Careers and Internships at PHR | Director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

Director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

Location: This position is usually located in Boston, MA (preferable) or our Headquarters in New York City, but remote while offices remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organization Description

For more than 30 years, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has used science and medicine to document and call attention to mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We investigate and document abuses, give voice to survivors and witnesses, and plant seeds of reconciliation by ensuring that perpetrators can be held accountable for their crimes. PHR uses our core disciplines – science, medicine, forensics, and public health – to inform our research and investigations and to strengthen the skills of frontline human rights defenders. We work closely with hundreds of partners around the world, using facts to wage effective advocacy and campaigning and providing critical scientific evidence so that survivors can seek justice.

PHR, which shared in the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for our work to end the scourge of landmines, is poised for even greater growth and impact. As part of that strategy, we are seeking committed activists with a passion for human rights.

Role Description

PHR is excited to bring on board a Director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones (SVCZ). The director of the Program on SVCZ is responsible for managing and overseeing all aspects of this flagship multi-year capacity development and advocacy program, which includes recruitment and supervision of in-country personnel and consultants, as well as U.S.-based staff and medical and legal experts. The director is responsible for all aspects of the program, including curriculum development and implementation, oversight of the development and implementation of the MediCapt digital app, and collaboration with local legal, medical, and law enforcement stakeholders – both in government and in non-governmental organizations – to create awareness of and strengthen accountability for sexual violence in conflict zones that leads to impactful action and reduces impunity for these crimes.  


  • Recruit and supervise core personnel in two small field offices (Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and manage U.S. program team in Boston;
  • Oversee continued development and implementation of a complex program to address impunity for sexual violence through advocacy, research, innovation, capacity development, and networking;
  • Manage program budget, operations, and deliverables for large, multi-year foundation and government grants;
  • Assist program team and development staff in the stewarding and cultivation of program-specific donors to sustain and grow the SVCZ program;
  • Recruit and support medical, nursing, legal, and law enforcement expert consultants to support projects as required;
  • Monitor developments in the medical and legal landscape with respect to sexual violence and support for survivors;
  • Develop and manage research in connection with the program, overseeing content production and publications;
  • Work with program team to develop and oversee monitoring and evaluation plans;
  • Together with the director of programs, engage with high-level stakeholders and collaborators to support programmatic initiatives and fundraising efforts;
  • Report on program’s progress both internally and externally;
  • Further develop and oversee international initiatives emanating from program and cultivate new partnerships;
  • Serve as content expert and spokesperson on legal, medical, and forensic issues pertaining to sexual violence in conflict and accountability, as relevant;
  • In collaboration with the SVCZ program team, lead and facilitate strategic planning and visioning for the program and for program scaling;
  • As a senior member of the programs division, provide thought leadership for more informed decision making and participate in strategic planning and the setting of operational goals and objectives for the programs division;
  • Cultivate and reinforce a culture of kindness, respect, goodwill, non-discrimination, transparency, collaboration, and mentorship at the organization and lead by example;
  • Manage the safety and security of staff and partners, including reviewing and approving security plans for activities;
  • Oversee the operations and functioning of offices in Boston, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya;
  • Oversee compliance and operations pertaining to the field offices in partnership with the finance and administration and field office teams;
  • Participate in organization-wide initiatives to advance PHR’s internal and external goals.

Requirements of the Ideal Candidate

  • Advanced degree in public health, business administration/international project management, law, human rights, or international education required
  • Minimum of 10 years of progressive experience in international program development and implementation of complex programs
  • Experience in utilizing cross-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approaches
  • Knowledge or experience in sexual violence, international justice, human rights, and/or women’s rights highly desirable
  • Demonstrated experience managing teams to achieve results in complex global programs
  • Able and willing to travel domestically and internationally periodically, including to remote, rural, conflict, or post-conflict zones in Africa, Asia, Europe, and/or Latin America
  • Previous experience working in conflict-affected regions, Africa, Asia, or MENA, a plus                                             
  • Authorized to work in the United States

Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate

  • Flexible and skilled in executing multiple tasks, and experienced working with and building teams across geographic and cultural regions
  • Superb oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent cross-cultural communication skills
  • Ability to engage with and relate to officials at the highest levels of government and professional institutions, grassroots women’s and survivor groups, and local communities in conflict zones
  • Ability to manage budgets and complex projects
  • Advanced fluency in spoken French highly desirable
  • Excellent negotiation and mediation skills
  • Ability to supervise multinational staff and consultants


PHR offers competitive employer-paid benefits, including medical, dental, disability, and life insurance, a retirement savings plan, and generous vacation.

How to Apply

Please email cover letter and resume to Please include the job title of the position you are applying for in the subject line of your email and include salary expectations and where you saw this job posting in the email body.

Physicians for Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer. We recruit and hire without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, prior conviction, arrest history, disability, marital status, veteran status, or age.