Work at Sonke

Policy Development & Advocacy Unit Manager

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.

The Policy Development & Advocacy Unit

The PDA Unit works to shape policy and legal decisions on gender justice, health and human rights. It utilizes a mix of responsive actions, and long-term advocacy to achieve its goals. We conduct rapid response advocacy on topical developments in gender justice, health, and human rights, especially for vulnerable groups, while working to ensure there are stronger systems to advance the protection of human rights and gender justice. Sonke seeks to support the State in its delivery of services, while always striving to hold it accountable for its failures to protect human rights and prevent gender-based violence.

The Unit’s key strategies include:

  • Advocating for policy reform and implementation at parliament and government;
  • Galvanizing reform and ensuring implementation through impact litigation where the State is unresponsive;
  • Building coalitions to strengthen the collective voice and action of civil society; and
  • Conducting empirical, legal, and other research to inform advocacy efforts.

Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) is seeking to appoint a manager for the Policy Development & Advocacy Unit (PDA Unit), which leads the organisation’s strategic legal and policy advocacy efforts in South Africa. The position is preferably based in our Cape Town office. Sonke offers a competitive salary based on experience.

About the position

The PDA Unit Manager is responsible for overseeing the PDA Unit and is part of the organisation’s Full Management Team. The PDA Unit Manager works closely with other managers and directors to develop policy advocacy work in collaboration with Sonke’s other units and specific responsibilities include:

Management of the PDA Unit

  • This includes supervising the policy specialists, associates, fellows and interns housed in the Unit, managing administrative systems, providing strategic direction on the campaigns and projects housed in the Unit, and ensuring the Unit complies with all internal accountability mechanisms.
  • Serve as part of the Full Management Team, and contribute to organisational oversight and the development of strategic direction.
  • Manages the UCLA – Sonke Health & Human Rights Fellowship and supervise fellows during their placement year at Sonke.

Key Programmatic Areas

  • Supervise and provide strategic direction to PDA Unit staff working on key programmatic areas. This includes the national and regional penal projects, the Campaign for the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence, the Asijiki Campaign to decriminalize sex work, and the UCLA-Sonke Health & Human Rights Fellowship, etc.
  • The Unit Manager will oversee the successful implementation of all projects in the unit, and will be responsible for leading specific projects and content areas as assigned.
  • Interface and support other units working on policy advocacy, e.g. the Child Rights and Positive Parenting unit, the Regional Programmes unit, including the Social Structural Drivers team, and the Community Education and Mobilization Unit working to increase access to justice and court monitoring in sexual and gender-based violence cases.
  • Direct internal capacity building on policy development and advocacy strategies, and on technical areas of work, cases, and campaigns led by the PDA Unit.
  • 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.
  • Network and nurture strategic relationships within civil society, government, and funders.

Resource Mobilisation and Grants Management

  • All unit managers are responsible for ensuring their teams are fully funded, the PDA Manager is required to identify funding opportunities, develop proposals and budgets, and negotiate award agreements with funders.
  • Ensure grants held within the PDA Unit are implemented in line with funding agreement.
  • Ensure the smooth implementation of grants by coordinating with the finance and grants management team, particularly during due diligence reviews with funders, at the start and close of projects. Maintain and build strong relationships with funders.


  • The successful candidate will be a proven and respected strategist and advocate in the gender justice and human rights field.
  • A law degree (LL.B. or equivalent). An advanced degree would be advantageous in a relevant field, with a strong grounding in gender, health, and human rights law.
  • At least five to seven years of experience in gender and human rights advocacy, or a combined equivalent including studies, with at least two years of experience in management.
  • Demonstrated strategic leadership in gender, health, human rights a combination of professional experience, academic training, and familiarity with relevant literature, institutions, and leaders in the field.
  • 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 manager, with the proven ability to facilitate effective processes and deliver results.
  • 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 in a sensitive manner. Must have substantial experience and skills in navigating multiple cultures.
  • Excellent diplomatic and problem-solving abilities, comfort 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 well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management and empathy.
  • Must be experienced in and passionate about providing mentorship and guiding the professional development of Unit staff.


Cape Town or Johannesburg


R514 028 – R771 041

Closing Date

12 August 2019