Senior Communications Manager, WRI Africa

Communications & Engagement Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Location: Due to COVID-19 this job can be done anywhere in Africa with adequate internet connectivity. Post-COVID-19 the successful applicant will work from Addis Ababa or Nairobi.

Job Summary

Reporting to our Vice President and Regional Director for Africa based in Nairobi, you will design and implement communications that increase the influence of our research, analysis and engagement with decision-makers who are shaping development patterns across Africa. You will be a senior member of the WRI Africa management team and lead and mentor a small team of communications professionals (currently three) working in different locations across the region. 

You will reach out to 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.  Incorporating a deep understanding of Africa’s development opportunities and extensive professional communications experience in such activities as strategy design and implementation, online communications, social media and digital marketing, event design and media relations is essential.

Your work will be to further develop and communicate a recently created three-pillar strategy for WRI Africa’s contribution to sustainable development in the region, showing how the pieces of WRI’s work across the region inter-connect and support the overall strategy. The over-arching vision of the strategy is “to catalyze inclusive transformation so that Africa’s people and landscapes flourish.” The three pillars are: institutional and economic transformation; vital landscapes; and thriving, resilient cities.

We seek a world-class communications professional with a proven track record producing or placing stories in top media outlets, preparing high quality briefing materials, excellent writing and messaging skills, and a willingness and ability to travel within the region and internationally. You must have strong interpersonal skills and enthusiasm for turning big ideas into action. A history of working successfully with national and pan-African organizations and with international institutions is strongly preferred, as is experience working on one or more of the issues covered by WRI’s seven program areas: food, forests, water, energy, cities, climate and the ocean. 

This position is remote due to Covid-19, but you will be based at WRI’s office in Nairobi or Addis once restrictions have lifted.

Job Responsibilities

  • Develop and lead implementation of an effective strategy to raise the prominence and visibility of WRI in Africa and increased the reach and impact of our work
  • Prepare high quality briefing materials and talking points on key themes of WRI Africa’s areas of focus.
  • 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 Africa 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 communication materials such as op-eds, blog posts, press releases, advisories, statements, and targeted emails. Write and deliver media pitches to editors and reporters working in text and broadcast, including radio and TV
  • Support the WRI Africa team and manage its online and social media presence, including outreach for WRI visitors from other parts of the world
  • Establish, track and evaluate metrics of success, and adapt strategies to grow and improve outreach results over time 

Job Qualifications

  • Minimum of 7 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; some work experience in Africa is required. Minimum of 3 years of experience in a communications leadership position
  • Master’s degree in journalism, communications, developmental studies, or related field (or bachelor's degree with an additional 2 years of work experience)
  • International experience strongly preferred with prior work experience for an international organization and preferably in the international NGO sector
  • 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
  • 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/or in one or more African languages is desirable
  • Articulate, versatile, highly skilled writer with professional writing experience and strong oral communications skills in English
  • 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
Submission of a cover letter and CV/resume is required. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

WRI Africa

WRI Africa currently has about 39 staff working in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa on a variety of programs and projects and is poised for rapid growth. WRI has been working with partners in Sub-Saharan Africa for more than 30 years on a variety of programs and projects, with an emphasis on forest protection and restoration in the Congo Basin. In 2015, we established a regional hub in Addis Ababa to integrate existing activities and scale up our work to better match the scale of the opportunities and challenges across the region.

WRI Africa’s growing program is demand-driven, aligned with and in support of, existing government priorities, and conducted in partnership with African stakeholders. Our engagement in Africa is grounded in the philosophy of African solutions by Africans for Africa, and playing a catalyzing role by leveraging our research, data tool, convening ability, and global network. WRI Africa works to catalyze inclusive transformation, so Africa’s people and landscapes flourish. We are supported by WRI’s global network of more than 1,000 researchers and practitioners around the world. 

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 $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ 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.   

The World Resources Institute ( 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.