Work at Sonke

Programmes Director

About Sonke 

Founded in 2006, Sonke is a women’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 women, 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 women’s rights, prevent gender-based violence and reduce the spread of HIV and the impact of AIDS, and in this way contribute to social justice and the elimination of poverty.

About this position

The Programmes Director is responsible for the implementation, management, supervision, and evaluation of the organisation’s programmes in harmony with the strategic plan set out by the organisation. As a member of the senior management team, the programmes director participates in strategic planning, resource mobilisation, and budget management of programmes, working within the guidelines of the organisation’s policies, and is accountable for specific projects as assigned.

Key Performance Areas:

1. Strategic Management

  • Work with Sonke’s Co-Executive Directors and full management team to develop, refine and guide Sonke’s strategic vision through managing internal and external processes that seek to deepen the objectives of the organisation.  
  • Support the Co-Executive Directors, in coordination with the full management team to develop a strategic plan for the organisation, on a three-to-five-year basis.
  • Analyse trends in the programmes, identifying issues, developing and recommending solutions to the Co-executive Directors.
  • Monitor the implementation of the strategic objectives of the organisation at a macro level, especially those related to the activities of the different programmatic units.
  • In collaboration with the Co-Executive Directors, oversee on a yearly basis, the development and submission of an organisation-wide operational plan and an annual operational budget.
  • Network with key stakeholders and representation of the organisation in national and international for a.
  • Report on and prepare presentations on programme work for board meetings.

2. Programme Delivery

  • Work with the Programme Unit Managers, to initiate and set objectives for the programmes according to the strategic goals of the organisation.
  • Assist the Programme Unit Managers with planning of the organisation’s programmes from inception to completion involving deadlines, milestones and processes.
  • Develop and approve budgets in cooperation with Unit Managers, the Resource Mobilisation Co-ordinator (RMC) and Consultant.
  • Supervise the writing and submission of all donor reports in collaboration with Unit Managers and the RMC.
  • Support the RMEL manager in the design of evaluation strategies to monitor performance and determine the need for improvements.
  • Liaise with the Finance Manager and the RMC co-ordinator,  to ensure that financial reporting takes account of the provisions in funding contracts.
  • Ensure that the programmes  and activities adhere to legal guidelines and internal policies; 
  • Implement specific projects assigned to the Programmes Director.
  • Manage specific budgets assigned to the Programmes Director.

3. Human Resources Management

  • Supervise all Programme Unit Managers as per the organisation’s HR policies, provide feedback on a regular basis and resolve complex problems.
  • Actively manage the performance and development of staff members through regular  meetings. 
  • Encourage staff members to participate in their own development and help identify development initiatives and interventions.
  • When required, with the assistance of HR, recruit, select and induct new or replacement staff for the programme units and ensure that staff have detailed job descriptions.

4. Policies, Standard Operating Procedures and Compliance

  • Work with the Finance Manager to ensure that the organisational audit and all project specific audits take place on time.  

5. Resource Mobilisation

5.1 Proposal Development

  • Work closely with programme managers to strategize and develop proposals around potential projects.  
  • Work in consultation with management, project staff, resource mobilization and finance to develop persuasive proposals and budgets to submit to new and existing donors.
  • Stay abreast of the literature and developments in the field to ensure that proposals are current and to identify new opportunities.
  • Support unit managers when requested to host project kick-off meetings when new projects and grants start.

5.2 Donor Reporting and Relations

  • Communicate with donors regularly, including the distribution of Sonke’s newsletter and other relevant materials.
  • Ensure that donor representatives are invited to participate in project activities, where appropriate.
  • Support unit managers to ensure that reports are of a high standard and are submitted on time. 
  • Participate in annual donor meetings. 

Educational requirements

  • Master’s degree in social sciences or public health.
  • Advantageous postgraduate degree in Project Management

Experience required

  • 8 to 10 years’ experience in programme management.   
  • Evidence of progressive growth with increasing responsibility in prior employment.
  • Proven initiative and ability to take on and complete projects.
  • Experience working with and interacting with donors.
  • Knowledge of donor and funding requirements and ability to monitor and ensure compliance with requirements.
  • Proven success managing a team of professionals for an extended period of time.
  • Experience taking ownership for strategic planning, reporting and review in a medium-sized organisation.
  • Proven leadership on projects, preferably those related to organisational change, growth or expansion.
  • Supervisory experience and experience in drafting and managing project budgets.

Competencies required

  • Thorough understanding of project/programme management techniques and methods.
  • Excellent writing skills in English and preferably the ability to communicate in another SA language.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Excellent planning and time management skills.
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to build new and manage existing relationships with various related stakeholders.
  • An analytical mindset with excellent problem-solving abilities.
  • Finance and budgeting skills.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Ability to monitor and support subordinates.
  • Coordinate Advocacy efforts for key thematic areas.
  • Resource mobilisation.
  • Ability to influence partners or make impact.
  • Ability to communicate with donors and potential funders.
  • Innovative and creative, able to see new opportunities.
  • Reflective and open to learning.

To Apply

  • 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 18 November 2022. 
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.  
  • The position will be based in either Johannesburg or Cape Town. Non-South African nationals have the responsibility to obtain 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.  
  • If you do not hear from us by 31 January 2023, please consider your application unsuccessful.  
  • The organisation reserves the right not to make an appointment. 


Johannesburg or Cape Town


R1 000 000 per annum

Closing Date

18 November 2022