Communications & Advocacy Advisor
Médecins Sans Frontières is an international, independent medical and humanitarian organization that provides care to populations in need, to people affected by natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and regardless of their race, religion, belief or political affiliation (MSF Charter).
The MSF movement is built around 5 operational centers supported by 24 sections and offices worldwide. MSF Operational Centre of Geneva is one of these centers. The operations are implemented by around 40 field teams, 20 mission coordination teams and organizational units based in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Central America.
The Communications and Advocacy Advisor (CAA) is the focal point for operations in the Communications and Fundraising department of Operational Centre Geneva (OCG) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Switzerland.
The position is assigned to a portfolio of countries within an operational cell. The CAA is the sparring partner of the Cell Program Manager for strategic communications and advocacy strategies, particularly those involving critical humanitarian stakes. The position strategically supports the operations department at both the HQ and mission-levels with strategic communications and advocacy intended to catalyze a change to benefit the people we assist. This position provides input on the design, approaches and tools to achieve the biggest impact. The position plays a coaching role as technical referent for the communications and advocacy staff in the field. The position will be intimately familiar with current events and key trends in the evolution of the humanitarian/medical environment and be able to translate that knowledge into actionable insights for MSF.
- Lead, with field communications and advocacy staff, the development and implementation of advocacy and communications strategies in his/her portfolio
- Represent OCG communications and advocacy perspectives in internal and external meetings in Geneva, in missions and with field teams; with communications and advocacy counterparts in other MSF sections, and with MSF representation and diplomacy teams across MSF, where relevant, in coordination with the cell PM
- Ensure follow up of OCG’s Advocacy/Coms framework
Main responsibilities as a Communications Advisor
- Actively ensure the development and final approval of intersectional Country Communications Frameworks
- For her/his portfolio of countries, provide strategic support to the Program Managers, Heads of Mission and field communications staff in the design and implementation of communication strategies and tools
- Approves of all communications content on behalf of the program manager, unless formally delegated to other communications staff within an agreed frame.
- Ensure the protection of MSF’s logo, identity and reputation in countries of operation and with regional/international stakeholders that can influence MSF operations in the relevant countries
- Ensure mapping and follow up of MSF’s approach to relationships with key stakeholders at mission, regional and international levels
- Signal issues on which MSF should consider positioning itself publicly and bilaterally, based on its medical activities and observations, and define strategies, messages and tools for communicating such issues.
- Produce, or support in the production of: articles, press releases, packages and other communications materials such as Q and As/talking points, in order to provide quality communication materials to the MSF movement, when necessary.
- Lead strategic cross media communications packages comprising online media tools.
- Represent OCG operations in intersectional platforms, including operational and partner sections and MSF diplomacy and representation teams, ensuring consistency of messages across the movement.
- If necessary, assist the field communications staff in handling key media requests and organising high-level field visits of journalists in the countries of her/his portfolio.
- Follow innovations and trends in communications, media and digital.
- Maintain an up-to-date understanding of the communications stakes in the various countries of her/his portfolio. Report back outcomes of field assignments. Share significant outputs and flag communication issues.
- Undertake regular field visits to work on strategy and support throughout the year.
- Participate in the cell’s and department’s meetings and working groups.
- Act as spokesperson (if need be)
Main responsibilities as an Advocacy Advisor
- Advise the Cell Program Managers (PM), the Deputy Program Managers (DPM), the Medical Advisors, Heads of Mission (HoM) and advocacy manager/coordinator on operational advocacy strategies
- Along with the cell PM, approve advocacy strategies developed and proposed by missions as part of annual planning cycles
- Coordinate, at cell level, the development, implementation and monitoring of missions’ advocacy strategies and ensures that they are aligned with overall operational priorities and consistent with regional and international MSF initiatives
- Help define the mission’s advocacy set-up, capacity building and HR approach
- Act as the technical referent to positions at field level in charge of advocacy (Humanitarian Affairs Officers and Advocacy Managers, etc.), to guide and orientate their work (analysis of the humanitarian environment, definition of key humanitarian themes, monitoring of protection trends, analysis of key influencers, building of advocacy strategies, collecting data, writing of papers, etc).
- Ensure that missions’ advocacy strategies are in line with OCG Operational Advocacy Framework, and supports cells and missions in their understanding of the OCG Advocacy Framework, promoting an overall coherence within the house.
- Ensures that the mission advocacy strategy is developed and implemented in collaboration with other departments at mission, regional and HQ levels, other units within MSF (with a key focus on operations, medical and communication departments) and OCG’s Operational Advocacy Platform.
- Interacts with HQ advocacy counterparts in other MSF’s Operational Centers.
- Participates in MSF’s overall efforts of reflection on the humanitarian landscape and actions, through attending debates, workshops or conferences, and bringing innovative thinking into the organization.
- In collaboration with available expertise in MSF, supports operational teams (Cells and Missions) with political and contextual analysis shaping the humanitarian landscape, as well as issues MSF wants to leverage or influence.
- Actively participates in the development of OCG advocacy framework.
- Follow evolution of context and trends that could impact MSF’s operations in relevant countries.
- Support MSF missions in the matching (contract assignment), coaching, briefing and debriefing of field communications and advocacy staff, with particular emphasis on first mission and national staff
- Participate in the conception, preparation and implementation of communication, advocacy and operations training modules
- Brief and debrief senior operational staff
- On call 24/7 and able to travel abroad on short notice
- Attend crisis calls and meetings; write and share internal/external updates
- Support the emergency desk in its communications and advocacy initiatives for major emergencies, upon request
- Participate in crisis management teams on critical incidents, when needed
Education & Experience
- Communications and/or Journalism and/ or political sciences/ international relations degree
- Min 5 years professional experience journalism and/or communications, and/or advocacy in the humanitarian sector, and/or MSF ops experience
- Track record of developing successful communications or advocacy strategies
- Solid understanding of dilemmas associated with humanitarian assistance
- Strong knowledge of crisis communications and public relations skills
- Excellent writing, editing, and proofreading skills including ability to accurately synthesize complex and sensitive material to produce content for publication
- Demonstrated understanding of how media works at national, local and international level
- Full analytical fluency in all social/digital and media cycles
- Ability to provide strategic and actionable recommendations based on research
- Can make decisions and use discretionary judgment with limited supervision
- Willingness and ability to work independently
- Enjoys working as part of a team in a fast-paced environment
- Can work remotely
- Can succeed in a tense working environment
- Is an active listener with good communication skills
- Available to travel to the field with very short notice
- Resourceful, effective problem solver
- Ability to prioritize multiple tasks and manage to deadlines in a consistent manner
- Ability to meet urgent deadlines consistently and precisely
- Meticulous attention to detail
- Strong work ethic with a willingness to extend hours if needed
- A strong sense of initiative combined with team spirit
- Highly effective oral and written communication skills in English
- Ability to understand oral and spoken French is an asset
- Native Arabic speaker, with Arabic writing and proofreading skills (which will be tested as part of the selection process)
Terms of Employment
- Fixed term contract of 12 months, 100%
- Location : to be discussed according to the applicant’s country of residence
- Ideal Starting date: 1st of August 2021
How to apply
Only applications submitted on the recruitment platform will be considered. Applications must contain: CV 2 p. max. – letter of motivation 1p. max. – in French or English.
Closing date for application is July 25th, 2021
The applications will be treated confidentially.
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.**