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Programme Lead - Shifting the Power

Comic Relief
London (Central), London (Greater)
£41,500 - 45,000pa
Closing date
21 Sep 2021
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Job Details

Programme Lead - Shifting the Power

2 year Fixed Term Contract

£41,500 - 45,000pa

Remote - we are actively seeking to recruit outside the UK, particularly Sub Saharan Africa

Job Description

The role of Portfolio Lead – Shifting the Power is a two-year fixed term contract to lead the delivery of Comic Relief’s transformative, long-term civil society strengthening programme, co-funded by UK aid.  This exciting, strategic programme with the overarching aim of shifting greater power to civil society will invest in the organisational strengthening of civil society organisations in Ghana, Zambia and Malawi and offer training and support in local resource mobilisation. Learning from the programme will influence Comic Relief’s funder practice, and it will also intentionally seek to disrupt ways of working in the wider funder ecosystem. With oversight and support from the Head of Government Partnerships, and through quality relationship management with a diversity of stakeholders within and outside of Comic Relief, the Portfolio Lead will ensure all deliverables for the programme are completed on time, to a high quality, and driven by the programme’s values.                                                       

Key responsibilities:

  • Leadership: Provide leadership of Comic Relief’s flagship civil society strengthening programme, co-funded by UK aid, in line with the approved Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Business Case, MoU and budget.
  • Approach: Creatively find ways to unlock the inherent power of communities and organisations by ensuring that people with lived or learnt experience are intentionally engaged in how the programme is designed, delivered and monitored.
  • Project management and reporting: Develop and drive delivery against an inception phase project plan and budget, encompassing all key deliverables outlined in the FCDO Business Case. Design and manage programme reporting requirements including portfolio Log frame, Partner reporting and financial management and reporting
  • Design and developing key programme components: Including relationships with Anchor Partners; grant-making cycles; and in country governance and decision-making processes.
  • Organisational Strengthening Framework: Work in partnership with the identified Anchor Partner(s) and other technical partners to complete the design of the framework to define, track, measure and understand the process of organisational change and strengthening
  • Communications Strategy: Working with African creative agencies, Comic Relief’s PR & Communication teams, FCDO’s Communications team and Anchor Partner(s), support delivery of the initial communication strategy for the programme and identify draft outcomes.
  • Learning and Influencing Strategy: Working with Comic Relief’s Learning & Fund Design Team, Government Partnerships team & Anchor Partner(s), support development and delivery of the learning and influencing strategy for the programme, with a focus on generating evidence on how funders can best support African CSOs to strengthen their organisations & generate more sustainable forms of income locally.  Develop community and partner-led reporting processes and ensure synergy with Communications Strategy.
  • Network building and sector learning: Connect with existing networks and fora engaged in the #ShiftThePower discourse, as well as other funders who share Comic Relief’s intention to shift greater power to Southern civil society, in order to ensure the programme contributes to, and benefits from, existing rich experience, knowledge and perspectives.
  • Line management: Be ready to provide quality line management and professional development support to potential line reports joining the team
  • International travel will be required with this role (dependent on Covid-19 travel restrictions by Comic Relief or governments).

Essential Skills and Competencies:

  • A strong interest in and commitment to creating a more equitable development system and shifting power
  • Proven leadership of complex, high value partnerships or programmes
  • Exceptional organisational skills and attention to detail.
  • Significant experience within social change and international development, with experience of working closely with national CSOs on organisational sustainability in an African context.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of, and experience of, organisational strengthening and/or local philanthropy in an African context.
  • Experience of working in partnership with a bilateral donor, ideally FCDO or other large institutional funders.
  • Effective relationship builder with strong emotional intelligence and political awareness to proactively challenge and persuade senior stakeholders and partners.
  • Experience of working in partnership at a distance / remotely.
  • Strategic and analytical thinker with the ability to see the bigger picture, adopt a positive and solution-orientated approach and make appropriate and effective decisions.
  • Strong communicator and planner with a flexible, engaging and inspirational style

