Location: Bukavu and Tshivanga, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP), DRC
Reports To: Park Director
Collaborators: Program Manager, Sustainable Markets Manager
Direct Reports: All staff in Community Conservation Department
Start date: ASAP
Duration: Minimum 2 years
Purpose: The overall objective of the Head of Community Conservation is to lead the implementation of the Community Conservation strategy and field team to achieve conservation results in KBNP through the creation of an enabling environment for community conservation and supporting the delivery of a rights-based conservation approach in KBNP.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been active in Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) since the early 1950s. Since the 2000s WCS have been providing technical support to ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) – the government agency responsible for protected areas and wildlife – in managing the Park and supporting local livelihood and land tenure programs for communities and civil society living around the Park. WCS has recently negotiated a 10-year public-private partnership (PPP). This delegates management of the KBNP to WCS, through the Park Management Unit (PMU), which is led by the Park Director and which is the executive body in charge of all day-to-day management activities, operations and personnel in the KBNP. The Head of Community Conservation is one of six Heads of Department in the PMU. The Head of Community Conservation is based in Bukavu and on site at the Park headquarters in Tshivanga, South Kivu Province. The KBNP has a large staff of more than 300, and the number will keep increasing throughout the duration of the partnership.
The KBNP presents a challenging environment and is faced with a number of threats to its biodiversity and operations, including poaching, artisanal mining, and sporadic. The candidate should be innovative to overcome these challenges and deliver a community-based approach to the reduction of biodiversity threats in KBNP, and achieve increased wellbeing of target IPLCs. Candidates will need to clearly demonstrate they have the necessary experience and skills with which to manage such a large and complex program.
The Community Conservation Lead will work closely with the Program Manager and Park Director to implement KBNP’s community conservation strategy. They will ensure a community-based approach to the reduction of biodiversity threats in the KBNP, including through support for community -based governance structures, capacity building and provision of incentive-based programs.
Leadership and team management
- Build and oversee an inclusive and diverse community conservation team and provide capacity building and mentoring to team members as required
- Encourage a culture of participatory learning and adaptive problem-solving so that team members reflect and design effective field interventions that deliver biodiversity outcomes
- As a member of the KBNP Management Unit, implement community conservation activities in close coordination with other Reserve departments
Project planning and implementation
- Develop a revised community conservation strategy, with inputs from other departments and partners where relevant, to reflect the PPP and the overall KBNP strategy and ensure the strategy’s adaptive implementation and monitoring
- Support the development of and oversee the implementation of a KBNP benefits-sharing mechanism for communities, through which revenue generated from tourism, infrastructure projects, access to social services and economic development opportunities for local communities will be provided, on a performance basis
- Oversee all community conservation activities, strengthen community institutions and build a strong constituency of community support for conservation initiatives.
- Ensure implementation of associated commitments to donors within budget and on-time
- Ensure that annual, quarterly, and monthly departmental level work plans are developed with full input from team members
- Ensure accountable and evidence-based project implementation
- Ensure a rights-based community approach to conservation, including adherence to Free, Prior, Informed Consent principles
- Ensure that Batwa and women are well represented and deeply involved in activities at all levels
- Ensure timely and accurate budget planning and expense reconciliation to support activity implementation in coordination with finance personnel
- Collaborate with the WCS national and regional staff, to ensure strong technical support to project implementation, as required
- Ensure the robust design and implementation of socio-economic research as needed, with support from technical staff
- Directly engage with and spend time in local communities to facilitate project implementation, build relationships, and communicate conservation messages
- Liaise and maintain productive relationships with KBNP partners on community development activities to harmonize approaches, avoid duplication of effort ensure these are linked to biodiversity outcomes
Reporting and communications
- Provide substantive inputs to regular donor progress reports
- Contribute to fundraising proposals for the community conservation portfolio
- Produce technical outputs such as natural resource management plans, and issue-specific analyses of best-practices and lessons learned
- Maintain strong collaborative working relationships with the Program Manager, Park Director, and Deputy Park Director
- Conduct any other responsibilities as requested by the Park Director and/or Program Manager
- A minimum of a Master’s degree (BAC+5) in social or environmental sciences
- 5 to 10 years’ field experience with international organizations in Africa working on community-based conservation and natural resource management
- Experience in managing the delivery of activities funded by large bilateral and multilateral donors focused on community conservation
- Proven ability to manage, motivate, and train a team of field personnel
- Proven ability at developing work plans and budgets, and producing project progress reports
- Proven ability at designing and delivering socio-economic research in international development contexts
- Proven ability to work sensitively with diverse groups of people such as those of different cultures, nationalities and backgrounds
- Excellent written and spoken communication skills in French, Kiswahili and English an advantage
- Strong commitment to wildlife conservation
- Pro-active, resilient, team-oriented, creative, and ambitious
- Willingness to live in a multi-cultural environment
How to apply
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through this link by November 30, 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.