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UNFPA-Communications Specialist-P3-Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Title:  Communications Specialist Level: P3
Requesting Agency UNFPA Country:   Sri Lanka
Principal duty station and
% of time of any travel to other duty stations
 Colombo Security phase in country / duty station/s person will be required to work in  MODERATE (3)
What type of working arrangement is available now?
In-country international deployment: Yes
In-country telecommuting: No
Remote-based support from outside country acceptable: No
Some movement on the ground is permissible: Yes
Requested date of deployment ASAP Requested length of deployment (in months)  3 months
How will the assignment be funded:
Seeking funding
First request or extension:
First Request
What type of emergency is the person to support? (Please select or highlight)
  1. COVID-19 response efforts
  2. Rapid onset emergency
  3. Protracted humanitarian emergency
  4. Combination. Specify:

Mission Specific Considerations during COVID-19

Remote-Based Deployments (if remote-based please only fill in this table)
Considerations for remote-based deployments
If the deployment is remote-based, is the country office set up to ensure ongoing communication / team integration and appropriate supervision with the deployee from afar? Please explain.  

Physical deployments (only fill out if you anticipate surge to physically deploy)
Pre-departure considerations for physical deployments
Does this duty station require candidates to have undertaken SSAFE training? If so, can the office provide training upon arrival?  
Are there any special/new, specific visa considerations that need to be considered?

No.  Visa on arrival post approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or online business visa accepted
What type of quarantining rules does the local government mandate at this stage upon arrival?
Be sure to include how long for, and possible locations the person will/should be quarantined. i.e. government mandated facilities or pre-approved hotels, etc.
No Quarantine for fully vaccinated individuals.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals require a negative PCR test result done prior to 72hrs of embarkation or a negative Rapid Antigen Test done prior to 48 hours of embarkation. 
C-19 testing and clearance
Does the Surge need to undertake any COVID-19 testing prior to arrival or upon arrival? Are there any other medical clearances or vaccines deployees need to undertake before travel to this country?
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals require a negative PCR test result done prior to 72hrs of embarkation or a negative Rapid Antigen Test done prior to 48 hours of embarkation. 
No other clearance or vaccines required.
Is there any equipment that the Surge should become equipped with prior to travel, e.g. PPE such as masks, gloves, sanitizer, etc?
No.  However any prescription medication should be brought along when travelling due to the current shortage of certain medication
Is there any other paperwork that the local government authorities require upon entry/re-entry into the country? Letter of Invitation from host country office and copy of note verbale (if issued)
On mission considerations (for physical deployments):
What type of accommodation is available for Surge deployees?
 Hotels, Guest Houses, Air B&B
Is the duty station on an R&R cycle and if so how often? Please provide any details that have changed because of COVID-19
 Not an R&R duty station
Medical Treatment
Are there any government restrictions or limitations that would adversely impact in-country medical treatment plans or medical evacuation?
What is the capacity of local facilities that can be used to treat and/or stabilize those affected by COVID-19? Private Hospitals available
Office arrangement for telecommuting
If the Surge needs to telecommute within the country, can the country office demonstrate that the deployee is realistically able to work in terms of remote connectivity, equipment, etc.?
Equipment will be provided for the purpose of telecommuting eg – data dongle, phone connection.
If the Surge is required to physically deploy, can the country office provide necessary equipment, e.g. masks, gloves, sanitizer?
Background Description of Emergency / Justification for Request

Sri Lanka is experiencing an acute economic crisis with an unsustainable level of public debt and low international reserves brought on by recent policy changes including large tax cuts and pandemic induced setbacks. The effects of the economic crisis have created a humanitarian crisis with increasing economic, health, social and protection risks impacting the wellbeing of the people. The crisis has now evolved in a situation that severely affects women and girls in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence.

The CO has finalized the Humanitarian Response Strategy and Plan with a targeted reach of 2,114,750 women, girls and other vulnerable groups and a total budget of USD 10,725,500 required. USD 1,668,428.57 of the required funding has already been raised with a gap of USD 9,057,017.43 to be covered. The plan will be implemented in 15 districts wherein 10 districts will have integrated SRH and GBV response and 5 districts will have targeted response based on unique vulnerabilities. The plan has three objectives:
  • Ensure coordination and continuity of life-saving SRH information and services for women and girls 
  • Mitigate and respond to sexual and gender-based violence and strengthen GBV coordination
  • Protect and maintain economic resilience and dignity of women, girls and young people.

