Position Title: Assistant Communications Officer
Activation Date: 28 July, 2021 Announced Date: 28 July, 2021 Expire Date: 06 August, 2021
Organizational/ Operational Context:
For over 40 years Afghanistan has seen some of the world’s largest population movements. Between 2002 and 2020 an estimated 7 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 5.2 million being refugees who have voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance. Refugee returns during the last three years have been far lower than in previous years, with less than 2,000 voluntary returns in 2020 as of end November, which can be attributed to the deteriorating political, security and economic situation in Afghanistan and the impact of COVID-19. According to IOM, close to 800,000 undocumented Afghans returned/were deported to the country thus far in 2020, continuing a trend that has been in place for the past several years.
These returns have taken place against a backdrop of increased internal displacement due to conflict and natural disaster, which in 2019 reached a level of more than 450,000 displaced according to OCHA, which estimates that overall, around 4.1m persons have been displaced since 2012 and have not returned to their place of origin. Thus far in 2020, close to 300,000 people have been internally displaced by conflict according to OCHA.
Afghanistan continues to witness the highest number of conflict-related causalities on record – and now ranks second globally behind Syria for the most civilian casualties – as the Taliban and other armed groups continued offensives to contest or gain control over larger parts of the country. Government control of territory has now reached its lowest level since 2001.
Despite strong political will to achieve peace in Afghanistan, uncertainties result from the current political context, including the significant delays in the intra-Afghan peace negotiations and the withdrawal of US troops as part of the US/Taliban negotiations.
Continuing insecurity, natural hazards, and limited capacity to absorb returning Afghans and those displaced within the country often lead to secondary displacement, onward movement, and harmful coping mechanisms. Many returnees and IDPs, along with the communities hosting them, face a range of challenges including food insecurity and limited access to land, adequate shelter, and services including healthcare, education, legal assistance, and civil documentation, while livelihoods opportunities are increasingly scarce. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic created additional challenges, particularly economic hardship among vulnerable people who have lost their livelihoods and are facing additional protection risks, leading to harmful coping mechanism (e.g. cycle of debt, food insecurity, etc.).
In 2020 Afghanistan is presented with significant challenges in the areas of national security, economic development, and political transition. This document looks at the potential factors that could influence the way these challenges impact Afghan population movements, both within Afghanistan and between Afghanistan and its neighbors.
Continued political uncertainty and a worsening security situation continue to define the prevailing climate in Afghanistan. The prospects in relation to the ongoing peace talks and withdrawal of international military forces remain, by all measures, unclear, and there are several political, security and economic factors at play.
The failure of the Government of Afghanistan to address the political situation would lead to increased armed conflict resulting in widespread internal displacement. Significant donor funding would be required to ensure access to basic services across the country, in both urban and rural areas. For planning purposes, in this scenario UNHCR would expect as many as 500,000 Afghans to be internally displaced during the latter half of 2021 due to heightened conflict.
Based on an historical analysis of trends in internal displacement as a result of conflict, UNHCR anticipates the Eastern, Southern, Northern, and North-Western parts of the country to experience significant levels of displacement, with the provinces of Takhar, Kunar, Faryab, Nangarhar, Balkh, Sar-e-Pul, Baghlan, and Kunduz being most affected.
In line with its Global Communications Strategy, UNHCR requires skilled communications professionals to conceive and execute a range of activities that help us lead the narrative on forced displacement, generate empathy and mobilize action. This body of work spans communications strategy and coordination, news and media relations, multimedia content production, social media engagement, Goodwill Ambassadors and other influencers, public outreach and campaigns, fundraising, analytics and brand.
UNHCR’s Assistant Communications Officers need to cultivate a keen understanding of our target audiences—including an up-to-the-minute grasp of the methods and tone of voice that resonate deeply, win trust and spark quality engagement. They must be vigilant about editorial and journalistic standards, attentive to protection concerns and political sensitivities, and focused on communicating successfully with key demographics. These audiences will vary by location, language and platform, among other factors, as well as whether the aim is to inform, advocate or raise funds.
