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Senior Programme Officer: Affirming Rights, Southern Africa 

Who is Natural Justice? 

Natural Justice is an organisation rooted in the struggles of communities in Africa. As a team of pioneering lawyers and legal experts, we specialise in human rights and environmental law in the pursuit of social and environmental justice. 

Natural Justice strives to enhance the collective rights of people and protect the sacred relationships that indigenous peoples and local communities have with nature. Our work is informed by the values, knowledge and self-determination of the communities whom we stand in solidarity with. 

Through legal empowerment, research, policy influencing and litigation, and as part of coalitions and campaigns, we support communities to know the law, use the law and shape the law. 

Natural Justice has three main pillars: Affirming and Securing Rights to Lands, Resources and Knowledge; Defending Rights against Environmental and Social Impacts; and Standing with Communities. 

To learn more about the work of Natural Justice please refer to 

Who are we looking for? 

Natural Justice is seeking a full-time Senior Programme Officer to join its Southern Africa hub under the Affirming Rights Programmatic Stream. The hub works across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The Senior Programme Officer must have a passion for supporting Indigenous people and local communities throughout the countries we work in. They will be expected to foster long-term, committed relationships with communities, build connections with community partners and work in collaboration with our civil society partners.  

Their knowledge and experience should include environment and climate policy development and legal reform processes nationally and across the region. They are expected to understand legislative processes and development, public participation processes in policy and law reform, and how to mobilise communities. Experience of working with Biocultural Community Protocols, in Access and Benefit Sharing processes, and advocacy at local and international levels will be an added advantage.  

Natural Justice is a Pan-African organisation and preference is given to applicants from the countries supported by the Southern African team.  

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. The organisation promotes personal responsibility, wellness, feminist and collective leadership and values of solidarity and support. Joining Natural Justice will also give the successful candidate a chance to work with a passionate and professional team across Africa and support the candidate to gain valuable national and regional experience. 

Natural Justice will offer a nationally competitive salary commensurate with skill and experience, and access to a laptop and technical support. The position is for permanent, full-time employment.   

The successful candidate should ideally be based in Cape Town or open to relocation to Cape Town, with regular travel nationally and regionally, and occasional travel internationally. They are expected to begin work as soon as possible.   

The Senior Programme Officer will work closely with staff across the programmatic streams and will report directly to the Affirming Rights Programme Manager and the Hub Director. Their role will be to further develop, maximise the impact of, and expand the Affirming Rights programmatic stream in Southern Africa, with a focus on South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique. They will also assist with strategy development, and initiate, plan, implement and manage projects and activities (including timelines and deliverables).    

The key roles and responsibilities  

The Senior Programme Officer will be expected to, amongst other things: 

  • Support indigenous peoples and local communities in Southern Africa to participate in policy and legal frameworks development processes, with relevant government and institutional bodies, asserting land, biocultural, customary rights of Indigenous and local communities.  
  • Support indigenous peoples and local communities to affirm their customary and indigenous rights, as well as human rights.  
  • Track policy and law reforms, analyse and disseminate reports to the public  
  • Provide training on laws, policies and processes that impact communities’ rights and access to land and the environment.  
  • Support litigation on land, natural resources, policy and law reform cases across the hub, where relevant. 
  • Provide high quality legal advice and support to communities and partners Natural Justice works with. 
  • Develop and deliver community training on laws and legal empowerment methodologies.  
  • Undertake legal research, write collaborative research papers, concept documents, organisational reports, submissions, policy briefs, position papers and provide opinions on environmental, human rights and climate justice issues to relevant government and institutional bodies through the countries of Southern Africa, initially focusing on South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.  
  • In collaboration with hub staff, provide legal support to community environmental legal officers.  
  • Write high quality opinion articles and support the communications team in respect of circulating relevant information to the public.    
  • Conduct relevant desktop and field research and share research findings with stakeholders at relevant national and international fora. 
  • Identify, build and maintain networks and/or partnerships with relevant stakeholders from government, civil society groups, community-based organizations, the private sector and academia. 
  • Collaborate with Natural Justice staff in the other countries and participate in regular programme meetings of the Hub and Natural Justice. 
  • Submit updates and reports on projects and programmes to the Programme Manager. 


  • Completed bachelor qualification and admission as an attorney or advocate highly preferred. 
  • At least four years’ work experience in land rights, environmental justice, human rights or other related sectors. 
  • A post-graduate degree in law, political science or other relevant social science discipline is desirable. 
  • An in-depth knowledge of South Africa’s constitutional and administrative law, including human rights, land and environmental law, or a clear ability to acquire the necessary knowledge within a short space of time. Additional familiarity with Namibian and/or Mozambican law will be an advantage.  
  • Experience of working with marginalised communities and/or Indigenous communities. 
  • Excellent research skills in law, policy and social issues. 
  • Experience in policy advocacy and in legal empowerment methodologies is highly advantageous. 
  • Experience in writing applications and reporting to donors is advantageous.  
  • Excellent attention to detail and written and oral communication skills are imperative. 
  • Ability to grasp quickly and accurately new and complex concepts. 
  • Ability to work under pressure and as part of a team. 
  • Ability to balance priorities and co-ordinate work effectively to meet deadlines and deal with high workloads. 
  • Conviction in and commitment to community rights, constitutionalism and principles of environmental justice. 
  • Sound emotional intelligence skills to enable interaction with persons from all sectors of the society. 
  • Proficient in English. Fluency in French or Portuguese would be an added advantage. 

Application process 

Deadline: Friday, 24 November 2023  

Please email your application to with the following subject line: “SAf: Senior Programme Officer Affirming Rights”. 

Applications must include: 

  1. A motivation letter that indicates: a) why you are interested in this position and what inspires you about environmental justice; and b) aspects of your background that demonstrate the required competence for this role; 
  1. A detailed CV with three contactable references; and 
  1. Two samples, if possible, of your past written work (for example, articles or research reports). 

Please ensure that your application as a whole speaks to the required qualifications, experience, personal profile and key roles and responsibilities. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

Shortlisted candidates will be expected to take part in at least one online interview. Should it be necessary, Natural Justice may require a second interview, which may involve a short, written exercise and presentation on a relevant issue pertaining to the job.   

Natural Justice is an equal opportunity employer, committed to the values of tolerance, diversity and inclusion, a workplace free from discrimination. Female candidates, and young black professionals meeting the requirements of this role are encouraged to apply.   

Best of luck!  

The Natural Justice Team 

Closing Date

24 November 2023

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