Field Communication Coordinator

Organization: MSF - Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)



MSF has been present in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1977. We run some of our largest programs in the country, working in 17 of 26 provinces. We respond to disease outbreaks, the health and humanitarian consequences of conflict and displacement, and specific medical issues, including HIV/AIDS. In 2018 the budget for MSF’s activities in DRC exceeded €100 million.

Communicating about our work, the people we assist and the crises we witness is a core element of MSF’s identity. Considering the high volume of activities we undertake in DRC, and to reflect that work in a transparent and accountable way, we have reviewed the setup of the communication team in the country.

As a result, we have completely overhauled the way we organize the field communication team in DRC and created a new position. The Field Communication Coordinator (FCC) will manage a team of communication professionals based in several locations in DRC and ensure that operational teams have the support they need regarding communications. The role is also responsible for providing streamlined communication materials and messages to the MSF movement.

The Communication team is under the responsibility of the MSF Intersectional representation office (BALI in French – Bureau d’Appui et de LIaison) which is the primary interlocutor towards all national-level authorities, civil society and international stakeholders, including the diplomatic corps and towards the Congolese public and media. The FCC is in direct contact with Heads of Missions (HoMs) and Emergency Coordinators of the different MSF sections across the country, working closely with them to define communication priorities and messages.

At the current stage, almost 2 years after the creation of this department, particular attention should be paid to the structural consolidation of the department to develop its full operational potential. 

The FCC will oversee all communication initiatives about DRC, manage the DRC communication team (up to 7 national and international staff based around the country) and lead this team in defining and ensuring relevance, quality and coherence in the communication initiatives undertaken. The FCC will guide and drive national and international communication initiatives from the field, raising awareness of medical and humanitarian issues affecting people we assist across the country. The FCC coordinates with the Heads of Missions (HoMs) and BALI to identify key communication priorities and messaging, and how to best allocate resources and budget to match those priorities for the Operational Centers in the country.

The FCC liaises closely with other MSF communications staff across the movement. The FCC reports to the BALI representative, has strong functional links with the Head of Missions in the country and receives support from a dedicated Communication Advisor chosen by communication coordinators platform. Regular travels to field projects are essential.

Main Responsibilities

Strategy lead and coordination of MSF communications efforts in DRC

  • In collaboration with the HoMs, the FCC leads the definition of the communication strategy for the missions, advises on public positioning, and remains responsive to emergencies and crisis communication needs.
  • The FCC ensures that an ‘early warning system’ on national issues and news is in place, that major media/social media trends are monitored and analyzed, and that this information is shared with the Head(s) of Missions, medical coordinators, humanitarian affairs officers, and other communication staff in the country and headquarters.
  • The FCC produces, disseminates, and implements the annual Country Communication Framework (CCF – the country-wide communication strategy/guidance on priorities), and develops and drives ad hoc strategies in collaboration with field communication team:
    • Ensures coherent planning for MSF communication initiatives to maximize interest and impact at national and international level
    • Identifies communication opportunities and risks, and suggests an appropriate course of action
    • Advises headquarters, HoMs and BALI on public positioning in support of national advocacy efforts
    • Networks with communication officials from a variety of stakeholders including national and international NGOs, Ministry of Health, UN, or others based in the country
    • Provides analysis on how other national/international/faith-based, NGOs/civil society organizations publicly position themselves on key issues and provides insight into their public agendas

Media management

  • Facilitates and organizes press briefings for international and regional press
  • Facilitates journalists’ field visits to MSF projects and pitch key issues/projects to journalists
  • Acts as a spokesperson for MSF communication, if needed
  • Coach MSF spokespeople and provides media training for any field staff dealing with the media on the mission
  • Is available to act as emergency press officer and crisis info focal point during emergencies /crisis/incident in the region. Be able to deploy and provide strategic communication support during an emergency or a crisis in the country

Content production

  • Is responsible for the quality and validation of written/AV content produced and published by the DRC team and will determine with desks, CAs, HoMs and Medical Coordinators from each Operational Centre the best way for quick validation of communications initiatives
  • Is ultimately responsible for the management of dedicated social media channels and ensures the application of MSF social media guidelines for all staff
  • Ensures that timely information/data/updates on MSF’s operational projects and presence in the region are produced and shared to the wider MSF communication network

Management and reporting

  • Attends the intersectional HoMs platform meetings and, when possible and relevant, attends regular coordination meetings held by the MSF Operational Centers present in the country
  • Manages the communication team and provides them with technical support through regular project visits, ensuring consistency in the way the team works and promoting collective learning. The FCC sets the team members’ objectives and evaluates their work on at least a yearly basis or at the end of their mission
  • Is responsible for the production of a monthly report on the activities carried out by the field communications team, reflecting on the results of the previous month and adapting the objectives for the month to come
  • Is responsible for flagging potential gaps in communications resources, leads recruitment at country level, and establishes development plans for field communication staff
  • Manages the workload and priorities for his/her team and establishes a weekly communications activities plan (division of tasks), to be shared with the Head(s) of Mission and Communications Advisors from the Operational Centers

Budget

  • Is responsible for establishing, presenting and updating the country’s communications budget
  • Manages and allocates the communication budget at country level according to identified priorities
  • Coordinates with the BALI Finance Manager that the budget is reflected in individual mission budgets and in the BALI budget

 

Your Profile

Experience

  • At least 5 years’ professional experience in communications, journalism, or public relations 
  • Previous experience managing a communication team 
  • Previous experience identifying priorities and defining, implementing, and reviewing a communications strategy (including during emergencies/crises and coordinating content production) 
  • Previous experience with media management  
  • Proven experience working with social media and developing and implementing digital communication strategies  
  • International experience with MSF or with another humanitarian organization

Education          

  •  Master’s degree in journalism, Communications, Humanitarian affairs, Political Sciences or related university degree

Knowledge / Competencies       

  • Strategic thinking
  • Leadership skills
  • Capacity to work autonomously
  • Strong people management and coaching skills
  • Planning and organizing skills
  • Teamwork and cooperation skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills with ability to negotiate, persuade and influence others
  • A demonstrable interest in the region and in humanitarian issues
  • Essential computer literacy (Word, Excel and digital media)

Languages         

  • Excellent command of French (native or functioning at that level) – C2
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English – C1
  • Regional language(s), is an asset

MSF Offers

As an international staff leaving to the field, you will receive:

  • A fixed term contract for the duration of the assignment
  • 1 week of holiday for every 3 months of assignment
  • Initial preparation before your first assignment
  • Detailed briefings
  • Psychosocial assistance
  • Salary based on previous work experience and country of residency
  • Coverage, such as medical care and vaccination package, accident insurance, including repatriation
  • Accommodation and round-trip transportation to and from the field as well as travel costs
  • Per diem (calculated according to local cost of living) to cover daily expenses
  • Travel costs and visa administration
  • Debriefing and personal career advice as well as training opportunities
  • Departure on 6-month assignment for non-accompanied candidate
  • Open to couples and families against a min of 12-month commitment

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