Work at Sonke

Policy Development & Advocacy Specialist

About Sonke

With offices in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga in South Africa and Kampala, Uganda, Sonke works globally, and especially across Africa, to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity 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.

About the Position

Sonke is looking for a committed, suitably qualified and experienced individual to fill the position of Policy Development and Advocacy (PDA) Specialist who will be responsible for carrying out and overseeing policy, advocacy and research activities. The incumbent will work closely with the Programmes Director and the PDA Unit Manager to coordinate Sonke’s policy development and advocacy work, with particular reference to migration, sex work, as well as gender and gender-based violence work. The PDA Specialist will ensure that all Sonke’s policy recommendations are located within an evidence-based framework and supported by rigorous research.

Key duties and responsibilities

1. Drive research, policy development and advocacy on gender, migration, sex work, refugee rights, and gender-based violence

a) Stakeholder engagement and coalition strengthening:

  • Develop and maintain key partnerships with external organisations working on migration and refugee rights, sex work, gender and Gender Based Violence (GBV), including representing Sonke in various coalitions and serving on steering committees.
  • Regularly meet and engage with relevant stakeholders.

b) Research

  • Conduct and coordinate research and policy development in line with relevant literature and policy development on GBV, migration and sex work to support the strategy development of projects and campaigns.
  • Prepare relevant materials (abstracts, papers, presentations) for presentation at conferences, meetings and national dialogues.

c) Advocacy, media and communications

  • Initiate and lead on advocacy initiatives and campaigns related to GBV, refugee rights and migration and sex work.
  • Support national 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, access to psycho-social support, decriminalisation of sex work.
  • Track relevant Portfolio Committees meetings and submission dates.
  • Draft parliamentary submissions and engage in parliamentary and other government processes.
  • Write and coordinate the writing of opinion pieces, articles, press releases and other media products related to campaigns including migration, sex work and GBV projects.
  • Conduct radio, telephonic and television interviews.

d) Training and Facilitation

  • Develop and facilitate trainings and workshops as needed related to gender, GBV, migration and sex work.
  • Support local government action on GBV, health and human rights: Work with Community and Education Mobilisation (CEM) staff and Community Action Team (CAT) members to engage local government officials and together with them, develop and monitor local action plans to address GBV.

2. Resource Mobilisation, Grants Management, Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Support other PDA projects and cross-unit collaboration such as: advocacy for a National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBV, prison reform, advancing sex worker rights, and ensuring access to justice for survivors of violence.
  • Manage and report on projects and grants.
  • Support the unit’s resource mobilisation by identifying funding opportunities, developing proposals and budgets, and participating in negotiating agreements with funders, and ensure that grant agreements are implemented.
  • Work with the Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) Unit and other relevant staff to ensure external evaluations of grants, as well as ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is successfully completed.
  • Report to funders in line with funding agreements.

3. Other Key Programmatic Areas

  • 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 by supporting community level activism while also providing legal advice and input on national campaigns, including through media advocacy.
  • Strengthen Sonke’s ability to engage in community level legal advocacy for access to justice: Provide regular training to Sonke staff, including community mobilisers and trainers within the CEM Unit, on existing GBV laws and local accountability processes so that they can 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 monitoring of GBV cases and identifying gaps in case information that may lead to delays in legal proceedings and court cases.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • A law degree (LLB. or equivalent).
  • A Master’s degree in gender studies, refugee studies or human rights law, or other related area would be advantageous.
  • 3-5 years of related research, policy, and advocacy experience working in the NGO environment locally & with international donors.
  • In depth knowledge of policies on gender, migration, sex work and GBV.
  • Demonstrated experience coordinating complex projects or campaigns with multiple partners.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and implementing trainings and workshops for diverse groups.
  • Research, writing, application and thought leadership, with a particular emphasis on intersectionality.
  • Strong grounding in gender justice and feminist theory and research.
  • Written or published articles/papers or developed programmes.
  • Experience in writing funding proposals.
  • Proven ability to develop and manage strategic partnerships, as well as to build coalitions and networks, particularly within civil society.
  • Experience in engaging with the media and speaking on public platforms.
  • Familiarity with the functions and duties of relevant Chapter 9 institutions, the Department of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Women, Department of Social Development, and other relevant government departments and oversight bodies.
  • Familiarity with strategies and programmes aimed at migration, sex work and gender-based violence, including responses and prevention.
  • Fluency in two South African languages.

Personal qualities required

  • Confident, assertive communicator who can work comfortably with diverse groups of people, across all levels and various forms of media.
  • Ability to multitask and work under pressure.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Attention to detail and displays a high level of integrity.
  • Able to prioritise work and manage deadlines.
  • Innovative and creative, able to see new opportunities.
  • Planning and time management – meets deadlines.
  • Reflective, open to learning and to self-care.
  • Training facilitation skills.
  • Willingness to travel.


Cape Town or Johannesburg



Closing Date

14 February 2020