Advocacy and Comms Specialist, IAWG Newborn Initiative

IRC , New York, United States
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Job Summary

Job Description

The International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) mission is to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC’s health programs comprise the largest proportion of its overall program budget and are essential to both IRC emergency response and long-term programming worldwide.

The IRC serves as the host of the Inter-agency Working Group for Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG)’s new Newborn Initiative, focused on actualizing the five-year Roadmap to Accelerate Progress for Every Newborn in Humanitarian Settings 2020-2024 (the Roadmap) in alignment with global efforts to improve maternal and newborn health (MNH), well-being, and equity.

Key objectives of the Initiative are:

  • To accelerate the realization, adoption and timely implementation of the Roadmap

  • To progress advocacy and support resource mobilization for implementation of the Roadmap

  • To support development and dissemination of technical resources and learning, in coordination with local, national, and global partners across both development and humanitarian sectors

Major Responsibilities:

As a dedicated staff member of the Newborn Initiative, the Advocacy and Comms Specialist will work closely with the IAWG Senior Advisor for Maternal and Newborn Health (IRC Senior Coordinator, IAWG Newborn Initiative) to advance key global- and national-level advocacy and communications agendas for MNH. Through coordination with key global, national, and local partners - particularly the IAWG MNH sub-working group and the Every Newborn Action Plan’s newborn health in emergencies working group - this position will support advocacy and communications efforts aimed at elevating the Roadmap within global networks and events, growing multi-sectoral commitments to the objectives with the Roadmap, and advancing national agendas that will institutionalize progress made for MNH. The Specialist will also lead the development and implementation of communications and knowledge management strategies aimed at coordinating, documenting, and reporting progress made by the global community in advancing the Roadmap.

In addition, the Specialist will support the IRC health unit, and will collaborate with IRC’s internal health advocacy team to support MNH programs in the most challenging contexts. The Specialist will be considered IAWG staff, but will administratively sit within the Health Technical Unit at the IRC.


• Develop and execute a results-oriented and innovative bi-directional advocacy strategy for the IAWG Newborn Initiative that elevates the importance of 1) health of mothers/newborns in the humanitarian agenda, and 2) humanitarian settings and crisis-affected populations in the global MNH agenda

• Progress a strategy that is focused on institutionalizing newborn health at global and national level. This may include targeting various actors (UN bodies, implementing agencies, academicians, private sector actors, MOH officials), key global events and conferences, and technical sectors across the full life-course approach, including reproductive health, child health, mental health, and nutrition.

• Write policy briefs, talking points, and other advocacy materials as needed, targeted to appropriate audiences & channels.

• Support national and local actors and policymakers with advocating for appropriate policies and strategies to be developed, costed, and implemented.

• As appropriate, support the IRC Health Advocacy Team in the development of new policy and advocacy work on emergent health priority areas.


• Develop and ensure the successful execution of a communications strategy for the Initiative

• Support with written communications, including speeches, op-eds, and blog posts – tailoring, as appropriate, to both humanitarian and development actors

• Manage the online/social media presence for the Initiative, including the twitter handle dedicated to the Initiative (@BornIntoCrisis)

• Develop engagement strategies for various events and forums. Manage public events for the IAWG Newborn Initiative, including the IAWG annual meeting

• Contribute to the development of IAWG communications and engagement strategies

Knowledge management

• Lead knowledge management for the Initiative, coordinating with various global KM platforms (including PMNCH, AlignMNH, HNN, and IAWG) to align global MNH advocacy, metrics, financing and action in support of accelerated improvements in MNH and well-being in low and middle-income countries

• Support external partners with documenting lessons learned and disseminating those findings accordingly, with a focus on fostering country-to-country knowledge sharing.

• Support partners to transform technical messaging into audience-appropriate products that highlight key messages.

• Support with resource development, proposal writing, and donor reporting.



• At least 3-6 years of experience in international development, global health, humanitarian aid, or a relevant policy and advocacy field

• Highly motivated and confident, strong interpersonal skills, and ability to work independently and in close harmony with many diverse groups and high-level individuals

• Demonstrated outstanding organizational skills and excellent written and oral communication skills

• Strong attention to detail and ability to balance multiple tasks simultaneously

• Experience with knowledge sharing and digital outreach strategies.

• Experience managing social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

• Familiarity with Office 365 with strong Word, Excel, PowerPoint skills

• Fluency in English required; proficiency in French or Arabic desired.


• Master’s degree in public health or closely related field desirable

• Knowledge of global MNH issues an advantage

• Experience creating and maintaining productive relationships with colleagues across sectors and geographies

• Demonstrated experience coordinating among partners

• Website experience to include WordPress, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

• Experience working in Photoshop, InDesign, and Canva

• Experience developing videos and podcasts

• Strong negotiation, influencing and networking skills

Working Environment:

• Standard office working environment

• Some international travel as needed up to 20%

• This role may require working remotely full or part time, and part time remote employees may be required to share workspace.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Equality, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

IRC et les employés de IRC doivent adhérer aux valeurs et principes contenus dans le IRC WAY (normes de conduite professionnelle). Ce sont l’Intégrité, Egalite, le Service, et la Responsabilité. En conformité avec ces valeurs, IRC opère et fait respecter les politiques sur la protection des bénéficiaires contre l’exploitation et les abus, la protection de l’enfant, le harcèlement sur les lieux de travail, l’intégrité financière, et les représailles.