Communities Associate | Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
Join our team as we expand in the African continent to support communities demanding accountability.
Our growing organization seeks an experienced legal professional to serve as our Africa-based Communities Associate.
Accountability Counsel is seeking an experienced, Nairobi-based legal professional to join our growing global team of advocates for justice as we open a regional presence in Africa. The Africa-based Communities Associate will be part of Accountability Counsel’s Communities program, reporting to a Communities Director, and working in close coordination with Accountability Counsel’s Policy and Research programs. The Communities Associate will offer legal support for communities in Africa harmed by internationally-financed projects.
The Communities Associate position offers the opportunity to support growth of Accountability Counsel’s caseload, network, team, and impact in the Africa region, and for rapid career growth toward a leadership position within Accountability Counsel. We are seeking someone equally talented at sensitively working with communities at the local level, as they are at effective international advocacy. This position will also require an onboarding period in our San Francisco office.
About Accountability Counsel
We amplify the voices of communities to protect their human rights and environment. Our team of world-class attorneys works directly with communities challenging abuses financed from abroad. We do not litigate in courts, but instead specialize in the non-judicial accountability offices that have been created to address these abuses. Our team of policy advocates works to ensure that those accountability offices are transparent, independent, fair, accessible, and effective. We conduct research to track global complaints and expose patterns in data that can be used to prevent harm. We also convene a global network of advocates to foster a movement for accountability in international finance. We have been recognized as a high impact social enterprise by Echoing Green and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.
In the nine years since our founding, our team has partnered with nearly 40 communities to defend their rights, demand justice, and achieve historic victories. We have helped Chinanteco communities in Oaxaca, Mexico stop a hydroelectric project from destroying their critical natural and cultural resources and nomadic herders in the Mongolian South Gobi desert negotiate a series of agreements that address harm from a massive mine that threatened their traditional livelihoods. We have improved accountability policy at every multilateral development bank, at three United States agencies, and within international institutions. Our advocacy has led to the creation of several new accountability offices, and we have a new groundbreaking initiative on impact investing. Our research is, for the first time, exposing patterns in the global system of accountability that show advocates, policy-makers, financial institutions, and the accountability offices themselves best practice and where improvement is needed most. Our approach employs respect-based methods to ensure that marginalized people, particularly women and girls, are included as full participants in community strategies seeking accountability.
A. Communities Program (80%)
Support achievement of Accountability Counsel’s organizational mission and Communities program strategy in Africa. Duties include working closely with Communities staff and Accountability Counsel partners to:
- support African communities to access justice for human rights and environmental violations using accountability offices tied to international finance. Specifically by:
- conducting trainings, meetings, and workshops with communities, and local and regional advocates on how to trace financing and use accountability offices;
- at the request of communities, preparing and filing formal written complaints regarding human rights and environmental abuses, including documenting abuses through field investigations, interviews, document reviews, legal and technical analysis, consultation with experts, and other research;
- engaging and supervising consultants, law fellows, interns, pro bono attorneys, and/or law school clinical programs as relates to specific cases;
- supporting communities in all aspects of the complaint process, in particular by navigating the dispute resolution and compliance review processes associated with accountability offices;
- advocating for case-specific and systemic outcomes at development finance institutions, corporations, government agencies, complaint offices, and other relevant authorities; and
- drafting other written materials for internal and external use, including letters, memos, blogs and other materials.
- increase awareness of and access to accountability offices to enable widespread and effective replication of our model in Africa. Specifically:
- participating in formal training opportunities for community advocates and civil society organizations;
- engaging in direct case partnership with other civil society organizations;
- providing specific, short-term advice to organizations that are actively using accountability offices;
- creating and participating in strategic information exchange opportunities; and
- sharing lessons learned from our cases in a variety of forums.
B. Other (20%)
Additional duties include:
- attending regular internal organizational meetings and events;
- contributing work as part of Accountability Counsel’s communications strategy;
- managing local administrative and logistical duties; and
- occasionally assisting with fundraising.
The Africa-based Communities Associate must have the following qualifications:
- law degree;
- demonstrated commitment to social justice, with at least three (3) years of professional experience in a related field (e.g. human rights, environmental law, corporate accountability, community organizing);
- direct experience with advocacy in local community settings;
- positive attitude, a sense of humor, and excellent interpersonal skills, including a high degree of empathy, patience, and ability to work in a multicultural environment;
- excellent written, verbal, analytical, and organizational skills, including the ability to review and evaluate highly technical information and/or consult with experts on technical issues related to internationally-financed projects;
- ability to work under pressure, organize, and prioritize workload, and meet multiple and often tight deadlines;
- ability to take initiative, work independently, and execute work efficiently and with exceptional quality;
- good judgment and the ability to think strategically in a fast-paced environment;
- willingness to travel regularly within Africa and internationally;
- fluency in English required, with a strong preference for fluency in French as well; and
- ability to legally work in Kenya (please confirm in your cover letter).
The following qualifications are highly valued:
- proficiency in additional languages such as Swahili, Arabic, or other major African languages;
- experience working with or for non-governmental organizations;
- experience advocating with senior administrative or political officials; and
- knowledge of, or experience with, accountability offices.
Compensation and Benefits
Accountability Counsel offers competitive compensation and benefits packages commensurate with experience.
To apply, please complete the application form below. Your application should include:
- cover letter stating your qualifications;
- resume or CV; and
- short writing sample (no more than 5 pages).
Applications will be received and reviewed until the position is filled. Due to the expected high volume of response, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted regarding next steps in the application process.
Estimated Start Date: as soon as possible.
Accountability Counsel is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other prohibited category. We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, and all qualified persons to apply for this position.