Firm or Individual: Individual
Program: Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) Program
Project / Consultancy Title: Communications & Learning Specialist
Primary Location: Nairobi
Position Type: Consultancy
From: June 2020
To: December 2020
Task Manager: Elena Holtkotte, Strategic Learning and Communications Lead
About Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
Background: The AgriFin Accelerate Program (AFA) is a $25 million initiative funded by the Mastercard Foundation to expand access to digitally-enabled financial and non-financial services for at least 1 million smallholders across Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia by 2021.
The core problem AgriFin Accelerate seeks to address is the inclusion gap for smallholder farmers who lack access to affordable, accessible, demand-driven financial products and services that drive higher productivity and income for farm families.
Drawing on Mercy Corps’ experience implementing the AgriFin Mobile program and years of work in the agriculture, finance and ICT sectors, AgriFin Accelerate supports the expansion of digital financial services to one million farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa over six years, delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers.
AgriFin Accelerate’s primary target group is unbanked smallholder farmers living on less than $2.50 per day in Kenya and Tanzania.
The program is in its sixth year and in deep implementation mode, placing a heavy focus on learning and impact generation with its subsequent dissemination.
At the same time, AgriFin is preparing for a new programmatic phase beyond this year, requiring a great deal of strategic positioning and coordination. In this context, AgriFin is restructuring its communications modus operandi, aiming to become a more proactive and present communications player able to distill key insights into coherent, consistent and strategic messaging across channels and audiences.
As part of this sixth year, AgriFin is also heavily focusing on the development of learning materials and outputs, shaping AgriFin’s role as a leading learning and thought partner in the agritech space.
Purpose of Engagement: The Communications & Learning Specialist will work under the guidance of the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead and be responsible for contributing to AgriFin communications strategies and plans, supporting learning development, and executing both internal and external communications against these plans.
The successful candidate will fill a critical gap in improving the consistency and coherence of internal and external communications whilst also supporting the acceleration of learning output development across projects on behalf of the program.
S/he will work with all members of the technical team, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team and AgriFin partners and smallholder farmers to distil key technical insights into finished learning products, ready for dissemination across channels.
S/he will support work to actively elevate AgriFin’s position as a thought leader, and reference point for an informed and meaningful voice on key issues related to digitally-enabled solutions for smallholders.
Scope of Work
The Scope of Work sets out the specific essential functions of the Communications & Learning Specialist, centred around
(1) Strategy & Vision;
(2) Communications & Learning Development;
(3) Implementation of Communications & Learning;
(4) Organisational Knowledge Management & Scheduling.
Activity (1): Strategy & Vision
In coordination with the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead, contribute to the AgriFin Communications Strategy and learning development plan, inclusive of enhancing internal knowledge management structures.
Work closely with all members of the AgriFin technical team, MEL team, AgriFin partners and smallholder farmers to develop learning materials into different formats, including blogs, case studies, thought pieces, social media pieces, and others, and ensure all written material is ready for publication across channels.
Serve as the point person for all communications related queries related to the Mercy Corps AgriFin brand.
Activity (2): Communications & Learning Development
- Liaise with all members of the AgriFin team to develop learnings and insights pieces to communicate programmatic, project specific, and thematic learnings to AgriFin’s ecosystem of partners. Learning materials to be developed include blogs, longer articles, case studies, social media posts, summary overviews, and others.
- Liaise with key communications and learning stakeholders, forge and maintain relationships with partner communications and learning teams in the development of specific communications and learning products.
- Identify opportunities for collaboration with key AgriFin programmatic partners on the production of specific communication and learning materials as well as general partner specific storytelling.
- Strengthen and expand AgriFin’s network of media contacts, thought leaders, funders, and other key relationships.
- Provide support and guidance to ensure project and donor communications obligations are met across all documentation, materials and outputs of the AgriFin teams.
- Support the management of the AgriFin brand, maintaining standards across materials, events, and other media.
- In conjunction with Strategic Learning & Comms Lead, work with global Mercy Corps teams to ensure that AgriFin’s work is accurately, regularly and compellingly represented on Mercy Corps global internal and external communications platforms, including:
- Supporting regular updates to internal agency content platforms;
- Provision of editorial oversight and/or design, creation and maintenance of programmatic updates and cross-cutting theme factsheets;
- Coordination with regional and global Mercy Corps communications focal points to develop key messages, press releases, and statements for external audiences, in response to evolving programmatic work and events.
