Strategic Communications Consultant

  • Senior-level, Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 12 August 2019
  • Johannesburg, South Africa | Lusaka, Zambia
  • Closing on 18 August 2019
  • Current

Job Description

1. Background:

The Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project (Seed Trade Project) is designed to increase the availability of high-quality seed of improved varieties to farmers in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and to contribute to increased agricultural productivity and improved food and nutrition security.

The Seed Trade Project provides targeted technical assistance to facilitate implementation of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulations (HSR). The HSR seeks to boost seed trade across the region, integrating smaller and more isolated national seed markets into one, larger SADC market. The Seed Trade Project is part of a regional policy effort to improve agricultural productivity, food security and nutrition in the SADC region.

The Seed Trade Project has worked towards the full implementation of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulatory Systems (HSRS), with this work having progressed on many fronts. The progress includes the development and review of local legislation to align with the SADC HSR; the facilitation of the development of documents and statutory instruments and manuals key to the implementation of the system; institutional and human capacity building of the national seed authorities (NSA) and national plant protection organisations (NPPO) and capacity building of seed producers and strengthening of seed trade associations. The Seed Trade Project has also collaborated with the SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) directorate in the pilot of the SADC HSRS Seed Certification and Quality Assurance.

Further, support has been given to the NSA of Zambia, the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI), through an in kind grant to expand their reference sample cold storage for seed. The cold storage is a critical infrastructure in the seed certification process in accordance with the internationally agreed standards such as the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the SADC HSRS.

The purpose of all these activities is to build a strong foundation for the implementation of the SADC HSRS. This project support has now reached a stage where the pilot hybrid maize seed of the SADC HSRS Seed Certification and Quality Assurance are due for commissioning for export to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Zambia, as well as handing over of the refurbished Cold Storage Room at the Zambian NSA. The achievement of exporting seed to the DRC and the transfer of the Cold Storage Room to the Zambia government will be a historic moment for the SADC countries and will symbolize a momentous step forward for collaboration across the SADC countries. To celebrate these accomplishments two large-scale events will be held in Lusaka where high level government officials, representatives from USAID and the U.S. Embassy, along with local stakeholders, will be in attendance for both the Seed Pilot Export and the Cold Storage Room transfer. As such, the project will require high level communications efforts and visibility for this event.

2. Purpose of the Role

The purpose of this assignment is to provide:

· Strategic communications to support the Seed Trade Project through the preparation outreach, engagement during the event and post-event reporting for the SADC HSRS Seed Certification and Quality Assurance pilot seed export event and the official handover of the SCCI Cold Storage Room event in Lusaka.

· Coordinate with the Seed Trade Project on the following communications needs for the SADC Seed Meeting tentatively scheduled for October 2019 to be held in South Africa: outreach to stakeholders, partners prior to event, engagement during the event and post-event reporting

· High-level project communications support to Seed Trade Project’s Strategic Communications Manager to further refine and extend his skills in events planning and project communications. Throughout the STTA the consultant will provide support to the Communications Manager in the form of mentorship, and technical oversight over project communication deliverables related to the project events.

3. Objectives and Duties

The Seed Trade Project communications team is currently comprised of one local long-term member of the staff, who works with support from other project staff. The project anticipates that the Seed Pilot Export and Cold Storage Room handover as well as the SADC Seed Meeting events to be intensive and high profile and as such additional support with demonstrated experience in event management and strategic communications is required. The Strategic Communications STTA will include the following responsibilities, but is not limited to:

SADC HSRS Pilot Export and Official Handover of SCCI Cold Storage Room:

  • Develop talking points, press release materials, events memo and ensure program events and successes are appropriately promoted to USAID through the Chief of Party;
  • Develop briefing documents for USG agencies and local government ministries;
  • Identify and procure promotional materials for upcoming project events;
  • In collaboration with the Chief of Party and the Strategic Communications Manager, coordinate with USAID Missions and relevant personnel to ensure there is proper USG representation at the events;
  • Attend the events, represent Seed Trade Project at the events and liaise with stakeholders, including institutional private sector partners to increase visibility and maximize coordination;
  • Promote the visibility of the USAID and Seed Trade Project and profile across various media outlets;
  • Capture high quality photos and videos of both events to be circulated in future reporting and promotion of project impact;
  • Provide assistance and review of two mini documentaries produced of the events.
  • Write at least two (2) impact stories from the two events; and
  • Complete reporting deliverables following the event in coordination with the Chief of Party.

Project Communications Support

  • Provide high-level input on the quality and delivery of regional and country-level initiatives and activities, including ceremonies, conferences, trainings, and other high-visibility events.
  • Advise on proper protocols for liaising with Seed Trade Project stakeholders, including institutional and private sector partners, to increase visibility and maximize coordination.
  • Provide oversight regarding production and release of on-demand information requested by USAID or other stakeholders.

4. Deliverables:

  • Develop communications and marketing materials that are deemed necessary for the event such as talking points, press releases, event memos;
  • Write-ups from the SADC Pilot Event, which may include, but are not limited to, success stories and excerpts to be built into a trip report, weekly and quarterly reporting;
  • And capture high quality photos and videos of both events.

5. Reporting and Place of Performance

The Communications Consultant will report directly to the Chief of Party (COP) and will work closely with the Strategic Communications Manager. The consultancy can be conducted remotely with travel to the below locations on or around the dates listed below.

Events in country are tentatively scheduled as the following:

-Lusaka Zambia on or around September 9-12, 2019

-Johannesburg on or around 28 October to 01 November 2019

6. LOE

The assignment anticipates 20 days of LOE for the planning, development and hosting of the Seed Pilot Export Event and Cold Storage Room Handover in Zambia to be held on September 10, 2019, followed by 10 days of post event reporting and support towards the SADC Seed Meeting to be held in South Africa in October 2019. A total of 30 days LOE will be needed.

7. Qualifications

  • At least five, preferably eight to ten, years of relevant work experience;
  • Proven experience contributing to the design and implementation of government (local or national) communications, events and strategies;
  • Experience in large and complex USAID regional programming in Sub-Saharan Africa, preferably Southern Africa;
  • Direct USAID project management and USG client relations experience;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated expertise in forging and cultivating solid partnerships, both horizontally and vertically, across various internal and external constituents and groups; and
  • A graduate degree in a relevant discipline such as public relations, mass communications, public policy, or journalism.

About the Organization

DAI is an employee-owned global development company. For 40 years, we have worked on the frontlines of international development, tackling fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governments, and instability. Currently, DAI is delivering results that matter in some 60 countries. Our integrated development solutions turn ideas into impact by bringing together fresh combinations of expertise and innovation across multiple disciplines—crisis mitigation and stability operations, democratic governance and public sector management, agriculture and agribusiness, private sector development and financial services, economics and trade, HIV/AIDS and disease control, water and natural resources management, and energy and climate change. Our clients include international development agencies, international lending institutions, private corporations and philanthropies, and national governments.

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