Full-Time Centre Director
The mission of the Sophia Point Rainforest Project is to transform research, education and conservation in some of the most pristine rainforest left on the planet. We are looking for the next Centre Director to lead this work. They will be at the heart of establishing one of the first truly accessible research and education centres in Guyana, South America.
Sophia Point is an education, conservation and research charity established in the UK and operating in Guyana. Located on the bank of the Essequibo river, Guyana, the Sophia Point Centre is a tropical rainforest field site which will support Guyanese students to access, study, understand and champion their rainforest, helping protect it at a critical time.
To guide the next stage of Sophia Point’s mission we are looking for an experienced and committed Centre Director. This is a unique role for an ambitious individual to lead an exciting program of locally-led environmental education and research. The candidate will implement science and conservation efforts in-situ in a vitally important and overlooked ecosystem. They will play a leading part in promoting the protection of Guyana’s rich tropical rainforests.
This role offers the opportunity to live and work amongst nature in an idyllic location on the bank of the Essequibo river. You will be the in-country lead, representing the Sophia Point project, working with local communities and trustees and helping the charity deliver its objectives. The off grid, sustainable site requires candidates who are open to adapting to the environment, who can operate in tropical conditions and are up for the challenge. It is a rewarding and challenging role.
Could you be the next Centre Director at Sophia Point in Guyana and play a key role in delivering a more sustainable, equitable future for both people and planet?
As Centre Director you represent the Sophia Point project. At the heart of a small organization your responsibilities will shift with the Centre’s priorities whilst offering you the opportunity to shape the direction of the charity. You will be taking the lead at a critical time in the charity’s development as the main facilities will be completing construction. Therefore your role will be to lead the next phase of Sophia Point’s work, to establish the organization as a functioning site for science and education. As Centre Director you will:
- Oversee the day-to-day running of the Sophia Point Centre, ensuring the upkeep of facilities, administration and logistics to ensure Sophia Point is able to deliver on its mission
- Manage a local team of staff (2-3 persons) as well as support staff based in the UK. This will include working with local Amerindian community members and involve expanding the team to meet future demands.
- Lead the development of scientific priorities and activities at the Centre. Working with stakeholders from the local community, the University of Guyana and researchers internationally to identify what work Sophia Point supports and conducts.
- Build local engagement and facilitate field groups and site users at the Centre. Establishing how the Centre is used and promoting interaction with local schools, the University of Guyana and overseas research so that Sophia Point can become a thriving research centre.
- Coordinate the logistics and health and safety of operating and hosting students and researchers from Guyana and overseas in a remote location
- Promote the work of the Centre globally and coordinate the communications and social media outputs from Sophia Point
- Report to the charity’s board of trustees and funders on a quarterly basis
- Ensure the charity meets its legal and financial requirements working with accountants and lawyers who support the charity
- Support fundraising efforts including co-developing grant proposals at both core and project levels and representing the centre in funding bids
- Maintain oversight of finances to ensure financial sustainability. The charity has secured operational costs over at least the next 3 years at Sophia Point and has raised over $1m to date to fund the construction of the centre.
Core Skills & Experience
Candidates should ideally have field experience in the tropics or similar contexts and be able to demonstrate knowledge of working in Global South countries. The skillset is broad and we are keen to hear what candidates would bring to the role but, at a minimum, we are looking for:
- A background in environmental science, development studies, biology, anthropology or similar, ideally with tropical field experience, to a Master’s level or equivalent
- 3-5 years professional or academic experience in development, sustainability, forestry, biology, sustainable development or related fields.
- Strong organizational skills and ability to adapt to new challenges.
- Self-reliant and happy to work independently and set own agenda.
- Comfort with working and living in a remote setting
- Strong writing skills and the ability to explain complex concepts at varying levels
- Experience working across multiple competing priorities and managing multiple stakeholder groups. Particular experience with marginalised or indigenous groups would be seen as an asset.
- Professional fluency in English (both written and speaking)
In addition, the following skills and experience would be a plus:
- Budget management and experience of reporting to funders
- Familiarity with social media channels
- Past experience in fundraising
- Outdoor first aid training
- Experience driving a small power boat (16ft, 40HP tiller outboard) or willingness to undergo training
The position requires the next Centre Director to be based full time at the incredible Sophia Point site. This means living off-grid on the river and travelling by boat daily as the site is without road access. The site runs on solar power and rain-collected water.
You will have access to WiFi on site and phone signal. Sophia Point is 5 minutes from the Baganara Island Resort and 15 minutes from the town of Bartica which has the services you would need including a hospital, police station, supermarket, fruit market and hardware shops.
Assistance with work permits and relocation will be provided. Consideration will be given to candidates who wish to relocate with a partner. The current Centre Director relocated with his partner who is working as a teacher at the local primary school.
Salary & benefits
- Salary will be commensurate with experience, location and reflect the responsibilities of the role
- Accommodation will be provided free of cost for the candidate (and partner if applicable) at Sophia Point in Guyana
- For non-Guyanese nationals, two return journeys home per year, where possible and practicable
- Medical insurance
- Expenses and accommodation reimbursed for work-based travel within Guyana and overseas travel if necessary
- Support with work permits will be provided
Time & contract length
- This is a full-time role which will require occasional work at the weekends. It is an all-encompassing role as you will be living on site at Sophia Point
- Holiday entitlement is 30 days per year
- The appointment is considered a minimum 2 year position with the option of extension and review after year 1
- The start date will be in February/March 2024.
Location: Guyana, South America
Salary: based on experience
If you have any questions regarding the role then email [email protected]
About the organization
You can find more about the Sophia Point Rainforest Research Centre here: https://www.sophiapoint.com/
How to Apply
Please send the following to [email protected]:
An updated and relevant CV (maximum 2 pages)
In 600 words or less answer the following two questions:
- Why would you be a good candidate for the role of Centre Director of Sophia Point?
- What would you like to see Sophia Point achieve in 2 years’ time?
If successful, applicants will be contacted for follow-up interviews by phone or Zoom.
Application deadline: August 7th, 2023