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Senior Program Officer, Human Rights and Public Services, and West Africa Lead


Location: Dakar, Senegal

Organization: The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Gl-ESCR)

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Gl-ESCR) is a non-governmental organisation that believes transformative change to end endemic problems of social and economic injustice is possible through a human rights lens. Our vision is of a world where the human rights framework reflects the real-world experiences of all of us, effectively furthering social and economic justice and human dignity, and catalysing change from the local to the global, back to the local.

Our Mission is to:

  • Strengthen the international human rights framework through creative standard-setting, so that the framework reflects the experiences, needs and aspirations of marginalised individuals, groups and communities, with a focus on creating beneficial jurisprudence aimed at transformative change.
  • Mobilise and partner with advocates, social movements and grassroots communities at national and local levels to more effectively claim and enforce economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights, including by engaging regional and international mechanisms for local impact.
  • Contribute to the effective promotion and realisation of ESC rights so that everyone can fully enjoy their ESC rights in practice, without discrimination and on the basis of equality.
  • Provide innovative tools and resources to ESC rights advocates and civil society actors, policy makers, development actors and others on the practical implementation and realisation of ESC rights.
  • Identify, respond to and provide thought leadership on emerging trends and threats to ESC rights.
  • Monitor and strengthen the international human rights mechanisms to ensure that they are accessible to ESC rights advocates and rights holders and effective mechanisms for ESC rights monitoring and accountability and facilitate and support civil society engagement with those bodies.

General Position Information

  • Job Title: Senior Program Officer, Human Rights and Public Services, and West Africa Lead
  • Location: Dakar.
  • Commitment: full time, 40 hours a week.
  • Salary Range: 3,500 USD to 4,500 USD gross per month (including income taxes), depending on level of experience.
  • Benefits: Contribution to additional health care in addition to the national system in Senegal; 25 days 2 of annual leave and 10 days of public holidays.
  • Deadline for applications: 12 July 2020, 23.59 hrs (Dakar time, GMT).
  • Start Date: As soon as possible.
  • Duration: 18-months contract, with the intention to extend to at least two years, and further extensions, depending on funding.
  • Probation period: 3 months.

Job Profile

GI-ESCR is seeking to recruit a committed Senior Program Officer, Human Rights and Public Services, and West Africa Lead who, under the management of the head of the program on human rights and public services, will assume primary responsibility for planning, developing, and implementing GI-ESCR’s vision and strategic plan in West Africa, and act as a focal point for the organisation for the work in Africa, including in particular the engagement with regional and sub-regional institutions (ECOWAS, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Union, etc.).

The work will focus on the human rights and public services program, in particular on the rights to education and health. The officer will also be in charge of developing the office of GI-ESCR in Dakar, and to increase the organisation’s presence, networks, and support to partners. S/he will be in charge of the management of staff in the local office.

Required Experience, Skills and Qualifications

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in law, or in related fields (political science, international relations, social sciences, etc.) with strong experience conducting human rights legal analysis. A first-level university degree in combination with 10 additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. A very good understanding of human rights law, acquired through studies or professional practice, is required.
  • A minimum of eight years of progressively responsible experience in human rights work, including substantive experience working on economic, social and cultural rights, and work for civil society organisations in Africa. Experience with another international organisation is highly desirable. Experience working on the rights to education or health will be an asset.
  • Experience conducting human rights advocacy and research and monitoring projects on human rights. Experience engaging with African and West African human rights and multilateral institutions, and a strong network with civil society organisations working on economic, social and cultural rights in the region, will be a strong asset.
  • Fluency in French and English, oral and written, is required. The work for this position will be conducted equally in both languages Additional languages will be an asset. Language skills will be tested during the recruitment process.
  • Understanding of project management, including basic accounting and reporting procedures, and managing relationships with donors.
  • Experience working with staff from diverse backgrounds and located in various time zones and working remotely will be an asset.

