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Search for Common Ground is Looking for a Policy and Coordination Officer – African Union/Youth, Peace and Security (YPS)

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Search for Common Ground is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to peacebuilding, with operations in 30 conflict-affected countries across the globe, and headquarters in the USA and in Belgium. We have about 1,000 colleagues across the globe, 95% of whom are locals from the places where we implement our peacebuilding work. 

The Project:

As part of an EU-funded project called ‘Power of the Collective, AU-EU Youth Voices lab’, for 2024-2028, we are hiring a Policy and Coordination Officer to be based in either Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Nairobi or Mombasa (Kenya). The project, implemented as part of a consortium led by Oxfam Intermón, aims to support young people and youth-led groups and networks to effectively advocate for their concerns at local, national, regional, continental and cross-continental level, with a particular focus on the AU-EU partnership in Africa. Moreover, it aims to ensure that institutions, governments, partners and corporations become more youth-centred, and meaningfully collaborate with youth in the development and implementation of policies and in decision-making moments and spaces. While the AU/YPS Policy and Coordination Officer will be based in either Ethiopia or Kenya, activities for the project will also take place in several other African countries as well as in Brussels, Belgium. Activities with the EU and in Brussels will be coordinated by a fellow Policy Officer in Brussels.

The Candidate:

The Policy and Coordination Officer will coordinate Search’s overall participation in the project and support youth-led and youth-focused advocacy activities towards the AU within the project. This will include:

(1) representing Search in the consortium,

(2) coordinating closely with all consortium partners to support agreed upon activities successfully,

(3) supporting coalitions of youth-led groups with overall advice and mentorship on coalition-building and policy influencing, including by providing trainings on advocacy,

(4) leading the engagement with key stakeholders within AU institutions, and

(5) supporting meaningful intergenerational capacity strengthening efforts with key AU stakeholders, and creating spaces for exchange between AU stakeholders and youth-led groups.

The Policy and Coordination Officer will be a member of Search’s Strategy Alignment Team, reporting to the Director of Children and Youth Programmes, and will be required to engage and collaborate with a range of other key departments across the organisation (including global policy, grants management and teams in Kenya and Belgium) to achieve the project’s objectives.

Responsibilities:

  • Coordinates, facilitates and convenes across offices, partner organisations and institutions;
  • Builds and maintains working-level relationships with stakeholders including policymakers, youth-led groups, and consortium partners in the Project Management Unit;
  • Represents Search at external meetings and events;
  • Proposes advocacy strategies for specific policy engagements and draws lessons from successes and failures of past strategies;
  • Conducts policy analysis, and writes policy documents, messages and presentations;
  • Ensures content and practical coordination of the project with key partners, supporting project coordination by Oxfam, including by representing Search in coalition meetings, while also contributing to planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, and effective partner management;
  • Conducts youth-adapted capacity building trainings and workshops, coaching and mentoring;
  • Supports research, including stakeholder mappings; 
  • Collaborates closely with relevant field-based colleagues and technical experts across and outside the organisation;
  • Occasionally produces joint op-eds and social media content and is considered a representative of the organisation on social media.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, International Relations, Conflict Studies, Social Sciences, African Studies, Development/Humanitarian Studies or related field; 
  • Minimum of 6 years of relevant work experience (or Master’s Degree with minimum 4 years of relevant experience) in the youth sector, peacebuilding, development cooperation, humanitarian aid or education.
  • Strong knowledge of AU institutions and legislative processes;
  • Demonstrated advocacy expertise, influencing policies on youth, participation, development cooperation, humanitarian aid, or peacebuilding; 
  • Demonstrated networking skills;
  • Demonstrated facilitation, training and convening skills;
  • Excellent writing, editing, and verbal communications skills in English.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Research proficiency, including the ability to gather, analyse, and present data;
  • Experience working in youth-led organisations or conducting youth-led advocacy;
  • Existing contacts network in youth-led coalitions, in particular in the field of peace and security;
  • Existing contacts network in the AU;
  • Excellent writing, editing and verbal communications skills in French;
  • Experience working in conflict-affected countries;
  • Experience working in the development cooperation, humanitarian or peacebuilding sector. 
  • Experience in organising events and workshops;
  • Experience in (youth-focused) capacity building, training, coaching, or mentoring.

General Competencies (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities):

  • Initiates brainstorming or problem-solving processes;
  • Employs strategic and analytical thinking. With time on the job, develops skills for analysing and communicating programme successes and failures; reports lessons learned to the team and other members;
  • Ability to represent Search at local and international events and meetings;
  • Can  independently initiate and maintain relations with policy makers, partners, funders, and companies;
  • Demonstrates appreciation for diversity of thought. Builds cross-functional relationships with other functional departments;
  • Demonstrates ability to be adaptable and willing to confront and change own ideas and preconceptions with the resiliency and flexibility to make changes based on hearing a diversity of thoughts;
  • Drafts clear and compelling team documents, briefing materials, and presentations;
  • Coordinates across functions from a multicultural perspective that reflects consideration of other cultures, other viewpoints, and other ways of doing things;
  • Recognizes the options available for solving problems, conducts analyses, and uses technical tools to support informed decision making;
  • Conducts quality control of team documents, briefing materials, presentations, and systems data. Carefully reviews and checks the accuracy of information in work reports, management information systems. Proactively informs management of potential risks and concerns; suggests resolutions;
  • Independently prioritises time to reach deadlines and reaches end results of assignments with ability to accomplish multiple steps with limited to no supervision.

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements:

Working conditions are dependent on the final location. Depending on location, may be required to travel 10-20% of the time.

Supervisory responsibility:

The position currently won’t supervise any staff. The person may, over time,  supervise one or more staff members, including interns, fellows or associates. This position doesn’t have day-to-day supervisory responsibilities but could from time to time include providing support for others such as fellows and interns.

Location:

This position will be based in one of the countries within the Central & East Africa Region, preferably in Kenya or Ethiopia (to be determined with the final candidate).

Foreseen Start Date

April 2024.

Application Deadline: 1 April 2024.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the position holder may be required to undertake other duties that are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

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Only applicants invited for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please. Please see our website www.sfcg.org for full details of our work.All Search Employees must adhere to the values: Collaboration- Audacity – Tenacity – Empathy – Results. In accordance with these values, Search enforces compliance with the Code of Conduct and related policies on Anti Workplace Harassment, Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Conflict of Interest, and Anti-fraud. Search is committed to safeguarding the interests, rights, and well-being of children, youth, and vulnerable adults with whom it is in contact and to conducting its programs and operations in a manner that is safe for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.Search for Common Ground does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.View our code of conduct hereand our privacy policy here.

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