MSI-Asia Pacific's logo

External Relations & Advocacy Director

MSI-Asia Pacific
  • Location: Melbourne
  • Full-time: 38 hours per week
  • Contract type: Permanent

The Organisation

At MSI Reproductive Choices we are unapologetically pro-choice. We believe that every person has the right to make choices about their own body and future. As one of the world’s leading providers of contraception and safe abortion care, we give everyone the means to do so. Across 37 countries, we provide high quality, safe services, and advocate to create an enabling environment, so every client has safe access to services when and where they are needed. 

MSI Asia Pacific (MSIAP) serves as the public engagement and project management office for MSI in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. We play a critical role in delivering MSI’s mission of ‘children by choice, not chance’ by supporting MSI country programs to expand access to family planning and safe abortion services.  We do this in three key ways: fundraising, project management, and advocacy.   

MSI is committed to creating an inclusive environment with a workforce which is representative of the communities we serve. We’re proud to be an equal opportunities employer and give equal consideration to all qualified applicants without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or age. We are committed to promoting equality and safeguarding the welfare of all team members and clients, with a focus on vulnerable groups.

The Function

The External Relations team leads on external affairs, government and institutional donor relations, program design and development, partnerships, advocacy and institutional fundraising for MSI Asia Pacific. Our aim is to support service delivery in MSI country programs (CPs) and to proactively shape and inform global dialogue and policies to advance universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SHRH). 

The External Relations team forges meaningful and productive relationships with external partners to inform MSI’s organisational priorities and programming. We identify, cultivate and sustain financial and technical partnerships that support MSI’s global mission. We identify and maximise opportunities for influence and change and transfer knowledge from country programs across the MSI global partnership and throughout the sector.

The Role

The External Relations and Advocacy Director (ERD) is a senior management position within MSIAsia Pacific, and is a member of the Senior Management Team, reporting to the Executive Officer MSIAP. Based in Melbourne. The role will require regular travel to Canberra and overseas travel as necessary. As MSIAP’s ER&AD, you will:

  • Lead MSI’s strategic engagement with Australian policymakers, parliamentarians and key stakeholders in the Asia Pacific Region;
  • Represent MSIAP in a range of fora and advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights as a key issue for the international development agenda
  • Direct an external relations approach that ensures MSI’s expertise is used to inform policy positions and enhance the organisation’s overall legitimacy to engage in policy debates
  • Cultivate and sustain partnerships that support MSI’s global mission across the remit of MSIAP
  • Oversee MSI’s engagement with DFAT and MFAT, as well as driving a growing portfolio of current and future Institutional donors
  • Provide leadership for the program design & bid development efforts for MSI in the Asia Pacific region, working closely with program team members at MSIAP and within country programs
  • Be a conduit for transferring knowledge and learning from MSI’s programming both to partners across the sector, and from the wider sector into the MSI global partnership.  
  • Build the capacity of the MSIAP team in technical expertise in sexual and reproductive health and rights

Key Responsibilities

Strategy, leadership and governance

  • Contribute to the development and implementation of MSIAP’s strategic plans and annual implementation plans, 
  • Work closely with the Executive Officer and Projects Director to lead the strategic direction of MSIAP’s international programming focus
  • Work with a variety of partners to design relevant and forward-looking SRH programs/projects/activities
  • Lead the External Relations & Advocacy team and be an active participant in the Senior Management Team

Institutional Donor Partnerships (Donor Account Manager)

  • Build, lead and sustain a positive relationship with DFAT, MFAT and other key institutional donors to support continued and increased funding to enable MSI to deliver on our mission;
  • Liaise with MSI’s global teams on international, regional and in-country initiatives, to support continued and further funding for MSIAP; and 
  • Liaise and support MSI team members (MSIAP projects team and Country Program offices) to ensure best-practice implementation of institutional donor-funded projects and to cultivate and strengthen key partnerships, particularly with DFAT and MFAT post, to position for future funding


  • Provide leadership to the Senior Advisor Program Design and Development, and work closely with programs and PDD to oversee, advise on and, as necessary, directly engage in project design and proposal development

Stakeholder and Partner Engagement

  • Cultivate, strengthen and nurture constructive and positive relationships with a range of Australian parliamentarians, decision makers and policy makers, academic institutions, opinion leaders and other partners as champions to advance universal access to contraception and safe abortion;
  • Foster meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships that are aligned with program goals and ambitions
  • Build strong relationships with the NGO sector in Australia, both for advocacy purposes and to scope opportunities for future programming partnerships– both in Australia and regionally
  • Develop strategic partnerships with organisations, individuals and companies to enhance MSI’s visibility and profile in the region amongst existing and potential donors and the public
  • Serve as a spokesperson for MSI at Australian and Asia Pacific regional conferences, presentations, panel discussions, strategic events, committees, working groups and other meetings;
  • Support the transfer of knowledge, documentation and dissemination of learning, best practices, case studies and successful strategies in relation to MSI’s policy engagement.

