Report: Program Manager (Okapi Wildlife Reserve)
Location: Mambasa or Bunia, Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Start date: ASAP
Position Type: Full time (1 year renewable)
Internal liaisons: Sustainable Markets Manager, Technical Director, Reserve Director
**Expected travel:**Regular travel to Bunia/Mambasa, Epulu and Goma
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a private, nonprofit U.S. organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, developing science-based solutions, and taking conservation action that benefits nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in creating more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding, and partnerships necessary to ensure that wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, this knowledge is applied to address species, habitat, and ecosystem management issues that are critical to improving the quality of life for poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to globally significant wildlife populations, such as those of okapi, elephants, and chimpanzees, and as a Reserve, it provides Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples with opportunities for sustainable natural resource use. The Reserve, however, is faced with threats relating to illicit natural resource exploitation, unsustainable economic development, and in-migration. WCS is currently working in partnership with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) to implement a multi-pronged strategy to protect OWR that covers protected area governance and management systems, community conservation, security and law enforcement, buffer zone land-use management, and building external public support.
About the role
The Wildlife Conservation Society is seeking an experienced and motivated professional to fill in the position of Sustainable Cocoa Advisor. The Sustainable Cocoa Advisor will be responsible for ensuring the delivery of activities that advance the production of sustainable and low deforestation cocoa in OWR’s buffer zone. They will work proactively with colleagues both in WCS and our partner organizations to engage cocoa stakeholders and ensure tangible progress towards realizing sustainable cocoa production in a challenging context. In 2 years, success in this role will be defined by: a critical mass of stakeholders engaged to drive sustainable cocoa production in OWR’s buffer zone; opportunities to incentivise and develop sustainable cocoa production identified and realized; development of a locally-supported approach to limit deforestation that links market incentives to conservation behaviors, and feasible actions to develop cocoa-related social enterprise products supported.
Promotion of sustainable cocoa approaches
- Promote implementation and sign-on from private sector and local stakeholders of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve’s Statement of Intent on sustainable cocoa.
- Engage stakeholders through workshops, roundtables, and other fora to build commitment to sustainable cocoa in OWR’s buffer zone.
- Engage cocoa cooperatives and exporters to build commitments and capacity.
- Provide input to efforts to conceptualize and develop conservation incentive and compliance monitoring systems linked to sustainable cocoa production.
- Collect information and conduct analysis on cocoa supply chains, including the impacts of conflict and challenges facing farmers and cooperatives.
- Collaborate with partners in relevant consortiums such as USAID’s Shade Grown Cocoa project and the Partnership for the Development of Eastern Congo (P-DEC).
- Engage with relevant agricultural and environment authorities at Provincial and Territory levels.
- Engage with cocoa cooperatives and facilitate activities to develop sustainable cocoa value chains.
- Collaborate with partners to identify and develop opportunities for sustainable cocoa certification.
- Contribute to efforts to develop chain of custody systems that enable the registration and monitoring of cocoa supply chains from farm to export.
Cocoa enterprise development
- Collaborate with relevant WCS colleagues to conceptualize and fundraise for projects that create market opportunities for sustainable products produced in and around OWR.
- Support social enterprise development activities such as feasibility studies, market research and business planning.
- Bachelor’s degree in business, sustainable development or other relevant subject.
- 5 to 10 years’ experience in the application of conservation or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles to sustainable commodity (e.g. cocoa or coffee) production.
- Knowledge of the challenges, opportunities, and regulatory framework in the cocoa value chain in DRC/East Africa.
- Knowledge of shade grown cocoa, small-holder farmer commodity supply chains, cooperative establishment, and international cocoa markets.
- Knowledge of tropical forest conservation issues, desirable.
- Demonstrated leadership and presentations skills, including the ability to facilitate multi-stakeholder roundtables and workshops.
- Proven ability at developing and sustaining effective partnerships with a range of stakeholders, including government, cooperatives, exporters, and NGOs.
- Proven ability at working in a team to successfully coordinate projects in complex contexts.
- Pro-active, positive, and accountable approach to work delivery.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
- Willingness to spend periods in the field with basic amenities and accommodation.
- Fluent communication skills in French and English, Swahili an advantage
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through the link by June 30, 2023.
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.