Job description: Senior Program Officer for Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy

Position Title:Senior Program Officer for Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy
Reports To:Program Director
Position Classification:Full time

About the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund

The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) is a multimillion-dollar grantmaking collaboration between a diversity of donors and the global disability rights community that resources organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) to advocate for equal rights and full participation in society. The Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF) is DRF’s sister organization, supporting advocacy for legislative change. DRF/DRAF currently work across Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean. The Funds – which are based on a participatory grantmaking model – annually make 200-300 grants, mainly ranging from USD $10,000-$50,000 each for OPDs to advance the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), including in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Global Disability Summit commitments.

Position Summary

DRF/DRAF are in a period of significant organizational growth during which we are expanding our overall grantmaking, including our strategic partnership grants which build out our work at the intersections of rights, and also pursuing new opportunities to advance advocacy for disability rights. The Senior Program Officer for Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy (Senior Program Officer) is a new role, designed to help us implement our vision for engagement of especially marginalized groups of persons with disabilities at international and regional levels that aligns with our commitment to “nothing about us without us”. The role will support growth in our strategic partnerships and our advocacy to amplify the work of OPDs advance the rights of persons with disabilities. The Senior Program Officer will report to and partner with the Program Director and work closely with others on the Management Team to identify and prioritize opportunities for external engagement, supporting staff and leadership to ensure that DRF/DRAF’s involvement with these activities is well-executed and evaluated. The position will also involve close collaboration with the Associate Director of Bilateral Relations to expand our involvement in networks such as the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) network and Conference of States Parties (COSP) Civil Society Coordination Mechanism as well as representing DRF/DRAF in key meetings such as the Global Disability Summit and UN events. The Senior Program Officer will directly build, nurture, and monitor working relationships with key partners to optimize the innovation and impact of strategic partnership grants and advocacy initiatives.


  • Work closely with the Program Director and Associate Director of Bilateral Relations to recommend, shape, and carry out a shared vision for strategic partnerships and advocacy that will amplify DRF/DRAF’s mission, vision, and values, with particular focus on intersectionality.
  • Support DRF/DRAF in building and nurturing existing strategic partnerships at global and regional levels.
  • Develop ideas for new strategic partnership efforts and provide leadership to implement them, including development and oversight of grants to partners.
  • Coordinate advocacy efforts as lead of the DRF/DRAF Advocacy Coordination Team.
  • Lead on preparation of position papers on key thematic areas to showcase DRF/DRAF thought leadership in the sector.
  • Lead DRF/DRAF-hosted side events and participation in critical advocacy meetings, which includes but isn’t limited to partner coordination, technology and logistics, ensuring accessibility, agenda strategy, and developing talking points.
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge of current thinking around effective strategies for advocacy and partnerships in the disability rights and social justice fields.
  • Partner with Communications, Development, and Technical Assistance staff to align activities with organizational priorities.
  • Support staff, grantees, and strategic partners in identifying and executing advocacy efforts aligned with DRF/DRAF and grantee goals.
  • Work with the Evaluation and Learning Manager to monitor contributions of strategic partnership grantmaking toward logframe outputs.


The ideal candidate will possess exceptional relational skills and a keen understanding of best practices in managing organizational partnerships and human rights advocacy. They will be a professional of the highest integrity, committed to advancing the mission of DRF/DRAF and to bringing out the best in other members of the team.

  • Demonstrated skills in influencing and advocating for the rights of marginalized groups at global and regional levels.
  • A track record of success in coalition-building, working with both mainstream and grassroots organizations, and developing strong relationships by effectively communicating and managing conflict.
  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 5 years’ experience managing partnerships, with a focus on human rights and/or international development.
  • Experience supporting diverse team members to engage in regional and global advocacy, including expanding capabilities for producing communications for advocacy purposes.
  • Skilled in working across cultures and geographies, with the ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences and across countries working in an e-office environment.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; an engaging storyteller who can influence and inspire action among a wide range of audiences.
  • The flexibility, accountability, and team-orientation needed to succeed in a small organization, which involves both partnering with others and working independently without close oversight.
  • Highly organized and detail-oriented, and able to effectively manage multiple projects and competing demands.
  • Ability to be nimble and pivot in response to opportunities.
  • Commitment to the human rights of persons with disabilities and the DRF/DRAF mission, with advanced understanding of marginalized and intersectional identities.
  • Demonstrated experience collaborating in inclusive and accessible ways to support diverse persons, including persons with disabilities, to engage in advocacy.
  • Fluency in English, with other languages desired.
  • Knowledge of international disability rights and, specifically, the CRPD. Experience working with OPDs and/or building cross-movement collaboration.
  • Grantmaking experience.
  • Knowledge of international development and human rights frameworks, and specifically, the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Excellent computer skills (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.); willingness to learn additional applications and accessible technology as necessary


This is a full-time position; salary will be commensurate with experience.


This position may be based out of the DRF/DRAF offices in Boston, or the ideal candidate may work remotely (preferably near New York or Geneva given the nature of the work). If not Boston-based, travel will be required to the DRF/DRAF offices on an annual basis. International and other domestic travel also required (as possible during the pandemic).


Please email a cover letter, resume, a writing sample, and 3 professional references(including a supervisor, and a partner organization you’ve worked with) to Faith Lemon, Program Director: (please, no phone calls)

The Disability Rights Fund is an equal opportunity employer. We seek to build a diverse team. Applicants shall not be discriminated against on any basis. Individuals from historically marginalized identities including Black, Indigenous, and people of color and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Please contact for reasonable accommodations requests.


Applications are due by January 31, 2022 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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