Executive Director of Africa Division

Africa Division
Location: TBD
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled
The Program Department of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a senior, experienced professional as the Executive Director of Africa Division, which is the organization’s chief strategist and representative for all matters involving sub-Saharan Africa.  The Executive Director is responsible for developing effective research, advocacy and communications strategies for maximum impact in defending human rights in sub-Saharan Africa, and for ensuring that these strategies inform the work of the entire organization. The Executive Director is also responsible for supervising talented staff, setting priorities and overseeing detailed research on human rights issues in sub-Saharan Africa including emergency situations by publishing compelling, analytic reports and other advocacy materials and using these publications to generate domestic and international pressure to curb human rights violations. The position could be based in HRW’s Nairobi or Johannesburg offices, but other options including Human Rights Watch’s New York headquarters are possible. The position reports to the Deputy Program Director based in New York.
Essential Responsibilities:
  1. Set program priorities and oversee research, reporting, and advocacy on human rights issues in sub-Saharan Africa;
  2. Oversee the publication of analytical and credible reports and other advocacy materials, ensuring such materials generate domestic and international pressure to curb human rights in sub-Saharan Africa;
  3. Communicate regularly with the Deputy Executive Director for Program, his deputies, and other HRW senior managers to ensure the program’s policies and objectives are aligned with the organization’s focus;
  4. Liaise effectively with HRW staff around the world to ensure effective coordination of the Africa Division’s work across program boundaries to maximize impact;
  5. Respond to and/or anticipate relevant news events in order to frame developing news stories through a human rights prism, advise senior management on effective responses and advocacy strategies, and project a human rights perspective into coverage of key human rights issues, regionally, nationally, and globally;
  6. Represent the organization frequently before the international media and advocate with high-level officials from governments, multilateral organizations, African Union, United Nations, and other relevant international and regional institutions;
  7. Coordinate closely with the Development Department on fundraising, providing requested information, drafting reports to donors in a timely manner, promoting the work of HRW as a whole, and actively soliciting and following up with potential new donors to achieve program-specific fundraising goals;
  8. Foresee risks and allow for contingencies when planning; monitor and adjust program plans and actions as necessary; and resolve any disputes or conflicts in a timely manner with appropriate consultation with supervisors and HRW senior managers;
  9. Collaborate with key colleagues within HRW and externally with allied organizations; 
  10. Travel internationally on a frequent basis; and
  11. Carry out other duties as necessary.
Managerial Responsibilities:
  1. Manage the division’s output and staff effectively with the aim of promoting and maintaining strong unity and sense of purpose within the program;
  2. Manage the division’s budget, in cooperation with the Finance Division and others in the division, to ensure adequate and timely oversight of resources and ensure that resources are allocated to maximize impact;
  3. Establish clear work plans for staff based in three continents and communicate priorities clearly and effectively and provide oversight and take responsibility for delegated assignments;
  4. Ensure that the workload of staff is manageable and the reporting lines are clear;
  5. Provide appropriate and timely feedback on staff performance and leadership on employee relations through effective communication, conflict mediation, guidance, coaching, and training, including with staff in supervisory positions;
  6. Operate in compliance with organizational regulations and rules, including the policies of applicable employee agreements; and
  7. Ensure the security of staff, information security, and security of interlocutors and partners in their work with HRW; ensure that staff receive appropriate training in security policies and procedures, and that relevant policies and procedures are implemented effectively; and oversee the security of offices under direct program supervision.
Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in law, human rights, African studies, international relations, public policy or a relevant field is required.
Experience: A minimum of 10 years of extensive, varied experience in human rights work concerning Africa or comparable work including investigations, reporting, and advocacy, with at least five years in a management position is required.
Related Skills and Knowledge:
  1. Extensive knowledge of and substantive senior-level experience working on human rights in Africa is required.
  2. Demonstrated ability to think strategically and creatively and work quickly and well under pressure are required.
  3. Capacity to serve as an effective spokesperson, advocate and activist is required.
  4. Track record of dealing with the media and cultivating relationships with journalists is required; experience with multimedia and social media is desirable.
  5. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required; proficiency in French and/or other relevant languages is highly desirable.
  6. Ability to defend and explain complex issues and positions to governments and intergovernmental bodies at the highest level is required.
  7. Ability to work collegially in a demanding, diverse and fast-paced environment and strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials and external partners are required.
  8. Excellent leadership skills and recognized management experience are required, including supervising a team of talented professionals from diverse backgrounds and cultures in multiple global locations.
  9. Keen judgment and capacity to appropriately plan, organize, prioritize and manage multiple, sometimes competing demands efficiently in a challenging environment is required.
  10. Self-motivation with proven initiative and follow-through are required. 
  11. Strong commitment to human rights are required.
  12. Relevant international field experience and familiarity with human rights research methodologies and international human rights laws are desirable.
Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply: Please apply immediately by visiting our online job portal at https://careers-hrw.icims.com/jobs/1303/login. No phone calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, please email recruitment@hrw.org. Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.
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.
Human Rights Watch 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.