Associate Program Director of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Lae, Papua New Guinea
Aug 14, 2019
Oct 14, 2019
Job Level
Mid level, Senior level
Employment Type
Contract, Full time
Salary Type

Associate Program Director of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program in Papua New Guinea



The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (“Program”) of the Woodland Park Zoo is seeking an interested independent contractor, with demonstrated expertise in program and personnel management and community-based conservation, to support the continued growth and development of the program. 

The independent contractor will be based in Lae, Papua New Guinea with substantial time spent working in the remote village communities of Yopno-Uruwa-Som (YUS).

The contract is currently funded for two years.  Interested parties must commit for the entire duration of the contract.  The contract is expected to last this duration, with the possibility of an extension depending on the needs of the Program at the conclusion of the term and the parties’ mutual consent.

In addition to a competitive compensation, the Program also provides local modern housing, vehicle access, and transportation to/from Papua New Guinea. 

Any independent contractor wishing to be considered should please submit a letter of interest and CV by September 6, 2019. We will accept interest letters until the position is filled. 



The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) was established in 1996 as a community-based field conservation program through the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, USA. In 2013, the program registered TKCP-PNG as an independent non-governmental organization in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as the program’s implementing partner. The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) is the umbrella name for the partnership between Woodland Park Zoo’s TKCP and TKCP-PNG, which fosters wildlife and habitat conservation and supports local community programs in health, education, and livelihoods in Papua New Guinea through global partnerships, land protection, and scientific research.

The TKCP-PNG office is located in Lae, PNG’s “second city” and industrial hub. The Program focuses its work on the Yopno-Uruwa-Som (YUS) landscape on the Huon Peninsula which received the highest category of land protection when it was declared a “Conservation Area” by the government in 2009. Community-based conservation in PNG is complex due to land tenure and cultural norms.

TKCP is considered a model program in PNG and relies on strong leadership. The Lae-based leadership team currently includes six PNG nationals and one international staff member. The field-based staff are all from the local YUS community.



The contractor will play an important role in fulfilling all the objectives of the Program and overseeing the progress of its individual projects.  Among other things, the contractor will be responsible for:

a)      The operational management and strategic development of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program-PNG, based in Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

b)     Continue to build the systems and programs of the in-country organization.  Mentor and provide technical support and capacity guidance to the local staff of PNG Nationals.

c)      Continue to build and monitor field projects, activities, infrastructure, and staff which includes Conservation Officers, Mapping Officers and Conservation Rangers.

d) Consult with the local Yopno-Uruwa-Som (YUS) landowners, community members, and PNG Government to successfully manage the YUS Conservation Area.

This contract position reports directly to the TKCP Director, and will work in close collaboration with the TKCP Program Manager, both based at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle. Key responsibilities include:

Program and Personnel Management:

  • Oversee and guide the work of the TKCP-PNG staff – lead by example and foster the organization’s mission-driven culture using effective team-building practices, timely communications and conflict resolution.
  • Coordinate with TKCP-PNG and US-based staff on strategic planning, communications, budgeting, reporting, and fundraising.
  • Advise and ensure appropriate implementation of institution-building for TKCP-PNG and capacity building for TKCP-PNG staff.
  • Support the continued development of community activities in livelihoods, education, and health.
  • Provide guidance and support to the development of the YUS Conservation Organization (landowner organization).
  • Provide leadership and guidance regarding program budget development and management including grant expenditure tracking and financial report reviews.
  • In consultation with project leads, develop implementation plans that enable projects to achieve objectives within prescribed timeframes and budgets.
  • Ensure that project targets and donor requirements are met during program implementation.

Program Development:

  • Ensure project proposals align with community needs and conservation priorities, and are in alignment with TKCP’s strategy.
  • In coordination with TKCP colleagues and staff, help facilitate the development of high-quality grant proposals according to program funding needs.

Partnerships, Collaboration, and Networking:

  • Identify, establish, and maintain strategic partnerships with government agencies, NGOs, businesses, and other organizations within Papua New Guinea and the region for support of TKCP.
  • Collaborate and develop relationships between TKCP and partners including government agencies, NGOs, and others in achieving TKCP goals.
  • Advise and ensure appropriate representation and outreach of TKCP in PNG and internationally: (e.g.) attend conferences, meetings, and workshops.



Background should include international work experience particularly related to remote community development and/or protected area management; leadership and management experience; excellent written and oral communication skills (in English); track-record of success in conservation strategy and program management; staff performance management and capacity building; and fiscal responsibility. A graduate degree in international studies, community development, natural resource management, or a suitable combination of education and experience is required.

This contract requires a willingness to live and work in Lae, PNG where the TKCP-PNG office is located. A substantial amount of the work will also take place in very remote outdoor field settings where physical demands can be considerable, so candidates must be in good physical condition and be able to walk distances in a challenging mountainous landscape.

The following must be received by September 6, 2019 or until filled:

1.      Cover Letter: The cover letter should state interest, experience and qualifications.   

2.      CV

3.      References:  Please include at least 3 references and their contact information.