Programme Officer: Traditional Knowledge and Benefit Sharing, Customary Use and Conservation – Kenya

Who is Natural Justice?

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is a non-profit organisation, specialising in human rights and environmental law, operating on the African continent and at the regional (African Commission) and international (UN) levels. We are a team of progressive legal practitioners who conduct comprehensive research on environmental and human rights law, support communities and local organisations, provide technical advice to governments and intergovernmental organisations, and engage in key international processes in pursuit of social and environmental justice. Natural Justice is headquartered in Cape Town, works in a range of African countries, and teams in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Benin, Zimbabwe and Guinea.

What are we looking for?

According to recent studies, indigenous peoples and local communities customary lands and waters largely coincide with the remaining areas with high biodiversity. This, by far, exceed the areas formally designated as protected areas. Through their traditional knowledge and practices, communities play an important role in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. However, due to the ever-increasing pressures from exclusionary forms of conservation, industry, extractives and infrastructure related projects, indigenous and local communities bear the brunt of the impacts through loss of resources, traditional knowledge and culture. Kenya has witnessed a proliferation of law and policy frameworks that promote community rights. Despite this, indigenous peoples and local communities continue to struggle to secure their rights over lands, natural resources and traditional knowledge.

Natural Justice has been working with communities, NGOs and government agencies in Kenya since 2009. Together with our partners, we are supporting communities to protect their traditional knowledge and to benefit from its utilization and, further, support communities to secure greater access to their resources and lands, on which their livelihoods and cultures are dependent.

We are now seeking a full-time programme officer to assist us in our Kenya projects under the Traditional Knowledge and Benefit Sharing Programme and Customary Use and Conservation Programme.The ideal candidate will be passionate and knowledgeable about protecting communities’ traditional knowledge and implementing human rights approaches to conservation. The successful candidate will be based in Nairobi and will be expected to begin work immediately.

What’s on offer?

Natural Justice is a close-knit and nurturing collective that places emphasis on facilitating opportunities for the professional and personal growth of its members. Natural Justice will offer a competitive salary commensurate with skill and experience. Joining Natural Justice will also give the successful candidate a chance to work with a passionate and highly professional global team in a fast-paced environment and gain valuable international experience.

What will the role include?

The role will include: providing legal advice to indigenous and/or marginalized communities and their supporting local organizations (including supporting the development and use of community protocols);supporting communities and community partners through capacity building of access and benefit sharing laws; conducting research on community engagement in access and benefit sharing in Kenya; providing technical and other support to the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) Consortium partners, including through the Global Initiative country level legal review process; providing technical advice to affected groups and government agencies; writing research reports, concept documents, academic papers, organizational reports; and sharing research findings with stakeholders at relevant meetings and workshops within Kenya, Africa and internationally.

Minimum qualifications and experience required:

  • An undergraduate degree in law, or equivalent degree;
  • At least 3 years work expertise in environmental law,including natural resource and/or land law;
  • Understanding of,and proficiency in,the Kenyan legal system, institutional arrangements and international frameworks on biodiversity;
  • Experience with conducting primary and/or desktop research and preparing clear and analytical reports (Preferably proof of published work);
  • Experience in conducting field research and working with marginalized communities;
  • Experience with relating national policy research to policy advocacy;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including through online platforms;
  • Fluency in English and Kiswahili.

Desirable qualifications, experience and attributes:

  • A postgraduate degree in law or equivalent degree;
  • Demonstrated experience working with communities and/or civil society organizations or networks, particularly in Kenya;
  • Working experience with the access and benefit sharing framework;
  • Professionalism, strong work ethic, and personal initiative (“a self-starter”);
  • Keen interest in and commitment to advancing the rights of minority/indigenous communities, particularly in relation to their territories, areas and natural resources;
  • Ability to work both in teams and independently, with little supervision;
  • Willingness to travel on a regular basis, and work with local organizations and communities in remote areas;
  • Ability to communicate complex legal issues in an accessible way to communities.

Application process:

Deadline: Saturday 5th August 2017, 17:00 EAT.

Please email your application to Human Resources (admin.nbo(at)naturaljustice.org)with the job title in the subject line.

Include a motivation letter that indicates why you feel you are the best candidate for this position, a detailed CV with three references, and maximum three samples of your past work (for example, articles, research reports or court submissions). Please ensure that your application as a whole speaks to the required skills and experience and desirable traits and attributes listed above.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Best of luck!
The Natural Justice Team

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