WAHO Strategic Communications Advisor

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Contract Type:
Fixed Term/Full Time
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Business Area / Division:
Advisory - Africa
Business Unit:
Côte d'ivoire

Focus of the Role

West African Health Organisation (WAHO) is the Specialized Institution responsible for health issues for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). WAHO’s objective is the attainment of the highest possible standard and protection of the health of the peoples in the sub-region through the harmonisation of policies of Member States, pooling of resources, and cooperation with one another and with others for collective and strategic combat against the health problems of the sub-region. Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the public health agenda has never been more important.

TBI is supporting the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) to strengthen its institutional capacity to respond to routine public health issues and pandemics. This work will be focused on improving the capacity of WAHO and its staff to deliver on their mandates and duties. In the first phase of the programme, the team supported WAHO to deliver a strategic plan to improve health and well-being and access to quality healthcare in the region while strengthening emergency preparedness. WAHO is currently planning the implementation of this strategy.

Job Introduction

The WAHO Strategic Communications Advisor will provide technical and strategic advice to WAHO, support WAHO’s engagement with internal and external stakeholders and develop a comprehensive strategy to transform WAHO’s strategic communication functions.

This is a one-year fixed-term role, which will be based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire but the postholder will also be required to regularly travel to Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, and possibly other locations within West Africa. For candidates based outside of Cote d’Ivoire, TBI will provide a relocation package in support.

Key Responsibilities

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The key responsibilities of the role include:

Strategic communications advisory

  • Proactively engage with relevant senior officials of WAHO to assess critical communications challenges and expectations
  • Conduct a gap assessment to identify the human, technical, and financial gaps in the communication system
  • Map stakeholders that are directly or indirectly affected by WAHO’s work, and define the communication need of each stakeholder group
  • Support WAHO to develop a comprehensive communication strategy tied with WAHO’s mandate along with an implementation plan, accompanying frameworks for the strategy, including a communications grid and guideline that includes the timing, method, and content of communications with each stakeholder group
  • Support WAHO to implement the communications strategy
  • Work with WAHO and TBI colleagues to prepare appropriate communication and advocacy materials, identify platforms and key target groups and for an effective reach
  • Support WAHO to position and communicate their impact to relevant audiences/stakeholders, as appropriate across diverse channels
  • Ensure that WAHO is well represented on external platforms and channels; showcasing the work, leading and taking part in discussions
  • Build the capacity of WAHO to effectively communicate their mandate, programs and achievements and improve their visibility

Technical resource for the programme

  • Function as a technical resource and build capacity of colleagues and other stakeholders
  • Liaise with other members of the WAHO ICS team to plan and deliver strategic communication support to WAHO; liaise with the programme lead to set milestones and define deliverables for the support to WAHO
  • Use knowledge, experience and sound judgement to advise WAHO on how best to approach internal and external strategic communications,
  • Undertake other relevant duties assigned by the DG of WAHO

Thought leadership

  • Support a robust and targeted thought leadership and policy-influencing agenda

Contribution to TBI

  • Contribute to wider TBI agenda and other activities as required by the WAHO Programme Lead

Perform other duties as may be reasonably required and in line with the incumbent’s scope of services above.

Person Specification

We are looking for individuals with experience and a good knowledge of strategic communication and knowledge management principles and processes, s/he will have a grounding in health communication, facilitating technology-led transformation, programme management, policy reform, and institutional capacity building. This is a role in a fast-paced team, working within complex policy areas that are highly scrutinised.

Therefore, the successful candidate for the role should be able to display the majority of the following:

  • Substantial experience in management consulting or strategic advisory in Africa
  • Relevant educational background in Development Communication, Public Health, Health Communication, business or other related fields (Master's degree or equivalent is preferred)
  • An established network and a proven track record of strategic communications work and use of toolkits (E.g., comms grids) are essential, as is a relevant experience of working in a project and programme environment
  • Bilingual (speaking and writing proficiency in both English and French) is essential, and fluency in Portuguese is desirable
  • Confidence, experience, and credibility to operate at a senior level in an inter-government organisation
  • An ability to build effective relationships, win trust, and help shape and influence change in a political environment
  • Good interpersonal skills to liaise and engage with stakeholders effectively
  • An ability to work in the face of a range of competing views and priorities, possessing highly developed communication and negotiation skills
  • High-quality communication, drafting and presentational skills are key
  • A strong attention to detail
  • An ability to deliver in a fast-paced environment
  • An ability to think creatively, problem-solving and technical troubleshooting skills
  • An ability to work independently within a team structure and manage multiple tasks and deadlines simultaneously is essential
  • A strong sense of ethics, discretion and perseverance required
  • Experience of living and working in developing countries is essential; good working knowledge and experience of the West Africa sub-region are desirable
  • Willingness to travel extensively, sometimes at short notice. Willingness to travel to Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso for 1 week every 1-2 months

About The Institute

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a mission-driven not for profit organisation. We exist to equip political leaders and governments to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies. We work hard, every day, to make a difference. When governments work well they are able to create economic and social change in a way that promotes fairness, social justice and opportunity. We work relentlessly to support leader and governments with the challenges they face. Giving them practical solutions and actionable insights, that once implemented, can be transformative for their people  

We do this within two connected divisions: 

 Government Advisory 

Our Government Advisory teams work directly with political leaders and governments around the world to implement reforms that improve the lives of their citizens. It works with a variety of partners and its outputs cover a range of disciplines and projects across countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia.

 Policy Futures 

Our Policy Futures work encompasses three broad areas: 

  • Renewing the Centre: developing a bold and innovative domestic policy programme to help renew the centre ground of British politics; 
  • Tech and Public Policy: exploring the policy challenges and opportunities presented by the technological revolution; and 
  • Extremism Policy Unit: creating solutions designed to tackle the threat of extremist ideologies in the UK and around the world. 

As an organisation, the core beliefs we all embrace are: 

  • Open and Progressive: you’ll believe in the value of teamwork 
  • Bold and Pragmatic: you’ll approach everything you do with integrity and authenticity 
  • Optimistic Changemaker: you’ll be focused on results 

TBI believes embracing diversity and inclusion make us a better place to work.  It’s our goal to reflect everyone in society and we actively welcome applications from individuals and groups who are under-represented in the workplace. We celebrate difference be it ethnicity, religion, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. We will only ever assess you on your abilities and fit for a role. We’re happy to discuss any adjustments you need to ensure a level playing field during recruitment and, if you\'re successful, discuss any adjustments you might need to thrive in your role.