With offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Agincourt, Sonke works globally, and especially across Africa, to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to take action to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. In this way 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 (see https://genderjustice.org.za/). This position is a member of Sonke’s Policy Development & Advocacy (PDA) unit but working closely with all of Sonke’s other units and work areas.
About the position
The Legal Advocacy and Litigation Manager is a new position which will support Sonke’s efforts to hold national and local government accountable for their commitments to advance gender equality, address HIV and AIDS, and ensure the right to health. It will do this by supporting community level activism while also providing legal advice and input on national campaigns, including through media advocacy. This position will report to the Unit Head of Policy Development & Advocacy and work directly with the Community Education and Mobilisation unit (CEM).
This position is funded as part of a multi-year project aimed at supporting Sonke to consolidate and build on its innovative community mobilisation model to amplify the call for gender justice and accelerated action towards the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. By increasing the linkages between community education and activism, rights literacy, media advocacy and the use of the law to advance gender equality in Africa, it is expected that the following key outcomes will be achieved: 1) Men and women, Community Action Teams, CBOs and Sonke’s partners have the capacity, commitment and skills to mobilise around, prevent and respond to gender-based violence in project countries; 2) Increased accountability and action from local level duty bearers in project countries to respond to gender-based violence; 3) National governments in project countries are held accountable to develop, review and implement evidence-based strategies to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including engaging men and boys for gender equality and an end to GBV; 4) Regional and global gender-based violence policies, policy processes and frameworks are more responsive to civil society advocacy, and advance the SDGs, including through engaging men and boys for gender justice; 5) Religious and traditional leaders increasingly take action to advance gender equality and address gender-based violence; 6) Sonke and partners are strengthened and can catalyse change for gender equality nationally, regionally and globally.
Key duties and responsibilities for this position are as follows:
- Strengthen Sonke’s ability to engage in community level legal advocacy for access to justice: Provide regular training to Sonke staff, including especially community mobilisers and trainers within the CEM team, on existing GBV laws and local accountability processes so that CEM team members are themselves then able to provide rights literacy trainings to CAT members in communities across the country.
- Support Community Action Team activism: Provide legal research, support and advice to CAT members and Sonke trainers in the monitoring of GBV cases, identifying gaps in case information that might lead to delays in legal proceedings and court cases.
- Support local government action on GBV, health and human rights: Work with CEM staff and CAT members to engage local government officials and together with them, develop and monitor local action plans to address GBV.
- Support national legal and policy advocacy : Provide legal input on Sonke’s policy reform efforts in various campaigns, including South Africa’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) for GBV, prison reform, abolition of corporal punishment and enforcement of existing bans within schools, expanded parental le ave, access to psycho-social support, decriminalisation of sex work, and the gendered dimensions of silicosis and occupational disability.
- Support and conceptualise strategic litigation and other legal interventions: support existing impact litigation already happening at Sonke, and provide advice on potential strategic litigation, including in partnership with key allies in the health and human rights sector. Use existing research and data from community based program mes to conceptualise other non-litigation interventions to support Sonke’s key campaigns. Working with the CSI unit to ensure that all legal interventions where appropriate are combined with a community education and sensitisation of legal methods used as part of advancing engaging active citizenry and rights education.
- Provide support and mentorship to the Sonke – UCLA Health and Human Rights Fellowship programme, including through mentorship to the Fellow(s) upon their return to Sonke. Assist PDA unit with advertising and marketing the Fellowship, involvement in recruitment and appointment of fellows and assisting with integration and support of fellows during their stay in at UCLA and upon their return.
- Explore the establishment of a legal support uni t within Sonke: Coordinate Sonke’s internal discussions and research related to the establishment a litigation unit/public interest law unit.
- Reporting, monitoring and evaluation: Submits all agreed upon reports (project reports, budgets, supervision reports, observation reports, team meeting reports, stakeholder meeting reports, community mobilisation and CAT reports), on a monthly basis. Actively contributes to the development, review and sign-off of Sonke’s capacity building model for working with partner organisations, including M&E systems to assess the impact of our capacity building work. Key Partnerships: Develops and maintains strategic partnerships with relevant local, national, and international partners by attending meetings and documenting key agreed upon action items with stakeholders and then following through on commitments made.
- Donor relations and donor reporting: In consultation with the resource mobilisation manager develop funding proposals, ensure timely completion of accurate project reports for donor reporting purposes at least ten business days before the report due date.
Qualifications and experience
- Recognised university law degree;
- Admitted attorney with minimum of 5 years work experience;
- Prior experience working on gender equality, violence prevention, HIV and AIDS, the right to health, children’s rights;
- Demonstrated experience developing and providing trainings on the law to diverse audiences, including in rural and peri-urban communities; and
- Knowledge of donor and funding requirements and ability to monitor and ensure compliance with requirements.
Competencies and skills required
- Fluency in English and at least one other South African language required
- Excellent writing skills
- Proposal and report writing skills
- Ability to recruit, place and supervise health and human rights fellows
- Willingness to travel 20 to 30% of the time
- Familiarity with Sonke’s partner organisations and networks
- Legal and policy advocacy
- Social change campaigns
- Communications expertise
- Budgeting and financial management skills
- Ability to manage relationships and responsibilities across multiple teams and follow up regularly
- Ability to make presentations
- Strong problem solving skills
- Strong public speaking ability
- Exceptional networking skills
- Research, writing, application and thought leadership abilities
- Hard-working with the ability to prioritise and manage deadlines
- Innovative, strategic and creative, ability to see new opportunities
- Reflective and open to learning
Personal qualities required
- Confident, assertive communicator who can work comfortably with diverse groups of people and across all levels;
- Deep commitment to gender equality, social justice and human rights; and
- Passionate about leadership development, internal organisational democracy and a desire to embody the organisation’s values.