Job Opening: Sombath Initiative Programme Officer


Focus on the Global South (Focus) is a non-governmental organisation with offices in Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and India. Focus combines policy research, advocacy, activism and grassroots capacity building to generate critical analysis and debates among social movements, civil society organisations, elected officials, government functionaries and the general public on national and international policies related to corporate-led globalisation, neo-liberalism and militarisation. 

Focus recently received a two-year grant for its emerging Power and Democracy (P&D) programme which was introduced in 2015 to address the exercise of different types of power, and how they affect democracy, citizenship, justice, well-bring, peace and rights.

The Sombath Initiative (SI) is a leading component of the P&D programme. The SI was established in December, 2014, continuing earlier efforts resulting from the disappearance of Sombath Somphone in Laos in 2012. The SI aims to increase awareness about the human rights and development contexts in Laos, maintain pressure to address these issues, including the case of Sombath’s disappearance, and to build networks of solidarity to further this work.

Focus now seeks a SI Programme Officer to undertake the overall planning, coordination and implementation of the SI as part of the broader P&D programme.

Key Responsibilities: Under the direct supervision of the Focus Executive Director, and with the support of the SI Project Advisor and related Focus staff, the SI Programme Officer will:

  • Conduct research and ongoing monitoring on the intersection between development and human rights, civil society and democratic decision making, and foreign aid and investment in Southeast Asia, with particular focus on the Lao PDR.
  • Explore and document the work of Sombath Somphone, including that on youth, education, and environment, and equitable, sustainable development.
  • Build networks with people and organisations in support of the above.
  • Produce reports, briefings, press statements, and internet postings, etc., on the above issues.
  • Assist in the identification, planning and implementation of various fora and events.
  • Strengthen networking with human rights and development organisations at the regional and international levels.
  • Represent the SI with the above organisations and at related events,
  • Take the lead in project coordination, monitoring and reporting, and assist with fundraising and financial monitoring.


  • At least three to five years’ experience in development, human rights, and advocacy issues in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Laos.
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate and build relationships with a wide variety of individuals and organisations.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct research and produce outputs, particularly in English.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in contemporary Lao, including reading and writing, will be a significant advantage.

This is a full-time position based at Focus’ Bangkok office. The post offers a salary commensurate with experience and comparable to those of other regional organisations.

Applications should be in English and include a cover letter, CV, writing samples and contact details of at least two referees. Please send applications to [email protected] with “SI Programme Officer” in the subject line.

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