Desirable Skills and Competencies


  • Knowledge of and active engagements in sector conversations on “doing development differently” and shifting power.
  • Experience of working in any of the programme countries (Malawi, Zambia, Ghana)
  • Experience of working in a grantmaking or funding organisation

Perks and benefits

  • Flexible working hours
  • Work from home option
  • Wellness programs
  • Employee Assistance Programmer
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity leave
  • Paid emergency leave
  • Sabbatical Opportunities
  • Professional development
  • Mentoring/coaching
  • Paid volunteer days
  • Payroll giving
  • Team social events
  • Extracurricular clubs
  • Cycle to work scheme

We are currently exploring moving from a solely UK-based team to a more globally dispersed team, to increase diversity, and ensure we are representative of the communities we serve. Therefore, this post may be based outside the UK, and we are actively seeking to recruit within Sub Saharan Africa.

To apply please visit our website via the link.

Closing: 12:00pm, 21st Sep 2021 BST

Inclusivity at Comic Relief

We recognise diversity and inclusion are a source of strength in achieving our mission. We therefore welcome everyone, trusting what makes us different brings creativity, styles and experiences to help us collectively do our best work. That’s regardless of your gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and cultural identity. We especially welcome those from under-represented groups in modern grant-making and fundraising. We are on a journey, but if you join our team you will be part of a community that is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where we want you to:

  • Be valued for being yourself
  • Do your best work, and be supported to break down barriers so you can succeed
  • Be heard, respected, and treated as an equal, whatever your level, experience or background
  • Be part of a team that is committed to making this happen – with our colleagues, partners, and contributors.

Comic Relief is committed to preventing and protecting all people from harm in their interactions with us. We expect all those that act in our name to uphold our approach to doing no harm.


Our mission, thanks to our comedy heritage and the fantastic relationship we enjoy with the BBC, is 'positive change through the power of entertainment'.

And our biggest tool, in trying to achieve these two goals, is the ability to inspire people across the whole country especially those who don’t normally do charity - to do charity.

As the world has changed and become more complex over the last two decades, so Comic Relief has had to adapt and change too but the fundamentals remain the same - a just world free from poverty. In trying to achieve that vision we make this promise to the people who make those efforts possible - our supporters:

"In order to run itself in a professional and effective way Comic Relief incurs necessary costs. Raising funds, making grants and organisational overheads cost real money.

Despite these costs, Comic Relief is still able to promise that for every pound the charity gets directly from the public, a pound goes to help transform the lives of people living with poverty and social injustice. If Sport Relief raises £20 million, Comic Relief will spend at least £20 million doing just that.

It can make this promise because its operating budget is covered in cash or in kind from all types of supporters like corporate sponsors and donors, suppliers, generous individuals and government (including Gift Aid) as well as from investment income and interest"


Comic Relief is obviously a charity - but it's also a business too.

The money we raise is allocated to a wide range of grants and social investments aimed at delivering real and long-lasting change to the poorest, most vulnerable people at home and across the world; as well as informing the public and young people in particular about global citizenship and the underlying causes of extreme poverty.

That money comes in from a number of different sources. Traditional charitable fundraising obviously plays a vital role. The public contribute to Comic Relief's annual campaigns by raising money through sponsorship and by making donations online, by post, by telephone and through major banks and building societies. This support, from almost the very day Comic Relief was formed, has been both humbling and inspirational.

On the business side of things, Comic Relief works with key corporate partners to produce products and promotions that are profitable. The clearest example of this is the Red Nose that is the emblem of Red Nose Day.

Where possible these products tie-in with the charity's commitment to delivering benefits to poor farmers and producers. The Red Nose Day 2007 T-shirt for instance was made with fair trade cotton from Mali, Cameroon and Senegal and there will be a fair trade Maraba Bourbon coffee grown in Rwanda, a country to which Comic Relief has had a clear commitment since the appalling genocide of 1994.

Another way Comic Relief raises funds is via the creativity made available to the charity. Comedians from time to time offer access to key brands like Little Britain for commercial exploitation. The charity also develops and owns key sub-brands like Robbie the Reindeer and Monkey, both of which deliver a revenue too.

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