Social Inclusion Fellow

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Conservation International

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30+ days ago

Social Inclusion Fellow (Afro-Descendant Communities in Conservation)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a global challenge. Due to the fluidity of the situation, we periodically reassess our plans to reopen our offices. For the safety of our employees, our approach is tailored to the situation in each of the 30 countries we operate in. Travel is only conducted when absolutely necessary and safe to do so. Hiring managers will provide guidance on flexible work arrangements in accordance with country-specific safety policies.

Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork, and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, biodiversity, and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples, and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.

Afro-descendant peoples in the Americas are disproportionately affected by overlapping crises such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, ecological degradation, the Covid-19 pandemic, extreme socioeconomic inequality, structural racism, and the increase in violence against social leaders. Although Afro-descendant communities have a crucial role to play in an integrated response to these crises, and despite the wealth of experiences and good practices at the local and national level, not enough importance has been attributed to Afro-descendant communities and the central role they play in in the planetary socio-ecological transition needed to overcome the climate and biodiversity crises. Afro-descendant communities live in and steward environmentally important ecosystems such as carbon-rich mangroves and tropical forests and are therefore in an important position to lead solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises. Whilst these communities have made minimal contributions to global carbon emissions, they are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

CI seeks to reimagine conservation by exploring opportunities to strengthen engagement with Afro-descendant communities in the Americas and support its engagement in the Afro-InterAmerican Forum on Climate Change (AIFCC). CI has a long history of working with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs). Our goal is to increase the access of IPLCs to financial resources and control around design, delivery, and performance of conservation projects, and ensure they have a greater capacity to access and manage funding to achieve their conservation outcomes. Afro-descendant communities are a critical part of this goal.


CI is seeking a Social Inclusion Fellow who will be responsible for developing a vision and road map to promote increased engagement and visibility of Afro communities in relation to sustainable solutions within CI Americas, along with CI staff and partners. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned, visionary leader whose career includes extensive experience in program management and strategy design, preferably in climate change and biodiversity. Their work history will demonstrate consistent expertise in building relationships between all levels of governments, grassroots organizing, philanthropies, and conservation centering on inclusive engagement with Black/people of African descent in Latin America. The Social Inclusion Fellowship requires a two (2) year commitment.

The position requires a builder who will approach this role ever mindful of the tactical, interpersonal, spiritual, and cultural aspects of racial equality and liberation work. They will be a critical thinker who seeks wisdom from elders, centers the voices of those who are marginalized, and model how to galvanize stakeholders around the goal to dismantle the trauma that Western Society has levied upon Black and Indigenous communities. They will also have demonstrated skills in how to steward projects from vision to execution and evaluation. CI is in a robust startup phase, and the Social Inclusion Fellow will be expected to embrace the early stages of the creative process while building and executing a plan that elevates the voices, experiences, and ambitions of Afro communities with regard to addressing climate change and biodiversity loss, from a rights-based approach so their important role is fully taken into consideration at global (UNFCCC), regional and national (NDC) levels.

CI will provide opportunities to expand the breadth of their professional skills and experience through collaboration with a global network of subject matter experts across disciplines. The Social Inclusion Fellow will report to the Senior Vice President (SVP), Strategy, Delivery & Field Partnerships, and will work closely with Global Field Programs (Center for Oceans, Americas Field Division) and Global Programs (Sustainable Lands + Waters, Moore Center for Science, Center for Natural Climate Solutions, Center for Communities and Conservation). Specific focus will be given to learning from and building on work to advance CI’s Rights-based Approach and safeguards design and rollout efforts, as well as build upon CI’s Gender Program and the Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program, and our institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.


Undertake research (baseline data, stakeholder mapping) to identify opportunities and priorities for advancing CI’s agenda on natural climate solutions, ocean conservation at scale, and sustainable landscapes and seascapes:

  • Conduct a baseline assessment to understand the context in each of our countries in the Americas and CI’s experience in engaging afro communities. What projects and what sort of data have we collected so far (including any spatial data for the project site)
  • Conduct research to create a pipeline of Natural Climate and Community Solutions projects to strengthen communities with digital tools/citizen science through research collaborations and seed grants.
  • Promote local community engagement and innovation approaches to strengthen leadership capacities and inclusive development models in target countries.
  • Raise awareness and visibility by increasing the participation of afro community leaders in international policy-making scenarios through participation at UNFCCC, UN Biodiversity Conference, etc.

