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Project manager vacancy – Developing IT security for HRDs

About Safeguard Defenders

Safeguard Defenders is a European human rights NGO founded in 2016 that undertakes and supports local field activities that contribute to the protection of basic rights, promote the rule of law and enhance the ability of local civil society and human rights defenders in some of the most hostile environments in Asia, with a focus on China. Read more here.


About the role and project

Safeguard Defenders is seeking a project manager (PM) for a one-year project concerning China and Vietnam within the field of (practical) IT-related security, offering a competitive salary. 

The project seeks to produce up-to-date and fully tailored practical- and IT security training materials for human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and independent media operators in the two target countries. Such material will be created in both traditional form as well as through an interactive online platform. The materials produced will lay the foundation for long-term training in these matters for HRDs and CSOs.

Real IT-based security in highly repressive and hostile environments requires an entirely different approach than traditional IT-security thinking, with focus on basic behavior being more important than advanced technical solutions. The strength of your encryption matters little when police can torture you with impunity to get your passwords.

The PM will work with, and lead, two country coordinators - one for China, one for Vietnam – as well as a front/back-end web developer. The role includes handling administrative and reporting tasks for the project in question.

The PM will be responsible for devising workplans, coordinating with country coordinators to ensure project deadlines and targets are met, and working closely with core Safeguard Defenders management in seeking overlap with other project implementation.

Extensive material already exists (see here), to help guide the overall direction of future material development. The PM will lead country coordinators to conduct interviews and research into actual threads and digital insecurities, not where people are theoretically at risk but where it really matters on the ground. This will be followed by developing the training materials themselves together with ‘feedback’ groups in both target countries, whose input will guide the selection of solutions to be included, and problems to be highlighted. The ‘feedback’ groups will also directly influence the style (pedagogy) and mode of presentation of the training materials, both the traditional training book, as well as the interactive online system.


About you

The ideal candidate does not need to be an IT security expert but should be well versed in overall digital security issues. The candidate must have an understanding of the situation for HRDs and CSOs in repressive environments, with prior experience or knowledge of China, Vietnam and/or the larger region a plus.

The candidate must have project management experience, and be able to coordinate and oversee the staff of the project and lead the step-by-step work schedule implementation as per above.

The candidate must be a strong communicator, with English-language fluency, and the ability to convey complex ideas to more general audiences. Competency in one of the core working languages of the project is also a plus. While the final material will be published in Chinese and Vietnamese, drafting will be done in English and an English language version will likewise be produced. Communication with country coordinators is in English. Through the course of the project and after, other communication output related to practical digital protection may be included.

It is preferable that the project manager is based in or near East Asia, but not a requirement. However, day-to-day work coordination and communication will be using East Asia time. 

To learn more about the position please contact us over email.

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their CVs and Cover Letters to

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