Programme Officer: Governance of Lands & Natural Resources, Traditional Knowledge & Access & Benefit Sharing


Natural Justice is an organisation rooted in the struggles of indigenous and local communities in Africa. 

As a team of pioneering lawyers and legal experts, they specialise in human rights and environmental law in pursuit of social and environmental justice.

Natural Justice strives to enhance the collective rights of people and protect the sacred relationships that indigenous peoples and local communities have with nature. Their work is informed by the values, knowledge and self-determination of the communities they stand in solidarity with.

Through legal empowerment, research and litigation, and as part of coalitions and campaigns, they help communities to know the law, use the law and shape the law. Natural Justice’s focus includes enhancing community access to land and governance of natural resources, contributing to the struggle against harmful extractive and infrastructure developments, supporting processes for recognising traditional knowledge and access and benefit sharing, supporting community rights within conservation and customary use, and strengthening community actions towards the climate crisis.

Together with the communities they work with, Natural Justice plays a key role at the national, regional and international levels by influencing policy and laws to recognise and enhance the rights of indigenous and local communities.

The Governance of Lands & Natural Resources/ Traditional Knowledge & Access & Benefit Sharing Programmes use community legal empowerment approaches, including community paralegals, provide legal advice and training to project partners, and support different land, resource and traditional knowledge related challenges of communities.

What are they looking for?

Natural Justice seeks to appoint a Programme Officer to implement specific projects under the following two programmes: (I) Governance of Lands & Natural Resources, and (ii) Traditional Knowledge & Access & Benefit Sharing. This person will be based at the Cape Town Hub working under the guidance of the Cape Town Hub Director and Programme Director, with frequent sub-regional and local travel. This person will be expected to start work as soon as possible.

What’s on offer?

Joining Natural Justice will give the successful candidate a chance to work with a passionate and professional team in a fast-paced environment and gain valuable national and sub regional experience. Natural Justice will offer a competitive salary commensurate with skill and experience. Contract length will be one year, with the option of renewal subject to funding.

How to Apply:

  • Applications should be submitted via email to
  • ‘Application for position of Programme Officer – GNLR/TKABS, Cape Town’ in the subject line.

Applications must include:

  • A motivation letter that indicates a) why you are interested in this position and what inspires you about environmental justice; and b) aspects of your background that demonstrate the required competence for this role;
  • A detailed CV with three references; and
  • Two samples of your past written work (for example, articles or research reports).

Please ensure that your application as a whole speaks to the required qualifications, experience, personal profile and key roles and responsibilities. Please do not apply if you do not meet the required experience.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Key roles and Responsibilities

  • Implement & support specific projects as part of both the Governance of Lands and Natural Resources and Traditional Knowledge and Access and Benefit Sharing programmes, as well as to some extent, the Climate Change work.
  • Engage in constitutional and policy research and advocacy in furtherance of human and peoples’ rights to their lands, resources and traditional knowledge across South Africa, Botswana and Namibia
  • Assist in the development of proposals and concept notes for funding.
  • Undertake legal research, write submissions and provide opinions on environmental justice issues.
  • Provide high-quality legal advice and litigation support to communities supported by Natural Justice.
  • Assist in trainings organised by Natural Justice for the communities it supports.
  • Review new and existing litigation files to create, update, or amend litigation plans.
  • Form and maintain good working relationships with all key partners, including communities, government entities and donors.
  • Oversee the paralegal projects and provide direct advice and assistance,
  • Write research reports, concept documents, academic papers, and organisational reports.

Selection Criteria


  • LLB degree (relevant undergraduate legal qualification);
  • Admitted attorney with at least 2 years post-qualification experience in litigation;
  • Knowledge of South Africa’s, Botswana and/or Namibia’s constitutional and administrative law, including human rights, land and environmental law, or a clear ability to acquire the necessary knowledge within a short space of time;
  • Legal research skills in law, policy and social issues; and
  • Written and oral communication skills


  • Ability to quickly and accurately grasp new and complex concepts;
  • Ability to work under pressure and as part of a team;
  • Ability to balance priorities and coordinate work effectively in order to meet deadlines and deal with high workloads;
  • Emotional intelligence skills to enable interaction with persons from all sectors of society;
  • Interest in protecting communities’ traditional knowledge, traditional resource rights and land rights; and
  • Flexibility to travel to all three project areas when required.

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