Communications Specialist

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Last update: May 19, 2022 Last update: May 19, 2022


Deadline: May 25, 2022 Deadline for applications has passed
Location: Afghanistan Afghanistan
Sectors: Media and Communications Media and Communications
Job type: Contract, 12 months +
English English
Work experience: From 5 years
Date posted: May 19, 2022


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UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Afghanistan has emerged as one of the world’s most complex emergencies, and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The crisis dynamics in the country are multi-layered. Afghan people are grappling with the devastating effects of conflict, increasing poverty, economic decline and natural disasters, all of which are amplified by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and require urgent support as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs. While the Taliban has provided assurances on women’s participation in humanitarian work and their right to study, work and marry under Islamic Law,developments on the ground reflect an altogether different reality. Many women have been instructed to stay at home for their own safety, have not been allowed to work outside the home or attend school beyond the sixth grade, have been required to have a male chaperone when leaving the house, and/or have not been allowed into public places. Furthermore, no woman has been appointed to the interim government, which was announced on 7 September 2021. These recent discriminations against women exacerbate pre-existing gender inequalities in a country that ranked 166 out of 167 countries on the Gender Development Index in 2019 and where conservative social norms are deeply rooted.

UN Women has been present in Afghanistan for two decades. The criticality of UN Women’s mandate in Afghanistan during this period is particularly pertinent. It is essential that Afghan women and girls can continue to shape the development of their country, and that their gains are protected. UN Women remains fully committed to supporting Afghan women and girls and to putting them at the center of the global response to the crisis in Afghanistan. UN Women’s programming approach is informed by an assessment of the political, economic and humanitarian situation, risks to and capacities of partner organizations, and needs of Afghan women and girls, and will remain adaptive to respond to emerging priorities in a rapidly shifting context. UN Women is committed to monitoring the situation closely to ensure that approaches evolve in line with a dynamic and volatile context and to ensure close coordination with its partners who are supporting the implementation of UN Women’s Strategic Note in Afghanistan. The do no harm principle will inform all interventions.

UN Women Afghanistan is proposing a focused five step approach to staying and delivering in Afghanistan that includes the following elements:

Operationalizing Programming Priorities
Influencing the System: Coordination Role
Strengthening our Field Presence
Expanding Thought Leadership
Growing our Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships

Reporting to the Deputy Country Representative, Communications Specialist will collaborate closely with the Headquarters, Regional, sub offices colleagues to ensure communications strategies, media relations and organizational outreach efforts are aligned with corporate communications policies and initiatives. The Communications Specialist also collaborates with RO colleagues to support outreach campaigns, resource mobilization and donor relations initiatives; The Communication Specialist mobilizes support in conjunction with intergovernmental processes, and support the activities and special events organized for UN Women.

Duties and Responsibilities

Lead the development and implementation of communication and outreach/advocacy strategies and plans, with a specific focus on media

Conduct communication needs assessments for ACO, including projects, programmes and corporate change initiatives;
Design, develop, and implement communication and outreach/advocacy strategies, including media strategies; ensure gender perspective;
Integrate communication, advocacy and outreach strategies into proposals for project/programmes and other initiatives;
Monitor and analyze print and social media and prepare reports;
Launch in-country UN Women/ UN system corporate and local/regional campaigns and special events;
Provide advice and guidance to and coordinate with ACO in the region.

Lead the development and dissemination of advocacy materials in Afghanistan

Develop and produce communication and advocacy instruments and materials, including briefing materials, press releases, and articles and coordinate its dissemination through effective channels;
Identify and launch information opportunities, activities, approaches and platforms and partners;
Provide advice on advocacy materials and coordinate launching flagship initiatives and publications in the region;
Lead the engagement and supervision of video producers and other communication specialists to produce audio/ visual material on UN Women’s work;
Develop brochures, factsheets, stories from the field to inform media and general public at the regional level;
Follow guidelines from and report to HQ.

Manage media relations for the ACO

Lead relationship building with press in country; maintain and update database of relevant press;
Respond timely and clearly to media inquiries and to a variety of inquiries and information requests; prepare related correspondence; identify topics, background information, news-related development and coverage of interest;
Organize roundtable discussions, press conferences, and briefing sessions with press;
Facilitate interviews with senior managers; connect media with UN Women subject experts;
Finalize talking points.

Build and maintain partnerships and maintain relations with donors

Identify and develop new communication partnerships and alliances to enhance visibility; manage and nurture existing partnerships;
Liaise with advocacy partners and undertake outreach to civil society organizations, governments, and other groups to ensure that newsworthy information reaches the public and donors;
Guide and collaborate closely with communication colleagues in other offices to ensure consistency with corporate policies, messaging and initiatives;
Submit packages for programme initiatives for donor review.

Oversee the CO’s web/ online presence

Oversee and maintain (regional) websites, including developing design and content;
Coordinate MCO and COs’ web-presence in the line with corporate web policy;
Oversee and manage (regional) social media accounts in line with corporate social media policy.

Facilitate knowledge building and sharing

Identify and synthesize best practices and lessons learned from CO directly linked to programme country goals and activities and ensure exchange of information;
Provide training and workshops on communication and advocacy as appropriate.

Key Performance Indicators

Quality communications strategy and timely implementation which leads to greater exposure and understanding of UN Women’s work
Quality and relevant advocacy materials and content or the website and social media channels
Regular interactions with mass media, as shown by coverage
Regular interactions with donors, as shown in increased funds
Regular exchange of information between ACO in region as shown in coherent and relevant regional public presence


Core Values:

Respect for Diversity

Core Competencies:

Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
Creative Problem Solving
Effective Communication
Inclusive Collaboration
Stakeholder Engagement
Leading by Example

Functional Competencies

Ability to communicate sensitively, effectively and creatively across different constituencies
Strong knowledge of managing web-based knowledge management systems
Strong understanding of production, graphic design and photography standards
Strong knowledge of social media platforms and experience in social media outreach
Strong oral and written communication and editing skills
Strong communication, networking and advocacy skills
Ability to provide advice and be strategic and analytical
Good knowledge of local country media landscape
Knowledge of gender and human rights issues is desirable

Required Skills and Experience

Education and certification:

Master’s degree (or equivalent) in communications, public relations, journalism or relevant field is required
A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree


At least 5 years of professional work experience at national or international level in public relations, communications or advocacy, including in media relations;
Experience in the use of social media;
Experience in media relations is an asset.

Language Requirements:

Fluency in English is required
Knowledge of the other UN official working language is an asset.