Regional Political Advisor
Reporting to: Sr Regional Representative
Location: Abidjan with possibility to be based in one of our offices in the Sahel region (Bamako or Ouagadougou)
Application closing: 15 January 2023
Introduction to Interpeace
Interpeace is an international organization for peacebuilding that supports locally led peacebuilding initiatives around the world. Interpeace tailors its approach to each society and ensures that the work is locally driven. Together with local partners and local teams, Interpeace jointly develops peacebuilding programmes and helps establish processes of change that connect local communities, civil society, government and the international community.
As a strategic partner of the United Nations, Interpeace is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and has offices around the world.
For more information about Interpeace, please visit www.interpeace.org
Interpeace has been working in the Sahel region since the beginning of its programme in Mali in 2012 and in West Africa more generally since 2008. During this time, rather than improving, the situation in the Sahel has degenerated, with an increase in armed conflict, instability, and military coups.
The worsening context has led Interpeace to expand its programming to Burkina Faso in 2019, with a particular focus on Mali-Burkina Faso cross-border dynamics. Military coups, which have become a trend over the past two years, are increasingly welcomed and supported by citizens tired of the lack of real progress, and the inability of elected governments to resolve insecurity. As terrorist violence intensifies and spreads throughout West Africa, increasingly affecting coastal states, the current political and constitutional upheaval points to an urgent need to fundamentally rethink the approach taken to date.
By anticipating the trends of prolonged and widespread destabilization beyond the Sahel’s geographic borders, Interpeace’s West Africa program is at a critical moment of strategic repositioning and reorientation.
Through its track 6 approach Interpeace aims to influence decision makers and international communities to integrate in their policies and programmes those priorities and recommendations coming from the field in order to address peace challenges in an inclusive and sustainable way. Although Interpeace has already developed very strong collaboration with national authorities in its country programmes, additional support is needed to strengthen its track one engagement, which is a priority in its 2021-25 Strategic Plan.
Political or governmental changes have always been a challenge in West Africa, with regular ministerial reshuffles and frequently changing interlocutors, engagement of central authorities has always been difficult. The institutional fragility of the state apparatus is structural and goes beyond the ad hoc nature of transitional governments. Recent political events have brought a new dimension of complexity to Track 1 engagement. It in this context that Interpeace seeks to increase its political analysis for continued engagement with new partners, where possible, with political actors
The role of the political advisor will be to develop deep contextual analysis, develop new ideas and work towards the implementation of peacebuilding work in these countries, with regular engagements with targeted Ministries and Interpeace. Engagement of regional high-level stakeholders will also be required.
Position within the Organisation
Interpeace is about to start a new programme: “Investigating Spillover Risks in West Africa: A Political and Security Watch in Sahelian and Coastal States”aiming at producing regional political analysis on a monthly basis. These flash updates, will be complemented with engaging political and security actors in identifying conflict trends and spill-over risks in the Sahel, especially Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Côte d’Ivoire.
Interpeace seeks to recruit a Regional Political Advisor for the West Africa Programmes with knowledge of the regional context and more specifically of Sahel and Cote d’Ivoire, experience in peace work and the ability to communicate effectively. The Regional Political Advisor (RPA) is a member of the Programme Management Unit which manages and implements all of Interpeace’s active and ongoing programmes around the world. The Programme Management Unit is led from the Headquarters office in Geneva, although team members are based in various locations including in East and Central Africa, West Africa, Europe and the MENA region.
The Regional Political Advisor reports to the West Africa Sr Regional Representative and works in close collaboration with the Sr Regional Representative. He/she advises closely the Country Representatives and other colleagues from the programme teams on national and regional political and security dynamics in order to inform programmes; advise on specific actors to engage with and provide intelligence on how to navigate complex and sensitive political contexts and remain programmatically relevant.
Purpose and General Overview
The RPA will lead and coordinate analysis related activities and will be responsible for producing regional bi-monthly and flash updates informed by up-to-date information from local focal points.
He/she will provide high quality political and security expertise and analysis to the programmes in the West Africa Region under the guidance of the senior regional representative. This includes the production of policy briefs, at times representing Interpeace at high-level meetings. The Advisor will provide advice to Interpeace on the socio-economic, political and cultural context in West Africa and assist Interpeace in political space management, which includes securing strategic meetings across relevant ministries and government departments, including security and justice actors, and with civil society and relevant regional bodies and institutions as UNOWAS, Accra Initiative, ECOWAS, UEMOA and the African Union.
- In close collaboration with the senior regional representative, build effective relationships and partnerships with relevant government representatives, ministries/departments
- Build Interpeace’s network with key interlocutors in the region, e.g., within the Ministry, in the police force, amongst youth leaders, peace activists, etc.
- Develops and provides an overview of political and security issues in the Sahel as well as regional and cross-border dynamics that also affect coastal countries, more specifically Cote d’Ivoire (violent extremism, migration, trafficking, etc.) Benin and Togo.
- Produce state-of-the-art policy analysis and advice, including country and regional context specific.
- Produce briefs on areas that influence both programmatic development and policy engagement.
- Produce a clear actor mapping advising on peace enablers and allies and possible spoilers
- In collaboration with the Sr. Regional Rep, contribute to the design of Track-1 advocacy strategies to influence policies and practices at the country, regional and international level.
The RPA can be called upon to perform other duties required for the effective running of the programme.
Candidates from the ECOWAS region with relevant qualifications, experience, a tertiary degree, and fluent in French and English are invited to apply. Women applications are strongly encouraged.
Relevant experience and qualifications may include:
- Tertiary degree in political science, peacebuilding, international affairs, or any other related fields.
- At least 15 years of experience in political affairs, diplomacy, conflict resolution, or related field is required, ideally at least 7 years in a Political Adviser or Political Analyst position
- Experience with an international Non-Governmental Organisation is an asset.
- Ability to conduct interviews and interact with a wide range of people effectively and according to high ethical standards
- Strong pre-existing networks in Cote d’Ivoire and the Sahel Region and more broadly West Africa Region, and the aptitude to advise practically on the profiles of the actors, peace enablers, and potential spoilers
- Experience of facilitating meetings to achieve agreed upon outputs
- Knowledge of the thematic area within a peacebuilding, governance, gender and / or conflict transformation setting
- Advanced knowledge of the regional and country context is an asset
- Strong analytical, writing and problem-solving skills
- Sound interpersonal skills, political and diplomatic sense, excellent soft and social skills
- Confident public speaker and presenter.
- Fluent spoken and written French. Working knowledge of English.
- Ability to organize work efficiently and deliver assignments in a timely manner often under time constraints
- Ability to work effectively as a team member and with minimal supervision.
- Collaboration and Weaving
- Drive for results
- Adaptability and Continuous Learning
- Respect for Diversity
How to Apply
Qualified candidates are invited to submit their application as early as possible, and no later than 15 January 2023, via the following link: Political and Advocacy Advisor (naturalhr.net)
Please note that only candidates who are nationals or holding a valid residence permit in the duty station will be considered for this position.