Overall COVID-19 Situation in country: There are number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country causing deaths. The government as imposed certain travel restrictions and procedures in the country. The COVID-19 situation also changes day by day. The government strongly recommends having COVID-19 vaccines. Please follow the government guidelines and advisories at https://www.hpb.health.gov.lk/en/covid-19#healthCirculars. For travel advisory and restrictions, kindly visit: https://data.humdata.org/dataset/covid-19-global-travel-restrictions-and-airline-information. Other than COVID-19, it is advised to bring mosquito repellents and use mosquito nets as mitigation against dengue and other related diseases.

Security Situation Summary in country and main threats: Massive protests with occasional clashes with police continue in Sri Lanka. Gatherings at fuel stations and gas distribution point may erupt spontaneously and turn violent, not leaving time for bystanders to run away or react adequately. Hence, the risk of collateral damage cannot be ruled out. There are no restrictions on UN incoming missions in Sri Lanka, however, new staff and visitors must contact UNDSS and receive a country security briefing immediately on arrival.
Generally, the advisor for Sri Lanka is at Moderate Risks, with the following details: Armed Conflict is minimal, Terrorism is moderate, Crime is substantial, Civil unrest is high, and Hazards are moderate.


Role Description: Under the overall supervision of the UNFPA County Office Representative and/or Head of Office, the incumbent will be responsible for helping enhance the information flow and visibility of UNFPA emergency assistance while highlighting sexual and reproductive health, gender and gender-based violence in humanitarian response.  More specifically, the incumbent will place UNFPA stories in digital and print media, support national efforts and local communication campaigns, and advise the UNFPA Representative on available opportunities to strengthen UNFPA’s media presence.


The scope of the activities listed below may vary, depending on the length of the assignment and phase of the crisis.

Engage with electronic and print media sources
  • Identify UNFPA stories of interest relevant to UNFPA’S work in-country and proactively pitch them to national, regional and global press corps and/or find ways to connect to these stories.
  • Provide timely and field-driven content, such as print and video stories, for UNFPA’s regional and global websites and Voices.
  • Provide UNFPA’s regional and country social media platforms with relevant updates and work closely with the Headquarters social media teams to integrate the humanitarian response into UNFPA’s social media outreach.
  • Draft press releases, fact sheets and other rapid response information materials for use by UNFPA Headquarters and Regional and Country Offices.
  • Assist in UNFPA advocacy activities, including providing support to public events, coordinating visits of senior UN officials, including field visits and participating in other UN /UNFPA advocacy initiatives.

Provide Public Information Support to Country Office: (report to Country Rep)
  • Assist the UNFPA Representative in preparing written materials, including talking points, articles, press releases, responses to coverage about UNFPA in the media, etc.
  • Establish close working relationships with the United National Country Team, UNCG, senior UN staff and communication officers to identify communication synergies and ‘one UN’ opportunities.
  • Cultivate and maintain effective working relationships with local, regional and global media and other relevant partners and identify opportunities for advocacy and communication partnerships.
  • Draft and/or contribute to regular UNFPA CO snapshots, regional SitReps and OCHA SitReps in line with required formats and periodicity. 
  • Represent UNFPA in humanitarian-related communications meetings

Serve as the UNFPA focal point for the United Nations Communication Group (UNCG) which serves as the communication group for humanitarian action Liaise with UNCG partners on on-going activities
  • Work with country team to ensure gender and GBV related information are incorporated through UNCG.
  • Provide information on UNCG projects to HQ-based media team, which can then be pitched to international journalists.

Capacity Development
  • Provide coaching to newly recruited communications staff and consultants, where appropriate;
  • Coach and build communications capacity of staff members and staff of implementing partners responding to emergency/humanitarian crisis, as needed.

Any Other Duties
  • Perform any other duties as required by the Representative and/or Head of Office, Regional and Sub-regional Offices and Headquarters.

Professional Experience
  • Advanced degree in communications, public relations, journalism, advertising or related field.
  • 3-7 years of experience in communications, public relations, journalism or advertising; preferably some experience with public relations or information campaigns.
  • Experience in or familiarity with a humanitarian setting a major asset.
  • Fluency in English
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