Job Vacancy: Communications Manager
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 Summary: Mercy Corps AgriFin seeks to address the inclusion gap for smallholder farmers (SHF) who lack access to affordable, accessible, demand-driven financial products and services that drive higher productivity and income for farm families.
The ecosystems required to serve smallholders are both complex and fragmented. Market actors are often hampered by lack of strong understanding of smallholder needs and are therefore unable to design impactful products, channels and other relevant services for them.
At the same time, farmers often lack the information, trust and capacity to access and productively utilize new products and tools. This is a key area related to AgriFin’s communications strategy.
Drawing on Mercy Corps’ experience implementing the AgriFin Mobile and AgriFin Accelerate programs and years of work in the agriculture, finance and ICT sectors, the AgriFin Digital Farmer (ADF) supports the expansion of digital financial services (DFS) to one million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria, delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers.
ADF’s primary target group is unbanked smallholder farmers living on less than $2 per day.
Three outcomes will contribute to the achievement of ADF goals:
- Outcome 1: Market actors expand, improve and continue to offer high-impact DFS products and services that are tailored to address the expressed needs of SHFs;
- Outcome 2: Farmers increase capability to access and utilize demand-driven, high impact technology-enabled financial products and services relevant to SHFs;
- Outcome 3: Ecosystems around both supplier and farmers emerge supporting provision of digital financial and informational services to SHFs that are used at scale.
The programs core innovations are:
1) a rapid iteration engagement model to drive innovative, client-centric product development; and
2) our work with partners to develop “bundles” of mobile-enabled services offering farmers affordable access to digital financial and market informational services.
Specific focal areas for innovation will include the use of digital technology to educate and inform farmers, tech start up acceleration, the use of new and alternative data to support financial service design and the use of human centered design techniques to ensure products are closely linked to the needs of farmers, particularly women and youth.
The program will follow an ecosystem and market facilitation approach supported through partnership activities and dissemination of evidence-based learning to ecosystem actors following a Market Systems Development (MSD) approach, with a strong gender focus.
The program is in transition mode to a new programmatic phase, adding in new countries and focus areas, while
placing a heavy focus on learning and impact generation with its subsequent dissemination to the ecosystem,
requiring a great deal of strategic positioning and coordination.
In this context, AgriFin is restructuring its communications modus operandi, aiming to become a more proactive and present communications player able to distill key insights into coherent, consistent and strategic messaging across channels and audiences, shaping AgriFin’s role as a leading learning and thought partner in the agritech space.
We are presently looking for a committed and dynamic graduate trainee to take up the position of a Communications Manager.
GENERAL POSITION SUMMARY
The Communications Manager will work under the guidance of the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead and be responsible for refining AgriFin communications strategies and plans, supporting learning development, and executing both internal and external communications against these plans.
The successful candidate will fill a critical gap in improving the consistency and coherence of internal and external communications whilst also supporting the acceleration of learning output development across projects on behalf of the program.
S/he will work with all members of the technical team to distil key technical insights into finished communications products, adopting a targeted approach to reaching and engaging audiences across selected channels. S/he will support work to actively elevate AgriFin’s position as a thought leader, and reference point for an informed and meaningful voice on key issues related to digitally enabled solutions for smallholders.
STRATEGY & VISION
- Build AgriFin’s brand by developing and managing the AgriFin Communications Strategy and development plan, inclusive of enhancing internal knowledge management structures, templates, design formats and existing communications approaches across media types.
- Work closely with all members of the AgriFin technical team to identify opportunities and develop and design communications materials into different formats, including blogs, case studies, thought pieces, social media pieces, and others, and ensure all written material is ready for publication across channels. This includes designing materials using specialized design software (Canva/Adobe InDesign, or other).
- Develop media plans, collaborating with AgriFin partners and external media to generate public support for AgriFin through proactive media engagement – locally, regionally and globally.
- Serve as the point person for all communications related queries related to the Mercy Corps AgriFin brand.
- Liaise with all members of the AgriFin team to develop communications and insights pieces to communicate programmatic, project specific, and thematic learnings to AgriFin’s ecosystem of partners. Communications materials to be developed include blogs, longer articles, case studies, social media posts, podcasts, summary overviews, and others.
- Liaise with key communications and insights stakeholders, forge and maintain relationships with partner communications and insights teams in the development of specific communications products.
- Spot opportunities early and build targeted communication spikes during key moments in the calendar year e.g., designated thematic international days, key events and meetings and trade fairs.
- Identify opportunities for collaboration with key AgriFin programmatic partners on the production of specific communication and insights materials as well as general partner specific storytelling.
- Strengthen and expand AgriFin’s network of media contacts and relationships.
- Identify spokespersons from a pool of subject matter experts, build their capacity to field media interviews and coordinate their media opportunities and appearances to increase the quality of coverage about AgriFin and its products.
- Coordinate media field visits and content gathering trips and develop and maintain an in-house database of licensed stock imagery (photo and video) for use in communications products.
- Provide support and guidance to ensure project and donor communications obligations are met across all documentation, materials and outputs of the AgriFin teams.
- Lead all AgriFin events management and coordination, including setting up and managing large-scale AgriFin hosted events end-to-end.
- Support the management of the AgriFin brand, maintaining standards across materials, events, its website, and other media.
- Work with global Mercy Corps teams to ensure that AgriFin’s work is accurately, regularly and compellingly represented on Mercy Corps global internal and external communications platforms, including: supporting regular updates to internal agency content platforms; provision of editorial oversight and/or design, creation and maintenance of programmatic updates and cross-cutting theme factsheets; coordination with regional and global Mercy Corps communications focal points to develop key messages, press releases, and statements for external audiences, in response to evolving programmatic work and events.
