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Director of Advocacy

Date Posted: 12/28/2011
Organization: Pathfinder International
Location: Washington, DC

Salary: Commensurate with experience.

Description of Organization:

Pathfinder International is a global leader in sexual and reproductive health. We place reproductive health care at the center of all that we do—believing that it is not only a fundamental human right, but is critical for expanding life opportunities for women, families, communities, and nations, and paving the way for transformations in environmental stewardship, decreases in population pressures, and innovations in poverty reduction. Pathfinder provides women, men, and adolescents with a range of quality health services—from contraception and maternal care to HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment. Pathfinder strives to strengthen access to family planning, ensure availability of safe abortion services and post-abortion care, advocate for sound reproductive health policies, and, through all of our work, improve the rights and lives of the people we serve.

The Advocacy Unit is responsible for leading Pathfinder’s efforts to build public policy and legislative support for global family planning programs and laws and policies that advance women’s rights. The mandate of Pathfinder’s Advocacy Unit is to improve the U.S. and global policy environment in which Pathfinder and our local partners operate and our beneficiaries access services, by influencing and informing relevant policy and funding decisions, and raising Pathfinder’s profile and position among key political stakeholders. The Advocacy Unit is building the advocacy capacity of Pathfinder staff both in the United States and worldwide.

Position Responsibilities:

Position Purpose

The Director of Advocacy is charged with influencing domestic public policies on international sexual and reproductive health while strengthening and broadening advocacy opportunities for Pathfinder International worldwide. The Director of Advocacy partners with others to lead and build U. S. and global support, secure funding, and protect and advance sound policies for international family planning and sexual and reproductive health. The Director will bring Pathfinder’s perspective, field experiences and vision of international family planning to policy makers; interpret policies for board and staff; and mobilize donors, volunteers, and colleagues to assist in making our case with strategic political leaders. The Director of Advocacy will also build internal and field advocacy capacity within the organization.

Key Responsibilities

U.S. Advocacy

  • Oversees an integrated public policy program that monitors and responds to current and emerging trends in US legislative and regulatory actions that affect sexual and reproductive health funding and policies globally. Monitor, analyze, and report on federal legislation, appropriations, policies, and activities, and share the information with appropriate Pathfinder staff.
  • Articulate and advocate Pathfinder’s position on international family planning and sexual and reproductive health issues, and provide input to the U.S. government and Pathfinder grasstops constituents on policies that affect Pathfinder.
  • Develop, maintain, and track Pathfinder’s relationships with congressional and executive branch representatives.
  • Inform and support decision makers within Pathfinder on legislative issues and interpret how changes in U.S. policy will affect Pathfinder and its staff.
  • Along with the Technical Advisor for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Advocacy Coordinator, and organizational partners, serve as an active member in the Youth Health and Rights Coalition, which was co-founded and is co-chaired by Pathfinder.
  • Work with the President as needed on special projects related to Pathfinder’s ongoing relationship with the U.S. government.
  • Identify funding opportunities and prepare proposals.
  • Manage and execute outreach events.

Field Advocacy

  • Assist Pathfinder staff overseas with in-country advocacy, in close collaboration with the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives.
  • Identify ways to feature Pathfinder’s program experiences and beneficiaries’ stories in conversations with U.S. policymakers.
  • Provide guidance to Pathfinder field staff who are preparing for visits from U.S. government representatives to Pathfinder overseas programs, and Pathfinder field staff visits to Capitol Hill.

External Affairs

  • Provide timely, politically-relevant information to advocates through close partnership with the President’s Office, the Advocacy Coordinator and Pathfinder’s Communications staff, and foster the growth of Pathfinder’s grassroots resources.
  • Working in close partnership with the Advocacy Coordinator, assure that Pathfinder is well represented in Washington, DC and has a strong voice for reproductive health organizations within the broader NGO community. Expand and share professional relationships with strategic partners with the Advocacy Coordinator and others at Pathfinder.
  • Raise awareness of Pathfinder’s overseas programs and health impact by coordinating special events and meetings with congressional representatives and program partners.
  • Complement the efforts of the Advocacy Coordinator to establish robust communication among sister agencies to ensure an informed and coordinated response to policies, and an increased engagement by field organizations in advocacy.
  • Represent Pathfinder in the broader civil society discussions around foreign assistance reform, and explore engagement with the humanitarian assistance as well as the environmental communities as potential allies.
  • Represent Pathfinder and its President as requested.

Internal Capacity Building

  • Work with Pathfinder leadership and technical, regional, and country staff to determine organizational U.S. and global advocacy and policy priorities.
  • Work with the Senior Vice President, Vice President for Resource Development, Vice President for Programs and Director of Technical Services, as well as other Pathfinder staff to fully integrate public policy with program and fundraising activities.
  • Lead the development of yearly strategies for U.S. advocacy based on the evolving policy environment and Pathfinder’s strengths and communicate priorities to board and staff to garner organization-wide support.

Global Advocacy

  • Work with the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives to ensure linkages between U.S. and global family planning advocacy.


Basic Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in public health, public administration, public policy or related field.
  • Extensive knowledge of U.S. politics and political process.
  • At least eight years of experience working in advocacy and public policy, preferably with Congress, a federal agency, or with an organization that implements health and development projects. Equivalent combination of education and experience acceptable.
  • Experience in sexual and reproductive health field, including domestic or international family planning programs, and/or related field.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the field of family planning/reproductive health and human rights.
  • Knowledge of current sexual and reproductive health technical issues and their public policy implications.
  • Experience of translating stories from the field for use in U.S. advocacy.
  • •Sound judgment, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently.
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills.
  • Excellent analytical, writing, and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in public health, public administration, public policy or related field preferred.
  • At least two years working on Capitol Hill strongly desirable. Experience working at USAID, the Department of State, the White House, or other executive branch organizations affecting U.S. global health policy also desirable.
  • A successful candidate would bring existing, professional, high-level contacts and new constituents to Pathfinder, and possess the strategic vision and prominence to elevate Pathfinder’s profile not only as an advocacy player, but also as a valuable resource to the SRH community.
  • Bring to Pathfinder a deep knowledge of policy work being carried out by a broad range of constituencies including the media, donors, the legal community, and other sexual and reproductive health organizations, in order to strategically position Pathfinder’s public policy work.
  • Experience living and/or working in the developing world would be beneficial.
  • Some experiences in proposal writing, fundraising and cultivating donor relationship desirable.

Apply To:

Job Reference Number: 11-075-SVP

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