Lead – Partnership, Advocacy and Strategic Communications


Ilifa Labantwana: Lead – Partnership, Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Ilifa Labantwana Foundation RF NPC
Opportunity closing date:
Friday, 1 October, 2021
Opportunity type:


Ilifa Labantwana is an NPO working to secure an equal start for all children in South Africa through focussing on early childhood development (ECD). Our mission is to ensure that all children in South Africa are developmentally on track to begin formal schooling and to fully participate in the economy and society. We do this through partnership with government, civil society and the private sector, and focus on four priority areas: 1) data for decision-making; 2) building demand for ECD; 3) regulatory, financing & operational systems design and reforms; 4) systems, products and process innovation.

They seek a dynamic professional to act as Ilifa’s Advocacy, Partnership and Strategic Communications Lead to play a lead role in our organisation. They are looking for an outstanding candidate with extensive experience in advocacy and partnership building who will help us on our quest to ensure that children have access to quality ECD services, to be based in Johannesburg, Pretoria or Cape Town.

This role will be responsible for working with the Executive Team to design and implement Ilifa’s advocacy, partnership and strategic communications strategy in support of the organisation’s mission. The role is responsible for leading and developing partnerships within the ECD sector including government, civil society and the private sector to build winning coalitions for ECD systems change.  The Advocacy, Partnership Strategic Communications Lead will be responsible for all of Ilifa’s internal and public advocacy including overseeing the designing and implementation of a policy, advocacy, social change communications strategy to support Ilifa’s mission and directing Ilifa’s public demand initiative, Side-by-Side, a partnership with the National  Department of Health. The role is responsible for working across internal teams and external partners to help leverage an ecosystem of partners in support of Ilifa’s mission The role reports to the CEO and manages the Communications Manager and the Campaign Manager.

Job basis: Full time contract

Level: Mid – Senior Management

Basis: Full Time


  •  Advanced degree with a minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience.
  •  A strong network of government, NGO and mediarelationships in South Africa;
  •  Demonstrated ability in government relations.
  •  Demonstrated experience developing collaborative relationships and effectively engaging with a wide array of stakeholders not limited to government but with influencers, donors and partners.
  • Experience in at least one of the five components of the ECD essential package is required.
  • Proven ability to shape, develop, manage and scale strong partnerships, alliances and ventures both inside and outside the organization.
  • Ability to convene, lead and influence others to align to shared strategy goals
  • Demonstrated experience managing conflict and building consensus.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and humility – ability to listen and absorb perspectives from stakeholders and synthesize into thoughtful and well-designed comprehensive communication products and campaigns.
  • Good knowledge of complex program design that involves working with multiple stakeholders including technical experts, government and civil-society partners.
  • Excellent oral, facilitation and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.
  • Ability to be self-guided and work effectively and comfortably with sensitivity across barriers such as language, culture and distance.
  • Demonstrated ability to function successfully in a politically demanding environment.

Core responsibilities:

  • Provide communications landscape, political and socio-economic intelligence, and insights to inform advocacy and communications decisions and approaches.
  • In consultation with the Executive Team, develop and implement communications plans and campaigns in support of the Ilifa strategy and its communications, programmatic and financing goals.
  • Develop an advocacy strategy for Ilifa and the broader ECD sector including identifying key issues that require targeted campaigns.
  • Manage Ilifa’s brand and reputation, monitor perceptions, track shifts in opinion related to ECD and respond to inquiries.
  • Build and nurture relationships in the ECD ecosystem including appropriate partners to drive issue-based advocacy and campaigns.
  • Broaden the stakeholder base for ECD into health, education, and the private and civil society sectors.
  • Conceptualise and organise events, seminars for partners in the private and civil society sector;
  • Represent Ilifa to internal and external audiences, including both formal and informal presentations – explaining and advocating for Ilifa’s priority issues, attending conferences and other meetings as necessary.
  • Represent Ilifa in the ECD Inter-sectoral Forum and its relevant subcommittees e.g. civil society sub-committee and other relevant subcommittees to be agreed upon with CEO/SMT.
  • Represent Ilifa on SACSOWACH body and support driving joint Ilifa and SACSOWACH agenda.
  • Continuous participation in Real Reform for ECD campaign supporting the strategic nature of the campaign agenda.
  • Work with internal and external stakeholders to develop high quality advocacy-driven communications tools and content that’s needed to fulfil the demands of policy, advocacy and communications strategies, approaches and plans.
  • Work with Ilifa staff and partners to ensure consistent high-quality products are derived from Ilifa-supported programmes.
  • Work internally and externally with partners to align strategies, gather information and oversee the execution of advocacy strategy, communications projects, including liaising with partners and consultants to deliver communications and advocacy plans;
  • Identify and form strategic alliances with diverse and credible opinion leaders and influential individuals and organizations to help elevate priority focus areas.

To read more about Ilifa Labantwana Foundation NPC and our work visit www.ilifalabantwana.co.za


If you are interested, please apply by submitting a 1-page cover letter, and a CV (please include 3 references), to heidi@ilifalabantwana.co.za .