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Communications Officer at World Health Organization

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary: 000

World Health Organization


Description of assignment title

Communications Officer

Assignment country


Expected start date


Sustainable Development Goal

3. Good health and well-being

Volunteer category

International UN Volunteer Specialist

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities


Host entity





24 months (with possibility of extension)

Number of assignments


Duty stations



Mission and objectives

World Health Organization’s (WHO) thirteenth general purpose of work (GPW 13) is based on the SDGs and is relevant to all countries – low, middle and high income. Health is fundamental to the SDGs and, in an interconnected world, WHO’s role in providing global public goods that help to ensure health for all people within and across national boundaries has never been more relevant. WHO’s unique status as a science- and evidence-based organization that sets globally applicable norms and standards makes it vital in a rapidly changing world. The Organization’s powerful voice for health and human rights is indispensable to ensure that no-one is left behind. Broad and sustained efforts are needed to build a community to work for the shared future of humankind, empowering all people to improve their health, address health determinants and respond to health challenges.


In the context of WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work (GPW) and its Triple-Billion objectives, the incumbent will support communications activities at the Malawi country level. Under the direct supervision of the Representative of the WHO Malawi Country Office, the successful candidate will be responsible for developing external communications plans for different projects and the entire office and producing high-quality communications and visibility products for external audiences. More specifically, this function will involve: Working with colleagues in the Country Office to identify communication opportunities and develop plans that highlight WHO Malawi’s work in all areas and gain visibility among government partners, external donors, the public and other key stakeholders. Accurate and timely production and dissemination of high-quality public information products to external audiences, which highlight WHO and partners’ achievements on the ground and promote the visibility of key public health initiatives. Building contacts and liaising with local and international media outlets and key partners and optimizing networking opportunities. Communication and reporting of the Country Office’s communications activities and results to WHO Africa Regional Office (AFRO) and Headquarters. The successful candidate will be working closely on a daily basis with technical officers who lead the different clusters and programmes at the Country Office; the External Relations Officer over-seeing partnerships and resource mobilization; the Programme Management Officer in charge of programme planning and management; as well as the Administration of the Country Office. He/she will also work in close collaboration and coordination with his/her counterparts at AFRO and Headquarters to align on communications objectives and achieve common goals.

Task description

Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of Programme Officer or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UN Volunteer, Communications Officer will: In close consultation with technical colleagues, identify communication gaps and needs of WHO Malawi with a view to strengthening external communications at the country level. Develop an annual communications plan for WHO Malawi based on Country Office needs and available resources and in line with the WHO global and regional communications strategies. Produce quality written materials for external communications, including press releases and media briefings on WHO Malawi’s projects and events, web stories and human-interest stories which demonstrate the impact of WHO’s work, advocacy and promotional materials for resource mobilization and partnerships, as well as media talking points for country spokespeople. Oversee and provide quality assurance to the production of monthly newsletters based on draft articles provided by technical colleagues. Oversee and provide quality assurance to the design, graphic design, layout and copy editing of major publications of WHO Malawi. Manage WHO Malawi’s social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, in compliance with guidelines and standards used throughout the Organization. Ensure regular, timely and quality updates and a broad reach. Take quality photographs and videos for WHO Malawi’s key events and activities for use on the country and regional websites as photo stories as well as on social media. Organize photographic shoots, beneficiary interviews and filming sessions, especially in the field, to ensure effective communication of the concrete results that WHO has achieved on the ground. In consultation with technical colleagues, identify specific topics and prepare online or offline communication campaigns. In close collaboration with the ICT department, ensure regular and timely update of content on the WHO Malawi website, in compliance with guidelines and standards used throughout the Organization. Work with the External Relations Officer to ensure and maximize donor visibility through the development of project or donor-specific communication plans and the production of visibility materials based on donor requirements and expectations. Build and maintain relations with national and international media outlets and ensure that WHO Malawi’s work is regularly and timely profiled by national and international media. Monitor media coverage of WHO Malawi’s issues, programmes and people in the country and provide regular updates and reports to AFRO and Headquarters. Any other related tasks as may be required or assigned by the supervisor.

Eligibility criteria


27 – 80


Required experience

3 years of experience in communications or Journalism, or other relevant programmes; experience with impact case studies is an asset, as is experience working in the UN or other international development organizations. Excellent oral and written skills; excellent drafting, formulation, reporting skills. Accuracy and professionalism in document production and editing. Excellent interpersonal skills; culturally and socially sensitive; ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a range of partners, including grassroots community members, religious and youth organizations, and authorities at different levels; familiarity with tools and approaches of communications for development. Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a challenging environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team of international and national personnel. Solid overall computer literacy, including proficiency in various MS Office applications (Excel, Word, etc.) and email/internet; familiarity with database management; and office technology equipment. Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines. Sound security awareness. Have affinity with or interest in Health and Wellbeing, volunteerism as a mechanism for durable development, and the UN System.

Area(s) of expertise

Communication, Health

Driving license


English, Level: Working knowledge, Required

Required education level

Master degree or equivalent in communications or areas related to Journalism. A first-level university degree or equivalent in combination with relevant training and/or professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree

Competencies and values

Professionalism: demonstrated understanding of operations relevant to World Health Organization; technical capabilities or knowledge relevant or transferrable to World Health Organization procedures and rules. Integrity: demonstrate the values and ethical standards of the UN and World Health Organization in daily activities and behaviors while acting without consideration of personal gains; resist undue political pressure in decision-making; stand by decisions that are in the organization’s interest even if they are unpopular; take prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behavior; does not abuse power or authority. Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; excellent interpersonal skills; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, mixed-gender environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; sensitivity and adaptability to culture, gender, religion, nationality and age; commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of UN operations; ability to achieve common goals and provide guidance or training to colleagues Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment. Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities. Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups. Flexibility: adaptability and ability to live and work in potentially hazardous and remote conditions, involving physical hardship and little comfort; to operate independently in austere environments for protracted periods; willingness to travel within the area of operations and to transfer to other duty stations within the area of operations as necessary. Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards World Health Organization’s mission and vision, as well as to the UN Core Values.