Communications Officer WRI Africa

Communications Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Job Summary 

WRI Africa seeks an experienced Communications Officer to design and implement strategies that increase the influence of our research, analysis and engagement with decision-makers who are shaping development patterns across Sub-Saharan Africa. In this role, you will reach multiple influential audiences—within the region and internationally—with compelling stories and messages drawn from our work that show how measures that protect and enhance Africa’s rich natural resources go hand-in-hand with rapid, poverty-reducing growth.

In this role, we require a deep understanding of Africa’s development opportunities, a proven track record producing or placing stories in top media outlets covering the region, strong media contacts; and excellent writing and messaging skills, as well as willingness and ability to travel within the region and internationally.

You will have significant experience as a media and communications practitioner, strong interpersonal skills, and an enthusiasm for turning big ideas into action. Excellent written and spoken English is required and proficiency in French is highly desirable. A history of working successfully with national and pan-African media outlets, and with international media outlets covering Africa is strongly preferred. Experience working on one or more of WRI’s seven program areas: food, forests, water, energy, cities, climate and the ocean is also highly desirable.

You will be an important addition to our small but growing regional hub in Addis Ababa and a member of our global network of communications professionals. You will work closely with WRI’s Core Communications team based in Washington DC and with the WRI Europe Communications Manager based in The Hague. 

Job Responsibilities

  • Increase recognition among thought leaders and decision makers that sustainable development approaches are the most effective means for reducing poverty, improving livelihoods, and achieving just and resilient societies.
  • Strengthen WRI’s reputation as a source for innovative solutions that can accelerate Africa’s economic development and improve livelihoods while protecting the continent’s natural resources and systems.
  • Connect African reporters and non-Africa reporters covering the region with WRI experts, distribute WRI reports and analysis, organize media briefings, and help respond to breaking news. Proactively work to extend WRI’s reach with media outlets that cover Africa, including through traditional and social media platforms.
  • Write and edit brochures and digital content. Develop other materials for outreach, ranging from preparing and pitching to broadcast media (radio and TV), op-eds and blog posts, to press releases, advisories, statements, targeted emails, and more.
  • Support the WRI Africa team and manage its online and social media presence, including outreach for WRI visitors from other parts of the world.
  • Track and evaluate metrics of success, and adapt strategies to grow and improve outreach results over time

Job Qualifications

Education & Experience 

  • University degree in relevant field desired (or equivalent additional work experience), including journalism, communications, public policy, history, politics, economics, environmental studies, etc. Understanding of African policy issues at the nexus of development and environment, as well as the institutional dynamics and key players in research, government, business, trade associations, and media
  • Minimum of 5 years of full-time relevant professional experience working in journalism, public relations, communications or policy on topics including development, climate, energy, forests, or broader environmental issues. Work experience within Africa is required. International experience or prior work for an international organization within Africa is also desirable
  • Robust list of established media contacts and networks in Africa and leading international media outlets covering Africa
  • Proven ability to lead coordination and delivery of communications strategies, messaging, audience targeting, media pitching and other outreach
  • Experience working collaboratively with a range of communications colleagues and partners, particularly across time zones and continents
  • Demonstrable experience preparing written materials in strong, polished prose in English with a clear sense of how to communicate to diverse audiences. Proficiency in French and in one or more African languages is highly desirable

 Skills & Qualifications

  • Articulate, versatile, highly skilled writer with professional writing experience and strong oral communications skills
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced office environment, both independently and as part of a global team across time zones
  • Adaptable to rapidly changing priorities and able to manage multiple deadlines and deliver high quality work products
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, highly motivated, proactive work style, detail-oriented, accountable, and with excellent organizational skills
  • A proven track record of implementing effective communications that achieve results and amplify impact
  • Strong commitment to WRI’s mission and values

How to Apply 

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. Please include a cover letter and your resume.

About WRI Africa

The WRI Regional Office for Africa, located in Ethiopia, is the newest office in the WRI family. Established in late 2016, it received its legal license to operate in 2017. The office is rapidly scaling up its programmatic engagement in select countries on the continent. Our mission is as ambitious as it is urgent. Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change and other forms of ecosystem degradation. Yet Africa is also the continent of hope—a place where the costly development mistakes made in other parts of the world can still be avoided. WRI’s independent analysis, curated data and decision-relevant tools can help African citizens and leaders avoid a future of deforestation, water scarcity and soil depletion. Better urban development and planning can avoid locking-in high-carbon infrastructure and locking out people from access to jobs and services. Restoration of degraded lands can sequester carbon and improve food security. A sustainable, equitable, climate-resilient future for Africa requires a science-based approach to a radical rethink of Business-as-Usual development pathways. WRI Africa is working with partners across the continent to secure this future.

By 2022, the end of our current five-year strategic plan, WRI Africa aims to be a leading voice for sustainability in select countries, where we engage in ‘deep dives’ for transformational change, and with key pan-African institutions with whom we have developed deep partnerships to ensure our analysis, data and tools create impact at scale. Areas of focus include cities and urban transport, restoration and forest management, the water-climate resilience nexus, energy and food security. We anticipate increasing WRI Africa staff from the current 50 to an anticipated 150 while mobilizing financial support matching the complexity of challenges in Africa. We will develop solid partnerships with local organizations and national governments through long-term, demand-driven programmatic engagement.

The WRI Africa office in Addis Ababa is a regional hub that currently has 10 staff responsible for strategic oversight and cross-cutting expertise, financial management and risk mitigation, fundraising, outreach and communications, and representing the institute on the continent. It is also the locus of the Ethiopia country program. The WRI Africa Communications Officer will be crucial member of this team, responsible for designing and implementing strategies that increase the reach and influence of WRI’s research, analysis and engagement with decision-makers who are shaping development patterns across Africa.

WRI Overview 

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. 

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect. 

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact. 

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $120 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 800+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.   

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.  

The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org) is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.