Research and Policy Lead, Jhb – Filled

About Oxfam South AfricaOxfam Logo

Oxfam South Africa is a new, independent organisation whose mandate begins in, but extends beyond South Africa. Oxfam has been engaged with social justice in South Africa for more than 50 years, a legacy OZA consolidates and deepens. OZA has developed an ambitious Strategic plan aimed at advancing social justice in South Africa and beyond, with a focus on addressing the systemic roots of poverty and inequality.

Oxfam, one of the leading global development organisations, is driven by a vision of a just world without poverty and mobilises the power of people to achieve that vision. It is a diverse confederation of 17 strongly interconnected national affiliates working in over 90 countries, either directly, or with partners to enable transformational change, using a unique combination of long-term development, campaigning and humanitarian programmes. OZA joins Oxfam as one of the confederation’s newest Southern members and will be the confederation’s first African affiliate.

Research is central to Oxfam South Africa’s capacity as an influencing organisation, able to mobilise popular consensus and voice and campaigns on critical social justice issues relating to its mission. To this end, OZA will undertake innovative, hard hitting research and a coherent research agenda that will support all its programmes, projects, campaigns, policy advocacy activities and efforts.

OZA is looking for a dynamic individual, with experience and strengths in research, policy advocacy and campaigns. Whilst this is not a “campaigner” role, strong experience and track record in developing and leading successful campaigns is critical. The incumbent will have experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including action research methodologies. S/he should have the ability to visualize long-term strategy for Oxfam and align short term goals to that. The Policy and Research Advisor will be a core member of the Oxfam Senior Leadership Team and have the opportunity to significantly contribute to overall design and strategy for the organization.

OZA’s policy advocacy is linked to its grass roots programming and evidence-based research to upscale the impact of its work. It produces and commissions research work in its key thematic areas of Economic Justice (which includes a focus on land, food and climate justice, extractives and people’s economic alternatives and livelihoods), Women’s Rights and Gender Justice, Democracy and Governance (Focusing on strengthening people’s movements and citizen activism for transparent, accountable policy making and governance).

It publishes policy briefs and working papers on a regular basis to inform the public debate on the relevant themes.

As a member of the Oxfam Confederation, OZA will also implement Oxfam International’s ambition to make Oxfam a pivot of a Worldwide Influencing Network. It will do so by supporting national change; strengthen the ability of all our stakeholders to raise their voices against injustice of poverty and inequality in a digital world; strengthen Oxfam’s position as a thought leader on inequality and poverty and amplify the power of its network.

About the Role

To provide quality thought leadership, heads the Research and Policy Portfolio of Oxfam South Africa. The Research and Policy Lead develops and manages a fully integrated strategy for Research and Policy influence in line with the organization’s vision. S/he works across the organization, forging strategic partnerships to develop the capability of OZA as a leading agency on development research that feeds into ongoing policy dialogues and processes of change which improves the lives of people. S/he works across all OZA’s thematic and functional teams, and with the Head of Programmes, Campaigns and Advocacy ensuring a strong evidence base for OZA’s campaigns, programmes and advocacy initiatives.