- Provide technical guidance during the development of digital and print-communications, such as annual
reports, research studies, case studies and promotional publications like informational brochures,
factsheets, social media content, talking points, news releases, and others.
- Lead the development of communications materials, including blogs, case studies, summary overviews, and others, through deep collaboration with the AgriFin technical team.
- Coordinate with program staff by actively engaging them to gather information for writing programmatic communications including manuals, graphics, articles, success and impact stories that offer analytical storytelling.
- Lead the development and dissemination of the regular AgriFin newsletter, inclusive of managing the recipient database, ensuring all learning communications included are dissemination ready.
- Ensure appropriate branding and marking for all communications tools, learning outputs – such as case studies – as well as programmatic output materials.
- Design communications materials across outputs using specialized design software (Canva/Adobe InDesign) for AgriFin use and advise on and execute design of externally produced materials for AgriFin.
- Lead the development and launching campaigns of program events – both in-person and virtual – and workshops, including the Annual Learning Event (ALE) end-to-end.
- Provide strategic direction and practical guidance to execute on social media approaches, templates, and outputs.
- Oversee the development and maintenance of the AgriFin program website, providing strategic direction
and practical guidance.
- Respond in a timely manner to communications requests by internal and external communications
- Work with all external communications and learning consultants and teams contracted by AgriFin in the
production of specific communications and insights materials, such as videos, storytelling, photography,
infographics, case studies, blogs, and others.
- Lead the AgriFin communications team in the upkeep of its existing communications presence across
platforms (such as its website), providing guidance on brand consistency and copy editing as required, as
well as providing strategic direction on social media and external communications.
- Develop indicators to measure AgriFin’s reach, engagement and growth of audience and support base
both on social media and on traditional media channels.
- Act as a key driver in pushing a consistent AgriFin brand across media types.
ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT & SCHEDULING
- Oversee the maintenance of program data bases, including internal storage and filing systems, as well as
- Oversee and guide the optimization of existing knowledge management systems as required and coordinate with all team members to ensure their proper use.
- As agreed with the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead.
Supervisory Responsibility: There is no supervisory responsibility associated with this role.
- Reports directly to: Strategic Learning and Communications Lead.
- Works directly with: AgriFin Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team members and consultants; AgriFin technical team; Mercy Corps communications and learning focal points and media partners (as guided by Strategic Learning and Communications Lead).
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in communications or communications-related discipline, journalism, social studies or relevant field. Master’s degree not a must but an asset.
- Minimum of 5 years direct experience in the communications field, preferably with experience within a multi-channel / multi-theme communications and/or learning department.
- Proven experience producing high quality written materials, such as blogs or articles, as well as shorter social media ready products.
- Proven ability of developing and managing a communications strategy and coordinating internal and external communications.
- Proven ability and experience in the publication process, with a proven ability of writing program/project reports.
- Proven design ability across media types, experience in audio-visual production, and creation and marketing of digital content.
- Proven ability to manage and advise on website development projects.
- Proven ability to manage and/or execute a social media presence.
- Proven ability of designing and managing events.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines, work independently, and cooperate productively with team members.
- Previous experience in the social impact / development field is an asset.
- Strong written and oral communication skills in English, and the ability to condense complex content into compelling communications and learning pieces.
- Excellent IT skills, including experience with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, a design software (such as Canva, Adobe InDesign, or similar).
- Ability to deliver high quality products within short deadlines.
- Willingness to learn, curiosity to pursue and develop new insights through interactive and iterative
engagement with team members.
- Ability to provide strong scheduling support and meeting coordination.
- Strong sense of teamwork; willingness to collaborate across teams; outgoing and interactive approach to
- Ability to multi-task and juggle several workstreams for multiple teams simultaneously.
The successful Communications Manager will be a proactive mid-level to senior professional with a strong mission-orientation, outgoing/interactive attitude and ‘can-do’ work ethic. S/he will possess excellent attention to detail, the ability to write and copy edit, and will be able to bring structure and organization to their work.
S/he will be prepared to step up and work with minimal to no supervision to push the AgriFin brand forward through its communications portfolio, willing to go the extra mile if required.
S/he will be confident in their own abilities as a communications professional and ready and able to lead both internal teams and external teams and contractors in joint communications projects.
S/he will be plugged into global developments in the communications space, actively seeking opportunities to further AgriFin’s brand, communications products and approaches.
S/he will be a self-starter who can work both independently and as part of a team, is able to take initiative, is proactive in the development of work outputs and willing to engage in the iterative development of communications outputs with team members.
S/he will be genuinely curious in the learnings generated by the technical team, and able to distil those into products ready for public dissemination.
S/he needs to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks, working efficiently and effectively against workplans and programmatic needs. S/he will demonstrate creativity and flexibility and exhibits a strong sense of accountability and results-orientation.
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities
we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their
personal and/or professional growth and development
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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme.
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.
Interested candidates who meet the above required qualifications and experience should submit a cover letter, detailed curriculum vitae (CV) listing three professional referees (including a recent supervisor) to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Monday 25th October 2021 by 5.00pm.
The email subject line must clearly show the job title.
Applications without the right subject heading will be automatically disqualified.
Please do not attach any certificates.
(Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We will only get in touch with shortlisted candidates)
NB: Mercy Corps AgriFin Program does not charge any fee at any stage of the recruitment process