The Assistant Communications Officers’ functions, working relationships and skills specializations differ depending on language, location, grade, and whether they sit within a country operation, a regional bureau or the Global Communications Service. UNHCR’s primary target audiences include public, media and policymakers, while our main partners and influencers include peers and private sector, trusted figures and our own workforce. Some communicators will focus mainly on news and media relations, for example, while others will produce multimedia content, manage social media accounts or lead advocacy campaigns. Forging partnerships with media outlets that reach target audiences is a central role for all Assistant Communications Officers.
All Assistant Communications Officers are expected to work strategically in support of UNHCR’s operational and communications objectives for their geographic area of responsibility (AoR) as well as global priorities. Communications approaches should reflect our core values as an organization that is caring, trustworthy, proactive, outcome-focused and responsive. This will reinforce UNHCR’s role as the lead agency that protects refugees, internally displaced and stateless people and mobilizes action to provide solutions.
All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.
Under the direct supervision of External Relations Officer, the incumbent will undertake the following responsibilities:
- Assist in establishment of close working relationships with television, radio and news agencies to promote and ensure the dissemination of UNHCR aims, activities and principles.
- Assist in development of working relationships with the Government, NGOs and UN Agencies in order to raise interest and develop co-operation in inter-related activities.
- Organize UNHCR’s public awareness campaign in the duty station.
- Draft bulletins and updates on UNHCR’s operations in the duty station.
- Brief national and international media of developments in UNHCR’s operations in the duty stations and accompany visiting media to the refugee camps where applicable.
- Assist in planning and organizing advertisements, exhibitions, training seminars, conferences, meetings, social events and other activities to promote a better understanding of UNHCR’s activities and accomplishments by the general public and/or organized groups.
- Assist in preparation of communication budget.
- Perform other related duties as required.
Essential qualifications, skills and professional experience
- Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English
Field of Education:
Journalism; International Relations; Political Science;
Communications; Public Information; Media
Film / Video; or other relevant field.
- For P1/NOA - 1 year relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or no experience with Graduate degree; or no experience with Doctorate degree
- Minimum 1 year of professional experience in journalism and/or communications, mainly at international level.
- Strong social media presence. Experience working on advocacy campaigns. Experience working with goodwill ambassadors and other high-profile influencers. Experience with brand management. Experience with measurement and evaluation, especially providing analysis of media coverage, social media engagement, web traffic, etc. Experience reporting, writing, editing for magazines, newspapers and websites. Experience using digital asset management systems. Experience with digital analytics and performance reporting.
- CO-Digital content production
- CO-International Media Contacts
- CO-Journalism (incl. print, broadcast, photography, video, layout & graphics)
- CO-Preparation of key messages/talking points/speeches
- CO-Public Speaking
- CO-Spokesperson skills
- CO-Video production for digital platforms (including news organizations)
- IT-Web Content Management
- MS-Drafting, Documentation, Data Presentation
- Organizational Awareness
- Teamwork & Collaboration
- Commitment to Continuous Learning
- Client & Result Orientation
- Analytical Thinking
- Innovation and Creativity
- Political Awareness
- Empowering and Building Trust
Candidates will be required to sit for a test. Only candidate who score 50% of the total marks will be invited for oral interview.
Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be invited for written test.
The recruitment for this position shall be in line with the new Recruitment and Assignment of Locally Recruited Staff (RALS) policy.
Only applications submitted through MSRP will be accepted.
Qualified female candidates are encouraged to apply for consideration
The management of the advertised openings in this announcement is in line with the provisions of the UNHCR Administrative Instruction on Recruitment and Assignment of Locally Recruited Staff (RALS). The vacancies are open to eligible internal (Group 1 and Group 2) and external applicants.
- Internal applicants (Group 1 and Group 2) are requested to submit their applications through MSRP – Self-Service – Recruiting – Careers or CLICK HERE . It is important that applicants update their fact sheets (languages, education and prior working experience) before submitting their applications.
- External applicants are requested to submit their applications through the UNHCR website - www.unhcr.org – Career – Career Opportunities – Other Opportunities or CLICK HERE . You will need to create an account as “New User” and then click on “My Account Information”. Complete the application and submit it.