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Head of Communications and External Relations

Concern Worldwide
Location: Dublin, Ireland, or New York, USA, with travel to countries of operation
Last Date: April 30, 2010

Head of Communications and External Relations

Job Title: Head of Communications and External Relations (HCER)

Reports to: Director – Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (Innovations)

Liaises with: Other parts of Concern, including the Innovations Leadership Team (iLT); Innovations Country Managers (iCMs); Concern Country teams; Relevant HO teams in Ireland, the USA and the UK, including SAL, IT and Public Affairs; External advisors and consultants; Innovations National Advisory Group (iNAG); and the Innovations Global Advisory Group (iGAG).

Direct reports: Communications Assistant/Officer, and the management of Communications and Public Relations consultants

Based in: Concern offices Dublin, Ireland, or New York, USA, with travel to countries of operation

Pay Band: Band 6 - €50,968 to €62,961 per annum

Contract Length: Two year contract initially (grant funding available until 2013)

Job Background:
Nearly 10 million children die each year before they reach the age of five.
Nearly a half million women die each year from pregnancy or as a result of childbirth.

Most of these deaths can be prevented. Simple, low cost measures are available to save millions of lives. However these are failing to reach those who need them most because of a variety of challenges including shortages of trained staff, cultural misperceptions, quality of care, distance to health facilities, and the costs of services and medicines.

Innovations is designed to complement the national efforts of six countries to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goals of reducing by two thirds the mortality rate for children under five years (MDG 4), and reducing by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio (MDG 5). Innovations is taking a completely new approach to identify, test and implement new ideas to overcome well-known and significant health delivery challenges, by tapping into fresh ideas from unheard voices from outside the health sector.

Concern Worldwide US received a five-year US$41m grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to support the development and field testing of bold and innovative ways to overcome barriers to delivering proven maternal, newborn, and child health solutions in six countries in Africa and Asia. In 2009, the project commenced in Malawi, India and Sierra Leone. In 2010, three other countries will be added. More details are available at 

This is a high profile and innovative initiative for Concern and we seek a talented, dynamic and experienced leader in communications and external relations.

Job Purpose: The Head of Communications and External Relations (HCER) will develop, manage and implement communications and external relations strategies and plans, including managing the website, production of strategic communications materials, supporting the Director in establishing and nurturing external relationships with key stakeholders and partners, and providing technical support in communications and external relations to country teams. The CM will work closely with the Innovations Leadership Team (iLT) and Innovations Country Managers (iCMs).

Main duties & Responsibilities:

1. Communications Strategy and Planning

  • Develop and implement a communications strategy and plan for Innovations globally, including internal communications

  • Lead and manage the production of all key internal and external communications materials from concept to publication, including newsletters, brochures, reports, factsheets and copy for print and online uses

  • Develop and manage the website as a dynamic and interactive communications interface for Innovations with its key audiences

  • Identify, generate media presentation and manage content for the website

  • Identify and generate materials for external presentation

  • Acquire bids from external contractors for publication design, web design, audio/video production and printing, and manage communication-related contracts

  • Manage the dissemination of information on key learnings from Innovations across the Concern Worldwide network

  • Develop and manage relationships with media and communications consultants/volunteers associated with Innovations

2. External Relations Strategy and Planning

  • Develop and execute an external relations strategy and plan with guidance from the Director

  • Serve as a senior external relations representative of Innovations and assist the iLT to establish and nurture key external relationships and opportunities

  • Support the Director to follow-up and build on key external individual and institutional contacts to further the objectives of Innovations

  • Enhance the positive image of Innovations by raising awareness among donors, international groups, multilaterals, and other stakeholders of the progress and outcomes of Innovations

  • Manage the branding of Innovations in conjunction with Concern Worldwide

  • Determine key audiences, identify channels, develop messages, and monitor effectiveness of Innovations’ communications efforts

3. Technical Support

  • Assess the communications and external relations capacity and needs of country teams, including training key members of country teams to engage with media

  • Provide and co-ordinate technical support and advice to the iLT and country teams on communications and external relations
    - Support country teams with writing, research, and production of communication materials
    - Troubleshoot technical issues related to communications and external relations
    - Ensure the consistent application of branding guidelines, communications guidelines, Code of Conduct for Images and Messaging, and guidelines for capturing media content in field (photographs, case studies, human interest stories, updates, newsletters

