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Civic Participation Department, New Naratif

Position: Civic Participation Manager (CPM)
Working Hours: full-time, 40hrs per week
Salary Offered: Starting US $1,500/- up to max US $1,600/- (negotiable depending on experience, knowledge and skills of the candidate)
Location: Online/Digital within any one of the eleven Southeast Asian countries
Reporting to: Managing Director (MD) – direct line supervisor, in the absence of MD, the position reports to Operations Manager as de-facto head of the organisation.
Peers: Operations Manager, Design Manager, Community Manager, Research Manager and Editorial Manager
Forms part of: Management Team
Supervises: Civic Participation Department team of 1 to 12 persons
Qualifications: As a Southeast Asian candidate (preferred), the CPM must have native-level English ability (spoken and written) and, preferably, fluency in one or more Southeast Asian languages. 
Travel Required: Domestically and Internationally as and when necessary and approved by MD
Type of Contract: Annual contracts issued from April 1st to March 31, (renewable annually, based on performance and funding available) 

New Naratif is a movement for democracy in Southeast Asia. We publish information, build communities, and empower people to create positive change. Learn more about us at newnaratif.com/hello.

New Naratif aims to build capacity for democratic change in Southeast Asia. Civic Participation is our main channel for this. Through online and in-person classrooms, events, and workshops, and in partnership with local activists and people on the ground, we give Southeast Asians the knowledge and skills necessary for Southeast Asians to take control of their lives for positive change. As Civic Participation manager, you’ll both build the networks and organise the classes/events that bring together our allies and our members to build capacity for democratic change.

As CPM, you’ll oversee a team of educators, networkers, and digital/online event organisers. You’ll need to oversee the production of educational content, ensure that deadlines are met, that networks are developed and maintained, that people within your department develop their content, and event organisers hold their interactive sessions on schedule.

In addition, much of New Naratif’s outputs are structured around themes: every six months (eventually every quarter), we pick a new issue, theme, topic, or event and focus our efforts on educating and empowering people to create change around that issue or event. 

Examples include Southeast Asian regional issues such as women’s rights, gender and LGBTQIA+ rights, labour migration and labour rights, forced migration, inclusion and civic participation, youths and political rights, transparency and accountability of electoral procedures, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, land grabbing and land rights, all of which New Naratif has published on in the recent past.   

Our team gets together and figures out what to focus on, what information people need to know to create change, who the people on the ground are that we can engage, and what events/classes help bring our community together to build capacity for change. The whole process takes six months.

This position would suit someone with experience in managing online educational activities across different digital platforms and formats. Examples include those who have gained professional experience in digital educational platforms with a non-profit organisation, educational content development, managing e-classes, digital engagement, and dissemination of educational materials on social issues, public/mass communications, NGO communications or other media-driven advocacy activities.

What you’ll be doing 

  • As the Civic Participation Manager (CPM), you’d be in charge of the educational products that support civic engagements of our members and audiences on issues identified by New Naratif every quarter.
  • Develop departmental strategy for growth and expansion among New Naratif’s members and digital audiences. 
  • Oversee the development and running of online Sekolah Democracy classrooms, held twice a month.
  • Oversee and run The Citizens’ Agenda and associated empowerment activities and campaigns. 
  • Oversee the development and running of in-person Democracy Classrooms held on a monthly basis. 
  • Supervise and manage New Naratif’s Southeast Asia Media Freedom Network (SEA-MFN), an initiative of New Naratif which aims to build capacity for media freedom in Southeast Asia.
  • You’ll collaborate closely with the managers of Editorial, Community, Design and Research teams, and encourage your team members to also have close coordination and internal collaborations. 
  • You will collaborate with the Operations department and its team members to ensure smooth functioning of your department and cross-departmental coordination is maintained as and when necessary, including tracking all budgets, spendings, and reporting requirements.  
  • You will also participate in the development of New Naratif’s organisational strategy and will be the lead in developing your departmental strategy.
  • You’ll ensure that the information outputs incorporate input from the activists and communities closest to the issue and are usable in our events and classes.
  • You’ll also oversee all other ad hoc outputs, including educational materials developed by external contributors for campaigns, and other educational outputs that may arise from time to time.
  • New Naratif is fundamentally a movement for democracy, and our content is geared towards helping build capacity for democracy amongst our members and audience. How we operate, and what we choose to publish is in service of that goal.

What you won’t be doing

  • You won‘t be engaging in conventional advocacy activity, like lobbying governments. Your focus is on our allies and our members/audience.
  • You won’t be organising people – we build capacity for change. We don’t usually engage in frontline grass-root organisation, but rather empower our community to do so.
  • You won‘t be using the same materials/methods for educational engagement with diverse groups across different countries. Southeast Asia is a diverse place, and what works/is appropriate in one context may not work/be appropriate in another.

