Communication and Advocacy Advisor - DRC
Duration: 9- 12 months
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of approximately 400 people working in Eastern DRC. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo with multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH support to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps is also currently responding to the unfolding Ebola epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. The current annual budget includes resources from FCDO, USAID, ECHO, UN-donors, Government of Netherlands, OFDA, FFP, SDC and others.
General Position Summary
The Communications & Advocacy Advisor plays a critical role in both driving and demonstrating program performance across the country portfolio. This role designs new content, and maintains strategies, tools and processes for routinely gathering information and presenting it to a wide variety of audiences. They will develop a communications strategy and provide direction in showcasing not only the ‘Impact’ of Mercy Corps DRC’s work, but also demonstrate ‘Innovation’ and ‘Influence’ within all programming, reflecting and reinforcing the strategic and cross-cutting objectives for the country office.
This role will develop and maintain best practices and provide support and guidance to program communication leads in their efforts to demonstrate program achievements and integrate high-impact stories and research findings into their reports and communications. The Communications and Advocacy Advisor works closely with HQ communications staff to support external engagement with international audiences. The position reports to the Country Director, working in coordination with CLT, the country Programs, Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) and MEL teams, and Program Managers, as well as HQ communications focal points and TSU to contribute to Mercy Corps DRC team culture, cohesiveness, and program quality.
Essential Job Responsibilities
COUNTRY STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
- Work closely with CLT and coordinate with TSU focal points to develop a communications strategy for the country mission, ensuring that it aligns with and supports the achievement of the Mercy Corps Global Communication Strategy, Mercy Corps DRC strategic objectives, the Africa Regional Strategy, and the Mercy Corps Global Compass.
- Define standard operating procedures and workflows for dealing with internal and external communications.
- Assist in developing, implementing and monitoring annual mission country communications plan based on the country communications strategy.
- Support the dissemination of research findings, including the creation of summaries and fact-sheets, and internal and external dissemination.
- Ensure that communications and visibility are integrated in concept notes and new funding proposals.
- Ensure adherence to Mercy Corps branding and marketing standards, maintaining quality across materials, events, and other media.
- Support the Communications Specialist to ensure that Mercy Corps DRC’s work is accurately, regularly and compellingly represented on Mercy Corps Global internal and external communications platforms.
- Advise on media strategy ensuring sound risk management and compliance with Mercy Corps procedures.
- Lead action planning for reputation management and crisis communications.
- Participate in relevant communications-related working groups with local and international NGOs and associations in DRC.
COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
- Participate in the country-level communications working group, which will gather timely and accurate information for capturing and sharing with our broad range of internal and external stakeholders, and identify key communications objectives.
- Support the Communications Specialist to track country office visibility and communication initiatives: advise on the integration of communications plans into program work-plans; and support program teams to develop communications strategies and plans as per donor requirements.
- Build capacity of project teams to produce well-documented narratives and infographics that highlight program 3Is.
- Inform and support learning activities, including field visits, focus groups, workshops, round-tables, and other events.
- Support Program Leadership in the development of advocacy strategies or targeted advocacy campaigns
- Represent Mercy Corps in external advocacy efforts and advocacy coordination fora.
COUNTRY TEAM DEVELOPMENT & MANAGEMENT
- Ensure systematic communications training to build the capacity of technical team members.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO BENEFICIARIES
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Reports Directly to: Country Director
Works Directly with: Country Leadership Team (CLT), Programs Director, PaQ Director, Program Managers and Teams, Mercy Corps regional and HQ teams and TSU members.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in social science, journalism, communications, international development or other relevant field.
- A minimum of 4-6 years of experience in coordinating and producing written and audiovisual content for donor engagement, public advocacy, media and community relations.
- Strong written and oral communication skills in English required, including report development, writing and editing.
- Experience in staff development and training.
- Excellent computer skills, including experience with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher.
- Demonstrated ability as a collaborator and facilitator.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. They will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is an unaccompanied position based in Goma. Goma is a provincial capital of over 700,000 inhabitants. Living in Goma is comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.
While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There is reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.