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Programme communication / advocacy officer

World Health Organization (WHO)

Vacancy Notice No: EMRO/08/TA348

Objectives of the programme

Health communication has been an integral part of long standing WHO initiative - Community Involvement in Health Development (CIHD), and a key intervention in all those PH vertical programs where behavior change and actions at individual, house hold or community levels are critical to preventing disease, and promotion and protecting health - namely EPI, PHC, prevention of non communicable diseases, healthy life styles, smoking cessation, etc.

Community-based Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Risk Reduction is a similar concept that is gaining main attention in humanitarian arena to reduce avoidable morbidity and mortality in crises through hazard mapping, risk management and community empowerment. Health communication sciences, similarly, are critical to development and successful implementation of community involvement and instructional tools in this area. HAC/EHA has already partnered with UNISDR and academic institutions of global repute like JHU in the area of Community-based Disaster Preparedness & Risk Reduction (CBDPRR) and programmatic interventions are already under way. Strengthening of the health communication area within EHA unit is critical to guide and complement these initiatives.

Description of duties

Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Regional Advisor for Emergency and Humanitarian Action (RA/EHA) in EMRO and in close collaboration with the Media and Communications/Public Information Office (MAC/PIO) as well as all relevant technical units in EMRO, Country Offices and Headquarters, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

1. Communication, report writing & advocacy:

- Develop a WHO's crisis communication strategy in consultation with MAC/PIO and other units (consisting of various templates) for communication and advocacy (including visibility of health and WHO) in the event of an emergency and in support of EHA programme objectives.
- Develop a strategic plan for communications and advocacy activities
- Based on the approved strategy, develop a training package for WHO country and emergency staff to improve skills and knowledge on communications.
- Prepare media alerts, press releases, advocacy materials and other promotional material which should be creative and compelling with a strong focus on local information, story lines (features stories), photographs, sound, and video, creative and modern use of the website, and other new media mediums
- Ensure dissemination of frequent information products providing high quality information of added value (health in disaster/emergency settings) such as the monthly EHA update and situation reports.
- Making use of the necessary information, assist in the elaboration of different kinds of reports, i.e. donor proposals and narrative reports, annual reports and other strategic documents. Support country offices in the drafting/editing of donor proposals, interim and final narrative reports
- Finalize and enhance advocacy products developed at country and regional level, i.e. annual reports, Lives publication (v2), websites, situation reports, and others

2. Health communication for Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Risk Reduction and public health issues in humanitarian settings (to reduce avoidable morbidity and mortality in emergency settings)

- Support country office in the implementation of timely and effective social mobilization and health communications interventions in the preparedness and response phase to promote practices that reduce health risks and support recovery in vulnerable communities.
- Provide technical support to country offices in identification of immediate and medium term social mobilization and health communications needs to support and strengthen emergency public health interventions
- Assist country offices in developing monitoring and evaluation tools to improve compilation and dissemination of public information and technical guidance following an emergency both in relief and post-relief phases
- Assist with strengthening of the Country Offices' capacities in terms of behaviour change communications

3. Other related responsibilities

- In the event of a major emergency, be deployed apart of WHO's rapid response team to ensure the implementation of communication products and services
- To liaise and coordinate with other humanitarian partners in the region and HQ to ensure common approach to communication products and services

Information management

- Maintain EHA website and develop content materials to be posted in close collaboration with HIT, and support country offices with EHA programme activities to update their websites
- Contribute to collection and analysis of emergency and health data and facilitate dissemination of relevant data and information to other units
- Ensure consistency of the data from WHO country offices through quality control and source verification


- Advanced university degree in social sciences, public health and/ or communication

- Health degree would be a strong asset with an understanding of public health issues to be addressed in emergency and recovery settings


- Demonstrate a strong understanding of the complex interrelationships of factors which impact on public health
- Capacity to identify opportunities to promote the long-term goal of WHO
- Identify and uses synergies across the Organization and with external partners to improve organizational success
- Strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, gender sensitivity and understanding of cultural diversity issues.
- Demonstrated ability to work in a team with a capacity to work under pressure and with a high degree of independence.

Functional Skills:

- Strong understanding of public health issues to be addressed in emergency settings
- Proven competence in communication, social mobilization and community participation.
- Demonstrated capacity in writing and editing communication and advocacy products related to health and human development
- An understanding of the roles of relevant disciplines and specialists and experience in coordinating and managing these inputs into strategic communications interventions


- At least five years of relevant international professional experience of which at least 3 years in communication / advocacy / awareness preferably related to humanitarian and public health issues.

- Demonstrated experience in developing and implementing communications strategies aimed at reaching multiple stakeholders.
- Experience in organizing and implementing training, including development of curricula and methodologies in communication
- Relevant experience in the management of behaviour change communication project in emergency settings/and or developing countries with a focus on community.


- High proficiency in English, both spoken and written.
- Good knowledge of Arabic or French is an asset.

Additional Information:

Other entitlements will be determined based on the length of assignment
A written test may be used as a form of screening.

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  • Additional location info Cairo
  • Closing Date 16 Dec 2008

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