Médecins Sans Frontières Spain – OCBA (Operational Centre Barcelona-Athens) is looking for a
HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS
FOR THE NAIROBI BRANCH OFFICE
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical-humanitarian organization that offers assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, or political affiliation.
The MSF movement is built around five operational directorates supported by 24 sections and offices worldwide. MSF OCBA is one of those directorates. Its operations are implemented by field teams and the mission coordination teams; together with the organizational units based in Barcelona, Athens, Buenos Aires, Nairobi and decentralised in Dakar and Amman. The field operations are guided and supported by 5 Operational Cells, the Emergency Unit and other departments supporting operations.
MSF’s Nairobi Branch Office (NBO) was endorsed in 2017 with the objective of increasing strategic added value and support to the MSF movement, taking into account the vast potential that Kenya and East Africa have to offer. The NBO is under the management of OCBA but renders services to the MSF movement as a whole.
From 2018, the NBO will be investing in developing a communications department in order to progres-sively raise the profile of MSF in Kenya and East Africa, and increase the knowledge and interest by Kenyan and East African societies of the international causes in which MSF invests. The Head of Communications is the first position to be recruited for the department.
During this first year, the Head of Communication will have a key role in steering the communications plan (already developed for 2018), adjusting it according to the concrete work experience, as well as in the recruitment and development of a communication team (press and digital officer).
Although the department will have a regional scope, during the first years priority focus will be given to Kenyan audiences.
The branch is situated in a region of high operational volume with recurring emergencies and operates in a major communications hub of high importance for MSF operations. MSF has been present with operational projects in Kenya since 1987. For over 20 years MSF has also maintained a Regional In-formation Office (RIO) in Nairobi that works through its press and digital team to generate a better understanding of MSF’s operations in East Africa and, by liaising with international media based in Nairobi, to raise awareness about the crises in the region to which MSF is responding. The new NBO Head of Communication will coordinate the NBO communication activities with those of the RIO and other operational communication referents (communications advisors for the Kenya missions and Nairobi-based Field Communications Manager) and oversee the transition of responsibilities of the RIO to the NBO when appropriate.
OBJECTIVE OF THE POSITION
The Head of Communications develops, leads, manages and implements NBO’s institutional commu-nication strategies and activities in order to raise awareness and visibility of MSF and its medical-humanitarian work and principles towards Kenyan and East African audiences, using a wide range of communication tools and channels and ensuring the development and delivery of coherent and clear public messages.
The Head of Communications reports to the General Director of the NBO. Together with the heads of the other departments and the General Director he/she is part of the Management Team (MT) of the NBO. The Head of Communication has a close working relationship with the OCBA Director of Communications.
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND TASKS
1) Communication strategies and brand supervision:
Directs the strategic planning for, and takes part in the implementation of all institutional me-dia activities in order to position MSF as one of the preferred and most trusted source of hu-manitarian-related information and as a professional medical humanitarian organisation.
Ensures that all communications reflect and are aligned to MSF principles and unique identity, and follow all appropriate validation procedures.
Ensures that the information provided about the plight of MSF’s patients and activities worldwide is timely and accurate, and reflects MSF’s commitment to humanitarian principles and medical ethics.
Follows up on key international, regional and local humanitarian crisis and keeps up to date with MSF’s operations and positioning.
Anticipates how the NBO’s public communication, especially on politically sensitive issues, may impact the organisation’s public image.
Handles reputation management issues, drafts talking points and takes the lead on providing guidance to the Nairobi Branch Office on public messaging around sensitive issues.
Analyses and understands the communication preferences of key target audiences and devel-ops appropriate tools and strategies to reach them.
Is responsible for the coherence and alignment between the communication functions and ini-tiatives of the NBO and the communication functions and initiatives of other MSF actors in Kenya and the East African region. In order to do this, encourages regular exchange with the other communication referents in Kenya and East Africa, and ensures that frameworks and Q&A’s on operational projects and concerns are readily available for the NBO communica-tion needs.
2) Public awareness and positioning:
Actively works with the NBO communication team to expand media outreach, establishing and fostering strong relationships with media representatives and with relevant communica-tion networks in Kenya and East Africa.
