iShack: Community Engagement Coordinator (CEC)

iShack Project (Sustainability Institute Innovation Lab)
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Monday, 14 October, 2019
Opportunity type: 

The iShack Project is a not-for-profit, off-grid solar electricity utility which serves residents of informal settlements who do not have electricity. Residents in unelectrified informal settlements have a legal right to receive alternative energy services (funded by local government). However, most households do not know about the alternatives (for example off-grid Solar Home Systems), and they often do not have the support or the organisational capacity to successfully contest for their rights with local government. 

iShack  seeks to appoint a Community Engagement Coordinator to be based in Cape Town. 

The purpose of the position is to identify and then work with a number of these unelectrified communities (in urban informal settlements) to assist them in meeting their energy needs.

Employment type: Full time, 1 year contract; renewable based on progress and performance; remuneration is negotiable depending on experience and qualifications; commencement: approximately 15 January 2020


  • To develop an effective and replicable process of community engagement (‘social process’) in un-electrified informal settlements. The social process will be the basis for:
    • The piloting of a rent-to-own solar electricity scheme: in order to:
      • Give communities the opportunity to learn about and test solar electricity;
      • Establish a robust and affordable solar financing mechanism for households (which will continue to be used after the community receives a subsidy to support upgrades, appliance purchases, battery replacements and maintenance needs).
  • Community-wide organisation to successfully contest for energy needs – culminating in a household energy subsidy from the municipality.
  • Although the CEC’s job description and the deliverables will evolve with time, the preliminary activities and tasks are as follows:
    • Initial immersion in the existing iShack utilities (in Stellenbosch and Philippi, Cape Town); 
    • Researching and mapping candidate communities within Cape Town and surrounding areas;
    • Developing relationships with selected communities as well as their formal and informal political representatives;
    • Initiating pilot social processes in a short-list of communities (2 to 3, to start), and working with the existing utility management team to introduce the solar services to these communities (on a rent-to-own basis);
    • Ongoing engagement with wider community, establish participatory processes/activities to help the wider community to identify their energy priorities and wishes and (if appropriate) to assist these communities to engage with local government to secure financial support for these priorities. 


  • Relevant tertiary education;
  • Experience and knowledge of effective grass-roots participatory processes for community engagement and capacity building;
  • Very comfortable working in and travelling between informal settlement communities (Your own transport is required as well as valid driver’s licence);
  • Some experience of training, running workshops, facilitation;
  • Proven ability to undertake research – for example, learning about best practice in community development – and using that research to develop a bespoke process to meet the particular iShack objectives;
  • Ability to build strong, cooperative relationships (with communities and community leaders, local government officials and politicians, and with other community-based organisations – as potential partners);
  • Working within a ‘resource-lean’ organisation that is run on a ‘quality-management’ basis (with procedures and systems and a culture of continuous improvement). Good planning,  reporting and record-keeping skills. Comfortable working with spreadsheets and strong attention to detail.


  • Fluent in isiXhosa and English;
  • Advocacy, lobbying experience;
  • Media-liaison experience;
  • Some experience of or understanding of the technical aspects of solar energy or other alternative energy technologies or any other technical experience; 
  • Entrepreneurship, small-business, marketing, selling and customer-services experience;
  • An understanding of and experience with quality management systems.

Please email the following to 

  • Your 2-3 page CV
  • A letter of motivation (in MS Word or PDF, not in the body of your email) explaining your suitability for the role. In particular, it is very important that you give examples of why your meet each of the required specifications as well as any of the preferred specifications.
  • In your motivating letter please state your current salary and your desired remuneration (as well as any other needs you may have) for the advertised post.
  • Please do not put any additional information in your covering email (put it all in your motivating letter)     

Please follow the above instructions exactly. 

Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

We are looking for an experienced, energetic, wise, pro-active, target-driven, self-motivated, isiXhosa-speaking community development practitioner to help us expand our services in Cape Town.

If you do not hear from us within two weeks after the deadline, please accept our thanks for applying but assume that you have unfortunately not been selected for short-list interviews. If you are invited to an interview, please be prepared to undertake some additional tasks as part of your application. 

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