Regional Operational Communications Advisor (ROCA)

About Doctors Without Borders (MSF)Doctors without Borders (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation committed to two objectives: providing medical assistance to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion, natural and man-made disasters; and speaking out about the plight of the populations assisted. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Today, MSF is present in more than 60 countries, where thousands of MSF doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts, and other medical and non-medical professionals work together to bring essential health services to people caught in humanitarian crises.

Summary of the Position

This Regional Communication Advisor position has been decentralised from the MSF Operational Centre Brussels (MSF OCB) to Southern Africa since 2011. As of 2020, a Regional Operational Support Team will be established in Johannesburg to serve 10 field projects in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Regional Communication Advisor is a member of the Communication Department at MSF Southern Africa that has a remit to engage audiences in the region, raising awareness about medical humanitarian needs and issues.

Purpose & Mandate of the Position

  • The Regional Operational Communication Advisor (ROCA) is responsible for providing operational communications support to MSF projects and will be the focal point for communication on HIV and TB for MSF Operational Centre Brussels (OCB).
  • The ROCA has the following responsibilities:
    • Provides technical support to communication staff based in the region (currently Field Communication Officers in Zimbabwe and Malawi, and a Field Communication Managers in Mozambique and South Africa)
    • Maintains close links with the MSF Regional Operational Support Team, once established. The position maintains regular contacts with the MSF OCB Operational Communication Unit (including the Creative Content Team) to ensure coherence in approach, messaging and quality of OCB operational communication output. He/She also travels regularly to the above-mentioned project countries or other countries when required.
    • Defines and helps implement operational communications strategies in coordination with the projects in the region.
    • Collaborates closely with the MSF Southern Africa communications team and is line-managed by the MSF Southern Africa Communications Director.
    • Engages with the Southern Africa Medical Unit (SAMU) to keep up to date on TB and HIV related issues.
    • Shares information to keep the Southern Africa communications team and office up to date on operational communication issues within the region.
    • Supports members of the Southern Africa Communication Department, and receives their support when required. The expected output of the collaboration is to maximise the impact of MSF’s regional communications.

Main Activities

  • Support and advise the teams managing operations at field level in their communications activities and strategies, providing information on these interventions – and helping MSF globally to continue exposing the medical humanitarian needs of the population it helps;
  • Provide support to Field Communications Managers/Officers and to MSF Project Coordinators to develop communication strategies for these projects;
  • Support, coach, mentor and advise field communication professionals;
  • Signal issues on which MSF should consider positioning itself publicly, based on its medical activities, analyses and observations – and help define strategies, messages, target audiences and tools for communicating such issues;
  • Support field communication staff in designing and implementing strategies for creating and enhancing understanding of MSF, its principles and its activities in the above-mentioned countries;
  • Produce or oversee the production of communication tools for MSF media, external media and social media on the activities in the countries covered;
  • In collaboration with the Project Coordinators, as well as the Analysis Department or other Communication Advisors, develop and implement specific strategies for public communication to support advocacy efforts on topics and issues at stake in the countries covered according to the needs;
  • Respond to communication needs following emergency or crisis situations in the project countries;
  • Facilitate information sharing (reactively and actively) for the wider MSF network on the activities in countries and topics covered;
  • Act as a focal point for communication for issues related to HIV and TB
  • On occasion, manage the production and dissemination of packages that go beyond the region on themes like HIV, TB, migration, water and sanitation, sexual violence
  • Cover temporarily for communication colleagues on other countries/topics depending on operational communication needs within OCB.

Qualifications & Requirements

  • Minimum of five years of professional experience in communication or international journalism;
  • Knowledge and understanding of how media function, internationally and on national or local levels – coupled with strong knowledge and competence with social media;
  • Work experience in Southern Africa;
  • Excellent English writing skills (to be evaluated during the selection process);
  • Experience in production of communications tools (written, visual and multimedia);
  • A strong sense of individual initiative combined commitment to teamwork, negotiation skills;
  • Ability to work independently in multinational, culturally diverse teams across the region
  • Ability to coach and support without micro-managing;
  • Flexible and solution-oriented and capable to operate in an organisational setup in transition;
  • Availability to travel on short notice.


  • Knowledge of MSF operational communications processes is a strong asset;
  • Experience or deep understanding of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, TB, migration, sexual violence and emergency responses.
  • Knowledge of Southern African languages

Apply online here: Please provide a one-page motivation letter, your comprehensive CV with details of 3 contactable references.

Closing date for all applications is 3 February 2020