- Provide technical guidance during the development of digital and print-communications, such as informational brochures, fact sheets, social media content, talking points, news releases, and others.
Activity (3): Implementation of Communications and Learning
- Support the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead to develop learning materials, including blogs, case studies, summary overviews, and others, through deep collaboration with the AgriFin technical team, MEL team, program partners and smallholder farmers.
- Support the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead to coordinate with program staff and partners to gather information for writing programmatic communications including manuals, graphics, articles, success and impact stories that offer analytical storytelling.
- Lead the development and dissemination of the quarterly AgriFin newsletter, inclusive of managing the recipient database, ensuring all learning materials included are dissemination ready.
- Ensure appropriate branding and marking for all communications tools, learning outputs – such as case studies – as well as programmatic output materials.
- Respond in a timely manner to communications requests by internal and external communications partners.
- Support the development of project events – both in-person and virtual – and workshops in collaboration with the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead and technical teams.
- Support the work of consulting teams in executing learning and communications events.
- Work with all external communications and learning consultants and teams contracted by AgriFin in the production of specific communications and learning materials, such as videos, storytelling, photography, infographics, case studies, blogs, and others.
- Support the AgriFin communications team in the upkeep of its existing communications presence across platforms (such as its website), providing guidance on brand consistency and copy editing as required.
- Act as a key driver in pushing a consistent AgriFin brand across media types.
Activity (4): Organizational Knowledge Management & Scheduling
- Lead the maintenance of program data bases related to MEL, including internal storage and filing systems, as well as contact lists.
- Optimise existing knowledge management systems as required and coordinate with all team members to ensure their proper use.
- Support the scheduling of internal and external meetings and events and logistics.
- Activity (1): All work products as agreed with the Task Manager, related to Activity 1
- Activity (2): All work products as agreed with the Task Manager, related to Activity 2
- Activity (3): All work products as agreed with the Task Manager, related to Activity 3
- Activity (4): All work products as agreed with the Task Manager, related to Activity 4
- There is no supervisory responsibility associated with this role, but oversight of short-term consultants may be required.
- Reports directly to (Task Manager): Strategic Learning and Communications Lead.
- Works directly with: AgriFin Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team members and consultants; AgriFin technical team; Mercy Corps communications and learning focal points and media partners (as guided by Strategic Learning and Communications Lead).
The Task Manager as final sign-off on deliverables and invoices.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in communications or communications-related discipline, journalism, social studies or relevant field. Master’s degree not a must but an asset.
- Minimum of 5 years direct experience in the learning development and/or communications field, preferably with experience within a multi-channel / multi-theme communications and/or learning department.
- Significant experience producing high quality written materials, such as blogs or articles, as well as shorter social media ready products.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines, work independently, and cooperate productively with team members.
- Experience contributing to communications strategy and coordinating internal and external communications.
- Previous experience in the social impact / development field is an asset.
- Strong written and oral communication skills in English, and the ability to condense complex content into compelling communications and learning pieces.
- Excellent IT skills, including experience with Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Experience using other software programs for the creation of communications content and database management is an asset.
- Ability to deliver high quality products within short deadlines.
- Willingness to learn, curiosity to pursue and develop new insights through interactive and iterative engagement with team members.
- Ability to provide strong scheduling support, meeting coordination and meeting follow-up.
- Strong sense of teamwork; willingness to collaborate across teams; outgoing and interactive approach to work.
- Ability to multi-task and juggle several work streams for multiple teams simultaneously.
- The successful Communications & Learning Specialist will be a proactive professional with a strong mission-orientation, outgoing/interactive attitude and ‘can-do’ work ethic. S/he will possess excellent attention to detail, the ability to write and copy edit, and will be able to bring structure and organization to their work.
- S/he will be a self-starter who can work both independently and as part of a team, is able to take initiative, is proactive in the development of work outputs and willing to engage in the iterative development of learning and communications outputs with team members. S/he will be genuinely curious in the learnings generated by the technical team, and able to distil those into products ready for public dissemination.
- S/he needs to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks, working efficiently and effectively against work plans and programmatic needs. S/he will demonstrate creativity and flexibility, and exhibits a strong sense of accountability and results-orientation.
Authorship and Acknowledgement
- Matters relating to authorship and acknowledgment of any materials produced by the Consultant during the course of this engagement are addressed in the main contract agreement entered into between Mercy Corps and the Consultant for performance of services for AgriFin Accelerate programming.
Please visit our careers page for application details https://www.mercycorpsagrifin.org/careers/