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Amnesty International

Regional Director, East and Southern Africa

About Amnesty International

The International Secretariat, which operates from several sites worldwide, gathers and communicates accurate and action-oriented human rights information globally. They campaign for meaningful human rights change and enable effective human rights activism. They also work to persuade governments and other actors to uphold universal human rights standards. Amnesty International provides strategic leadership, support and advice to the Amnesty movement globally, fostering Amnesty’s contribution, presence and public accountability throughout the world.

Purpose of the East and Southern Africa Regional Office

The Regional office plays a critical role in the Amnesty International Secretariat, gathering and communicating accurate and action-oriented human rights information. The Regional Office works jointly with partners in the region, with duty bearers, and with the wider movement to ensure people enjoy their fundamental human rights. The Regional Office delivers on the vision to end grave human rights abuses and build societies respectful of human rights. Across the region, Amnesty International documents and campaigns for meaningful change, supports national entities, enables effective activism and growth, and works to persuade governments and other actors to uphold universal human rights standards. The office provides strategic leadership, support, and advice to the Amnesty International movement globally, fostering its contribution, presence and public accountability worldwide. 

About the Role

The Regional Director, East and Southern Africa (ESA) will:

  • Lead and oversee Amnesty’s work in the region through a high capacity International Secretariat presence distributed between offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya 
  • Lead the development and implementation of integrated strategies to deliver human rights impact in, on and across relevant countries in the region, ensuring they are coherent with globally agreed strategy and priorities and undertaken in collaboration with other key stakeholders within and outside Amnesty International 
  • Support all dimensions of Amnesty International’s country-level work as required by the relevant Section/ National Office
  • Ensure the integrated working of the multi-functional office to deliver effective research, advocacy, campaigning, communication, movement-building, growth, fundraising and key relationship-building strategies
  • Represent the organisation, strategically advocating Amnesty’s positions and building partnerships 
  • Participate in the leadership, management and development of the International Secretariat and global movement
  • Be responsible for overall risk management of all Amnesty presences in the region.

Duties and Responsibilities

Leadership and Management

  • Oversee the management of the Regional Office, ensuring effective and cohesive working 
  • Scan the external world for opportunities and threats by maintaining an overview of legal, political, human rights and other relevant developments within the region 
  • Provide strategic leadership for the work in the region, including the development and effective implementation of human rights projects and initiatives (including research, advocacy, campaigns, communications, mobilisation and fundraising) in line with globally agreed priorities 
  • Enhance Amnesty International’s profile and presence in the region, including by leading the strategy for mobilisation and growth of the movement in the region, playing an oversight role as necessary 
  • Represent Amnesty International by building relationships and undertaking advocacy 
  • Recruit and manage the staff of the office and ensure performance is managed and talent is nurtured 
  • Establish and promote an organisational culture of collaboration and cohesion within the office and with other offices/programmes in the International Secretariat and wider Amnesty movement 
  • Ensure that the values, standards and priorities of Amnesty International are instilled in staff and adhered to 

Quality Assurance and Reporting 

  • Ensure compliance with globally developed quality assurance and impact assessment methodologies to ensure consistency and impartiality
  • Measure human rights impact within the region 
  • Ensure the timely delivery of agreed plans and that the team reports with sufficient clarity and detail on the impact of their work, including to funders 
  • Be accountable for all outputs from the regional office in line with globally agreed standards, including research, law and policy standards. 

Finance and Risk Management 

  • Determine the strategic allocation of the Regional Office’s resources 
  • With support from the Finance and Office Manager, ensure the Regional Office’s compliance with relevant laws, policies and practices and ensure best practices, including good financial management and regular financial audits as required 
  • Set, monitor, manage and report on budget and expenditure for the Regional Office and ensure the office has strong financial controls supported by the Finance and Office Manager; 
  • Be accountable for the duty of care of staff, including, where necessary, the development and implementation of internal security, health and safety and human resources policies and standards, supported by the Finance and Office Manager and other staff. 

Skills and Experience

  • Excellent grasp of human rights issues in the region and a clear record of standing up for human rights and social justice
  • Demonstrated substantive knowledge and understanding of the political, economic, human rights and social context in the region 
  • Experience working in a key leadership role in a complex organisation and matrix-managing a cross-functional and multi-cultural team, coaching them toward new ways of working 
  • Demonstrated experience and capability as a leader who can influence the direction of Amnesty’s impact within the region, including by identifying and accessing the most effective channels for advocacy 
  • Experience in convening and building collaboration with civil society and maintaining an active network of contacts in governments, domestic civil society, international organisations and media 
  • Demonstrated experience representing an organisation at a senior level, advocating positions with authority and credibility and dealing with media in the region 
  • Understanding or experience of campaigning or mobilisation 
  • Experience living and working in the region, and the ability to travel regularly


  • A strategic thinker with a developed capacity to build and convey the “big picture” while enabling others to identify the implications of this for their daily work; excellent political judgement
  • Ability to inspire and motivate others, ensuring delivery under pressure while building collaboration 
  • Well-developed communication, presentation, advocacy and representational skills for diverse audiences, including donors and the media, and the ability to influence 
  • Willingness to be accountable and to receive and give performance-related feedback 
  • Ability to lead and manage staff and financial resources, including setting, managing and monitoring plans and budgets 
  • Proven ability to work under pressure, including coping with deadlines, multiple tasks and competing demands 
  • Written and oral fluency in English is essential; the ability to speak one or more languages from the region is highly desirable, and other relevant languages are desirable
  • Excellent English writing and editing ability
  • Ability to work in a manner that is consistent with the organisation’s core behaviours and competencies 

Personal Style and Attributes 

  • Personal credibility, with a professional demeanour that generates the trust and confidence of managers, staff and external stakeholders 
  • Record of leading by example and demonstrating a high degree of integrity and emotional intelligence 
  • High level of resilience and drive, with the ability to be flexible and work in a changing environment 
  • Inclination to set themselves and others challenging but achievable targets 
  • Ability to see links and opportunities that others might miss and use new approaches, theories and technologies to develop innovative solutions, taking calculated risks to enhance the impact 
  • Ability to engage and influence, using a challenging but respectful approach, including when leading change and dealing with conflict, brokering solutions to achieve goals 
  • Personal engagement with human rights and social justice