Consultant - Communications - African Risk Capacity

World Food Programme, South Africa
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Job Summary

Job Description


The African Risk Capacity Specialised Agency of the African Union provides African sovereigns with capacity building services for early warning, contingency planning and risk finance. The Agency established its first financial affiliate, ARC Ltd, in late 2013. Operating on mutual insurance principles, ARC Ltd issues parametric weather insurance policies to governments. It uses ARC’s risk modelling and early warning software platform Africa RiskView to estimate the impact of weather events on vulnerable populations – and the response costs required to assist them – before a hazard season begins, and as it progresses. In the case of drought, index-based insurance payouts, based on Africa RiskView, are triggered at or before harvest time if the rains are poor, or as soon as a severe flood or cyclone have occurred. By allowing ARC Member States to capitalize on the natural diversification of weather risk across the continent and access the international markets as a single pool, ARC Ltd reduces transaction costs and premiums to the lowest level possible while remaining financially sustainable.

This early financing immediately following a weather shock is key to improving the efficiency of disaster response, transferring the burden of climate risk away from governments – and the farmers and pastoralists whom they protect – to the ARC, which can handle that risk much better including accessing private sector finance.

With an initial $200 million in seed capital and commitments provided by the governments of Germany (KfW Development Bank on behalf of BMZ) and the United Kingdom (through DFID), ARC Ltd issued drought insurance policies totaling nearly $130 million in coverage for a total premium cost of $17 million to a first group of African governments – Kenya, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal – in May 2014, marking the launch of the inaugural ARC pool. In January 2015, ARC Ltd made its first insurance payouts of just over $26 million to Mauritania, Niger and Senegal as a result of drought conditions in these countries in 2014. The timely funds provided to these Member States enabled them to implement an early response programme to their affected communities, ahead of any humanitarian aid, spearheading efforts to help countries move from managing crises to managing risks in a timely manner.

Three additional countries joined the pool in May 2015, increasing the drought coverage to over $190 million for the 2015/16 rainfall seasons. ARC has a target of up to 30 countries receiving coverage for drought, flood and cyclones totaling approximately $1.5 billion of coverage by 2020. This planned country level coverage alone, with premium payments of $300 million from participating African states, represents indirect insurance coverage for approximately 150 million vulnerable Africans, a significant contribution to the G7’s Elmau commitment of providing climate risk insurance to up to an additional 400 million poor people globally by 2020.

The ARC design and establishment phase was managed by WFP, under a MoU with the African Union, and WFP continues to provide administrative services support to the ARC Agency through an administrative services agreement.

Purpose of Assignment

ARC is in the process of implementing its Communication and Advocacy strategy, and the qualified candidate shall report to the Senior Communications Officer.

Accountabilities / Responsibilities

Key Accountabilities (not all-inclusive, within delegated authority):

  • Support the implementation of ARC communications and advocacy strategy including the Institutional Communication (IC) and C4D goals; and provide support to the Country Engagement Managers (CEMs);
  • Contribute to effective organisational / internal communications through good research, analysis of assigned area of work and timely preparation and distribution of information products;
  • Manage and ensure that the ARC website is up-to-date in line with organisation’s activities;
  • Support the social media plan by developing social media content, and utilising platforms, networks and partners to enhance coverage and support of ARC's activities;
  • Support the production of the ARC Annual Report and ARC Newsletter, including content collection, editing / writing, design, and dissemination of the progress made towards achieving ARC’s vision and mission;
  • Support ARC knowledge management and ARC client database management, including the development of effective instruments and tools to ensure appropriate up-to-date information for internal and external use; 
  • Support the production of reports, briefs, concept notes, and correspondences from relevant units, including copywriting, copyediting, and proofreading donor reports and strategy documents;
  • Produce and maintain standardized factsheets and key messages on ARC and its work areas for internal use and external distribution;
  • Support the development of ARC’s contributions to publications and relevant fora, including but not limited to InsuResilience, RiskTalk and;
  • Generate donor specific visibility content including, text, photos, videos and audio for use across a range of integrated online platforms, in order to support ARC donor-funded activities, ensuring consistency with corporate messages;
  • Monitor and analyse traditional and social media to inform the development and/or evaluation of communication activities and strategies;
  • Guide and backstop communication-related functions of other ARC staff, acting as a point of referral and supporting them with more complex analysis and queries;
  • Collate outreach data, contribute to the preparation of accurate and timely reports
  • Support communications activities that enable informed decision making and ensures consistency of information presented to the media and other stakeholders;
  • Support capacity building of ARC staff on all aspects of communication; provide advice and guidance within area and level of expertise, in order to ensure that all activities meet desired standards of consistency, quality and impact. For example, ensuring consistency in the use of ARC branding collaterals and the Africa Union branding kit; and
  • Maintain a contact list of journalists and media outlets and support the flow of news/information about ARC's work to the media, in order to support regular and appropriate communications.

