Communication Officer (m/f) - Johannesburg


As part of the communications department based in Brussels, the “Combo” team works on information and strategic communication matters related to MSF operations in a number of countries managed by MSF’s Operational Centre of Brussels.

In this case, the Communications Officer position will be responsible for operational communications support to MSF projects in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and the HIV projects in Central African republic, DRC and Guinea

Due to the nature of MSF operations in this portfolio, the Communication Officer will work with a particular focus on the issue of HIV/AIDS advocacy and communications.

The Communications Officer is physically based in Johannesburg, in the MSF South Africa office. He/She travels at least twice a year to the Brussels office. He/She also travels regularly to the above mentioned project countries.


  • The Communications Officer reports to the Communication & Audiovisual Coordinator based in Brussels.
  • For issues specifically relating to HIV/AIDS public advocacy, the Communications Officer works closely with the HIV/AIDS Advocacy coordinator based in Johannesburg
  • The Communications Officer defines and implements operational communications strategies in coordination with the operations coordinators of Cell 1 and Cell 5 in Brussels as well as the Heads of Mission in the field.
  • The Communication Officer is hosted by the MSF SA Comms team and collaborates closely with this team. He/she shares information to keep the communications team and office up to date on operational issues in the above mentioned countries and sometimes gets or gives support to members of the South African communications team. Collaboration is partly meant to maximise the impact of MSF regional communications.


Public positioning

  • Signal issues on which MSF should consider positioning itself publicly, based on its medical activities and observations, and help define strategies, messages and tools for communicating such issues;
  • In collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Advocacy coordinator based in Johannesburg, develop and implement specific strategies for public communication to support HIV/AIDS advocacy efforts;
  • Liaise closely with other MSF sections involved as well as in-house departments (Southern African Medical Unit, the Analysis and Advocacy Unit and the Communication Department in Brussels, as well as MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, MSF AIDS working group) that should be consulted on issues of public positioning;
  • Elaborate an international communication strategic plan on HIV/AIDS

Field support

  • Support and advise the teams managing operations at field and headquarters levels in their communications activities and strategies, provide a constant stream of information on these interventions, and help MSF continue exposing the medical humanitarian needs of the population it is helping;
  • Design and implement strategies for creating and enhancing understanding of and appreciation for MSF, its principles and its activities in the above mentioned countries;
  • Provide support and coaching to field communications officers and managers in the region to develop communication strategies in the project countries;
  • Respond to communication needs following an emergency or crisis situation in the project countries;

Production and liaison with the MSF network

  • Produce articles, press releases and other materials for MSF media, external media and social media on the activities in the above mentioned countries;
  • Be the primary source of information (reactively and actively) for the wider MSF network on the activities in the above mentioned countries;
  • Cover temporarily for communication on other countries / topics in the absence of other colleagues or upon request of the Combo Coordinator.


To be considered for this vacancy, a candidate must demonstrate:

  • At least five years of professional experience in communication or international journalism;
  • Knowledge and understanding of how media function, internationally and on national or local levels;
  • Knowledge of MSF operational communications processes is a strong asset;
  • An experience in / good understanding of HIV/AIDS communication and / or advocacy;
  • Experience in Southern Africa;
  • Excellent English writing skills (which will be tested as part of the selection process);
  • Very good command of French
  • Experience in productions of communications tools (written and multimedia);
  • Strong knowledge of social media;
  • A strong sense of initiative combined with team spirit;
  • Negotiation skills and ability to work with various interlocutors;
  • Ability to work independently with a multinational, culturally diverse team spread into several countries
  • Availability to travel on short notice.


Interested? Send CV and cover letter before 10 February 2016 to Maïté Vollemaere at with the following reference: “COMBO CEL5“

  • Long-term contract - full-time - based in Johannesburg
  • Starting date: May 2016