Communications Specialist, Market Systems and Partnerships

  • Mid-level, Long-term consulting assignment
  • Posted on 10 May 2021
  • Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, United States
  • Closing on 9 June 2021
  • Current

Job Description

Scope of Work

Position Title:

Communications Specialist

Contract Name:

Feed the Future Market Systems & Partnerships (MSP)

Contract No:


Period of Performance:

April/ May 2021 – June 2025 (includes two option years)

Place of Performance:

Washington, DC

Maximum Level of Effort (LOE):

Full Time (LTTA)

Project Description: The Feed the Future Market Systems & Partnerships (MSP) Activity is a dynamic program that provides USAID/Washington, USAID Missions, and other U.S Government operating units and their international and local implementing partners with the evidence, capacity, tools, technical assistance, and services required to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate market systems development (MSD) and private sector engagement (PSE) activities. MSP is a DC-based contract with a global footprint, designed to support USAID in its efforts to bring about a major cultural transformation by integrating PSE across all activities, while at the same time deepening MSD and facilitative approaches across the program cycle. MSP will advance learning and good practice in PSE and MSD, ultimately improving program effectiveness to bring about sustained development outcomes at scale.

While the specific MSP activities will be demand-driven, they could include facilitating private sector partnerships such as helping USAID to establish new blended finance mechanisms or develop partnerships that create shared value from the alignment of core business objectives and development goals; supporting USAID in the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of MSD and PSE activities; advancing learning through developing theoretical frameworks and practical implementation tools; and, building capacity of USAID and implementers to design, implement, monitor, evaluate, and learn from MSD and PSE activities.

Context of the Position and General Technical Requirements: MSP has four core, inter-dependent objectives: facilitating private sector partnerships, providing analytical and other services to USAID, generating evidence on PSE and MSD, and building capacity. To meaningfully advance these objectives, MSP must continuously consult, learn from, support, influence and strategically communicate with a diverse set of stakeholders, including various segments within USAID, implementing partners, and market actors (especially the private sector). As an Activity, a key measure of our legacy will be the extent to which other industry stakeholders accessed, absorbed, adopted, sustainably applied, and further adapted key learning products and technical resources (e.g. tools, frameworks, job aides). Communications functions are a critical element of this strategy. The MSP Communications Specialist is therefore a pivotal member of our team and of our impact logic. Furthermore, as MSP has significant engagement with economic development and commercial entities, the professionalism and quality of our communications and products is paramount. MSP emphasizes a collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) approach, based on deep collaboration with other projects, experts, market actors and donors working in MSD and PSE, and will be conducting a stakeholder analysis to better understand, communicate through, and engage with influential networks.

As a key member of the Learning Team, the MSP Communications Specialist will provide leadership in execution of the project’s overall communications plan, advise and support communications for individual pieces of work, create tailored MSP communications materials and project templates, ensure adherence to the MSP Branding Strategy and Marking Plan, oversee our online presence (website, social media, events, etc), support routine communications and reporting efforts (e.g. regular newsletters, quarterly partnership reporting, semi-annual reporting) and provide day-to-day quality control of technical deliverables and products through copy editing, formatting, and basic design/layout assistance.

The successful candidate will be a go-getter, self-starter, roll-up-my-sleeves individual with well-respected competence in communications. S/he/they will bring a curious, problem-solving, and collaborative orientation to a complex, exciting high-profile program, which is operating at the heart of innovation and evolution within USAID’s approach to inclusive economic development.

Job Description Requirements: The Communications Specialist will be directly responsible for overseeing the implementation of MSP’s Communications Plan and ensuring adherence to the MSP Branding Strategy and Marking Plan, which includes consistent application of USAID or Feed the Future branding requirements. S/he will work under the supervision of a Senior Systems Learning Manager, ensuring that all project deliverables and products are professionally edited and formatted, compliant, utilize best practice in communications and dissemination efforts, and are informed by evidence-based insights from our unique stakeholder networks. The Communications Specialist will build capacity in the team and propose creative ideas to better communicate and disseminate MSP learning and activities. The Communications Specialist will also contribute to the semi-annual performance reporting process, as well as other regular and occasional reporting, working collaboratively with the other members of the MSP Learning Team (the MEL Manager and the Senior Systems Learning Advisor) and other MSP staff.