Advocacy and Policy

  • Positively influence DFAT policy and practice with regard to SRHR; through advocacy actions from MSI directly and as part of wider advocacy efforts in collaboration with others 
  • Lead MSIAP’s policy-influencing efforts.This includes building relationships with a wide range of stakeholders such as the ACFID Policy and Advocacy team, ACFID member representatives,regional UN and multilateral bodies, the Asia Pacific Alliance for SRHR and the International SRHR Consortium (of which MSI is a founding member)
  • Maintain up-to-date technical expertise in SRHR, Gender Equality, MCH and other areas in order to credibly advocate and influence policy.
  • • Work with the global Resilience, Advocacy and Partnerships team, and Advocacy leads in-countryprograms to monitor international policy and strategy on SRHR and related issues,
  • Provide high level input to keep family planning and safe abortion on the global agenda.
  • Provide strategic advice and support to country programs in the region on policy advocacy, as required.


  • Leadership and managerial capacity: An experienced manager who can set a vision, build a strategy and lead their team to deliver on performance
  • Collaborative: A confident communicator who is able to negotiate with diplomacy and build relationships at multiple levels.
  • Strategic Vision: An analytical thinker who has the ability to see the bigger picture, identify opportunities and tailor strategic plans and adjust goals when circumstances change. 
  • Results Driven: A solution-focused individual who thinks ‘outside the box’ and can diplomatically challenge the status quo whilst maintaining harmony. 
  • Entrepreneurial and Resourceful:  A self-starter and creative risk taker who is able to act decisively when unexpected events present opportunities for advancing MSI’s global mission.

Skills and Experience


  • Educated to degree level (Master’s degree highly desirable)


  • Demonstrated record in engaging, influencing and developing effective relationships with senior policymakers, institutional donors and civil society agencies to deliver strategic advocacy outcomes
  • Experience managing institutional fundraising
  • Experience cultivating and maintaining effective partnerships
  • Proven track record in implementing/supporting service delivery programs/projects an advantage.
  •  A significant depth of technical expertise in SRHR 
  • Experience in international development 
  • Team leadership experience, an advantage


  • Demonstrated ability to produce policy briefs or factsheets.
  • Strong analytical and strategic skills. 
  • Outstanding relationship building and management skills with a variety of stakeholders
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including presentation experience to various audiences
  • Ability to organise and present information in a compelling and succinct manner.

Personal Attributes

  • Passion and enthusiasm for development and/or reproductive health issues (desirable)
  • Flexible attitude and team player 
  • Pro-MSI philosophy of social enterprise 
  • Pro-MSI philosophy of reproductive rights
  • Pro-choice

MSI Core Values

  • Mission driven: With unwavering commitment, we exist to empower women and men to have children by choice, not chance
  • Client centred: We are passionate about our clients and dedicate our efforts to delivering agreed objectives to the highest possible quality
  • Accountable: We are accountable for our actions and take responsibility for everything we do to ensure long-term sustainability and increased impact
  • Courageous: We recruit and nurture talented, passionate and brave people who have the courage to push boundaries, make tough decisions and challenge others in line with our mission.

Benefits of working at MSI

We also pride ourselves on being a supportive and flexible working place that offers a great range of benefits:

  • Generous salary packaging options up to $15,900 + $2,650 meals and entertainment,
  • Dynamic Learning Management Platform with 1000s of courses plus opportunity to access professional development / study leave allowance,
  • Family friendly and flexible working arrangements,
  • Up to 12 weeks company paid parental leave,
  • Employee Assistance Program,
  • Discounted clinical services for you and your immediate family members.

A position description is attached.

How to apply

This job ad has now expired, and applications are no longer being accepted.

Email me more jobs like this.