Operational Communications Coordinator (m/f/x)

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides assistance in more than 60 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of origin, religion, creed or political affiliation.

Operational Communications Coordinator (m/f/x)

CONTEXT

The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) movement is built around six operational directorates supported by other offices worldwide. MSF OCB is one of those directorates. Beyond its medical and humanitarian work, MSF has given itself the mandate to speak out about the situations its staff witness in the course of their work. A key principle guiding MSF’s public communication is ‘témoignage’ - direct witnessing by MSF personnel. In most countries of operations, MSF has communications staff embedded in the field teams.

The Operational Communications Coordinator (OC Coordinator) leads and manages the Com-ops Unit (also called Combo for ‘Communications - Brussels Operations’), a team of Operational Communications Advisers (each following a portfolio of countries) as well as people in charge of audio-visual production and digital experts. The unit is part of the Communications and Fundraising Department in Brussels and ensures coherence between communication initiatives and positioning emanating from the Brussels Operational Centre. The OC Coordinator operates under the supervision of the Director of Communications and Fundraising and maintains strong links with other key stakeholders such as the Operations, Analysis and Medical Departments.

The unit’s main tasks are to advise on and develop communications strategies and positioning on specific contexts or dossiers and support field teams with their communications activities. Depending on the context, the unit’s work can vary between giving high-level strategic positioning advice, overseeing and guiding the work of communications staff in the field, and producing finished communication materials. The unit’s members dedicate time and energy to supporting communications professionals based in the field and to liaising with counterparts in the other five MSF operational centers. The unit is also expected to develop good working relations with the press and digital teams in MSF offices worldwide to assure dissemination in line with intended objectives and target audiences of each communication.

The Operational Communications Coordinator also belongs to the Communications Coordinators platform with counterparts from the other MSF operational centers. This platform defines global operational communication priorities, possible joint positioning and management of possible differences of views.

Although the Operational Communications Coordinator will spend most of their time in Brussels and MSF is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, they are expected to travel to project locations from time to time, as well as to MSF offices abroad.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Management

  • Line-manage the members of the Com-ops Unit;
  • Provide members of the unit with the necessary support to ensure the achievement of identified priorities;
  • Organise and chair meetings of the Com-ops Unit;
  • Promote an energised and dynamic environment in the unit, with regular opportunities for mutual support between members of the unit and shared lessons-learned about communications that have been particularly successful or particularly challenging;
  • Lead the unit in preparing annual plans, and in sub-dividing into half-year or quarterly plans/objectives as needed;
  • Helping the unit members to prioritise when workload gets heavy and choices need to be made;
  • Oversee objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the different projects of the Combo Unit;
  • Manage and support the professional development (including recruitment, evaluation and career development) of the members of the unit;
  • Define and ensure a proper allocation of communications resources in key strategic locations in order to provide efficient support to MSF communications aims and needs;
  • Maintain a trained pool of communication staff for crisis management and field emergencies;
  • Define and manage the Combo budget;
  • Validate HR profiles for the field communication pool.

Operational Communications

  • Supervise the definition of MSF's communications strategies and public positioning for about 35 countries of MSF operations in close collaboration with the Director of Communication and Fundraising;
  • Identify opportunities for bold and pertinent public positioning: from ongoing discussions with Comms Advisers and from regular editorial meetings with the Operations and Analysis Departments;
  • Oversee the coherence, relevance and technical quality of communication activities developed or supported by the Combo Unit (including written, audio-visual and digital content);
  • Ensure efficient and effective action plans and team management through the implementation of project management approaches, including setting roles and responsibilities for larger communication productions or 'packages';
  • Advise other departments on communication strategies in the event of crises (including critical incidents and reputational crises) involving MSF or its staff members.

Interactions

  • Work closely with the Operations Directors to provide MSF operations in the field and headquarters with proper communications advice and support;
  • Work closely with the Analysis Department to build and design joint initiatives to reinforce OCB public positioning on key themes;
  • Liaise and interact with other MSF sections worldwide in order to identify and collaborate on joint communications initiatives and strategies;
  • Play an active role in the international Communications Coordinators (counterparts in the other operational centers) platform to set the international agenda for MSF operational communications and contribute to international initiatives, guidelines and policies for MSF operational communications;
  • Conduct occasional visits to MSF field projects as well as to other MSF offices;
  • Carry out and adapt the various training modules on communications aimed at MSF field staff (media trainings, preparation primary departure, project coordinators course, heads of mission course, health promotion course, etc.); and
  • Act as a back-up or interim in case of absences of the Director of the Communication and Fundraising Department.

PROFILE

In order to be considered for this position, candidates need to demonstrate:

Experience

  • a strong professional background in journalism and/or communication (minimum 5 years of experience required)
  • field experience and knowledge of/experience with MSF, or similar international humanitarian organisations
  • solid knowledge of and experience with the international media scene
  • considerable experience in team management and project management

Competencies

  • excellent writing and communication skills
  • the ability to make decisions and communicate them clearly
  • strong capacity to deal with stress and short deadlines
  • good team spirit
  • a comprehensive working understanding of humanitarian interventions, their principles and ethics
  • fluency in English, working knowledge of French

In addition, the following skills would be highly valued:

  • analytical skills
  • knowledge of video, photography and digital communications
  • knowledge of the digital media landscape
  • the ability to develop a consultative and problem-solving approach
  • the flexibility to travel at very short notice, as and when required
  • additional languages widely used in MSF such as Arabic, Spanish - or any languages used in MSF countries of field operations - an asset

CONDITIONS

  • Expected starting date: Beginning of March (notice periods permitting)
  • Contract type: Open-end contract (CDI) - full-time (100%)
  • Location: based in Brussels
  • Salary according to MSF-OCB HQ grid – Hospital Insurance (DKV) – Pension Plan – 100% reimbursement for public transportation costs
  • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment
  • Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments

Deadline for applications: 31/01/2022

How to apply?

Please send your CV and cover letter to Recruit-HQ-Communications@brussels.msf.org and mention “Operational Communications Coordinator” in the subject of your email.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

MSF values diversity and is committed to create an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

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