Communication For Development Specialist – EPI Reinforcement P3, TA (364 days) Bamako, Mali

  • Contract
  • Bamako

UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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In Mali, the northern regions (Kidal, Timbuktu, Gao) and some of the south (Sikasso, Segou, Mopti) were known as areas at risk since the beginning of the 2012 security crisis, because they have low immunization coverage of children and women of childbearing age. Nowadays, with the proliferation of gold panning areas and the important movement towards the urban areas (several large cities including Bamako), the rate of the non-respect of the vaccination calendar, and that of absence of children during supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) increased. Low immunization coverage is linked to problems with continuity of immunization services, under-reporting of data, inadequate provision of vaccine health facilities, failure to reach high-risk and underserved populations.

The communication efforts provided by the Government and partners continue to contribute significantly to informing a large section of the community about vaccination activities, with various channels and communication media including mass media, traditional communicators’ approach and other communication tools.

According to the 2015 immunization coverage assessment, the percentage of fully immunized children from 12 to 23 months is 60.29% for the whole country compared to 62% in 2010. This rate has slightly decreased (between 2010 and 2015) with disparities between health districts. As for the dropout rates according to the results of the survey (2015), they are 19.9% for Penta1-Penta3 and 21.17% for BCG-VAR. these rates are higher than planned objectives (<=10%).

A survey on Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) regarding routine vaccination in the 23 priority districts of the regions of Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Ségou, Mopti and the District of Bamako was carried out in September 2019. This survey covered a total of 5,021 households with children aged 0-23 months. The following results emerge from this survey:

  • According to parents of children aged 0-23 months, lack of information (50.6%) and lack of awareness (40.2%) are the two main obstacles to routine immunization.
  • the most frequently cited communication channels for transmitting the routine immunization message are: radio (over 50% cited in 14 districts), health personnel (over 50% cited in 11 districts), village district chief or traditional authorities (more than 50% cited in 8 districts).
  • In addition, the actors who decide on the vaccination of children in the 23 districts are fathers (52.3%), mothers (43.1%), health personnel (8.5%) and grandmothers. (1.7%).

In 2020, vaccine coverage decreased significantly from 94.9% for Penta3 in March to 71.7% in April. These discrepancies could be explained by under-use of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the pandemic of COVID-19 has considerably reduced the attendance rate of CSCOMs and could be explained by:

  • False rumors across social media about the existence of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the field;
  • The fact that some populations believe that with COVID-19, routine immunization services (fixed, advanced and mobile) do not work;

In total, there are 81,499 missed children between Penta1 and Penta3 nationwide in 2020. About 33 districts have over 1,000 unvaccinated children between Penta1 and Penta3 including 17 of 23 priority districts. The districts with the highest number of missed children are respectively: Bougouni (5,404), Ségou (3,894), Sikasso (3,238), Kalabancoro (3,186), Mopti (3,122), San (2,946) , Tenenkou (2 920), Niono (2 326) and Kati (2,040). 30 districts have cumulative Penta3 coverage greater than 90%. However, 17 of these 30 districts each have more than 1,000 missed children between Penta1 and Penta3.

Based on the analysis of the current state and financing of the immunization program, the multi-stakeholder dialogue with Gavi, organized in November 2020, recommended for the communication and social mobilization component to:

  • Develop a new national EPI communication plan.
  • Develop an integrated communication plan in the 30 most affected districts.
  • Build the capacities of actors at the national and regional level in strategic planning for communication in support of the EPI in order to have a pool of trainers.
  • Train community platforms and actors (women, youth and leaders) on new messages.
  • Strengthen the capacities of members of accountability frameworks monitoring committees in documentation, community data analysis, advocacy, and local mobilization of resources in favor of the EPI.
  • Revise and harmonize the communication tools reflecting the new realities of the EPI in Mali (key messages, picture box, advice booklet, leaflets and posters);
  • Monitor / Supervise communication activities on routine immunization

Some of these recommendations are ongoing but the persistence of Covid-19 pandemic, the number of zero doses and also the suboptimal rate of Penta3 in diverse areas remains a challenge to routine immunization.

How can you make a difference?

The C4D Specialist EPI Reinforcement will carry out the following tasks:

  • Strengthen capacity of national and regional partners in data driven strategic communication for EPI planning
  • Support the coordination of the development of the national communication plan for EPI
  • Support the development of regional integrated communication plan for EPI in the 30 most at risk health districts
  • Support the development and validation of district level integrated communication plan
  • Contribute to resource mobilization efforts aiming to fund key activities of the plans at all levels
  • Support the update and elaboration of EPI messages including new vaccines recently introduced in Mali
  • Contribute to the development of culturally accepted communication tools and materials on immunization
  • Support dissemination of key messages as well as communication materials across the country through various channels and in local languages
  • Support the development/update of messages and communication tools for raising awareness on Covid-19 vaccination
  • Contribute to the development /update of training materials for communication actors and community leaders at all levels
  • Update the mapping of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) involved in promoting health interventions including immunization
  • Establish a framework and mechanisms for coordination and animation of community platforms
  • Strengthen community actors such as religious leaders, women leaders and youth leaders to seek and find missed children
  • Use technological innovations such as U-Report as a tool for monitoring EPI demand
  • Leverage existing approaches and platforms for the benefit of the EPI
  • Support the implementation and monitoring of accountability frameworks developed in priority districts
  • Support the establishment and use of the community immunization registry in the priority districts
  • Participate in the identification and management of hard-to-reach communities in the priority districts
  • Participate in the monitoring of progress through the use of dashboards, data reviews and rapid convenience surveys on EPI performance
  • Contribute to the strategic reflection and implementation of C4D activities initiated within the section
  • Document good practices on community engagement for the EPI: Quality Videos / Articles / Photography
  • Coordinate internal support of communication activities on routine immunization, SIAs and outbreak response (measles, YF, polio, Covid…)

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

Academic qualifications

  • Advanced University Degree (Masters level) in communication for development studies, sociology, anthropology, adult education or social sciences
  • *Candidates holding a first university degree (Bachelors level) with 2 years additional relevant professional experience may be considered.

Professional experience

  • At least five (5) years’ experience in communication for development / health in the African context or similar
  • Extensive knowledge in the field of C4D for maternal, newborn and child health and immunization.
  • Knowledge of the problems related to the EPI routine in the African context or similar
  • Proven experience in the design, development and implementation of innovative C4D approaches, with a monitoring and evaluation mechanism and monitoring and documentation tools;
  • Additional experience and skills
  • Thorough knowledge of the latest developments in communication for development including communication for immunization.
  • Good interpersonal skills ;
  • Ability to intervene in emergency areas and / or difficult to access.
  • Good computer skills (Microsoft office),
  • Working experience in communication with international organizations or the UN agencies / UNICEF is an asset.

Language requirements

Fluency in French and English required. Knowledge of the local language of the duty station is an asset

For every Child, you demonstrate…

  • Care
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Accountability

Core Competencies

  • Builds and maintains partnerships
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness
  • Innovates and embraces change
  • Drive to achieve results for impact
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity
  • Thinks and acts strategically
  • Works collaboratively with others
  • Nurtures, leads, and manages people

View our competency framework at

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

** Bamako is a Category D; Non-Family duty station. The Rest and Recuperation Cycle is 8 weeks.

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