Develop and execute a vision and strategy for strengthening our work with Afro communities in CI countries in the Americas:

  • Work in a highly collaborative manner to initiate and secure strategic partnerships in CI countries in the Americas, including but not limited to governments, grassroots organizations, community leaders, and other conservation organizations.
  • Develop a clear road map to guide increased participation and benefit of Afro communities in environmentally important ecosystems such as carbon-rich mangroves and tropical forests.
  • Be intentional about advancing CI’s relationships with Afro communities, including Indigenous organizations, grassroots organizations, international agencies, funders, and other stakeholders who have participated in the conceptualization of the growth of CI Americas to this point.
  • Serve as the spokesperson and advocate for CI to expand the network of stakeholders in this work to drive consultation, collaboration, funding, and insight into CI’s mission-driven work in CI Americas and with partners and stakeholders.

Design and deploy a 2-year work plan to strengthen CI’s engagement and visibility with Afro-communities in the Americas:

  • Develop an action plan to execute the strategy with clear targets and metrics based on locally relevant and context-specific priorities.
  • Work with Conservation Partnerships teams (Development, Conservation Finance division, Public Funding, etc.) to identify donor prospects and develop appropriate strategies for key donor targets.
  • Clarify accountabilities and strengthen collaboration with Global Field Programs (Center for Oceans, Americas Field Division, Africa Field Division, and Asia Pacific Field Division) and Global Programs (Sustainable Lands + Waters, Moore Center for Science, Center for Natural Climate Solutions, Center for Communities and Conservation).
  • Develop and deliver a capacity-building program to educate internal and external stakeholders on how to integrate issues Afro-descendant communities within the Southern Cross priorities.
  • Collaborate with Global Field teams to collect and use appropriate demographic data to be used in influence decision-making on locally relevant initiatives.

Collaboration and networking with internal and external stakeholders:

  • Coordinate and support CI’s involvement in advancing the vision of the Afro-InterAmerican Forum on Climate Change (AIFCC).
  • Ensure strategic engagement with relevant international and national stakeholders on conservation and technical issues related to Afro communities, including strong engagement on policy, advocacy, and rights-based approaches issues.
  • Create and strengthen a regional network of Afro community leaders to share lessons learned and good practices, including the production of information focused on environmental and racial justice.
  • Engage in advocacy efforts to support the implementation of community-led natural climate solutions as strategies for transforming and building equality, peace, and well-being for Afro communities.


  • This position is based in any of the CI countries in Latin America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Peru, or Surinam.
  • Typical office environment with the possibility to work from home or hybrid.
  • Flexibility in work schedule to accommodate time differences with the Strategy, Delivery & Field Partnerships team, and internal collaborators may be necessary.
  • Periodic travel to the project site and other office locations.
  • Guidance on flexible work arrangements will be shared during the interview process.



  • A Bachelor's degree or relevant combination of education and experience, plus 7 or more years of progressive professional experience in program management and field-based conservation.
  • Oral and written communication in Spanish/Portuguese and English.
  • Critical perspectives and knowledge on the history of Afro-descendants in Latin America and the challenges they have faced with racial discrimination and marginalization.
  • Strong analytical and conceptual skills, and demonstrated ability to understand, evaluate, and interpret a broad range of social/cultural, political, historical, economic, scientific, and non-technical information used in environmental conservation, management, and governance.
  • Familiarity with diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts and application in the context of wider project management experience.


  • Able to develop strategies and work plans related to programs for Indigenous People and Local Communities.
  • Demonstrated experience in nonprofit organizations effectively working with historically underrepresented groups in the conservation sector.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate complex and ambiguous information into actionable strategies and plans.
  • Deep understanding of the nuanced and complex racial landscape in Latin America and how it has negatively impacted Black people/people of African descent.
  • Ability to work independently and/or in a start phase.
  • Highly developed and advanced racial equity lens and capacity for a systems analysis of racial inequality across time and space in the Americas and beyond.

To apply for this position please submit a resume and cover letter.

See all Conservation International Career Opportunities HERE

Conservation International is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Vets/Disabled