Careers Vacancy

Program Lead – Business Partnerships and Indigenous Economies



Location: Panama City, Panama

Reporting to: Program Director

Work Percentage: 100%

In 2019, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) established the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC- IF) as the operational office of the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee (PIPC). The FSC-IF is a private interest foundation in accordance with Law No. 25 of June 12, 1995 of the Republic of Panama. The mission of FSC-IF is to enable an enabling environment to guarantee the rights of Indigenous Peoples and promote sustainable forest-based solutions within 300 million hectares of indigenous forests on the planet. The vision is that Indigenous Peoples’ global values, rights, livelihoods, ecosystem services, natural capital and communities are incorporated into forest governance, climate change governance and market systems.

Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance for Rights and Development

The FSC-IF is the implementing partner of the five-year Global Development Alliance (GDA) program funded by USAID and FSC: Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD). The IPARD Program is guided by three development objectives:

  • Objective 1 (O1): To organize and convene a capacity building program for Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and stakeholders;
  • Objective 2 (O2): To foster an enabling environment for the recognition, effective participation and joint decision-making by Indigenous Peoples in matters affecting them; and;
  • Objective 3 (O3): Promote the sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples based on sustainable economic models.

IPARD uses three interconnected approaches to support Indigenous Peoples in overcoming their development challenges:

A.       Multi-Sectoral Approach (MSA): under the strategic guidance of IPARD’s Steering Committee (SC), the Program convenes and leverages the expertise of multi-sectoral partners to ensure that the needs of Indigenous communities are considered across a wide range of sectors.

B.       Country-Focused Approach (CFA): IPARD’s programmatic strategy is guided by a country-focused approach, driven by specific national contexts related to Indigenous Peoples. IPARD implements a structured process to identify, evaluate and select countries for its programs. FSC-IF works in conjunction with the IPARD Steering Committee, and according to the guidelines of the multi-sectoral approach, in order to select countries and identify key priorities and strategies.

C.       Indigenous Project Management Approach (IPMA): Leveraging FSC-IF’s networks and relationships with Indigenous leaders and organizations around the world, IPARD seeks ongoing dialogue, consultation, and feedback with Indigenous Peoples to inform the Program. IPARD supports a forum through which the FSC-IF Indigenous Foundation serves as a bridge between Indigenous Peoples, technical partners, national governments, and the private sector. IPARD invests in best practice conservation and effective approaches and methodologies to ensure strategic cohesion of partnerships at various levels.

Through these three approaches, IPARD aims to empower Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and catalyze an enabling environment where Indigenous Peoples can pursue their development.


The FSC-IF seeks a strategic and results-­‐driven Program Lead for Business Partnerships and Indigenous Economies (PL-­‐BPIE) for the IPARD. The PL-­‐BPIE will be the technical leader for developing, implementing, and overseeing activities to achieve O3 of the IPARD Program by working in close collaboration with technical leaders for O1 and O2 as well as with the Monitoring and Evaluation Lead to ensure effective integration of business development and community-­‐based development activities with other program areas, work plans, national projects. She/he will also support Program teams in Latin America, Africa and Asia as well as partners by identifying main technical and economic constraints of Indigenous economies, building indigenous-­‐based solutions to promote business development and improve economic performance of Indigenous economies, and developing and implementing strategies to engage with companies, financial sectors, donors, and investors to create willingness for partnering with Indigenous Peoples communities based on new partnerships models and protocols.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Support the IPARD Program Director by providing strategic and technical leadership for ensuring effective business development and partnerships to strengthen Indigenous economies through innovative economic models.
  • Identify and lead the development of innovative economic and business models to improve community-­‐based development, indigenous livelihood practices, and community well-being with successful integration to national and international markets.
  • Build and manage partnerships to design and implement country-level business and economic development programs to support Indigenous Peoples by conducting business analysis, providing business advice, engaging private partners, mobilizing funds, and incubating business ideas, as well as providing guidance on licensing, market research, trade regulations, credit finance, and management plans.
  • Work with partners to develop protocols and partnership models to assist the effective collaboration between companies and local communities to foster responsible market-­‐based solutions to enhance community-based development with safeguards of Indigenous rights and self-determination.
  • Build and manage strong relationships with key public and private sectors as well as investors, donors, financial sectors, and other relevant stakeholders to create willingness for partnering with local communities to projects and investments consistent with Indigenous Peoples traditional practices, visions, and objectives as well as recognized safeguard mechanisms and FPIC.
  • Build alliances for promoting sustainable Indigenous value chains through partnership with the private sector to implement voluntary certification and sustainability standards including ISEAL Alliance and FSC Certification system.
  • Provide strategic and technical leadership in the analysis, development, and promotion of rights-based Indigenous-led economic models for enabling Indigenous Peoples to balance their self-determination objectives and enhance their economic and social well-being through their business enterprises and the sustainable management of their natural and cultural resources.
  • Work in collaboration with the Capacity Development and Inclusion Head and relevant partners in the development and implementation of capacity development alliances for improving the entrepreneurial, organizational, and business management capacities of IPOs with strengthening of their governance, performance, development management, marketing, benefit-sharing, and gender equity.
  • Provide thought leadership on a broad range of business, indigenous economy, and partnership development to support the IPGRD partners and beneficiaries.
  • Oversee partners, grantees, and contractors in all aspects of activities planning, monitoring, and implementation related to his/her areas of responsibilities.
  • Support the development of work plans, performance monitoring, lessons & learning, and periodic reports.
  • Oversee grantees and contractors in the area of his/her responsibility ensuring timely, consistent, and adequate compliance with the work plans, budget, and FSC-­‐IF performance management system related to IPARD Program and Donors.


  • University degree in business, finance, administration, economics, international development or a relevant field or equivalent experience.
  • At least 7 years of relevant experience with 4 years of demonstrated ability to successfully manage day-to-day activities as head or manager related to business development and administration, community development, cooperatives, and community businesses. Experience working with Indigenous business will be considered a plus.
  • Extensive and strong network of contacts in the field.
  • Strong negotiation skills and ability to build long-term partnerships, multi-sectoral collaboration.
  • Effective communication skills with experience preparing for and engaging with senior management and business teams.
  • Good ability to mentor and coach small organizations and businesses.
  • Strong knowledge of safeguard policies, indigenous economies, and market-based responsible business including FPIC and voluntary market certification.
  • Excellent written and spoken English AND Spanish is required. Fluency in French is considered a plus.
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity to the diversity of values, views and approaches to issues relevant to the FSC-IF.
  • Familiarity with international projects or programs oriented for Indigenous Peoples and/or Local communities in Latin America, Africa or Asia.
  • Candidates deeply familiar with Indigenous Peoples culture, tradition and communities or/and a native member of an Indigenous People would be a plus.
  • Ability to respond adequately and efficiently to pressure meeting deadlines with delivery of exceptional products.


Please submit your application by April 4, 2024 (5:00pm Panama) to

  • CV (2 page maximum)
  • Cover letter (one page maximum) including: (a) your motivation; (b) salary proposal); and (c) two professional references (name, position, organization, email, and phone)