1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Development Communications Consultant, with a focus on Social Protection and Human Rights

  • Closing date: 31 Jan 2015
  • Vacancy number: CO 003

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) was established in 1963 as an autonomous space within the UN system to conduct policy-relevant, cutting-edge research on social development. Our mission is to produce and communicate knowledge and policy alternatives that contribute to progressive social change, in keeping with the goals of the UN system of reducing poverty and inequality, advancing well-being and rights, and creating more democratic and just societies.

UNRISD is now accepting applications for a Development Communications Consultant to work full-time at the Institute in Geneva starting in February 2015.

  • Strong substantive background in development studies, social policy/protection and/or human rights.
  • Passionate about development communications, with demonstrated aptitudes and experience.
  • Skilled project manager able to build and coordinate diverse and geographically dispersed networks.

The consultant will:
  • be an excellent writer, with a proven ability to translate complex analysis and ideas into clear, message-oriented, accessible language and appropriate formats for different platforms and audiences including donors, policy makers (at international and national levels), practitioners and academia;
  • have knowledge and experience of digital communication, including information architecture, usability, content management systems, etc.
  • have strong skills in networking, coordination and event organization;
  • be a self-starter, able to work well both independently and within a small team; and
  • be responsive, flexible and adaptable, able to multitask and to accommodate multiple demands and changing priorities.

Accuracy, an eye for detail, and an excellent capacity to present complex information in accessible language via digital and print media, are essential.

Duties and roles

The consultant will manage and coordinate a major institutional activity, the web-based platform “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”, as it transitions and establishes as a standalone digital property. In this role s/he will:
  • contribute to the successful design and development of the new platform, and migration of content to it;
  • manage existing partnerships and build relationships with new stakeholders;
  • guarantee the substantive and editorial quality, relevance and frequency of content contribution to the platform; and
  • ensure that the platform is successfully launched and widely disseminated.

The consultant will also work in collaboration with others in a small communications team, and with UNRISD researchers in the areas of social policy, gender and sustainable development, to communicate creatively and compellingly about their research and activities. In this role s/he will work closely with research teams at all stages of project development and implementation to:
  • understand the issues;
  • assist in developing communications strategies;
  • contribute to the writing and production of communications products and outputs; and
  • identify and implement opportunities for dissemination and impact.

Specific tasks

UNRISD fosters a collaborative environment where the consultant will work closely with others in a small communications team, research colleagues and external stakeholders and partners.Tasks fall into three main categories: writing, editing, producing and disseminating digital and print outputs; coordination, liaison and networking functions; and event organizing.

1. Planning, writing, editing, producing and disseminating digital and print outputs:
  • Work with research teams to write, edit, produce and/or post appropriate communication tools and outreach products in order to increase the use and influence of UNRISD research among identified audience groups. As the focal point for the activity “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”, source, edit and post high-quality content to all sections of the platform, ensuring the relevance, clarity, accessibility and value of the site.
  • Outputs may include web pages and updates; digital media products; briefs; summaries; social media posts; online discussions; interviews; news, feature articles, commentaries, think pieces, etc.
  • Scan the “social development horizon” to identify strategic partners and points of entry and dissemination opportunities for research and knowledge from UNRISD projects. As the focal point for the activity “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”, identify opportunities to disseminate the platform and to ensure its uptake by stakeholders in key intergovernmental and civil society processes.
  • Monitor and solicit feedback on the effectiveness of communications products, channels and messages among key audience groups; track and report on potential impacts and results, and suggest adjustments as necessary.

2. Coordination, liaison and networking functions as the focal point for the activity “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”:
  • Engage with researchers to develop content, and with the Advisory Group for strategic guidance and direction.
  • Coordinate existing institutional partnerships and develop new ones; coordinate the activities of the Advisory Group.
  • Manage and oversee the transition to a standalone version of the platform including direct coordination with the IT developer of the new platform.
  • Plan, organize, implement, manage and oversee activities pertaining to the platform, including logistical support and general administration.
  • Manage the relationship with the platform’s funder, including ensuring deliverables are produced as agreed and preparation of status reports.

3. Event organization
  • As the focal point for the activity “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”, take the lead in planning and implementing (i) a launch event for the platform, (ii) regular meetings of the Advisory Group; (iii) learning workshops; and (iv) other events to promote awareness of and disseminate information about the platform, such as side events around the Human Rights Council, Commission for Social Development and/or other major international gatherings.
  • Assist with and/or lead the planning and organization of other UNRISD events, as requested.

4. Support other outreach and communications activities, including the Institute’s bimonthly eBulletin.

Requirements and qualifications
  • Education to MA level in development studies or a relevant discipline in the social sciences, with specialization in social policy, social protection and/or human rights.
  • At least two years of directly relevant experience in a communications role.
  • Excellent overall communication skills, especially writing and editing, and attention to detail.
  • Proven ability to summarize complex ideas and analysis in clear, message-oriented, accessible language.
  • Project management experience, including strategic planning and the ability to turn plans into practical action and to establish priorities among simultaneous tasks.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to liaise and communicate with research and other staff, and external stakeholders and partners, at all levels of seniority.
  • Proven capacity to take initiatives and follow through implementation, to think creatively and strategically, and to multi-task effectively.
  • Fluent written and spoken English.
  • Competent user of technology; capacity to understand website user needs and liaise with developers to ensure their fulfilment.
  • Good basic design sense for both print and digital media.

Desirable attributes
  • Experience working in international environments and working with global networks.
  • Knowledge of current thinking and practice in development research communications, including both traditional and digital media.
  • Knowledge of the development sector, networks and organizations (including the UN).
  • Working knowledge of French or Spanish (or another UN language).

Terms and conditions
  • This is a full-time appointment located at the Institute at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Remuneration: CHF 4,200 per month, depending on qualifications and experience.
  • Duration: six months, with the possibility of extension up to a maximum of two years (subject to availability of funding).
  • Starting date: February 2015, to be mutually agreed.
  • UNRISD is not responsible for medical insurance, which is mandatory for the period of assignment.
  • UNRISD will cover one return ticket at least costly fare.

Application process
  • Applicants are advised to become familiar UNRISD’s work, website (www.unrisd.org) and social media properties, paying specific attention to the existing web platform “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”, before applying for this position.
  • If you are interested in the work elaborated above and fulfil the required qualifications, please apply using the button below.
  • Please use the “Motivation” section for your cover letter.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be asked to carry out a written assignment before being notified if they have been selected for interview.
  • We regret that due to limited staff resources only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

  • 31 January 2015 (23:59, Central European Time)

UNRISD vacancies are posted at www.unrisd.org/vacancies. We encourage you to subscribe to our free email alerts service to be informed promptly of any openings.