Other duties as required, may include:

  • Liaise and interact with other ARC staff and external counterparts to support aligned activities and a coherent approach to communications within the organisation;
  • Support the relationship with media partners to ensure objective reporting in the event of a natural disaster event in an ARC Member State and possible payout;
  • Support the visualization and communication of ARC’s impact with the ARC Monitoring & Evaluation department;
  • Logistical support to the organization of publicity/outreach for the ARC knowledge-sharing events and promotional opportunities, especially AU / UN events;
  • Dissemination of information and publications; assistance at public events such as roundtable discussions, press conferences, briefing sessions, interviews;
  • Maintenance of information database and photo library;
  • Collection of information, preparation of content for the website;
  • Extraction of relevant info data from various sources; and
  • Research and retrieval of statistical data from internal and external sources.

Public information

Timely and effective responses to inquiries for public information materials.

Ensure facilitation of knowledge building and management focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Identification and synthesis of best practices and lessons learned directly linked to ARC country-level programmes goals and activities; and
  • Contributions to knowledge networks and communities of practice including corporate communications repositories.

Deliverables at the end of the Contract

The key results will have an impact on creation of effective communications and dissemination of information on ARC’s overall development network through the implementation of ARC communications and advocacy strategy leading to –

  • Production of Newsletters, Annual Report, and other relevant documents;
  • ARC website and other online accounts in good order;
  • A common internal information SharePoint developed in collaboration with HR, Management and Heads of department;
  • ARC / AUC branding guidelines duly implemented in all publications and public events;
  • ARC information database and photo library in good order; and
  • Comprehensive hand-over notes, including recommendations for the way forward.

Desired Experiences for Entry into the Role:

  • 5 or more years of experience in development communications / journalism, graphic designs and desktop publishing, digital communications and/or specialised communications practices;
  • Experience in implementing / managing events, communications strategy, social media savvy;
  • 3 years of experience working with teams of staff with related areas of expertise in the delivery of innovative communications projects; and
  • Experience working within humanitarian sector, the UN or familiarity with the UN structure and mechanisms, would be an asset.

Essential Requirements / Competencies:

  • Keen interest in development, climate issues and disaster assistance;
  • Proven experience in managing and coordinating web and social media activities proven results;
  • Strong writing skills, ability to edit and proofread in English;
  • Presentation skills and knowledge of relevant software highly desirable: PowerPoint, Excel, Infographics;
  • Bilingual – proficiency French and advanced working knowledge in English;
  • Previous experience with DTP or graphic design is an asset;
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills with the ability to persuade, influence and adapt communication styles to different situations and individuals;
  • Excellent diction, editing and writing skills;
  • Ability to work with concerned units to provide documentation to conferences and annual general meetings;
  • Strong creative problem-solving and detail oriented;
  • Ability to manage competing priorities; and
  • Ability to travel to difficult settings and countries.

Languages: Fluency in oral and written French and English languages; knowledge of Portuguese / Arabic is an asset.

Education: Advanced University degree in Journalism, Public Relations, or Mass Communications or First University degree in Arts and Humanities with additional years of related work experience and/or trainings/courses.