External Affairs Director

Geneva, Switzerland
[Closing date: 22 April


Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for Neglected Diseases (www.dndi.org)

DNDi focuses on discovering and developing treatments for sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, paediatric HIV, mycetoma, and hepatitis C. Since its inception, DNDi has developed seven new treatments for neglected patients for malaria, sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, paediatric HIV with several new drug candidates in the R&D pipeline including two for sleeping sickness. Our objective is to deliver 16 to 18 new treatments by 2023, ensure equitable access to these treatments, and build a robust pipeline of new drug candidates.

In 2016, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, DNDi launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), a not-for-profit research and development organization to develop new antibiotic treatments addressing antimicrobial resistance and to promote their responsible use for optimal conservation, while ensuring equitable access for all. DNDi is responsible for GARDP’s incubation until it is  established as an independent legal and operational entity (objective for early 2019). Going forward, a strong strategic alignment will be critical for the success of both organizations.

The External Affairs Departments aims to design, implement, and evaluate Policy Advocacy, Communications, and Fundraising strategies for DNDi and participate in major efforts in all three areas appropriate for her/his level, and to support alignment between DNDi and GARDP on these areas. The global team has 35 members, the majority in Geneva, but also in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, India, Malaysia, and Japan.

The Communications team ensures wide, timely, and strategic dissemination of information on DNDi and research in the field of neglected diseases, viral diseases including HIV/HCV. Target audiences include national and international political leaders, the scientific community, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, donor countries and organizations, civil society organizations, and the media.

To influence the R&D landscape to respond to public health priorities and patient needs as being part of DNDi’s mandate, the Policy and Advocacy team seeks to advocate for changes in the global health environment, through better coordination of R&D efforts, sustainable financing, new push and pull incentive mechanisms, and implementation of key norms and principles (affordability, effectiveness, efficiency, equitable access) with the end goal to ensure sustainable innovation and access.

The External Relations (Fundraising) Team seeks to develop and implement the global fundraising strategy, by securing funding from a mixed of donors from private and public sources and new financing mechanisms. The worldwide funding goal for DNDi is to secure an additional €250 million by 2023 to meet the target of a total of €700 million raised (€450 already secured). 



Purpose of the position

The External Affairs Director is responsible for providing leadership, direction, and monitors all aspects of DNDi activities related to raising awareness with external audiences about the need for new R&D technologies, particularly new drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases, and viral areas. In addition, the External Affairs Director is responsible for institutional development, by engaging with key donors and stakeholders and taking part in important fundraising efforts. 

The EAD will lead the set up and implementation of strategic platforms to ensure global alignment and good coordination between DNDi and GARDP, together with the leadership of GARDP.

He/she reports to and works with the Executive Director of DNDi to design strategy and objectives for policy, advocacy, fundraising and communication efforts.


Specific job responsibilities

Defining DNDi’s fundraising strategy and successful implementation

  • Develop and recommend DNDi’s fundraising strategy
  • Develop the fundraising plans and implement the worldwide fundraising strategy
  • Identify potential public, institutional and private donors, new funding mechanisms and/or new models of financial resources
  • Oversee fundraising activities and results
  • Forecast fundraising potential for mid-term and long term
  • Evaluate new donors landscape
  • Along with the other Senior Leaders, take responsibility for establishing relationships with high-potential donors and fundraising on behalf of DNDi
  • Ensure the balance of various sources of funding, according to the fundraising strategy approved by the Board
  • Oversee attribution of key donor relationships to senior members of DNDi
  • Chair or co-chair the strategic platform to ensure synergies and coordinated efforts within different units of DNDi and with GARDP

Defining policy advocacy strategy and actively participating in policy advocacy efforts

  • Develop and recommend policy strategy to the Executive Director based on solid analysis of global health environment and proposes strategies and tactics on relevant topics
  • Ensure global political alignment, coherence, and compatibility of policy across activities, diseases units & regions
  • Provide guidance on specific global/ initiatives/unit advocacy to DNDi’s leadership
  • Represent DNDi for policy discussion with main stakeholders (international institutions, governments, donors, partners…)
  • Identify policy areas for DNDi’s public positioning and develop evidence based reports related to key components of DNDi external policies and/or external environment
  • Chair the DNDi internal Policy Advocacy Committee
  • Advise on key risks for DNDi positioning and messaging on policy matters

Oversight of communication’s strategy and actively participating in major communication efforts

  • Ensure DNDi’s profile and positioning in the global health R&D landscape
  • Raise awareness on the need for drug development programmes for neglected diseases toward different audiences, governments, scientific community, donors, civil society groups, academia, and donor targets
  • Monitor DNDi communications impact through multiple indicators
  • Act as the Initiative’s senior public relations person
  • Present with indicators impact of DNDi in the media
  • Lead communication strategic plans with key stakeholders to support product launch

Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • Excellent strategic thinking and leadership abilities
  • Strong ability to manage organization wide programmes with budget management
  • Very clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates strong judgment and problem-solving competencies
  • Excellent ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders
  • Excellent communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments
  • Excellent communication, and public speaking skills, ability to convince and represent DNDi at high level events
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
  • Knowledge of managing global multicultural teams and ability to lead and motivate a team for optimum performance
  • Highly organized and structured
  • Excellent ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines
  • Strong analytical skills


  • Minimum 17 years’ relevant experience
  • Senior executive experience in an international setting in the fundraising and/or advocacy activity
  • Proven track records in raising public & private & institutional sources
  • Significant experience in the institutional global health environment preferred
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure is critical


  • Master degree or Ph.D. in relevant field

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Proficiency in local languages desirable
  • Willingness and ability to travel globally


Reporting line

  • S/he reports to Executive Director
  • S/he has as direct reports the Head of Communication, the Head of Policy and Advocacy, and the Head of External Relations(fundraising) of DNDi.



  • Work with Directors of Departments, Directors/Heads of Regional Offices, Director of GARPD
  • S/he represents DNDi at the highest level and interacts with governing bodies, major donors and other leaders of influence. S/he creates networks and relationships to expand programme interaction and bring resources or expertise


Other information

  • Status: full time – permanent role


To apply

  • Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 22 April 2018
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.