Work at Sonke

Policy Development and Advocacy Unit Manager

About Sonke  

Founded in 2006, Sonke is a womxn’s rights organisation that is committed to feminist principles, using a rights-based and gender transformative approach to achieve human rights and gender justice. Our vision is a poverty free world in which womxn, children, men and gender non-conforming individuals enjoy equitable, caring, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of gender just and democratic societies. Sonke strengthens governments, civil society and citizen’s capacity to advance gender justice and womxn’s rights, prevent gender-based violence, and reduce the spread of HIV and the impact of AIDS, and in this way contributing to social justice and the elimination of poverty.

About the position

The Policy Development and Advocacy (PDA) Unit Manager is responsible for carrying out and overseeing activities housed within Sonke’s PDA unit.  Based in Sonke’s Cape Town or Johannesburg office, this position is part of Sonke’s full management team and works closely with other senior managers at Sonke.  The PDA Unit Manager is responsible for developing, coordinating and overseeing Sonke’s policy, advocacy and research work in collaboration with Sonke’s other units.  The PDA Unit Manager will oversee several projects at Sonke and must be able to conduct high-quality legal and policy analysis, conduct advocacy campaigns, and lead strategic litigation as necessary for the organization. The ideal candidate must be a dynamic self-starter, committed to working collaboratively with an evident passion for gender equality and social justice. 

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Coordinate Sonke’s Legal Work and Advocacy, including policy monitoring.
  • Manage Sonke’s involvement in the multisectoral, multistakeholder spaces including the NSP on GBVF Forum, the Asijiki Decriminalisation of Sex Work Coalition, Hate Crimes Working Group, CORMSA and Shukumisa Coalition.
  • Coordinate Sonke’s advocacy campaigns, including to engage the media on key areas of work within the PDA Unit, and give guidance to PDA personnel on their media outreach and messaging. Ensure the documentation and publication of work within the PDA Unit in journals, print and online media, and other platforms.
  • Supervise and provide strategic direction to PDA Unit staff working on key programmatic areas.
  • Fundraising for the unit, including identifying funding opportunities, supporting the development of proposals and budgets, and maintaining existing donor relations.
  • Ensures grants held within the PDA Unit are implemented in line with funding agreements, this includes project budget drafting, co-ordination of partners/sub grantees, both nationally and regionally, co-ordinating regular internal project meetings. 
  • Identify opportunities for Sonke to enter or participate in Public Interest litigation that may be of strategic value on cross-cutting issues within the organization. This may include supervision of and actual drafting of legal papers for litigation.

Qualifications and experience

  • An advanced degree in a relevant field, including at least a Masters degree or a law degree (LL.B. or foreign equivalent) and a postgraduate qualification. Studies should have provided a strong grounding in gender, health, and human rights law.
  • The successful candidate will be a proven and respected strategist and advocate in the gender justice and human rights field.
  • At least seven years of experience in civil society, with a content focus on gender and human rights law and advocacy, including experience in legal analysis and running advocacy campaigns.
  • Demonstrated strategic thought leadership in gender, health, human rights, with a proven publication record (academic and non-academic).
  • Significant experience with at least two of the technical areas of the unit’s work, i.e. gender justice, health and human rights, penal and criminal justice reform. The candidate should have the ability to work collaboratively and provide credible strategic guidance to colleagues with and without a direct supervisory relationship.
  • Skilled and experienced programme manager, with at least 3 years in programme and project management responsibility, with the proven ability to facilitate effective processes and deliver results.
  • Above average competence in the use of computerised packages. Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite applications; i.e. Access, Excel, Word, PowerPoint.
  • Significant budgeting and financial management skills. 
  • Excellent writing skills with the ability to write clearly & concisely.
  • Must be a persuasive communicator with excellent writing, editing and public speaking skills in English, preferably also in a second South African language.
  • Proven ability to excel as a collegial member of a diverse team and in working in a multicultural working environment.
  • Excellent diplomatic and problem-solving abilities, comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, and the ability to engage in and contribute to on-going socio-political debates.
  • Must be discrete and able to handle confidential matters with integrity.
  • Must have demonstrable advocacy skills.
  • Willingness to travel 20 to 30% of the time.

Application Process

  • Interested applicants should submit their CV, a motivational letter that details your experience, the contact details of three referees, to Sonke’s Human Resource Unit at closing date 7 March 2022.
  • For non-South Africans, it is the responsibility of the applicant to attain a work permit from the Department of Home Affairs, and employment will depend on a valid work permit being in place. 
  • Sonke is committed to racial and gender transformation and encourages previously disadvantaged individuals to apply. 
  • Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. If you do not hear from us by 30 April 2022, please consider your application unsuccessful. 
  • The organisation reserves the right not to make an appointment.  


Johannesburg or Cape Town


Fixed term appointment


R750,256.82 total cost to company per annum

Closing Date

7 March 2022