Our searches

Our clients have exclusively retained Mission Talent to undertake these searches on their behalf.
African Women’s Development Fund

Director of Programmes

About AWDF

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) resources, strengthens and upholds women’s rights and feminist organisations and movements across Africa to make gender justice a reality for all on the continent and worldwide. In its first 22 years, AWDF disbursed approximately USD 68 million to women’s rights organisations, primarily throughout Africa (and in selected Middle Eastern countries through one of its projects). Through its grantmaking, programmatic and advocacy work, AWDF has supported work that led to changes in law and policy, social norms, narratives, and movement-building for gender justice. 

In 2023, building on its strong track record, AWDF launched Lemlem, the ten-year strategic framework that will guide its efforts to advance gender justice for girls, women and gender-diverse people across Africa over the next decade. At its core, the strategy focuses on resourcing, nurturing and strengthening those best placed to achieve transformative change: African women’s and feminist groups, organisations and movements. A programme strategy has been developed to set out key programmatic priorities and approaches in implementing Lemlem.  To ensure the effective implementation of AWDF’s strategy, the Programmes department has recently undergone a restructuring process that ensures the organisation delivers on the Fund’s new strategic direction. 

About the Director of Programmes

The Director of Programmes at AWDF plays a pivotal role in translating the organisation’s strategic goals into impactful actions supporting African women’s rights and feminist organisations. She/They nurtures these movements’ resilience, knowledge, and voice, fostering solidarity and care among actors by leading the development of programmatic strategies, initiatives, and processes.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Programmes oversees a multicultural, multi-disciplinary, partly remote team with the support of three Programme Managers. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, this position collaborates closely with the CEO, the Director of Operations, the Director of Partnerships and Philanthropy and the Senior Management Team to provide thought leadership and contribute to management decisions that ultimately build a healthy, accountable, and efficient organisation.

Externally, the Director of Programmes is a key ambassador – establishing and maintaining strong relationships with funding partners, developing strategic alliances with peers in African and international philanthropy, and increasing AWDF’s visibility on a global stage. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Leadership, Management, and Team Development:

  • Lead programmatic initiatives to achieve AWDF’s Strategic Framework goals.
  • Drive change processes and identify strategies for effective adaptation.
  • Co-lead the creation of a collaborative, strategic, and feminist-values-centred team environment.
  • Oversee day-to-day programme operations, providing coaching, conducting performance reviews, and fostering continuous learning.
  • Collaborate with the CEO and HR Manager on team recruitment, retention, and succession planning.
  • Monitor team performance, identify issues, and implement solutions to maintain organisational standards.
  • Provide strategic oversight aligned with AWDF’s new framework, emphasising feminist values and African feminist movement trends.
  • Contribute to gender justice, feminist movement building, and philanthropy discussions.
  • Guide grantmaking, decision-making processes, and budget management for impactful support.
  • Enhance movement agency, amplify voices, and foster solidarity within African feminist movements.
  • Develop monitoring frameworks, evaluate progress, and promote a culture of learning.

Budget, Financial Management, and Reporting:

  • Develop and review the Programmes Department’s work plans and budgets aligned with organisational goals.
  • Efficiently manage the Programmes Department’s budget, aligning with AWDF policies.
  • Oversee timely and accurate financial reporting, meeting AWDF’s standards.
  • Act as a signatory for AWDF accounts.

Relationships, Partnerships, and External Representation:

  • Develop and execute engagement strategies, including resource mobilisation and partnerships.
  • Build relationships with funding partners, movement allies, feminist funds, and influential figures.
  • Represent AWDF in networks, consortia, public forums, media, and events.
  • Advocate for AWDF’s values and goals externally, contributing to messaging and campaigns.

Skills and Experience

  • 8-10 years in social justice, human rights, or gender justice leadership roles in Africa.
  • Preferably experienced in philanthropy or grantmaking and accompaniment of civil society actors in Africa or the Global South, with knowledge of feminist philanthropy.
  • Strong understanding of global human rights, gender justice, and feminist movements.
  • Proven ability to design responsive programmes and anticipate future trends strategically.
  • Demonstrated leadership in strategic planning and organisational decision-making.
  • Skilled in fostering collaboration, trust, and inclusivity within teams.
  • Track record of successful collaboration with diverse partners and communities.
  • Excellent written and oral communication in English. French, Arabic or Portuguese proficiency is desirable.


  • Engages effectively in collaborative initiatives.
  • Identifies as an African feminist and is dedicated to gender justice in Africa.
  • Strong commitment to non-discrimination and inclusive diversity.
  • Consistently demonstrates ethical, feminist leadership.
  • Takes responsibility, maintains confidentiality, and values accountability.
  • Fosters respectful, open communication and values diverse perspectives.
  • Innovative problem-solver with a proactive, autonomous, and accountable work ethic.


*Salary Details

Midpoint: USD 116,091.12 (annually) + benefits. In practice, AWDF only make offers between the entry point and the midpoint of our salary scale