Work at Sonke

Regional Prisons Advocacy Project Manager

About Sonke

With a full-time staff of 100 people working from 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

About this position

Sonke has well established prisons work in South Africa which contributed to the adoption in 2013 of a Policy Framework to Address Sexual Abuse of Inmates in Department of Correctional Services Facilities. Building upon this, the Regional Prisons Advocacy Project Manager is responsible for strategic leadership, coordination and implementation of Sonke’s regional prisons project. Funded by the UKaid Evidence for HIV Prevention in Southern Africa (EHPSA) programme, this project will contribute to bringing about prison reform, and so reduce sexual violence in prisons (SViP), in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia, whilst establishing and sharing learning on effective influencing across the region. Based in Cape Town, the Project Manager will work closely with the Sonke prisons team and partners in the three countries to develop and coordinate strategic influencing interventions whilst ensuring effective tracking across the project so that interventions may be adapted and critical learning established and shared. Working out of the Policy Development and Advocacy Unit, the Project Manager will be responsible for managing the Sonke prisons team, consultants and relationships with implementing partners, and the budget for the project. They will lead on key external relationships, including with EHPSA and other funders, and particularly to ensure sharing and take-up of learning across the region and beyond.

Key Functions:

Manage Sonke’s regional work to bring about prison reform, and so reduce sexual violence in prisons.

1. Strategic leadership of Sonke’s advocacy work on prisons

  • Ensure the development of influencing strategies for work relating to South Africa, Malawi and Zambia that reflect most effective responses to opportunities to influence key stakeholders given time and resources available.
  • Ensure the development of work-plans to effect the influencing strategies within appropriate time-frames.
  • Lead on the development of a culture of analysis and learning across the project to inform decision-making.
  • Provide leadership in identifying opportunities to revise strategies and workplans.

2. Project management

  • Hold ultimate responsibility for coordination of project interventions by different Sonke staff members, consultants and partner organisations so that project outcomes are delivered.
  • Maintain primary implementation partnership with Just Detention International – South Africa – with clarity over roles and responsibilities and good communication.
  • Develop and maintain strategic partnerships with relevant partners in Malawi and Zambia with clarity over roles and responsibilities, good communication, and appropriate transfer of learning and support.
  • Ensure effective support to the project within Sonke, including provision of specialised inputs (e.g. communications and media advice, high-level external representation).

3. People management

  • Provide effective performance management to each member of the Prisons Advocacy Team (currently three members).
  • Recruitment and management of consultants for discrete projects.

4. Financial management

Working in conjunction with Sonke’s Finance Team

  • Establish appropriate budgets for different prisons projects.
  • Ensure that project financial positions are up-to-date, variances accounted for, and adjustments to workplans and budgets made as appropriate.
  • Ensure adherence to Sonke’s and the donors’ operational and financial policies, including proper preparation of requisitions, quotations and authorisation of payments.
  • Work with Sonke’s sub-grant manager to coordinate sub-grants to partner organisations and ensure compliance with Sonke and donor policies.

5. External representation

  • Represent Sonke’s position to key external targets for advocacy and for sharing learning, in an astute and effective way.
  • Represent the EHPSA project and Sonke’s wider prisons work to funders including DFID.
  • Media engagement (in collaboration with Communications) including identifying strategic media opportunities, drafting opinion pieces, responding to media inquiries, and cultivating media interest in and appropriate coverage of the project.

6. Tracking and learning

  • Ensure that systems are in place to track progress and enable timely decisions to be made to adjust implementation across the project.
  • Ensure that quality written and financial reports are submitted as required by Sonke and/or funders.
  • Ensure that there is systematic identification of learning, particularly concerning effective influencing, across the project.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of a strategy to enable the sharing and take-up of learning by key stakeholders within the region and more widely, including the identification of targets for learning and appropriate means of sharing.

7. Resource Mobilisation and donor relations

  • Act as point person to the funder, UKAid through its service provider, Mott MacDonald who is responsible for delivering the EHPSA Programme.
  • Support resource mobilisation by drafting proposals, developing budgets and identifying funding sources where appropriate.

Qualifications, competencies and experience

Education and experience:

  • Masters degree in a relevant subject or ability to demonstrate how extensive work experience has prepared you for this role.
  • At least four years of relevant experience, including in an advocacy role.
  • At least four years of experience with programme development and management.
  • Demonstrated experience coordinating complex projects or campaigns with multiple partners.

Skills and Knowledge Required:

  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, set priorities and work independently as well as being a part of a team.
  • Strong understanding of Anglophone Southern Africa and how to work effectively there.
  • Very high-level understanding of political processes and how to engage with them effectively.
  • Strong understanding of the role of civil society in influencing, including the potential limitations.
  • Ability to learn critical information about the prisons sector very quickly.
  • Ability to draw on other disciplines (e.g. history, political sciences, anthropology) to develop an effective approach to learning and sharing.
  • Demonstrable skills to performance manage staff.
  • Fluency in English, including speaking, reading and writing with the ability to conduct high-level business in English.
  • Strong grounding in gender justice.
  • Proficient in MS Office applications: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Behavioural Competencies:

  • Good organisational skills and ability to work effectively and with initiative.
  • Knowledge management.
  • Analytical thinking.

Other essentials specific to the position:

  • Able & willing to travel extensively (30-40% of time) within the region.
  • Expectation of occasional work outside regular weekday hours.


Cape Town

Closing Date

23 August 2016