4. Media

  • Develop talking points and other media/policymaker briefing materials

  • Write, update, and disseminate fact sheets, press releases, and other informational materials

  • Manage PR efforts, including press conferences, press releases, and media relations

  • Identify and participate in relevant communications fora and represent Innovations at relevant conferences/meetings as required

  • Develop publications and resources for media engagement

5. Other Responsibilities

  • Manage the Communications Assistant/Officer and communications and public relations consultants

  • Support the Director and the iLT to expedite the flow of key information from country teams for use with key stakeholders

  • Produce key materials and presentations that can be used by all Innovations team members

  • Manage other special projects as assigned by the Director

    Person specification: Essential
    1. Education: Advanced university degree (Masters degree or equivalent) in journalism, communications, public relations or related field
    2. At least 5 years work experience in communications, journalism, or publishing (editorial), preferably with an international NGO
    3. Strong communications research and analytical skills, and ability to rapidly analyse and integrate diverse information from various sources
    4. Excellent organizational and time-management skills, with an ability to prioritize effectively and meet deadlines
    5. Highly developed communication (written, spoken, presentation) skills, including the ability to produce a variety of written communication productions in a clear and concise style
    6. Ability to identify, develop and manage key external relations opportunities
    7. Advanced editing, copyediting and proofreading skills; familiarity with standard industry references for style, grammar, usage, and research protocol (i.e., MLA Style Manual, Words into Type)
    8. Experience producing content for media outreach and working with media relations teams to secure press coverage
    9. Experience managing designers, printers, and copywriters
    10. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    11. Ability to work effectively with culturally diverse team members from various disciplines who are based in different geographic locations, and in a fast-paced team environment
    12. Flexible approach to working outside normal office hours, particularly when called upon to support country teams or meet deadlines

    13. Familiarity and understanding of international health and development issues
    14. Experience in the private sector
    15. Patience & a sense of humour
    16. A passion for innovation and creative problem solving

To Apply: Please apply by sending;
1. Curriculum Vitae
2. One to two-page letter outlining how your experience meets the person specification and including details of your current salary

All applications should be submitted through our website at  by 5pm (GMT) on 30th April 2010.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis as they are received.

Please note: Applicants must be legally entitled to work in the Republic of Ireland or the United States of America at the time of application.

Concern Worldwide is an international, non governmental, humanitarian organisation dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.

Founded in Ireland in 1968, Concern works in 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Caribbean with a team of 3,600 personnel providing emergency relief and long-term assistance in the areas of education, health, livelihoods and HIV & AIDS.

Concern has a Staff Code of Conduct and a Programme Participant Protection Policy which have been developed to ensure the maximum protection of programme participants from exploitation and to clarify the responsibilities of Concern staff, consultants, visitors to the programme and partner organization, and the standards of behaviour expected of them. In this context staff have a responsibility to the organization to strive for, and maintain, the highest standards in the day-to-day conduct in their workplace in accordance with Concern’s core values and mission. Any candidate offered a job with Concern Worldwide will be expected to sign the Programme Participant Protection Policy and the Concern Staff Code of Conduct as an appendix to their contract of employment. By signing the Programme Participant Protection Policy and the Concern Staff Code of Conduct candidates acknowledge that they have understood the contents of both the Concern Staff Code of Conduct and the Programme Participant Protection Policy and agree to conduct themselves in accordance with the provisions of these.

Concern receives a substantial amount of funding from external donors each year. Increasingly donors are introducing requirements whereby future funding is conditional on Concern ensuring that the names of any new employee or volunteer do not appear on terrorism lists generated by the European Union (List of person, groups and entities to which Regulation (EC No. 2580/2001 applies), the US Government (Office of Foreign Assets Control list of specially designated Nationals and Blocked Persons) and the United Nations (Consolidated List).

Any offer of employment (either paid or voluntary) with Concern Worldwide will not be made pending a clearance check being conducted on the applicant. For additional information please consult our web site or contact the Human Resource Division in our Head Office. By submitting a formal application for paid or voluntary employment to Concern, you agree to Concern carrying out a clearance check as outlined above and that Concern will not proceed to recruit you should your name appear on any of the aforementioned lists.

Concern Worldwide is an equal opportunities employer.



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