OSI Budapest: Program Officer for Mental Health Initiative

Deadline: 17 March 2013
Open to: Applicants with degree in communications, journalism or other related social science field and minimum five years work experience in strategic communications and advocacy
Remuneration: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package


 The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. The Foundations seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check. The Foundations help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. The Foundations implement initiatives to advance justice, education, public health and independent media. The Foundations build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. Working in every part of the world, the Open Society Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Purpose of the position

The Open Society Mental Health Initiative (MHI) is part of the Public Health Program at the Open Society Foundations and isbased in Budapest, Hungary. MHI seeks to ensure that people with mental disabilities (mental health problems and/or intellectual disabilities) are able to live as equal citizens in the community and to participate in society with full respect for their human rights. MHI promotes the social inclusion of people with mental disabilities by supporting the development of community-based alternatives to institutionalization and by actively engaging in policy-based advocacy. MHI is both a grant making and an operational program, providing training and technical assistance to its partner organizations.

MHI seeks a full time program officer to contribute to the development and implementation of its media strategy. The program officer will closely coordinate this work with the Health Media Initiative (HMI), part of the Public Health Program. HMI seeks to strengthen the capacity of civil society leaders and organizations to effectively advocate for health and human rights policies through successfully engaging with and utilizing media. The geographic focus of the work will be Central and Eastern Europe and East Africa. The Program Officer is involved with program development and implementation and reports to the MHI Program Director.


  • Contributes to the development and implementation of MHI’s strategy, including its annual work plan and budget related to this strategy
  • In close coordination with the Health Media Initiative, works collaboratively with MHI’s grantees to strengthen their capacity to refine advocacy strategies and effectively utilize the media to advance their advocacy goals. This includes identifying and facilitating media-related technical assistance for grantees and partners
  • Coordinate closely with the Public Health Program’s Communications Officer and other communications staff of the Open Society Foundations as relevant
  • Helps to develop and oversee a portfolio of grants, including evaluation of proposals, preparation of related documentation, and on-site monitoring of grantee activity
  • Participates in and coordinates on-site monitoring and technical assistance visits in collaboration with MHI staff and consultants, including preparation of written reports
  • Identify joint programming opportunities with external funders and partners
  • Conceptualize and convene meetings, seminars and training workshops for MHI’s partners
  • Represent MHI at relevant events, meetings and conferences
  • Undertake other duties as requested by the Program Director

Education and experience

  • Graduate degree in communications, journalism or other related social science field
  • A minimum of five years work experience in strategic communications and advocacy
  • Experience in working collaboratively with NGOs, including an understanding of civil society approaches to conducting advocacy
  • Experience collaborating with/providing technical assistance to civil society organizations in developing advocacy strategies and media activities
  • Up-to-date knowledge of digital and social media and their use by human rights activists, including knowledge of key organizations and networks active in the field of digital and social media
  • An understanding of, and demonstrated commitment to, advancing the health and human rights of marginalized people
  • Experience in grant-making and project management

Skills required

  • Excellent oral and written English skills
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills
  • Ability to work as a team member and independently, with high level of self-motivation
  • Ability to adapt to a wide range of situations, and to remain effective while working collaboratively within a large, complex organization
  • Ability to generate creative solutions to work-related challenges
  • Ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Ability to effectively manage several projects simultaneously in a fast-paced working environment
  • Willingness to travel internationally on a frequent basis


Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.

How to apply

Please send resume, motivation letter with salary requirement and a maximum two-page writing sample in English about how using media can play an important role in advancing the advocacy goals of grassroots organizations to: applications_BP@admingroup.hu. Include the job code in the subject line: MHI – PO. Application deadline is 17 March 2013.

The official website of the Open Society Foundations. 

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