Work at Sonke

Sub-Awards 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

Sonke provides sub-awards to external organizations or partners as part of its project implementation activities. The Sub-Awards unit is responsible for assessing the partner before, during and at the end of the award to manage the risk that Sonke is exposed to as a result of channelling funds to partner organisations. 

The Sub-Awards Unit Manager is responsible for managing the sub-award process with a focus on reducing the risks to Sonke. They must assess sub-recipients’ capability for managing sub-awards; work with the programme unit managers to monitor sub-recipients and assist with the capacity building components of the sub-awards; arrange for payments to the organizations for project activities that lead to the achievement of project objectives; ensure that Sonke complies with Exchange Control regulations of the South African Reserve Bank when transferring funds to sub recipients and including providing capacity building to partner organizations in grant compliance, financial and operations management; responsible for issuing the sub-recipients agreement, budgets review and for checking partner financial reports’ compliance with provisions of the grant and follow up on issues of compliance with the partner and assess the financial reports and audits of the partner organizations. 

The Sub-Awards Unit Manager will report to the Co -Executive Director and manages the Sub Awards Unit Specialists. The Sub-Awards Unit Manager work closely with all Unit Managers who provide sub-awards to sub-recipients and with the finance unit in drafting the monthly financial report, donor reports and co-ordinate donor specific audits on grants with sub recipients.

Specific responsibilities

Programme management 

  • Provide input into the annual workplan and budgetary processes on sub-awards including budgets and timeframes. 
  • Work with all managers to develop a program plan for managing each sub-award, including a schedule and the appropriate mechanisms for the pre-award assessment and follow-up process. 
  • Plan cost effective travel to follow-up and monitor sub-awards. 

Sub-award review  

  • Review donor requirements for sub-award management.  Work with the Co-Executive Director: Operations to develop a plan to ensure compliance with the donor’s requirements and work with the Resource Mobilisation manager to summarise and monitor donor’s requirements for sub-award management. 
  • In collaboration with the appropriate managers review proposed sub-award budgets and program activities to determine if budgeted amounts and timelines are appropriate. 

Pre-award assessments 

  • Work with the Co-Executive Director to review and update sub-recipient pre-award assessment tools and operating procedures to ensure tools are always appropriate.
  • Determine the most appropriate and cost-effective method of conducting the pre-award assessment (telephone, in-person visit, email).
  • Conduct pre-award assessments for each sub-award. Determine risk rating of sub-recipient. Establish monitoring and follow-up requirements based on results of pre-award.
  • Based on planned objectives of the sub-award, results of pre-award assessments, donor and Sonke operating procedures and requirements, provide guidance to appropriate managers on the appropriate sub-award mechanism (sub-agreement, contract, fixed obligation grant).
  • Working with the project manager, develop sub-award documents including reporting requirements, terms and conditions, monitoring requirements, and any required capacity building or technical assistance requirements.
  • Work with sub-recipients to address high-risk issues from the pre-award assessment. Monitor development and implementation of any required corrective action plans required of sub-recipients
  • Conduct follow-up mid-award assessments to keep assessment ratings current

Training and capacity building 

  • Provide standard orientation to all sub-recipients on requirements for funds management, documentation, reporting and if required, audit procedures
  • Provide technical assistance and/or capacity building to sub-recipients if/when required to address risk issues from pre-award assessment or as part of project plans
  • In collaboration with the Co-Executive Director provide training to Sonke staff on sub-award management

Sub-award implementation and monitoring 

  • Review financial reports from sub-recipients. Ensure accuracy, monitor timeliness and supporting documents are provided if required. Follow-up with sub-recipients if revisions are required
  • Manages the process in ensuring that all Reserve bank grant applications are renewed on and comply with Exchange control requirements.
  • Conduct sub award mid-term evaluation
  • Monitor sub-award spending in terms of objectives achieved vs funds spent. Obtain information/reports from appropriate project manager on variances. Ensure variances in spending are explained and documented
  • Ensure that the sub award tracking schedule is up to date and shared with the Co -Executive Director
  • Develop the sub award business plan so the Sub award Unit can function as an income generating unit. 
  • Monitor sub-recipients’ compliance with terms and conditions of sub-award
  • Provide recommendations to Programmes Unit Managers and take action in instances of non-compliance to reduce risks to Sonke
  • In collaboration with appropriate Programmes Unit Managers obtain donor authorizations, if required for specific project issues such as procurement of equipment, travel, etc.

Sub-award close-out

  • Manage close-out process of sub-award including timely submission of final reports by sub-recipient, Sonke reviews and accepts final reports, prepares and submits final donor reports
  • Obtain donor authorization, if required, for disposition of equipment, etc. Ensure documentation is obtained for processes such as receipts for transfer of equipment, etc.
  • Arrange for safe-keeping or transfer of files in possession of sub-recipient related to the sub-award

People management 

  • Manage the Sub-Awards Specialists 
  • Conduct performance appraisals for the Sub-Award Specialists 
  • Provide regular mentorship to the Sub-Award Specialists

Filing and reporting 

  • Ensure sub-award files are completed accurately, including documents on pre-, mid and post award assessments, sub-award contract, financial, narrative and audit reports, sub-recipients compliance with requirements, all key email communication and any amendments.  
  • Provide timely and accurate donor reports to appropriate staff and/or to donors. 
  • Provide reports, when required on sub-award management process including to Programmes Unit managers, Senior Management Team (SMT), full management team (FMT) and Board. 
  • Work with Co- Executive Directors to ensure procedures are in place to comply with donor and Sonke requirements for file retention, including tracking of files for required retention period, provision of funds for off-site storage, if required, and access to files retained by the sub-recipient.


  • Assist the finance unit with financial reporting which include sub-awards.
  • Release payments via Nedbank online banking on a weekly basis.
  • Attend the budget holder meeting once a month.
  • Arrange quarterly sub-ward meetings.

Qualifications and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, Business, or related discipline
  • Minimum 7 years equivalent experience in a similar capacity in Grants and Contracts.
  • Experience in grants and contracts or sub-awards management.
  • Experience in development and writing contractual documents.
  • Experience working with and interacting with donors.
  • Knowledge of donor and funding requirements and ability to monitor and ensure compliance with requirements.
  • Proven initiative and ability to take on and complete projects.
  • Proven experience overseeing a financial system and supporting policies and procedures. 
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Proven ability to develop an organisation-wide budget based on collective programme. strategies and actively manage reporting and expenditure.
  • Knowledge of generally accepted good practice in organisations in sub-award management.
  • Proven experience in supporting policies and procedures. 

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 23 September 2021.
  • 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 31/10/2021, please consider your application unsuccessful. 
  • The organisation reserves the right not to make an appointment.  


Cape Town or Johannesburg


Fixed term appointment (4 years)


R570 480 – R760 680 total cost to company per annum

Closing Date

23 September 2021