International Director of Advocacy

  • Organization: SOS Children’s Villages International
  • Location: Brussels (Belgium) | Vienna
  • Grade: Senior Executive
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • External Relations, Partnerships and Resource mobilization
  • Closing Date: 2021-12-21


SOS Children’s Villages works to keep families together, provide alternative care when needed, support young people on their path to independence, and advocate for the rights of children.

Strategy 2030 commits the SOS Children’s Villages’ federation to give a voice to the target group of children and young people without or at risk of losing parental care, and to increase its advocacy impact: “we shall be able to continuously contribute to improving public policies for our target group in all the countries where we are active.” Particularly relevant for the advocacy functional area is the Strategy 2030 goal 2: “We lead the world's most effective childcare movement to make sure each child has the bonds they need to become their strongest selves.”

The strategic goal of the Advocacy function at the GSC is to enhance public policy development and implementation benefitting the rights of children and young people without or at risk of losing parental care, by influencing governments and other strategic stakeholders through:

- Supporting SOS Children’s Villages’ Member Associations’ strategies at national level leveraging the SOS Children’s Villages’ global advocacy network;

- Complementary direct action at regional and international level.


As part of the GSC Leadership team, the incumbent reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer of SOS Children’s Villages International and closely collaborates with the President/Vice President.

S/he will be a global influencer and thought leader, championing and shaping agendas on child rights aiming to achieve maximum impact and reach to our target group of children and young people.

The incumbent leads the development of a global advocacy strategy for the SOS Children’s Villages’ federation, based on regional and national strategies, and drives its implementation and relevant policy components in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders.

S/he will lead a strong and globally networked team to influence strategic international decision-making processes and support IORs and MAs to do the same at regional and national level to improve the lives of our target group of children.

In particular, s/he will mobilize and organize resources strategically for global advocacy projects and campaigns, in order to influence public policies and practices that affect the rights and well-being of our target group of children and young people, and to deepen the impact of the services we deliver with governments and other partners.

S/he will grow capacity and understanding of advocacy across the federation, expand networks and partnerships and strengthen the positioning of the organization in the sector.

Together with the President and CEO, the International Director of Advocacy builds global awareness and momentum in support of children without parental care or at the risk of losing it, through a concerted strategy.


Leadership and strategy

Lead and shape the development and implementation of a long-term global child rights advocacy strategy, with focus on children and young people without parental care or at risk of losing it, in close collaboration with relevant internal and external stakeholders.

Oversee strong alignment with the overall Strategy 2030 and contribute to mobilize the federation to deliver on Strategy 2030 goal to create the world’s largest childcare movement.

Promote coordination and common vision among the global policy and advocacy networks across the organization, and liaise with the programme networks, to improve consistency of the policy and advocacy work in countries and regions.

Manage a virtually connected team of advocacy advisors and representatives towards key global institutions and forums at the international office (IO).

Provide leadership to the GSC function network comprising the direct IO advocacy team and advocacy focal points in the regional offices.

Ensure that the team delivers on agreed objectives through a collaborative and innovative teamwork environment that fosters diversity and complementarity of skills and capacities.

Oversee the development of an advocacy monitoring, evaluation and learning framework and ensure agreed objectives of the global advocacy strategy are delivered.

The International Director of Advocacy actively supports efforts towards safeguarding principles and child rights based approaches in the federation, and implements them in all advocacy activities with the highest standards of safeguarding, including appropriate methods of child and youth participation.

Representation, Relations and Partnership building

Position our federation as a global advocate for the rights of children without or at risk of losing parental care and influence global policies and practices that affect them.

Engage with key external audiences and stakeholders and be an international spokesperson to communicate SOS Children’s Villages International’s campaign and advocacy messages as required.

Position the organization in strategic global platforms, networks and partnerships to achieve advocacy goals of the federation as set out in the global advocacy strategy.

Provide advocacy expert advice to senior leadership, particularly the CEO and President, in order to maximize the impact of our high-level external engagement with international organizations, policy-makers and the private sector.

Contribute to and lead as required the engagement with other child-focused organizations and partnerships such as Joining Forces and other key sector-specific partnerships and platforms.

Advocacy and Public Outreach

Initiate and lead coordinated advocacy actions to deliver on a global advocacy strategy, building on and helping achieve regional and national strategies for impact on the ground.

Oversee development of a range of evidence-based and informational materials relevant to support advocacy, campaigning and communications efforts of the federation, including policy analyses and research relevant to our sector, positions and briefing papers, aligning with relevant GSC departments around an agreed research agenda.

Develop the strategic lines for communicating and positioning children and young people in our target group, our global positions and programme responses, in coordination with relevant teams and stakeholders. Advocacy key messages, positions and campaigns shall be based on SOS Children’s Villages’ programme experience and the emerging trends from practitioners and children and young people served.

Coordinate the advocacy department with other strategic functions in the organization, such as programme, strategy, communications and brand, fund development, emergency, as well as with regional offices.

Contribute to strengthen advocacy initiatives across the SOS Children’s Villages Federation and its member associations, including capacity building and organizational development to anchor advocacy in the culture, structures and systems of a programme-based organization.


Education Advanced University degree in Political or Social Science, International Development, Law and Human Rights, International Relations/Affairs, International Development, Policy & Advocacy, or any other relevant field. A first level degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience in a relevant field may be accepted in lieu of an advanced degree.


  • Commitment to the SOS Children’s Villages’ vision, mission, and values.

  • Ability in anchoring advocacy in the culture, structures and systems of a programme-based organisation

  • At least 15 years of progressive advocacy experience including at managerial level and in an international organization, including in an international children’s rights, human rights, development or humanitarian NGO or network.

  • Knowledge of international trends, policies and programmes regarding children’s rights, social protection and international development issues.

  • Very good experience in delivering advocacy impact at the national/local level, including in the Global South, as well as at international level, leveraging the interplay between the two levels

  • Knowledge of international policy frameworks and institutions such as the UN, as well as international relations and points of intervention for influence and change.

  • Experience in developing and managing international advocacy projects and campaigns

  • Experience in steering large stakeholders engagement to develop joint advocacy positions, messages and plans

  • Experience in forging and driving key partnerships for greater advocacy impact

  • Strong leadership, strategic management and communication skills

  • Positive outlook, persistence and ability to work under pressure

  • Permit to work in Europe


  • Direct work experience with children and young people without adequate parental care, or from other vulnerable backgrounds and hard-to-reach communities is a strong asset

  • Experience in capacity-building for advocacy in countries outside of Europe

  • Experience with crisis management

  • Experience managing organizational development and change processes

  • Prepared / willing to travel monthly

  • Proven ability to manage a dynamic virtual team spread around the world as well as diverse federation stakeholders at differing levels of the organization

Language skills

  • Excellent spoken and written English, good knowledge of at least a second UN language is a strong asset.


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