Head of Advocacy and Operational Communications

Title: Head of Advocacy and Operational Communications

Location: Amsterdam

Duration: A contract for 3 years with a renewal option



The levels of need for medical humanitarian assistance remain vast in many regions of the world, yet it becomes increasingly challenging to fulfill MSF’s social mission. Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and the Central African Republic are a few of the places where violence, abuse and neglect lead to extensive crises. Entire populations are threatened by outbreaks of disease, responses to which continue to be inadequate. Factors such as urbanization and global migration may bring new types of health needs.

At the same time, humanitarian responses must navigate an ever shifting political landscape. The rise of political Islam; increasing restrictions to operations set by host states, and the politicisation, militarisation, privatisation and nationalisation of humanitarian assistance all affect the way humanitarian agencies operate and impact on their ability to respond.

The Advocacy & Communications Department comprises of Humanitarian Affairs Advisers in Amsterdam and Berlin who work closely with MSF OCA field Operations and regularly collaborate with their colleagues in the Operational Communications Team, as well as with colleagues working with MSF across the globe.



Main objective of the position is to develop, advise upon and co-ordinate the implementation of aligned advocacy, communications strategies and outputs within MSF OCA. Furthermore to support the work of the Head of Department Reflection & Analysis, ensuring active inputs from HAD and coordination on the reflection agenda within MSF OCA in order to coordinate high quality support from the Advocacy and Operational Communications Department to Director Operations, Director Medical and Head of Department Reflection and Analysis. Further objectives are: to cooperate with Human Resources to ensure the recruitment and deployment of advocacy and communications staff through the HAO & Field Communication pools and to ensure adequate tools, training and functional support from the department are available for field staff to produce strong grounded advocacy, operational communication & temoignage.



As a member of the OCA Operations Platform representing humanitarian affairs, advocacy, and operational communications;

  • Advises and engages regularly with the OCA Management Team on advocacy and communication strategies and public positioning;
  • Directly line manages the Coordinators of Humanitarian Affairs and Operational Communications. Indirectly overall responsible for employees in the department, ensuring HR policy regarding performance, absence, staff development, mobility are adequately implemented;
  • Participates and collaborates, through active membership of the OSCAR working group, with the Head of the Reflection & Analysis Department, actively ensuring inputs and coordination on OCA’s reflection and analysis agenda;
  • Establish and maintain strong collaboration with the Public Health Department to ensure OCA advocacy & communication on medical themes is strategic and grounded in medical data and analysis from our operations; 
  • Coordinates the implementation of plans and reports to the GD / MT Chair on planning and progress;
  • Integrates the communication, reflection, humanitarian affairs and advocacy activities to produce maximum synergy and coherence of MSF’s positioning in target countries (a.o. home societies, project countries) and the media;
  • Represents OCA’s analysis, views and positions on social mission issues, both internally and externally.
  • Acts as an MSF spokesperson with media. Supports the Communications Coordinator in developing relations with regional/global media and in other MSF offices, to ensure quality coverage of key humanitarian issues, and enhance or manage MSF public profile.
  • Acts as an MSF spokesperson with political delegations. Maintains and develops relations with key stakeholders, to ensure quality debate and maximize MSF leverage at influencing the agenda of key players.
  • Provides strategic support and guidance to MSF OCA partner offices and across the MSF movement on Advocacy and Communications opportunities and challenges. This includes liaising with counterparts in MSF operational sections as well as MSF’s intersectional Humanitarian Advocacy and Representation Team (HART) to ensure the implementation of OCA advocacy strategies.
  • Is available outside working hours according to the On-Call Protocol.



We are looking for:

  • A pragmatic individual with a (long term) vision on the field of advocacy and communication who has experience with field based advocacy and communication
  • Substantial experience (8-10 years) with international organisations in the field of humanitarian action or human rights; at least 3 years field experience in the types of countries where MSF is active (field experience with MSF is an advantage)
  • Extensive knowledge and understanding of recent developments in the field of humanitarian action, protection and international relations
  • Academic background in areas relevant to MSF’s work, such as international relations, international human rights & humanitarian law and social sciences
  • Strong analytical and advisory skills and the ability to translate complex analysis into concise, clear, and actionable conclusions and recommendations
  • Able to travel to the field for periods of up to 6 weeks
  • Fluency in English; working knowledge of French and/or Arabic is an advantage
  • Proven excellence in written and verbal communication in English and a track record writing reports, position papers or briefing notes
  • Solid track record in external representation, advocacy, public speaking and ability to engage effectively with a variety of interlocutors and audiences.   
  • Outgoing, persuasive, persistent, ability to organize and drive initiative involving different stakeholders (public health advisors, operations, communications advisors, etc.)
  • Sense of humor, good team-player, flexible, ability to work independently and maturity to cope with setbacks
  • Affinity with the principles and objectives of MSF’s work



  • A challenging and exciting position in an international environment
  • A contract for 3 years with a renewal option (subject to satisfactory performance) based on a fulltime appointment (40 hours/week).
  • A gross monthly salary between € 4.162,- and € 5.945,- depending on professional experience, based on a fulltime appointment
  • Other benefits include 30 holidays based on a fulltime appointment and a premium-free pension plan



If you are interested in this post and would like additional information, please contact Merel Olgers, HR Advisor on tel. +31 (0)20 840 8537.

If you believe that you fit the profile, please apply here:  http://bit.ly/2vLEjrt

Please upload a letter of motivation and Curriculum Vitae in English as one combined document.


Title: Head of Advocacy and Operational Communications

Location: Amsterdam

Duration: A contract for 3 years with a renewal option

Deadline for application is 15 September 2017



**Please note that interviews will be scheduled in the first week of October**