CALLING CONSULTANTS: Enhancing Feminist Leadership Ethos in OSISA

This pertains especially to women in the organisation, and the envisaged exercise will enable healthy, collaborative power and transformative leadership styles that enable effective power sharing in the organisation towards full accountability and responsibility at all levels.



September 15th, 2016

The overall objective of this assignment is to facilitate the process of reviewing, together with staff, OSISA’s culture, power dynamics and the experiences of staff with the aim of helping the organization develop a new values aligned working culture and set of practices that will improve the health of organisational relationships and the quality of experience for staff. This pertains especially to women in the organisation, and the envisaged exercise will enable healthy, collaborative power and transformative leadership styles that enable effective power sharing in the organisation towards full accountability and responsibility at all levels.


The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. OSISA's vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life.

Established in 1997, OSISA works in 10 southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. OSISA works differently in each of these ten countries, according to local conditions. OSISA is part of a network of autonomous Open Society Foundations, established by George Soros, located in Eastern and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the US.

In its operations (internally and externally) OSISA aspires to “espouse the values and principles of integrity, diversity, equality, hard work, tolerance, excellence, respect and growth in its pursuit of open society ideals in Southern Africa.”  One major form of equality that the organisation has explicitly pursued is gender equality, given the hegemony of patriarchy in the region within which it operates. There has been a clear focus on promoting and protecting women’s rights, internally and externally.

To this end, OSISA seeks the services of (an) experienced feminist organisational development practitioner(s) to unpack, explore and embed leadership models that allow for both women and men to thrive in OSISA.


Under the direct supervision of the Women’s Rights Programme Manager and the Human Resources Unit, the consultant will lead OSISA staff in the process of unpacking and understanding the gendered gaps identified through previous assessments undertaken by OSISA. The organisation now seeks the services of a strong feminist organisational development practitioner/facilitator(s) to unpack and explore (together with the organisation) how we can embed transformative feminist leadership and change the experience of powerlessness, especially among women staff. We envisage this process being a fully-fledged programme that will undertake a feminist analysis and exploration of (but not limited to) the following aspects, and to what extent they enable the embodiment of feminist values of equality, equity, respect, and integrity: - 

  1. Vision, mission and values
  2. Theory of change
  3. Key strategies
  4. Organisational structure
  5. Organisational culture
  6. Systems, processes and procedures
  7. Staffing policies, procedures and processes
  8. Skills, capacities and competencies

The envisaged programme aims to achieve a number of objectives including (among others):

  • Assisting staff to understand gendered power dynamics and resultant behaviours for both male and female staff in the workspace;
  • Equipping staff with the skills to unpack the various forms of power (visible, hidden  and invisible) as well as various expressions of power (power to, power with, power within, power over, etc.) in leadership and the workplace;
  • Assisting staff to understand the different realms in which power operates, and how this extends/manifests in the workplace;
  • Assisting the organisation to construct alternative models of power and inculcating an ethos of transformative power, leadership and principles across the organisation at  individual and collective levels;
  • Enabling staff to understand and make the linkages between organisational structure, power and work towards more open, democratic and a safe workplace. 
  • Creating a culture of respect for women’s rights and women’s self and collective leadership;
  • Transforming the organisational structure, culture, power dynamics and the experience of staff, especially women in the organisation to enable healthy collaborative power and transformative leadership styles that enable effective power sharing.

In light of the above, the consultant will be entrusted with the following deliverables:


A clear, comprehensive and systematic staff development programme that is transformative in design and objective, and is tailored to effectively respond to the challenges of women and men in OSISA Johannesburg, Angola and DRC offices, and across levels of leadership;


A clearly defined strategy to implement the proposed staff development programme; incorporating reflections on team/unit functioning in relation to gender dynamics; and a clear process that enables a commitment/code/ policies/ processes that ensure the organisation consciously integrates this work.


A clearly defined resourcing plan to guide the organisation in rolling out the programme; 


Development of tools, resources and materials to accompany the programme;


Implementation of the programme


  • Demonstrable and proven experience in organisational development;
  • Proven experience fostering feminist ethos and practice in organisations in the global South;
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of the politics and dynamics of the region;
  • Knowledge of and appreciation of coaching experience would be an added advantage.

Interested applicants are requested to submit their applications including a cover letter detailing their understanding of the scope of the assignment and motivation, curriculum vitae and a portfolio of evidence by 5 October 2016 to the following email address:



  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099