Head of Programmes wanted at Tshisimane

Opportunity closing date: Friday, 7 May, 2021

The Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education (TCAE) draws its name ‘Tshisimani’ from a word in the TshiVenda language meaning fountain, spring or ‘at the water source’. This captures the driving inspiration for the Centre, which is to nourish, replenish and sustain the power and capacity of activist movements, organisations and networks engaged in grassroots struggle to build a just society in South Africa and internationally.
Based in Mowbray, Cape Town, the The Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education wishes to fill the following vacancy:


The Head of Programmes will coordinate the work of a dynamic, creative and talented team. The position has three major responsibilities education and curriculum design, senior management, coordination and leadership, as well as networking and extending the Centre’s reach. Tshisimani was established in 2016 to support the education needs of organisations and movements based in working class communities. Over this period, TCAE has developed solid partnerships with local activist organisations and movements and increasingly expanded our reach to emergent activist structures, programmes and campaigns. TCAE has a solid footprint in the Western Cape, the rest of the country and beyond.

Key responsibilities and duties:

  • Education: Curriculum design and materials development
    • The Head of Programmes is responsible for leading the development of curricula and course material for a range of activities organised by the Centre (such as lectures, seminars, debates, workshops, residential schools, activist convenings and documentary film screenings), as well as material for dissemination. This will involve leadership of and participation in teams and will entail collaborating with activists in the development of materials relevant to their campaigns. The work will entail research, development of course materials using a range of different media; leading on teaching methodologies appropriate to the centre’s constituents, and bringing in outside experts, when appropriate, to assist in the work. Co-ordinating online and digital offerings with the team as a growing area of curriculum and materials development at the Centre 
  • Senior management and leadership  
    • Provide overall coordination of the programmes team, working closely with managers in different portfolios 
    • Supporting the senior programme management team in the implementation of the strategic goals of the organisation and in specific portfolios. This includes development of performance contracts and performance reviews
    • Encouraging and supporting the work of other members of the education programme staff and mentoring more junior members of staff
    • Participation in the management committee structures of the organisation, contribution to policy formulation and implementation, recruitment etc
    • Take the lead in quality assurance of the Centre’s offerings in consultation with the Project Officer, ensuring that there are internal evaluation processes and facilitating external reviews and feedback from subject experts, partners, and like-minded organisations
    • Take the lead in the timeous completion of quarterly, mid-year and annual reports
    • Take the lead in the compilation of the annual planning process, working with various components of the team to plan and execute the annual programme plans
    • Work with the programmes team to compile grant applications for various projects
    • Develop and manage budgets for specific projects in consultation with the Operations team and in accordance with the organisation’s policy and procedures
  • Networking and extending the Centre’s reach 
    • Assisting the Centre to extend its connections to new layers of activists and activist organisations, both locally an internationally, and strengthening the relationships with activists and activist organisations currently working with the Centre 

The Head of Programmes must possess the following requirements:

  • At least a master’s degree in social sciences/ Arts/Humanities or related fields
  • 5-8 years’ experience at senior management level, that includes budgeting and financial management; report writing and managing staff
  • Demonstrable experience in managing teams over a sustained period
  • Ability to guide programme implementation and the ability to adapt appropriately to changing contexts
  • Ability to provide ongoing constructive feedback to develop programme staff, as well to develop processes to promote collaboration and teamwork
  • Proven abilities in curriculum design, conceptualising and executing education programmes for activist education
  • Experience with popular education approaches is essential
  • Strong abilities to write and compile popular education materials for physical and web-based dissemination. Experience of online and digital education platforms will be advantageous
  • A strong commitment to social justice and activism over a sustained period
  • Strong problem solving and team-building skills
  • Excellent organisational and logistical skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Curious, imaginative and strategic with strong abilities to work with constituencies and partners in different contexts

This position is a 5-year Fixed term contract.

View the full job description and application instructions on the Vacancies page at www.actionappointments.co.za and email your application by 7 May 2021 to melissa@actionappointments.co.za