Role: Communication Lead
Duration: 11.5 months
Duty Station: New York Headquarters
Work Type: Consultancy
If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.
For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
We are a small team of technologists and creatives in UNICEF who develop, prototype and scale new technologies. Our team has built products with millions of active users, and has had more failures than we can count. We are looking for someone to help us capture the energy and excitement of a group of people trying to fix huge global problems and turn that energy into a clear, compelling and consistent message that delivers new partnerships, collaborations and opportunities.
You walk into a crowded room and feel comfortable and energized, knowing immediately who you need to talk to. You’re always told you make complex situations simple and easy to understand. You can sell ice in an igloo and can make a strategic union among parties who don’t even speak the same conceptual language.
You occasionally wake up worried about killer robots, and are interested in how mobile phones, big data, and blockchain can transform the world of international development. You have a firm handle on and interest in international relations, and a keen sense of how a large organization works.
You could respond to this job application in Haikus, iambic pentameter or Chaucerian prose, but you will instead write a crisp, clear, and informative cover letter that will stand out from the rest.
Some additional background.
UNICEF has been innovating for children for 70 years. While UNICEF has a tradition and a history of innovating (the Mark II Handpump, the auto-disable syringe, and more) many people still think of us as a “charity” or a “non-profit.” UNICEF is an international organization and is an incredible engine for change. We need you to tell that story.
Here are some of the assets we have, that you might not have known about:
- Did you know UNICEF has set up a system in Nigeria that reports on every birth, in real time, via text message (42 million over the last five years)?
- Or that we have 3 million young people worldwide who we can reach with a single message on their phones, and use their responses to our questions to create action and change?
- Or that we created the UN’s first-ever VC-style investment vehicle to help bring promising technology solutions that can improve children’s lives to market faster?
- Or that we are working with private sector companies to create a platform that can collect, combine, analyze, and display real time information to obtain insights that helps inform our work, especially in emergencies.
So the background is this: we’re looking for someone to take the story of incredibly dynamic, fast-paced changemakers in a setting which most people don’t associate with dynamism and start-up thinking. We need this story told to partners, to the public, and to UNICEF staff.
Check out: www.unicefstories.org, www.unicef.org/innovation and @UNICEFInnovate for some idea of who we are.
PURPOSE OF THE ASSIGNMENT/MAIN ACTIVITIES
About the assignment.
We are seeking a top-notch communications expert who wants to work with a dynamic team in a global context and sell a story about global change.
Some of your duties will include:
- External: Help raise the profile of UNICEF as an innovative organization by highlighting new approaches to solving big problems. This could mean writing and placing an op-ed on the intersection of tech and development in NYT, or working with our events team to produce consistent messaging over major global events like Google Zeitgeist, The World Economic Forum, and TED Global.
- Internal for UNICEF: Support internal communication about new technologies and projects to help various parts of our complex international organization become comfortable with things like prototyping, iterating, agility and failure. This could include planning internal communications strategies, staff trainings and working with a small communications team to do social media and internal production.
- Office of Innovation Team: Ensure that the Office of Innovation which is spread across five continents has the appropriate key messages and trainings. Help them distill complex ideas and approaches into easy-to-understand solutions for internal and external audiences. Make sure their work fits within the larger UNICEF narrative and approach.
You will start off working with one person who supports you on social and digital media and will work closely with the events lead and design and interaction team. You will create a budget for the needs you might have, which would be reviewed by the Office of Innovation management team.
Things to note about the team that may be good or bad depending on you:
- It’s an extremely fluid environment.
- It works at the speed of a startup.
- There are bureaucratic rules in the UN. Some will make you mad. There are a lot of acronyms you’ll need to learn.
- You’ll spend your days looking at the cutting edge of technology and working with some of the most interesting and creative people in the world.
- It is not easy. But it is rewarding. You will be overwhelmed with how much you learn every day, but this will motivate and inspire you.
- Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
- Consultant is responsible for his own health insurance
- Consultants are responsible for assuming costs for obtaining visas and travel insurance
- Consultant is eligible for standard daily stipend allowance (DSA) for all work-related travel.
QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION
- University degree in Communication, Journalism, Public Relations; or equivalent professional work experience in the communication area, combined with a university degree in a related field
- At least six (6) years of progressively responsible experience and a track record of working in print and broadcast media, interactive digital media, internal communications, and/or stakeholder engagement (two of which should be at a management level)
- Experience working within the development sector, ideally at UNICEF or the UN, and a background/education in international relations
- Solid understanding of the role technology plays in the development and humanitarian sectors, as well as the UN system
- Ability to see the big picture and connect multiple story threads into one greater narrative
- Strong leadership skills; capacity to prioritize and manage a diverse range of partners, projects and activities
- Great interpersonal skills and the ability to unite fragmented, and occasionally opposing teams and ideas
- Project management skills including task prioritization, budget monitoring, and results driven strategies
- Proactive and organized, must be able to multitask
- Demonstrated strong writing skills
- Fluency in English is required and in other UN Languages is an asset
Applications must include:
- Cover letter,
- CV, and
- 1 writing assignment: Write an op-ed (800 words or less) on behalf of the Office of Innovation that we would send to The Guardian about the role big data can play in accelerating international development and humanitarian work. A few articles to check out as a start are this, this, this, and this. But of course use your skills to find angles and articles that you think are relevant
To view our competency framework, please click here.
Please indicate your ability, availability and monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a monthly rate will not be considered.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.
Closing Date: 7 April 2017
*Posting and application portal for this job on unicef.org can only be accessed during the application period.