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ActionAid International

Director of Policy, Research, Advocacy and Campaigns

About the Role

The purpose of this role is to enhance the ability of ActionAid (AAI) to bring about policy change at local, national and international levels by promoting sound policy research; advancing and delivering AAI’s campaign signature; coordinating global advocacy initiatives; and contributing to the integration of policy, programs and campaigns. 

Direct Reports

  • Head of Campaigns
  • Head of Policy
  • Advocacy and Research
  • Team Administrator

Key Activities

People Leadership and Management

  • As a member of the International Leadership Team (ILT); act as a key change agent, reinforce AAI’s mission, vision and values and make informed decisions.
  • Lead and manage the Policy, Research, Advocacy and Campaigns (PRAC) Directorate within a clear performance management framework, promoting a culture of high performance; continuous improvement; positive communication and teamwork.
  • Ensure good management at all levels within the PRAC Directorate.
  • Interpret and apply all AAI’s HR policies consistently and effectively, ensuring that all staff are aware of and comply with these policies.

Strategy, Planning and Budgets

  • As a member of the ILT, participate in the development of AAI’s international strategy.
  • Ensure a full understanding of AAI’s strategy and objectives, and in that context, lead the design, implementation and management of the PRAC Directorate and project plans, engaging staff and other stakeholders in the process.
  • Monitor, assess and respond as necessary to changes in the external environment, ensuring that these changes are reflected in the PRAC’s Directorate’s strategy and project plans.
  • Be accountable for the budget of the entire PRAC Directorate, including the development of the budget.


  • Lead and advance AAI’s campaign signature;
  • Lead the co-ordination of AAI’s multi-country campaigns;
  • Set standards for campaign planning;
  • Provide advice, mentoring and feedback to country-led campaigns;
  • Lead the production of common campaign communication assets;
  • Promote new methods of campaigning and mobilisation.

 Policy, Research and Advocacy

  • Lead policy research and content analysis, promoting AAI’s enhanced human rights based approach;
  • Ensure effective and focused global advocacy initiatives, with clear influence objectives, alliance building, coherence and clarity as well as integration with countries and other IS units;
  • Develop public policy positions, including production and sign off to ensure consistency and quality assurance;
  • Co-ordinate the policy analysis and research for multi-country international campaigns or programmes.

External Representation and Alliance Building

  • Co-ordinate AAI representation at the international level and build relationships with social movements and other key allies to share best practice and learning.
  • Foster external networks of expertise and create knowledge hubs or centres that connect internal and external research and policy.
  • Ensure clear global alliance strategies and lead in their implementation. 

Capacity Development

  • Build the capacity of PRAC and leverage skills at country level to deliver policy, research, advocacy and campaigns.


  • Lead the development and implementation of a youth strategy;
  • Integrate youth and activists within campaigning;
  • Increase and ensure greater coherence on the federation’s youth work;
  • Better integrate youth work within policy, advocacy, research and campaigns and promote the mobilisation of poor youth.

Financial Management

  • Responsible for managing delegated budget responsibility for resources within approved limits.;
  • Responsible for preparing activity-based budgets and monitoring actual monthly spend against these budgets, including providing relevant accruals and explanations of variances;
  • Responsible for approving all transactions (including amendments) to their budget;
  • Act within the parameters set by the international secretariat financial policies and procedures.


  • Value Practice: Demonstrate a strong commitment to develop, promote and practice AAI’s vision, mission, values and strategy;
  • Women’s Leadership and Gender:  Act upon a commitment to gender issues with a strong focus on women’s leadership;
  • Collaboration: promote and use cross-functional learning; participate (where applicable) in international platforms and cross-functional project initiatives within AAI.
  • Accountability: Promote, practice and contribute to the continuous improvement of transparency and accountability in the federation in line with the AAI Accountability Charter.
  • Provide support to the committee of the international board;
  • Carry out any other duties that are within the scope of the job. 

Personal Specifications

Education, Language & Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree with significant experience working in policy, research, campaigns and advocacy.
  • Good command of the English language both verbal and written.

Essential Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • A high-achieving, strategic, experienced and dynamic professional with a proven ability to develop a clear strategy for the PRAC Directorate.
  • Proven experience managing and leading a large diversified team, with a focus on high performance and problem solving.
  • A proven track record of facilitative, collaborative team management to drive a culture of accountability, and ownership along with a natural ability to network and build successful and lasting relationships. 
  • Proven track record of leading processes that resulted in, or contributed to policy changes at an international level.
  • Outstanding communication skills across various cultures.
  • A commercial acumen with expertise in budgeting, strategy and planning and a flair for innovation.
  • Commitment to AAI’s vision, mission and values.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience working at an international leadership level, including working with boards. 

Competency Profile

  • Strategic Perspective: Demonstrates understanding of the organisation’s priorities and goals and effectively analyse complex problems.:
  • Change Management: Uses effective strategies to facilitate organisation change initiatives and overcome resistance to change by involving others, listening and building commitment;
  • Decisiveness: Prefers quick and appropriate actions in many management situations;
  • Leading Employees: Attracts, motivates, and develops employees;
  • Building Collaborative Relationships: Builds productive working relationships with co-workers and external parties, whilst valuing people of different backgrounds, cultures and demographics;
  • Communication: Expresses ideas clearly and concisely and disseminates information about decisions and plans;
  • Leading with Purpose: Has personal direction and is not easily side tracked by details or workload;
  •  Credibility: Acts in accordance with stated values; follows through on promises; uses ethical considerations to guide decisions and actions;
  • Taking Initiative:  Takes charge and capitalizes on opportunities.