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Director of Advocacy

International Social Impact | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is seeking an experienced Director of Advocacy to lead the implementation of Sesame Workshop’s strategy for evidence-based advocacy for early childhood development (ECD) in humanitarian settings. The Director will work closely with the Humanitarian Programs team to lead advocacy efforts for Sesame Workshop’s humanitarian initiatives for children and caregivers in the Middle East (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) and Bangladesh.  

With strategic guidance from the Vice President for Humanitarian Programs, the Director of Advocacy will oversee the implementation and refinement of a comprehensive Advocacy Plan that sets out to increase prioritization and investment in ECD and, in particular, play-based learning.  The function will involve advocacy for ECD and play-based learning in the project’s countries of operation, as well as advocacy around system-wide barriers to the prioritization of ECD in humanitarian operations (eg. those related to needs assessment, planning, coordination, funding).

The right candidate will have extensive experience managing evidence‑backed advocacy projects or campaigns in the field of international humanitarian or development work and a proven track record of successfully promoting specific system-wide changes in the international humanitarian or development fields.   A successful candidate will have demonstrated experience in leveraging the capacities of multiple partners across a common strategy, as well as coordinating the use of organization-wide assets (research, communications, partnership development, etc.) to support project implementation.

The position is based in New York, NY, with occasional international travel when and where possible given COVID restrictions.


Responsibilities Include:

  • Lead the implementation of Sesame Workshop’s multi-year advocacy strategy for increasing prioritization and investment in ECD in humanitarian settings, working closely internally with the humanitarian program team as well as Strategic Communications, Marketing, Philanthropic Development, and Special Events to align objectives and synchronize activities
  • Lead the coordination of project partners in an established advocacy working group, driven by a common advocacy strategy, including alignment with the use of research, evidence, and other advocacy assets produced for the Play to Learn and Ahlan Simsim projects.
  • Work with the Project Management Team and Finance Department to create and manage advocacy budget and support scoping of partner advocacy activities and budgets.
  • Lead in managing any external evaluations and internal monitoring required to measure the impact of the advocacy strategy in relation to the project’s overall goals.
  • Manage external contracts with universities and advocacy-focused partners or consultants.
  • Work with the Manager, Advocacy and Communications to produce advocacy products for national, regional, and international use, reflecting programmatic priorities, available evidence, and contextual relevance for humanitarian operations.
  • Represent Sesame Workshop in strategic advocacy networks and advocacy-related meetings with relevant stakeholders, including government partners, NGOs, research organizations, UN agencies, donors, and other stakeholders
  • Provide high-quality analysis of ongoing developments and trends, using this analysis to maintain relevant and up-to-date advocacy products and strategies
  • Monitor and report on progress against Advocacy strategy milestones and activities as well as advocacy outcomes to internal and external stakeholders
  • Identify and facilitate opportunities for Sesame Workshop to deepen its situational awareness by bringing in external speakers and presenters
  • Provide support to Philanthropic Development on related grants requirements




  • 10 years of professional experience working in advocacy on humanitarian issues with ECD- or education-focused stakeholders, including donors, implementing agencies, and national governments
  • Experience working in humanitarian settings (a focus on Syria response region or Rohingya response region a plus)
  • Experience overseeing monitoring and evaluation measures in relation to advocacy and measuring policy or practice change.  
  • Strong working knowledge of relevant early childhood development networks, such as INEE, ECDAN, No Lost Generation, Moving Minds Alliance, etc.
  • Extensive relationships and working knowledge of the humanitarian sector
  • Significant professional experience in the creation and execution of advocacy strategies, campaigns, and activities
  • Demonstrated ability to be flexible, self-directed, and work well independently, under pressure and in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong research and analytical skills and ability to synthesize complex information into concise and compelling messaging
  • Exceptional written and oral communication and relationship management skills
  • Excellent organizational skills, including keen attention to detail and the ability to manage time effectively, track and follow-up on various tasks, and multi-task
  • Ability to work effectively in multi-cultural settings



  • Master’s degree in International Development, Humanitarian Affairs, or similar experience
  • Knowledge of one or more languages other than English


Department Information 

Sesame Workshop’s International Social Impact department, a division of Social Impact and Philanthropy, develops and implements Sesame’s powerful initiatives to serve children and families around the world, builds strong partnerships and coalitions to maximize reach and impact. Building upon the familiarity and appeal of the trusted, beloved Sesame Street characters – and their global counterparts – we create and disseminate unique educational resources and tools for families most in need. Sesame’s research-driven initiatives reach many children who would otherwise have little or no access to early childhood education and support all aspects of children’s development – including healthy habits, cognitive development in areas such as early literacy and math, and social-emotional well-being and resilience. We reach and engage children and the important adults in their families and communities using multiple media platforms and innovative strategies – from television and radio to digital media, mobile technologies, books, E-books, magazines, classroom materials, teacher/provider training, social media, and more.


An overview of the Play to Learn project can be found here.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Minorities/Females/Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity