Human Rights Watch: Advocacy Director

Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Sunday, 15 December, 2013
Opportunity type: 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

HRW seeks to appoint an Advocacy Director in the Africa Division.

The Advocacy Director is a member of HRW’s Africa Division staff and will preferably be based in the Nairobi office with frequent travel both in the region and outside of the region.

This position reports to the Executive Director of the Africa Division.

The Africa Advocacy Director is the chief advocacy strategist for HRW’s work in the sub-Saharan Africa region.  S/he is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of quality and effectiveness for HRW’s diverse advocacy efforts and works both with Africa Division staff as well as the global advocacy team of core advocates in the organization to design and implement strategies to promote and protect human rights in Africa.  The Advocacy Director helps to conceptualize, design and implement strategies for transforming HRW's investigations and reports into concrete improvements in human rights policies and practices by enlisting the support of all possible allies including governments, international and regional institutions with particular emphasis on the African Union and sub-regional bodies, private and non-state actors, colleague organizations, media, and the general public.  S/he also helps to shape HRW’s research agenda by identifying opportunities for impact.  In addition, the Advocacy Director is a key organizational spokesperson, among those who represent the Africa Division before government officials, international agencies, media and the public. 
Specific responsibilities:

  • Serve as a key spokesperson and advocate for Human Rights Watch on Africa;
  • Work closely with researchers in the Africa division to ensure that an effective advocacy strategy is part of the research project as well as develop and implement advocacy strategies on the full range of issues addressed by HRW in Africa;
  • Present research findings and policy recommendations for advocacy targets including high level government officials, international and regional institutions, media and general public;
  • Establish and maintain regular contacts and effective working relationships with relevant government officials from around the world, relevant staff of international/regional institutions (particularly with the AU, its organs and sub-regional organizations), members of the media, and other important actors;
  • Keep abreast of policy developments, gather relevant information and provide a timely synthesis and analysis on those policy developments, and advise on emerging advocacy opportunities on the continent and elsewhere;
  • Prepare a range of written materials including  policy analyses and advocacy documents such as press releases, op-eds, and other relevant documentation;
  • Work closely with international, national and local civil society organizations and activists including human rights organizations through formal and informal coalitions and develop contacts with journalists in a variety of media;
  • Ensure organization-wide coordination and complementarity as well as maintain good working relationship with external partners;
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, journalism, law, or social science is required;
  • Minimum of seven years direct experience in nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, or governments working to influence policy on human rights in Africa;
  •  Senior level advocacy experience and knowledge of policymaking in Africa;
  • Extensive knowledge of sub-Saharan Africa and its human rights issues;
  • Experience designing and implementing successful advocacy initiatives;
  • Ability to defend and explain complex issues and positions to governmental and intergovernmental bodies as well as to media and staff;
  • A track record of dealing with the media, including experience with media interviews as well as cultivating and maintaining relationships with key journalists;
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively, strategically, and quickly;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and proficiency in French is strongly desirable; proficiency in another language is an added value;
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights and/or international issues and the capacity to master and represent the mission and programs of HRW;
  • Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials, and external partners;
  • Capacity to appropriately plan and prioritize and to manage multiple, sometimes competing, demands efficiently in a challenging, fast-paced, pressured environment.  

Salary and benefits:  HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits.  HRW will pay reasonable relocation expenses and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.
To apply, submit in a single submission a CV, contact details of three referees, motivation letter of interest describing your experience and a brief writing sample (unedited by others) to Use “Advocacy Director Ref AFR-13-1044-B” as the subject of your email.

Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.
Only complete applications will be reviewed and only qualified candidates will be contacted.
Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

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