Tasks and responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Contribute to the development of the MSP communications plan and manage its implementation; work collaboratively with MSP engagement managers and consortium partners to brainstorm tailored communications strategies, identify communication needs, plan needed support, and build team capacity in routine tasks.
  • Edit, format, and brand (USAID or Feed the Future) MSP deliverables and key outputs; ensure compliance with the MSP Branding and Marking Plan for relevant products.
  • Advise on creative techniques or mixed media approaches to communicating technical concepts, and enhance the design elements of MSP’s internal and external communications in print and digital media, including the website, social media, presentations (e.g. PowerPoint, posters/handouts), and print (e.g. Word, InDesign) publications. Design (or work with specialized support such as a DAI graphics designer) illustrations, infographics, and other materials to support project efforts.
  • Manage content development, posting, and promotion around the MSP website on Agrilinks; coordinate with KDLT (entity that manages Agrilinks)
  • Manage process and curate content for a regular MSP newsletter for key stakeholders
  • Support SSLA to prepare and format contract reporting deliverables or ad hoc requests from USAID, including semi-annual report development and quarterly reporting of partnership buy-ins to Missions
  • Coordinate with DAI Home Office communications team on MSP social media (with potential to directly run MSP’s own social media if needed in the future)
  • Manage tracker of MSP learning products and where posted; ensure submission to the DEC as required
  • Manage USAID clearance process of MSP communications
  • Develop templates for reports, tools; PPTs; etc; create, manage, and train staff on an MSP style guide
  • Manage a CRM-style tracker for key MSP contacts and constituents, and support analysis and linkages to segmented communications outreach
  • Design and host occasional customer / end-user feedback engagements to inform MSP’s choices in media, layout, and communications strategy for various products and initiatives, and enhance ultimate access, absorption, and adoption.
  • Create MSP marketing / promotional materials
  • Perform coordinating and administrative duties as needed within the Learning Team, including supporting learning event logistics
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Senior Systems Learning Advisor

Reporting: The Communications Specialist will report to the Senior Systems Learning Advisor.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelors degree in communications, business, international development, or related discipline and at least five years of prior work experience in communications and/or knowledge management-related work.
  • Practical experience working with teams to develop/refine and implement communication initiatives
  • Experience applying and maintaining style guides, with strong preference for direct experience applying USAID and/or Feed the Future branding requirements
  • Strong written and oral communications skills in English; demonstrated expertise in proofreading and formatting
  • Excellent aesthetic sense combined with experience applying basic visual design skills to serve business communication objectives
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Reliability and ability to work independently and in a team environment
  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
  • Ability to work in the US

Desired Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience using InDesign and creating simple visual aides (e.g. icons, infographics, etc) to enhance communication of key messages and the user experience with information.
  • Experience with economic growth, agriculture, or finance programming within a USAID or other donor context
  • Experience contributing to design of participatory virtual events and exchanges

DAI Organization and Values: DAI is a global development company with corporate offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, EU, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Palestine and project operations worldwide. We tackle fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability. DAI works on th e frontlines of global development. Transforming ideas into action—action into impact. We are committed to shaping a more livable world.

DAI and its employees are committed to confronting racism and holding ourselves accountable for positive change within the company and in the communities, cultures, and countries in which we live and work. DAI is committed to attracting and retaining the best employees from all races and backgrounds in our continued effort to become a better development partner. DAI upholds the highest ethical standards. We are committed to the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment as well as other ethical breaches. All of our positions are therefore subject to stringent vetting and reference checks.

DAI is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a commitment to diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

About the Organization

DAI is an international development companywith corporate offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Nigeria, and project operations worldwide. We tackle fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability. Named one of the world’s top 40 international development innovators, DAI has delivered transformational development results in more than 150 countries for clients including development agencies, international lending institutions, private corporations and philanthropies, and national governments.

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