Communication Officer, Road Safety Program, Africa

Remote Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies, headquartered in New York City, is an international public health organization. Our programs strengthen public health systems and address the world’s leading causes of illness, injury and death. We currently work in 73 countries, supporting data-driven decision making in government, advancing evidence-based public health policies and mounting strategic communication campaigns. Vital Strategies’ priorities are driven by the greatest potential to improve and save lives. They include non-communicable disease prevention, cardiovascular health promotion, tobacco control, road safety, obesity prevention, epidemic prevention, overdose prevention, environmental health, vital statistics systems building and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment research. Our programs are primarily concentrated in low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific; the Overdose Prevention Program is our first initiative in the U.S. Please visit our website at to find out more about our work.

The Communication Officer, Road Safety Program, Africa is a full-time position based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for our road safety program in Africa including Uganda and Ethiopia. The ideal candidate will have experience in planning, implementing and evaluating public health communication strategies including behavior change mass media campaigns.

The responsibilities for this position include working collaboratively with government, advocating for best practices in public health communication, collaborating with program partners on designing effective media campaigns, and managing creative and research agencies. The ideal candidate will have experience with campaigns that generate positive behavior change and drive public opinion. S/he will be conversant with various media channels. In addition, it is expected that the Communication Officer will have well-developed skills in stakeholder relations.

The position is part of Vital Strategies’ Policy, Advocacy and Communications global team of 40, comprised of people from varying backgrounds, from social marketing to public relations to advertising to communication research. The team has a collaborative culture, clustering people with different skills and backgrounds to execute projects. Vital Strategies’ global team values diversity and multicultural fluency. The Communication Officer will report to the Director of the Road Safety Communication Program.

Specific Duties:

  • Work closely with Vital Strategies’ communication team on strategy, messages and creative concepts in line with best practices, and serve as a source of public health communication expertise to the government and partners;
  • Coordinate with relevant embedded staff to advance communication objectives;
  • Provide guidance on campaign strategic planning and assist the government in developing and implementing mass media campaigns to support road safety policy and encourage positive behavior change of the road users including:
  • Research – supporting formative message testing research in the form of focus groups, and post-campaign evaluation (with the Vital Strategies research team);
  • Advertising campaigns, including agency selection and management, creative development, production and media planning;
  • Public relations including press events and editorial pieces on road safety issues;
  • Social media efforts to amplify campaign message.
  • Advise government on the media placement budget required to achieve campaign objectives;
  • Assist in selecting, hiring, managing and guiding vendors on projects, including, but not limited to, creative, production, media and PR agencies, media planners, and research companies; 
  • Ensure timely and financially justified media deliverables;
  • Represent Vital Strategies and be available to respond to government requests;
  • Provide support and assistance on events such as partners meetings; workshops, PR and campaign launches, and press conferences;
  • Prepare reports, presentations, correspondence, blogs, and meeting agendas as needed;
  • Provide regular reports on progress of activities and of developments related to Vital Strategies’ programs;
  • Handle administrative responsibilities as needed.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Health communication or public health social marketing background;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • At least 5 years of job-related experience in advertising, marketing communications and/or public relations;
  • Academic qualifications – at least Bachelor’s level;
  • A record of working closely and collaboratively with government is preferred;
  • Public health experience would be an advantage;
  • An understanding of the strategic process of public health social marketing campaign development, implementation and evaluation would be beneficial;
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to successfully manage competing priorities and meet deadlines;
  • Capacity to work independently and collaboratively in an international team environment with solid interpersonal and verbal communication skills;
  • Excellent judgement, strategic thinker, strong initiative;
  • Strong oral and written proficiencies in English and local language;
  • Solid knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook);
  • Consistent and reliable internet access is required to be able perform this role;
  • Current residency in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
  • This Vacancy Advertisement is open to Ethiopian Nationals and candidates holding a valid work resident permit for Ethiopia;
  • Vital Strategies strongly encourages qualified female candidates to apply.

Structure and location of work:

  • Locating at the Road Safety BIRGS team office;
  • Technical guidance and significant direction from, and line reporting to, the Vital Strategies communication technical advisor

How to Apply

Please send your CV and cover letter, including your salary requirements, through our Career.  Closing date for applications is June 11, 2020. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

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