 Roles & Responsibilities

  1. Strategic Leadership
  • Provide strategic leadership as a member of the senior management team.
  • Develop a fully integrated strategy for Research and Policy influence and Campaigns in line with the organization’s vision.
  • Provides strategic support and sound policy advocacy and other advice to the Executive Director
  • Works as a member of the Senior Management Team to develop and deliver a high quality national and global policy influencing agenda on OZA’s prioritized themes that seek critical changes in relation to institutional policies/responses
  • Ensure that OZA’s research, policy work and campaigns are innovative and effective and position Oxfam at the forefront of the development debate and in best practice.
  • Ensure effective management of Oxfam South Africa’s research and policy work, through an integrated rights-based approach both in South Africa and abroad.
  • Give Strategic research and policy leadership and support across all OZA Programme teams
  • Lead and support the drafting of key policy briefs and position papers
  • Build strategic partnerships and linkages with research institutions
  • Give support to OZA communications teams to ensure policy alignment and consistency in all our public engagements and messaging
  • S/he will have the responsibility for supporting with evidence, campaign development in priority areas, continued improvement through learning for quality and impact
  • Support the establishment and work of OZA’s Knowledge Hub on People’s Sustainable Economic Alternatives and Livelihoods
  • Engage and lead on establishing OZA as a leading agency on development policy and campaigns, nationally and globally.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically about the global and local media environments and how to use the media and electronic media to further advocacy goals is desirable
  1. Management
  • This position does not manage any one team. It works across all OZA’s thematic teams and functions, providing effective management to a rich portfolio of campaigns, research and policy interventions and provides support to for the thematic leads’s research and campaign functions.
  • Works as a key member of the one Oxfam WIN team in Southern Africa, the Wider African Continent and beyond
  • Plays an effective role in the wider Oxfam International confederation as a member of its various groups and committees and represent OZA’s interest as a key Southern Affiliate in the wider global confederation
  • Has strong initiative and follow-through, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, excellent writing and editing skills, and a dynamic public speaking ability as well as solid field research and documentation skills
  • Has strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within Oxfam, as well as with external partners
  • Ability to work quickly and effectively under pressure with a broad range of people and as part of a team
  1. Resource Mobilization
  • Supports fundraising activities, through supporting the development of fundable concepts at all
  • Levels and by developing donor proposals and other necessary activities to secure funding for activities within their portfolio of work.
  • Meets with donors to generate interest in funding for all of OZA’s work, research projects, Programmes and campaigns
  • Seeks out and responds to calls for proposals that align with OZA’s work in their respective areas of focus and the wider OZA programme, policy advocacy and campaigns.
  1. Public Engagement
  • Represents OZA in strategic forums and platforms
  • Leads supports the production of compelling Materials which powerfully put across OZA’s policy and campaign messages
  • Represents OZA in the media and actively seeks out media opportunities to profile issues of importance to OZA and the wider Oxfam Confederation 


Skills and Experience

Must Haves:

  • A Post Graduate degree in a relevant discipline (Preferably an M. Phil or a Ph.D or.) with minimum 10 -12 years of experience of which at least 4 years have been in senior management role.
  • A successful record in leading and managing integrated research, policy and campaigns programmes including designing, implementation and monitoring in a growing and credible organisation.
  • Proven experience of policy analysis and advocacy work and ability to negotiate and agree policy positions amongst different stakeholders.
  • Proven experience of developing, negotiating and agreeing influencing strategies with partners and alliances, with demonstrable skills in planning and implementing campaign strategies.
  • Comprehensive knowledge, analysis and understanding about issues related to poverty, inequality and injustice nationally and internationally.
  • Experience of leading/working on policy research, positioning and dialogue as well as campaigns design and development. 


  • Demonstrated success in delivery of effective policies and practice.
  • Progressive Political bent of mind with a track record of influencing stakeholders for positive social change.
  • Indepth experience working with people’s movements and grassroots organisations as well as with policy makers
  • Commitment to and evidence of promoting gender and diversity equity is essential.
  • Commitment to Oxfam South Africa’s values and mission is essential.
  • Indepth knowledge and experience working in either of OZA’s thematic areas of focus is desirable

Personal Traits

  • Excellent communication skills for lobbying and media work. Ability to communicate complex issues in a clear manner is essential
  • Sensitivity towards gender, sexual, ethnic and cultural identities.
  • Ability to motivate and inspire colleagues to achieve at a high level.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively is essential
  • Ability to prioritize, plan and organize work in a complex institutional setting is essential
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Fluent written and spoken English and excellent report writing skills
  • Computer literate

How to Apply

All applications and queries must be addressed to KM Global Consulting and sent directly to stating OXFAM-RPL-RSA in the subject line.

Deadline: 26th June, 2015