
- Experience working in the Central Africa region would be an advantage.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Proven managerial and team building skills.
- Demonstrated high-level competency in writing and editing of professional technical reports and other written products.
- Collaborates and supports the development of others
- Fluency in French and English language required
- Technology and software related skills, ability to utilize computer packages and applications in data collection, data analysis, storage and dissemination
- Proven ability and comfortable with living and working in a multicultural environment in isolated areas, under difficult field conditions.
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through the Link, by 5 December 2022.
WCS is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.