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Communications Coordinator, COVID19 response

Jonathan R

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Closing date (Geneva time zone):19-07-2020

Duty station:Global
Country:GLOBAL Different Locations
Duty station status: N/A
Accompanied status: N/A
Duration:Range between short-term to mid-term positions
Category of Staff: Delegate
Grade: D2
Vacancy No:IFRC03996


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 192 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

Organizational Context

The IFRC is seeking expressions of interest from Communications experts to join our team to provide support to the COVID-19 response. These roles will vary in duration and may be located within the Geneva Secretariat or Regional Offices (America, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe or MENA). Due to the current context, we also promote the remote support, depending on the location of the demand and travel restrictions. The location of work may change during deployments.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network. IFRC is a membership organisation established by and comprised of its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Along with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the IFRC is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. IFRC’s headquarters is in Geneva, with regional and country offices throughout the world.

On 31 December 2019, the Government of China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was identified and has been named COVID-19. On 30 January, World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. On 11 March, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Most of the world’s countries and territories have now reported confirmed cases of COVID-19. Many countries have closed their borders and imposed movement restrictions on their populations.

IFRC is coordinating with all National Societies to support with monitoring, issuing advisories, asking all offices to pre-position personal protective equipment for high-risk activities, scenario planning and analysing risk, and taking other initial actions. IFRC is also providing technical guidance and support to National Societies engaged in quarantine, screening, prehospital, home-based and hospital care. IFRC’s Emergency Appeal was revised and presented in a coordinated launch with ICRC. Together both organizations are appealing for a total of 800 million Swiss francs to reflect the scale of our response, with emphasis on supporting the world’s most vulnerable populations who are at high-risk in under-resourced health systems.

The COVID19 pandemic and response has been accompanied by an over-abundance of information - much of which is inaccurate – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. As a trusted partner and voice in this pandemic, the Red Cross and Red Crescent has an important role in dispelling rumours and misinformation as well as preventing stigma.

To learn more about the operation including reviewing the IFRC Emergency Appeal and Operations Updates please visit IFRC GO page

Job Purpose

Working as part of the IFRC global Communications Team, the main purpose of the IFRC Communications Coordinator, COVID-19 Response Operations,  is to plan, coordinate and implement communications strategies and activities that will deliver on the communications objectives of the response operations, including to feature the work and achievements of the IFRC and its member National Societies and achievements, advocate support for vulnerable people as well as highlight the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s leadership in  response to the pandemic at all levels - locally, regionally and globally.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

Working closely with the IFRC global communications team based in IFRC Country Offices, Country Cluster Support Team Offices, Regional Offices and in Geneva, the Communications Coordinator is responsible for the planning, coordination and implementation of all communications activities for the IFRC COVID19 response operations, either at the regional or global level. These include the following:

  • Plan, develop and implement a communications strategy for the specified geographical/ contextual areas of responsibility for the response of the Red Cross Red Crescent to the COVID19 outbreak that are targeted and relevant for multiple channels, and which help to meet fundraising objectives and position the  Red Cross Red Crescent as an effective, trusted and credible humanitarian actor in the response.
  • Develop key messages and gather relevant facts and figures that are regularly updated as well as gather and narrate available audio-visual content that could be of interest to media and other external digital platforms
  • Coordinate with communications focal points of relevant Movement partners (National Societies, ICRC and IFRC) to ensure effective, coherent, and consistent public communications
  • Ensure strong visibility in international media through proactive media engagement, developing and pitching story ideas about Red Cross and Red Crescent activities, coordinating media events and requests, handling international media interviews when required, identifying relevant spokespersons and sharing their information with media, and ensuring the availability of well-briefed spokespersons.
  • Produce materials for media and external audiences and support IFRC officials (National Society and IFRC) in their media engagements
  • Coordinate with technical departments to source and verify information on given contexts and situations. Share information and any communications material created for wider distribution and use among the Red Cross Red Crescent communications network.
  • Coordinate and support the gathering and development of relevant, compelling and timely communications content and messages that can be packaged and distributed by IFRC communications teams in the region and Geneva for various audiences and channels, ensuring the dissemination of coherent and consistent messages.
  • Stay abreast of critical developments, monitoring media and social media
  • Together with the IFRC regional and Geneva communications team, ensure strong social media engagement by proposing, gathering and sharing engaging content for IFRC and National Society channels, tracking trends and rumours, and supporting National Societies in responding to audience engagement with social media
  • Provide communications advice and support for major milestones throughout the operation using diverse people-centred content
  • Anticipate, identify and flag potential reputational issues, trending rumours and myths, and work with regional and Geneva communications to adopt and implement appropriate response (including drafting reactive lines and messages to dispel rumours and myths)
  • Together with the IFRC global communications team, support in strengthening National Societies’ communications capacity and in positioning them as a leading, trusted and credible actor in the response, especially in priority contexts
  • Undertake other communications tasks and responsibilities as may be reasonably requested by line managers



  • University Degree in journalism, communications, international relations, marketing, public relations or related field


  • Red Cross experience, humanitarian context experience, development context experience, management training or/and equivalent experience



  • Experience of working in emergency or disaster response operations, including a track record of coordinating, inspiring and leading
  • Minimum of ten years as a communications specialist with at least:
    • three years in an international humanitarian context, public health, international development or related field
    • five years of  experience in advocacy and/or media relations

Knowledge, skills and languages


  • Strong knowledge of current affairs as they relate to humanitarian developments and opportunities for humanitarian diplomacy in different regions
  • Strong professional and ability to both be proactive and ready to respond rapidly to changing needs from senior management
  • Ability to lead in a diverse cultural and social context
  • Ability to identify and analyse communications needs and capacity, trends and issues, and plan, prioritize and implement the editorial direction and content production

  • Strong relationship management skills including ability to rapidly build and extend professional networks
  • Excellent writing and public presentation / media relations skills. Experience as a spokesperson
  • Ability to produce timely, compelling and correct written content, that is targeted to relevant audiences and guided by the editorial strategy
  • Ability to collaborate and support host National Society in meeting its communications objectives and in ensuring effective, consistent and coherent public communications effort
  • Excellent editing skills in English
  • Fluently spoken and written English


  • Good command of another IFRC official language (French, Spanish or Arabic)

Competencies and values

This position will remain open while the demand for this role profile remains high, or until we have received a sufficient number of applications. Applications should be made with a CV and brief cover letter which includes your availability.

Please note that assessment of applications will be done on a rolling basis. We therefore encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible.

Successful applicants will enter a talent pool for the COVID-19 response and will be offered deployments as and when they come up. Deployment allocations will be offered to those based on experience, availability and location.


The Federation is an equal opportunity employer
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