Duration: 79 months (on a contract basis with some possibility of extension)

Location: East Africa (preferably Ethiopia)


Refugee policy is often made without the participation of refugees.  This is the case at international, regional and national levels.  As a consequence, policies further marginalize refugees themselves, contribute to the stigmatization of refugees, and are ineffective and are unsustainable. 

Independent Diplomat’s (ID) Refugee Project aims to secure inclusion of refugees at all levels of policy and decision-making as a matter of practice and to ensure refugee representatives have the skills, tools and information to influence decision-making to their and their communities’ advantage.  To do this, ID supports Refugee-led Organizations (RLO) around the world to influence refugee policy at international, regional and local levels.  Project activities center on providing information to RLOs on and access to key decision-making bodies and individuals; building skills (diplomatic, negotiation, communications) so that refugee representatives are equipped to transform access into policy change; and providing information, advice and analysis to ensure that refugees have the substantive advice that any policymaker should expect to be furnished with if they are to be effective (the kind of service that states have through their bureaucracies, but that RLOs do not).

Position Purpose

Independent Diplomat seeks an Africa Regional Policy Officer to provide substantive strategic, research and analytical, and operational support to ID’s Refugee Project Team, under the coordination of the Refugee Project Manager.  The Regional Policy Officer will join the Project at a critical moment.  January 2021 marked the launch of a new, two-year, phase of the Project that will increase activity in Africa. 

To achieve this purpose, the Policy Officer will: (I) support the design and implementation of regional engagement strategies in Africa, in close collaboration with RLO partners; (II) develop policy and advocacy products, and conduct related trainings; (III) contribute to project and information management; (IV) influence and inform strategy for project sustainability.

Role Description

  • Support the development and implementation of regional engagement strategies in Africa, in close collaboration with RLO partners.
    • Support regional RLO partners to develop or refine existing target policy and advocacy goals tailored to context as well as help enable strategy execution;
    • Create, enhance, and leverage a network of relevant contacts that foster regional policy and advocacy partnerships in collaboration with country and regional stakeholders;
    • Manage regional stakeholder relationships;
    • Develop and support capacity-building activities, as needed.
  • Develop policy and advocacy products, and conduct related trainings;
    • Conduct policy research;
    • Write updates and recommendations to key internal and external stakeholders to inform and influence policy and practice;
    • Assist in the development of event-specific advocacy talking points, social media content, presentation materials, and op-eds etc.;
    • Design and lead advocacy trainings for RLO partners, as needed.
  • Contribute to project and information management;
    • Track regional and national advocacy engagement and creatively problem solve challenges when they arise;
    • Support RLO partners to monitor and evaluate advocacy objectives and activities;
    • Keep tabs on relevant publications and readings and share them with the Refugee Project Team and RLO partners;
    • Ensure regional policy and advocacy files and knowledge is organized and accessible for ID staff.
  • Influence and inform strategy for project sustainability.
    • Raise awareness and influence decision makers to invest in RLOs, communicating ID’s policy advocacy expertise and vision;
    • Participate in Team coordination meetings, as requested, and other meetings with primary interlocutors;
    • Other specific activities as deemed necessary.
  • Other
    • Other duties as assigned.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Passion for human rights and refugee rights, and a strong interest in international affairs, and Independent Diplomat’s mission, more broadly;
  • Experience working in African policy and advocacy, with proven experience developing and implementing policy and advocacy strategies resulting in change;
  • Evidence of expertise in regional refugee policy; experience influencing policy within the AU, IGAD, and ECOWAS processes is a plus;
  • A good understanding of key actors and stakeholders in the refugee policy field (governments, UN agencies, foundations, and NGOs etc.);
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking, and communications skills; ability to analyze issues, diagnose problems, and propose reliable solutions;
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully work in a fast-paced, multi-cultural environment, within and across departments/ functions and develop positive relationships with collaborators;
  • Self-directed, able to independently set priorities and solve problems with minimal guidance; comfortable working for a supervisor who is remotely located;
  • Strong facilitation skills and ability to support meetings and workshops with diverse stakeholders;
  • Excellent writing and editing skills: the ability to draft and edit memos, letters, op-eds, reports and proposals;
  • Excellent oral communication skills in English and French, oral communication skills in Arabic are also a plus;
  • Knowledge of global forced migration policy, specifically the Global Compact on Refugees will be a significant advantage;
  • Previous experience working in or with Refugee-led Organizations (RLO) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) is an asset. The ideal candidate would also have some knowledge of the Global Refugee-led Network or other RLOs, and willingness to work closely with RLO partners;
  • People with forced displacement experience are highly encouraged to apply.

The start date is flexible, but the ideal candidate would be able to start before May 1, 2021.

About Independent Diplomat

Independent Diplomat (ID) is a unique non‐profit venture in the world of international relations, diplomacy and conflict prevention. Staffed by former diplomats, international lawyers and experts in international relations, ID offers independent and confidential advice and assistance on diplomatic technique and strategy to governments, political groups, international institutions, and non‐governmental organizations. ID seeks to integrate three pillars of international diplomacy: political strategy, international law and public diplomacy.


Please send a CV and cover letter to Ryan Allman at ryan.allman@independentdiplomat.org with the subject line: Africa Regional Policy Officer Application

The cover letter should:

  • Explain the reasons for your interest in this position at ID; and
  • Demonstrate your suitability for the role;

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Due to a large expected number of applicants, we regret that we are unable to confirm receipt of applications, provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates, or pay travel expenses for interviews conducted in person. For further information about Independent Diplomat, please visit our website at: https://independentdiplomat.org/

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