LGBT Rights Director Job Vacancy in Kenya

Human Rights Watch 

Position Title: LGBT Rights Director

The Organization

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international human rights research and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions. We’re comprised of over 600 staff in more than 50 countries.

Our mission is as urgent as it has ever been, and it faces complex new challenges. We must contend with the failures of governments to meet their obligations on water, land, education, and food. We must respond to conflict and crisis on an extraordinary scale, and we must confront the persistence of repression around the world. Climate change, the resurgence of authoritarian populism, rapidly advancing technologies, and the effects of deep inequality all compound these threats to rights. Innovation, efficiency, and diversity are critical to our success in meeting these challenges, and to delivering sustained impact.

The Opportunity

Human Rights Watch is seeking a human rights professional to lead its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program, one of HRW’s eight thematic research and advocacy programs, made up of 9 staff.

The LGBT Rights Program defends and promotes the rights of LGBT people globally. Focal areas include violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, criminalization of same-sex conduct, restrictions on freedoms of expression and association, abuses in medical settings, and socio-economic rights including access to education, healthcare, and employment.

The successful candidate will be a thoughtful, collaborative, and strategic leader with deep knowledge and experience working on a diverse range of human rights issues related to LGBT rights. The Director will be a persuasive advocate in the field, and have an impressive track record of driving change, a deep commitment to coalition building and equitable partnerships, and a strategic vision for HRW’s contribution to the global LGBT rights movement.

The Director will be an experienced manager and demonstrate the ability and commitment to foster the safety and resilience of staff, to promote diversity and inclusion, to support sustainability of the organization, to be an effective communicator, to provide appropriate and timely feedback on staff performance, to build consensus with staff around key challenges and new research and advocacy approaches, and to ensure the highest research standards in a culture of learning, trust, teamwork, and collaboration

The Director will represent the organization in national, regional, and international media on LGBT human rights issues; will advocate with high-level officials from governments, companies, the United Nations, and other regional and international bodies; will foster and strengthen partnerships with other human rights and civil society organizations, particularly local partners; and will lead our LGBT-related collaborations in the human rights movement.

The position will be based in any of HRW’s global offices. The Director will report to a Deputy Program Director in the Program Office and will lead a team of researchers / advocates based in various locations. We aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.


1. Develop strategies, set programmatic priorities, and plan and execute research and advocacy to best defend and advance LGBT rights as human rights globally;

2. Ensure high research standards, including thorough vetting of research and media products, developing innovative research methods, and ensuring that the division’s work meets a high ethical standard;

3. Collaborate with HRW staff in other program areas, including by reviewing products produced across the organization;

4. Provide final editing of reports and other written interventions and take part in research and writing;

5. Oversee the collection of detailed, contextualized information on human rights violations affecting LGBT people around the world, ensure the publication of accurate, comprehensive, insightful, strategic, and timely reports on those policies and practices, and ensure the use of those reports to generate effective and appropriate pressure to curb abuses;

6. Collaborate with HRW’s security teams and others to ensure the safety and resilience of staff, information security, and security of interlocutors and partners;

7. Work closely with the Development and Outreach Department to fundraise, identify and recruit donors, and prepare funding proposals;

8. Maintain an extensive network of informed, supportive, individual donors based all over the world, and support, maintain and grow the network;

9. Ensure that individual donors are kept updated and informed about the work of the program and work with Development colleagues in arranging events and briefing sessions for donors. This includes managing staff time and travel related to fundraising efforts and spending a significant amount of time meeting with donors and prospective donors;

10. Manage budget setting and spending priorities, in co-operation with the Finance Department, and ensure that resources are allocated to maximize impact;

11. Undertake extensive domestic and international travel; and

12. Perform other responsibilities, as required.

Managerial Responsibilities:

1. Lead, motivate, and mentor a thriving nine-person team, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, and providing guidance on professional growth;

2. Supervise the team’s use of traditional media, multimedia, new technology, and other innovative tools to advance advocacy goals;

3. Monitor staff well-being to help manage stress, and boost resilience;

4. Promote an inclusive and positive work environment including by soliciting diverse points of views, encouraging staff to participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and proactively addressing any bias, or discrimination; and

5. Model inclusive behavior and consistently adhere to HRW’s internal values;


Education: An advanced (graduate) degree or equivalent work experience in law, social science, public policy, or a related field is required.

Experience: A minimum of ten (10) yearsof relevant work experience with at least five years in a management role.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Self-motivated, creative, strategic thinker with senior-level experience working on LGBT human rights issues globally is required.

2. Knowledge of LGBT rights movements worldwide and experience negotiating the political and ethical challenges such work poses is required.

3. Excellent leadership skills and a depth and breadth of management and organizational skills, including the demonstrated ability to lead a team of talented professionals in multiple global locations is required.

4. Fundraising and development experience is highly desirable.

5. Ability to juggle multiple tasks and work collegially in a demanding, diverse, and fast-paced professional environment is required.

6. Excellent oral and written communications skills in English are required. Fluency in one or more languages other than English is highly desirable.

7. Keen political judgment, proven initiative and follow-through, the ability to work quickly and well under pressure, and a commitment to human rights is required.

8. Experience with LGBT research and advocacy in a transnational context and with groups relatively marginalized within larger LGBT communities is required.

Salary and Benefits: Human Rights Watch offers competitive salaries and comprehensive employer-paid benefits. HRW offers relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply. If based in the United States, the salary range would be US$150,000-165,000. Salary ranges outside of the United States vary based on location.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, or if you require accommodations during the application process, please email Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

How to apply

Please apply immediately or by November 12, 2023 by visiting our online job portal at and attaching a cover letter and a resume or CV, preferably as PDF files. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.