Person Specification

  • Passion for social justice, and in particular the defence and promotion of public services to realise human rights.
  • Ability to work alone and remotely, and to be self-motivated, without an in-person team or work and with a large amount of desk-based work.
  • Rigorous planner and attention to details when producing documents.
  • Ability to work well under pressure and to manage multiple priorities while working effectively towards deadlines.
  • Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within GI-ESCR as well as with external partners.
  • Very strong political judgement, ability to identify opportunities and to make assertive and sound decisions consistent with functions.
  • Ability to travel of at least 25% of the time.
  • Right to work in Senegal or in the ECOWAS region.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads the implementation of GI-ESCR’s projects on human rights and public services in West Africa, including planning and reporting to donors, and contributes to the development of new projects, under the management of the head of the program on public services and human rights.
  • Coordinates GI-ESCR’s advocacy efforts with the African Union (AU) and West African institutions, and in particular the African and ECOWAS human rights systems, participation in AU meetings and events, coordinating with partners.
  • Build relationships with major institutions and organisations covering or operating from West Africa, including ECOWAS and the Francophonie Organisation.
  • Prepares advocacy reports, statements and other relevant materials related to the region in coordination with other GI-ESCR staff.
  • Coordinates the relationship with partners in West Africa, and develops, cultivates, and supports a strong network of like-minded organisations in the region.
  • Provides capacity-building and technical support, in-person and remotely, on economic, social and cultural rights, in particular the rights to education and health, partners in the region.
  • Assigns, coordinates, and participates in research and monitoring activities in West Africa, working with partners to collect data in particular on human rights and public services, at the national or sub-regional level, and provides or contributes to human rights legal analyses.
  • Provides analysis on the political dynamics relevant for the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in the West Africa and on the continent.
  • Supports the development and the administration of the Dakar office, in consultation with GI- ESCR’s Senior Management Team, including support with relationships with the local authorities, local legal and fiscal questions, monitoring and reporting program finances and expenses, staff management, and planning and budget.
  • Supports work in French across the organisation.
  • Trains and supervises staff and interns in the West Africa office.
  • Support the fundraising efforts and relationship with donors in West Africa, and leads the preparation and editing of reports to these donors.
  • Performs other related duties as required.


PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge of and exposure to a range of human rights issues in particular economic, social and cultural rights. Knowledge of institutional mandates of human rights organisations, prevailing policies and procedures. Ability to evaluate and integrate information from a variety of sources and assess impact on the human rights situation in the region of assignment, including the political environment and legal statutes as they pertain to human rights. Ability to complete in-depth studies and reach conclusions on possible causes and solutions to human rights problems in specific societies and systems. Ability to relate to human rights issues and perspectives, including their gender equality dimensions, to political, social, economic and humanitarian programmes in affected countries and areas. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

COMMUNICATION: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively in French and English. Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately. Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication. Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience. Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
TEAMWORK: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organisational goals. Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others. Places team agenda before personal agenda. Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position. Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

PLANNING & ORGANISING: Develops clear goals for the work in the region that are consistent with GI-ESCR’s vision and strategic plan. Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required. Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work. Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning. Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary. Uses time efficiently.

Selection Process

The selection process will have the following phases:

  1. Submission and review of applications.
  2. Shortlisting of candidates. Short listed applicants will be contacted for an interview online.
  3. Interviews and a brief practical exam will be conducted for all shortlisted applicants.
  4. Notification of the successful applicant. We kindly request candidates not to call or send inquiries by email to request information about the progress of your application.

Due to the high volume of applications expected, we are only able to follow up with candidates who are selected for interviews. GI-ESCR is committed to the principle of equal of opportunity in employment, therefore, applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

See the full job description

How to apply:

Please apply by 12 July 2020, 23.59 hrs. (Dakar time, GMT) by filling-in this form, and uploading your CV and cover letter.

Apply online

For any question or inquiry, please contact, including “West Africa vacancy” in the subject line.

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