What we’re looking for

Strong candidates will have the following capabilities:

  1. Strategic thinking. New Naratif is a movement for democratic change, and we seek to achieve this by developing and running educational events in a variety of formats and languages. These events help participants understand and explore important forces which shape our lives, which help increase or change our understanding of the world around us, and help us understand why we think and act the way we do. These activities  aim to transcend narrow boundaries of race, religion, or state, to define and build capacity for Southeast Asian democracy. The CPM:
  • Is the overall person in-charge of all the civic educational materials developed and online and in-person civic participation events held. 
  • Ensures all educational materials, campaign activities, and events work together and in cohesion between line supervisors and cross-departmentally. 
  • Develops and executes a clear, coherent departmental strategy that harmonises its work with that of Editorial, Community, Design and Research working within a limited budget.

What is your educational & engagement strategic vision for New Naratif’s educational events? How would you make NN’s civic engagement outputs work cohesively as part of our thematic focus, and ensure that New Naratif produces high quality materials on a consistent and predictable basis?

  1. Leadership. New Naratif has no office. We all work remotely. We’re all passionate and aspire to a high level of moral values. We’re here to model best practices as a transparent, ethical, progressive organisation. We’ll demand all this from you and hold you accountable. 
  • As one of the leaders within the organisation, you need to inspire, motivate, and keep everyone on the same page. 
  • You’ll need to manage, counsel, and offer empathy, compassion and respect. 
  • You’ll be a public ambassador for who we are and what we stand for. You’ll need to do all this over video calls and messaging apps.

How do you lead?

  1. Innovative. Every theme/topic is a new challenge. Our goal is to inform and empower our community. What works for one issue, or one group may not work for another. 
  • We want to adapt to new challenges and seize new opportunities. 
  • At the same time, we’re also constantly trying to stay in front of authoritarian governments who are seeking to shut us down. 
  • We have evolved rapidly since our founding in September 2017 and will continue to evolve in ways that we cannot anticipate now.

Tell us some out of the box ideas, activities, and innovative ways in which you would educate, empower and mobilise Southeast Asians? Or have done so in the past within your community?

  1. Empathy for the marginalised and voiceless of Southeast Asia. New Naratif is first and foremost a platform for the people of Southeast Asia to imagine and then create a better Southeast Asia.
  • You need to love and understand this region and its history, in all its complexity and diversity. 
  • You need to be willing to learn, explore, and grow alongside this region. It means you need to look beyond the borders and boundaries which are currently imposed on us. 
  • We want your experience of living in a Southeast Asian country, your connectivity to the communities, knowing everyday local experiences, concerns and challenges which reflect in your work and outputs you supervise. 

What does Southeast Asia mean to you?

Application Process

If you’re ready to take on the challenge of building capacity for change in Southeast Asia, please send an email to jobs AT newnaratif.com with your CV, cover letter answering the questions above, and a portfolio or examples of work. Please provide the names and contact information for two character referees.

Shortlisted candidates will have 2-3 interviews, and may be required to undergo a technical test of your skills. We anticipate the process will last around a month. Following your appointment, you would undergo a three-month trial period.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Therefore, we encourage you to submit an application as soon as possible as the process may close once we feel a sufficient number of applications are received or a suitable candidate has been found.

More Information

The role is a management level position, meaning that you will be part of a team responsible for the strategy and direction of New Naratif as a whole. 

  • You have to be responsible, communicate and collaborate well online and be willing to work from home or your own choice of location as long as you are digitally connected with your team and provide the necessary remote supervision and ensure the work schedule is smooth and uninterrupted. 
  • We collaborate chiefly using WordPress, Google Workspace, Wire, and Trello. 

Benefits include:

  • 28 days of personal leave per year
  • 12 days of public holiday leave per year (which can be taken on any public or religious holiday of your choice), and 
  • 1 session of company-paid mental health therapy per month. 

New Naratif contracts are governed by UK law, on a consultancy basis, and typically are for one year at a time, renewable at the end of every financial year (31 March). 

New Naratif is a not-for-profit, private company, limited by guarantee, registered in the United Kingdom and Malaysia, and headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. 

We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace for all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, or disability. 

We have a strong preference for Southeast Asians who have personal experience of and understand being marginalised and oppressed.

Thum Ping Tjin

Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is Managing Director of New Naratif and a historian at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel, his work centres on Southeast Asian governance and politics. His most recent work is Living with Myths in Singapore (Ethos: 2017, co-edited with Loh Kah Seng and Jack Chia). Reach him at pingtjin.thum@newnaratif.com.

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