AAI is seeking a new Executive Director

Position Specification: Executive Director, AIDS Accountability International


AAI is seeking to appoint a new Executive Director to lead its secretariat. The Executive Director will be primarily responsible for organizational strategy, advocate with on behalf of the organisation, partner relations, including resource mobilisation, handling the relations with the elected Board and the Chair.

This person will bring a deep understanding of Health, Human Rights and Social Justice issues and having integrity, personal confidence and powerful networking skills. The new ED will complement, harness and channel the professional skills and standing of the staff and the Board to achieve the mission, vision, values and strategic goals of the organization. The ED will represent the organisation at the highest levels in global public health and human rights circles and be spokesperson of the organization and have a crucial role in securing financial resources for AAI.

The ED will be based in Johannesburg and we are seeking a person originating from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Posted 24 June 2017

Last date for application: August 10, 2017


About AAI


AIDS Accountability International (AAI) is an independent research and advocacy think tank organization holding leaders accountable for the commitments they have made to respond to health needs. AAI was established in 2005 with the mission to follow up on commitments to the AIDS epidemic that were made by governments. Our work has since expanded to sexual and reproductive health and rights, malaria, tuberculosis, and non-communicable diseases, as well as underlying causes such as inequality and discrimination. We work on holding all leaders accountable, such as business, civil society, funding partners and bi and multi-lateral development organizations. AAI is non-partisan and non-confessional. 

Today we are just under 10 employees located in offices in South Africa, Brussels and Stockholm. The Swedish Secretariat works mainly “remotely” on financial and operational issues, whilst the South Africa office leads on strategy, research and advocacy. Brussels provides resource mobilisation and research and communications support. In 2017 AAI started a five-year Build-programme supported by the Ford Foundation and will expand our staff resources in different areas. 

For more information look at the AIDS Accountability International (AAI) website: www.aidsaccountability.org




The Executive Director is the head of AAI secretariat including the research and advocacy offices and an ex-officio member of the Board.  The new ED will be responsible for the overall management of the organization, and is charged with implementing its strategic plans under the direction of the governance of the organization.  The Executive Director reports directly to the Board and with its Chair as the direct point of contact.

Responsibilities of the Executive Director include:

•    Contributing to the development and implementation of the overall vision, mission, values and strategic planning of the organization;
•    Leading AAI research and advocacy work together with the Director of Research & Communications;
•    Acting as the main fundraiser of the organization, with support from the Resource Mobilisation Manager;
•    Financial oversight of the organization with the support of the Director of Finance & Operations;
•    Overview of the organization’s Human Resources;
•    With integrity, representing AAI at international and regional conferences and meetings as well as in other collaborative initiatives and projects with partners;
•    Moving forward the organizational principles of diversity and social responsibility; 
•    Representing and advocating for AAI externally, including to the media; 
•    Ensuring the development and maintenance of strong partnerships internationally, regionally and nationally where appropriate, including UN bodies, public/private initiatives, academia, research organizations, governments and importantly a wide variety of civil society organizations;
•    Maintaining strong technical knowledge and staying current with issues pertinent to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, other health issues, human rights and social justice.
•    Leading and empowering the secretariat; managing the performance and development of staff and organizational change with the support of the other directors.



In the new Executive Director, AAI requires someone who understands the major issues in development, global health including the fight against HIV/AIDS and human rights with a strong focus on key populations, specifically LGBTI people, youth, women and children, sex workers and people passing through prisons.  They will be a credible and persuasive player at the highest levels and be recognized as a peer by senior colleagues in government; multi-lateral, scientific and civil society contexts. 

Along with the leadership characteristics described below, the Executive Director also requires an understanding of the Think-Tank and research roles of AAI. A sophisticated appreciation of the complexities and processes, including diplomacy, firmness and conflict resolution skills involved in multi-partner initiatives is necessary. 

Background and Experience


Candidates for the role will require

•    Minimum 5-year experience in a leadership positions, preferably in civil society;
•    Experience from advocacy in human rights, health, social justice, governance, sexual reproductive health and rights;  
•    Understand the rating work of AAI and its Think-Tank character;
•    Experience of managing people and organizations at the highest level;
•    A track record of achievement and leadership in the field and an active network among the partners of AAI;
•    International experience, a knowledge of the global public health and human rights architecture and its leaders;
•    Experience in working in partnership with civil society actors and advocates;
•    Knowledge of the commercial world and ability to nurture industry partnerships would be meriting;
•    Experience in acting in a representative capacity;
•    Visionary and strategic thinking  
•    Management experience from an international organization;
•    Experience of fund-raising and the capacity to engage with non-traditional sources of resource.


Skills and Competencies


Candidates should possess

•    The ability to inspire and engage with a wide range of relevant audiences; personal presence; excellent influencing skills; 
•    Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, this person will be an inspiring presenter and ambassador; other languages an asset
•    A manifest commitment to the human rights part of the AAI agenda 
•    The capacity to convey complex messages to lay audiences, as well as interacting meaningfully with expert ones;
•    The ability to lead, delegate, develop, retain and manage a diverse team of professionals; good management and delegation skills; and quick and sound people judgement;
•    Financial literacy; with the ability to set clear financial direction;
•    Research literacy; must understand the core work of AAI
•    Strong visionary leadership with demonstrated ability to foster integration and teamwork;
•    The breadth of mind to build partnerships across many sectors; 
•    Willingness to travel extensively
•    Optimism and openness to new ideas;
•    Sound negotiating skills;
•    Sincerity – the genuine and selfless nature of the Executive Director’s commitment to the work of AAI must be palpable.

How to Apply


To apply, please send a full CV together with a supporting statement, briefly highlighting your experience and skills against the requirements of the role, to recruitment@aidsaccountability.org before August 10.

If you have any questions you can contact the Mats Ahnlund, Director of Finance & Operations at mats@aidsaccountability.org