Work at Sonke

Executive Director

About Sonke

Established in 2006, Sonke Gender Justice is a multi-award winning South African NGO working globally, and especially across Africa, to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to take action to promote gender equality and children’s rights, prevent domestic and sexual violence and to reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. Focusing on rights, action and accountability, the organisation contributes to the development of societies in which men, women, youth and children can enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies.

Sonke uses multiple social change strategies to advance its ambitious goals, including: 1) community education and mobilisation, 2) legal and policy advocacy, 3) impact litigation, 4) media advocacy, 5) research and M&E, and 6) addressing the social and structural drivers of gender inequality.

We are currently seeking to appoint an Executive Director who is a visionary with exceptional leadership skills, to drive the organisation forward as we build on a decade of achievements and face new strategic challenges. You will be responsible for leading an exciting strategic plan, developing and guiding Sonke’s strategic vision through managing internal and external processes that seek to deepen the objectives of the organisation.

You will be the key spokesperson for Sonke and will lead high-level networking dialogues and represent Sonke, through participation in key events at regional and international levels. Reporting to the Board of Directors, you will be responsible for managing a senior management team, as well as developing and implementing a long-term funding model.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Developing and guiding Sonke’s strategic vision through managing internal and external processes that seek to deepen the objectives of the organization.
  • Managing the strategic development on a three to five-year basis, and the implementation of the strategic objectives of the organisation at a macro level.
  • Developing and championing new areas of work and strategic projects of the organisation.
  • Overseeing the recruitment of senior programme staff.
  • Developing and implementing a long-term funding model, overseeing fundraising and providing ongoing support to the Resource Mobilisation Manager.
  • Leading high-level networking and representation on behalf of Sonke through participation in key events at regional and international levels.
  • Having ultimate responsibility in the articulation and communication of the strategy and policies of the organisation.
  • Overseeing on a yearly basis, the development of an operational plan and annual budget, and on a quarterly basis a financial report in consultation with the Deputy Director.
  • Ensure the continued development of relationships with stakeholders, as well as potential and existing partners in order to further the work of programme units.

Strategic direction and oversight

  • Together with the Deputy Director, provide accurate and timely information to the Board of Directors to support them in their governance role.
  • Provide effective leadership on the continuum of programming through oversight of the work of the senior management team to ensure that the programmatic and operational objectives of the organisation are being achieved.
  • Together with the Deputy Director, ensure annual workplans for programmes and operations have been developed and form the basis for individual workplans and general programme assessment and delivery.

Programme impact and oversight

  • Regularly review and observe the design and implementation of programmes to ensure that it is of a high standard and in line with the strategic objectives of the organization.
  • Work with the management team to establish an effective M&E system to oversee the implementation and impact of Sonke’s programmatic work.
  • Ensure that Sonke conducts research and disseminates its findings widely through the media, peer reviewed journals and internal briefings.

Communications oversight

  • Sustain the credibility and legitimacy of the organisation through managing the communications function, its media image and its use of media advocacy.
  • Sign-off on all print and electronic publications and ensure the timeous completion of an annual report.

Resource mobilisation

  • Work closely with the Director of Programmes and Resource Mobilisation Manager to develop and implement a multifaceted strategic fundraising model to ensure that Sonke has the resources necessary to support its goals and objectives.
  • Provide regular support to the Resource Mobilisation Manager and oversee the convening of an annual donor meeting.
  • Work with the Director of Programmes and unit managers to actively seek out fundraising opportunities, submit regular proposals and monthly resource mobilisation reports to donors.

Financial oversight and management of Sub-Awards grants

  • Work with the management team, in particular, the Deputy Director to ensure the financial health of the organisation with particular attention to audit preparedness and management.
  • Oversee the development of budgets and spend patterns, to include monthly reviews of programme budgets and plans, in comparison with actual expenses and programme activity, and reporting on variances to the Audit Sub- Committee of the Board.
  • Approve institutional contracts as described in the approved plan and in accordance with Sonke’s policies and procedures and ensure proper management of all sub-award agreements with partner organisations.

Human resources oversight & people management

  • Support the management team to build an organisational culture that promotes commitment, productivity, growth, learning, transparency and serves to deepen transformation and internal democracy.
  • Work with the Deputy Director to:
    • Develop and implement ongoing staff development strategies to ensure that staff members have the skills to perform their duties with excellence and establish themselves as leaders in the field.
    • Ensure HR policies and procedures are regularly reviewed, updated and followed and in compliance with existing labour laws.
    • Support HR to monitor measure and regularly report to the board and staff on HR issues, opportunities and development plans, including achievements.
    • Oversee the recruitment, selection and orientation of members of Senior Management Team and other senior positions as needed.

Person specification

The ideal candidate will bring strong strategic leadership and management skills, ideally gained in a complex stakeholder setting. You will have in-depth knowledge of issues surrounding social change, gender-based violence, policy and/or community engagement with the ability to represent Sonke externally. You will have a proven track record of co-ordinating and directing social change strategies and strong networks across civil society. You will be a leader of integrity able to demonstrate commitment to gender equality, social justice and human rights.

Educational requirements:

  • Advanced degree (Masters or PhD), in law, public health, education, development, business science or extensive related experience.

Experience required

  • Minimum of ten years’ experience in a senior management position and in a similar sized or larger organisation.
  • Significant experience coordinating and directing social change strategies.
  • Significant experience working to promote social equality and ideally in gender equality, preventing domestic and sexual violence and addressing HIV and AIDS, including preferably an understanding of work with men, and preferably in Southern Africa.
  • Significant experience with operations, finances, HR, fundraising, donor liaison and strategy, as well as proposal development is essential.
  • Knowledge of donor and funding requirements and the ability to monitor and ensure compliance with donor requirements.

Skills required

  • Strong ability to lead legal, policy and advocacy work.
  • Proven track record in social change campaigns and communications.
  • Proven ability to interpret budgets and financial statements and the ability to use this information to contribute to strategic decision making.
  • Ability to delegate tasks and responsibilities and follow up regularly.
  • Strong problem-solving skills.
  • Strong external communications, networking and public speaking ability.
  • Research, writing, application and thought leadership.

Personal qualities required

  • Confident, assertive communicator who can work comfortably with diverse groups of people across all levels.
  • Deep commitment to gender equality, social justice and human rights.
  • Personal integrity and a demonstrated ability to stand against organised forms of power in defense of principles.
  • Passionate about leadership development, internal organisational democracy and a desire to embody the organisations values.
  • A strong ability to inspire and motivate teams.
  • Maturity and strong leadership qualities are essential.
  • Innovative, strategic and creative, able to see new opportunities.
  • Able to prioritise work and manage deadlines.
  • Strong team player.
  • Excellent writing skills in English and preferably, but not required, another SA language.
  • Reflective and open to learning, and the
  • Ability to travel extensively.


Johannesburg or Cape Town

Closing Date

29 March 2019