Head of Secretariat | Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law

Full time
36 hours
Job type
Full time
Hours workweek
36 hours

The Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law (KPSRL) is a Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) project run by Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit, in collaboration with the International Development Law Organization and Saferworld UK (the Consortium Partners). The KPSRL is committed to improving the quality and impact of Security & Rule of Law (SRoL) programming and policies, with a specific focus on fragile and conflict-affected settings. To do this, the KPSRL convenes programming specialists, policymakers, and researchers to generate and share knowledge, improve practice and increase learning across the SRoL sector. Established in 2012, the KPSRL now has over 3.500 participants including civil society, academics and researchers, as well as policy officers representing national and multilateral donors.

The KPSRL is managed by a Secretariat that coordinates, activates and facilitates the Platform, working to increase opportunities for learning (including the provision of small grants) to stimulate experimentation, innovation and research uptake within the SRoL sector. Amongst other things, the Secretariat regularly convenes learning events, including webinars, white paper discussions, programming-led learning symposiums, research seminars, practice labs and an Annual Conference. Overall, the KPSRL Secretariat aims to create and nurture a conducive learning environment within the SRoL sector. More detail can be found

The KPSRL Secretariat is looking for a Head of Secretariat (HoS) from 1 January 2022 to lead the Secretariat team in achieving the KPSRL’s objectives.

Job description

The purpose of the job is to lead and facilitate the achievement of the KPSRL’s overall objective – to strengthen the learning capacity of policymakers, practitioners and researchers active in the SRoL sector.

The Head of Secretariat is the public face of KPSRL and will lead an independently operating project team of six (including HoS) to ensure that the KPSRL develops and implements strategies to:

  1. Strengthen the KPSRL network, aiming to continuously increase the breadth and diversity of participation (by type of organization and geographic origin) and the intensity of exchange within the KPSRL network
  2. Stimulate learning within the network from SRoL program implementation in the field on the one hand, and from SRoL management of program portfolios by practitioner organizations and donor stakeholders on the other

The HoS engages with Platform participants and its key stakeholders (e.g. NL MFA and its affiliates) to strengthen relationships across different communities of practice, and to encourage synergy as well as constructive debate with the goal of improving the Platform participants’ own learning and knowledge uptake. Key tasks include:

  • Facilitate the strategic development of the Platform in response to learning from the field about issues of power, agency and ownership, including:
    • Actively engaging in learning and debates among SRoL practitioners, researchers and policy actors about issues of power, agency and ownership
    • Enabling the Platform to play a leading role in developing the SRoL discourse and reshaping aid instruments relied on to manage SRoL portfolios to boost learning and ultimately impact
  • Lead the iterative review, development and implementation of work plans and a Theory of Change to achieve the overall objectives of the KPSRL, including:
    • Supporting the development of a multi-annual strategic vision for the KPSRL (in collaboration with the KPSRL Consortium Partners)
    • Designing, periodically updating and overseeing the implementation of the KPSRL instruments available to stimulate learning (i.e. the Knowledge Management Fund and the new Programmatic Learning Instrument), ensuring diversity and quality of proposals and activities, as well as solid fund and project management that promotes innovation and knowledge sharing
  • Act as the ‘public face’ of the KPSRL, including:
    • Identifying and promoting the KPSRL among organisations and individuals who could valuably diversify and strengthen the network, expanding the network to new participants, and individuals at higher-levels of policy decision making both in the Global North and South
    • Engaging a broad audience of policymakers, practitioners & researchers, and generate a conducive environment for learning
  • Engage with the Platform’s key stakeholders (e.g. NL MFA and its affiliates; Advisory Committee) to strategically position the KPSRL and identify opportunities for exchange across different communities of practice
  • Manage the KPSRL staff and project, including:
    • Managing the Secretariat team and the Secretariat budget, including supporting the seeking of sustainable funds for future growth of the Platform
    • Overseeing the production of the KPSRL Annual Plan and Reports (quarterly and annually, both in terms of content and financially – for the Secretariat and the KPSRL instruments) and ensure IATI reporting is completed

Qualifications and experience

We would be interested in candidates who can demonstrate the following:

  • A university degree in social or political sciences, plus 10-15 years of relevant working experience (of which preferably some years were spent in fragile or developing countries)
  • Solid knowledge of the current international peacebuilding and stabilization agendas and familiarity with the work of relevant donor governments, the g7+, and multilateral organisations working on issues pertaining to conflict and fragility (United Nations and the World Bank Group, the European Union); within that specifically, strong knowledge of Dutch foreign policy, with specific focus on its Security & Rule of Law policy
  • Deep knowledge of network management and collaboration dynamics, including among civil society, academic/research communities and/or (inter)national policy communities
  • Openness to current debates and concerns about issues of power, agency and ownership within the international development sector, including SRoL, and commitment to redressing power imbalances
  • Strong background in strategic planning processes and translating strategies into concrete implementation instruments (project management tools; budgets; ToC)
  • Experience in working with both practitioner and research organisations active in the field of conflict and fragility, and access to a relevant network of experts (policy, practice and research) in both the Global North and South
  • Experience of working on the programming, monitoring, evaluation and learning cycle is considered an asset

In addition:

  • Capable of bridging the divide between policy and practice, and build coalitions to mobilize and focus the efforts of diverse stakeholders
  • Proven networking skills to create, maintain and deepen working relationships and align internal and external stakeholders around an evolving programme
  • Capable of addressing large audiences and presenting at high-level forums; equally comfortable in facilitating strategic dialogues among small expert groups
  • Ability to write succinctly and wittingly, supported by publications, reports, articles and/or blogs
  • Strong analytical qualities and the ability to present complex arguments in a compelling way
  • Capable of working independently and under time pressure and with strict deadlines while maintaining high levels of quality in her/his work
  • Flexible, thoughtful and nimble approach to issues and colleagues, able to contribute constructively and positively when working as part of a team
  • Confident leadership and management of small team, providing team members candid and specific feedback on performance
  • Capable of reading and writing in English fluently and have a decent familiarity with Dutch (able to read emails, policy documents, etc.). Further linguistic skills are considered an asset.


The salary depends on the level of education and working experience, guideline is scale 12 BBRA based on a 32-36 hours working week. The contract is initially valid for a period of one year with the option for renewal.


You can apply via the ‘Apply-now button at the top of this vacancy. Deadline for response is 31 October 2021.

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