Directs and selects responses to media-related inquiries focused on institutional aspects or in-ternational operations. Reviews these media requests and has final authority on selection of appropriate venues and speakers. In the case of inquiries for local and regional operational projects, liaises with the corresponding communications advisor or field communication man-ager for follow-up.
Develops ideas and opportunities for feature articles, interviews, presentations, and other pub-lic relations activities that promote awareness of MSF, its international field work and advo-cacy efforts, and monitors follow up and timely implementation.
Flags local and regional or cross-country issues and topics of interest or concern to the media, and links with the corresponding operational communication referents to coordinate appropri-ate reactive lines.
Assists and coaches the NBO staff and field workers from the East African region with media training and public speaking.
Explores opportunities and advises on communications needs of other departments, particularly the HR Recruitment area.
Works closely with the NBO Medical Humanitarian Advisor and the MSF Access Campaign to develop communication strategies in support of advocacy objectives for Kenya and the re-gion.
When delegated by the General Director, on a case-by-case basis, acts as a media spokesper-son on international and institutional topics.
Oversees the strategy, design, execution and evaluation of institutional public awareness events, exhibitions, conferences and campaigns to help increase name recognition for MSF in Kenya and the region, and takes part in the implementation when needed.
Oversees the development of the new MSF Kenya website in coordination with IT depart-ments in Barcelona and Nairobi and once online, continues supervising architecture and func-tionality.
Oversees and contributes to the implementation of an integrated communication approach between all institutional online channels (web, social media), and guarantees that they are coordinated and build synergies with other external communications and social impact actions.
Oversees and takes part in the development and production of contents for print and digital publication.
Is responsible for the development, implementation and control of the Communications de-partment´s annual plan and budget and for reporting on it in accordance with MSF policies and procedures.
Oversees relationships with all departmental vendors and external service providers.
4) Management of the department’s communications staff:
Oversees the recruiting, development and coordination of a new communications team.
Leads the new communication team to create plans and oversees implementation, building accountability for success and failures. Analyses activities, costs, results and operations to de-termine department progress toward stated goals and objectives and course-correct.
Holds regular departmental meetings to coordinate monitor and review activities.
Sets clear attainable objectives for staff and evaluate employee job performance accordingly, in line with established MSF procedures.
Assures a constructive working atmosphere and team spirit within the communication depart-ment.
5) Active Participation in the Management Team:
As part of the NBO Management Team (MT), helps to define the general direction and overall strategy of the branch office, ensuring that the Communications Department´s perspective and input is adequately reflected in the reflections and decisions of the MT and of other departments.
Represents the Communications Department in MSF’s East African Association and Board meetings.
Represents the Nairobi Branch Office in relevant public fora when required.
Develops and maintains relationships with other MSF communications departments and enti-ties, especially those based in Africa (South Africa, Senegal) in order to identify and coordi-nate opportunities to participate in international, regional and cross-sectional communications projects.
Attends international meetings and contributes to strategic discussions within the MSF move-ment.
Supports internal communications efforts and initiatives of the East African Association, ad-vising on best use of their communication tools and channels.
Education and Experience
Degree in communications, journalism, public relations or related field, and extensive experi-ence in a communications role, with some years in a management position.
Experience in designing, managing and implementing public communications strategies for a broad range of initiatives, ideally including media relations and digital communication.
Fluent written and communications skills in English.
Previous work experience with MSF or a similar medical or humanitarian organization.
Knowledge of Swahili and French
Previous work experience in Africa, particularly in East Africa
Commitment to MSF’s humanitarian principles
Results and quality oriented
Strong planning and organizational skills, with experience of managing multiple priorities
Initiative and innovation; capacity to seize opportunities
People management and development
Teamwork and collaboration
Flexible, hands-on attitude
Annual Gross Salary of KES (Kenya Shillings) 3,827,887, and secondary benefits according to the OCBA Nairobi policy
Full-time position, based in Nairobi
Expected start date: April 2018
How to apply:
Applicants should send their curriculum vitae and cover motivation letter as a single file by 2nd March 2018, under the reference ‘Head of Comms’ to MSFE-RRHH-NBO@barcelona.msf.org
Please note that MSF will only contact short-listed candidates.