Head of Communications & Knowledge Management

Devex Candidate Sourcing
Nairobi, Kenya
Apply by 19 March 2018
Senior-level , Long-term consulting assignment
Posted on 26 February 2018

Job Description

Devex is assisting an international agricultural research institute in their search for a Head of Communications & Knowledge Management.

Position level: The position level is 5B.

Duration: 3 years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and continued funding.

The institute seeks to recruit a Head of Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) to manage and lead the communications and knowledge management work to deliver on the institute’s mission.

The Communications and Knowledge Management team provides central leadership in knowledge sharing, communication and information facilities and expertise to researchers, the institute, and its partners. Activities are intended to enhance effectiveness and outcomes through four main activities:

  • Communicate evidence for wider influence – by engaging with decision-makers and other audiences;
  • Translate science-based practices into impact – by communicating research outputs towards potential development outcomes;
  • Link and connect people and knowledge to enrich collaboration, within the institute and beyond, learning, interaction, and exchange;
  • Access, organize and manage, document, publish, communicate and disseminate research knowledge, information, and data, products and outputs for wide accessibility and use.

This is an important institutional role leading diverse efforts to help achieve strategic influencing, capacity development, and science uptake objectives. The CKM team works across the institute, contributing to institutional and project activities, spanning public awareness, advocacy, publishing, knowledge sharing, engagement, and facilitation. The team presently comprises 20 individuals based in Addis Ababa and Nairobi, with associated project communications specialists embedded into different research programs and projects.

The ideal candidate should bring a wide expertise and ability to guide a multi-faceted team as well as depth in any of the substantive areas falling within the terms of reference.

The institute works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for the efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.


The head of Communications and Knowledge Management will work directly with teams covering (1) Information, Publishing, and Curation; (2) Knowledge, Engagement and Collaboration; and (3) Communications, Awareness and Advocacy as well as working closely with other communications colleagues within the institution, CGIAR and donors and partners; and with directors, managers, scientists and other program staff and consultants. Working closely with three team leaders, this person will:

  • Help raise the level of the institute and partner livestock-research-for-development information, knowledge and communications.
  • Work across a range of mediums and topics to turn out compelling communications materials that help translate research into real-world impacts.
  • Skillfully coordinate efforts to inform, educate and publicize work in collaboration with scientists and communications colleagues across the centre.
  • Be an expert in science or technical communications, with broad experience and familiarity with emerging social media tools and trends.
  • Be exceptionally experienced in creating systems that enable every CKM activity and product to add value to others.
  • Take pleasure in designing communications products for greatest and cost-efficient impacts
  • Demonstrate an ability to frame complex research findings so that these are understandable and useful to a wide range of audiences.

The ideal candidate will be:

  • Someone who enjoys reading research publications and engaging with scientists
  • An astute judge of what communications best suit what audiences and purposes
  • Equal parts communicator, knowledge manager and people manager
  • Scrupulous about maintaining high standards of accuracy
  • Passionate about finding fresh ways to communicate
  • Inspired by the ideas of others and an inspiring team member for others
  • Someone who thinks across multimedia platforms and experiments with new media
  • Self-directed and resourceful


  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject area.
  • At least 10 years’ experience in research or science communication, information/knowledge management, public awareness or publishing, ideally in an international development context.
  • Experienced manager with strong skills in budgeting and financial management, engaging with communications ‘clients’ and partners and delivering products and services in busy and time-pressed environments.
  • Demonstrated experience in the development and implementation of communications and knowledge management strategies.
  • Experience in leading communications and knowledge management initiatives at an organizational level and engaging with multidisciplinary teams across diverse locations and in a multicultural environment.

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