Strategic Communications Specialist

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Home-based (time zone is ideally New York, USA)
Application Deadline :30-Sep-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :IPSA (Regular)
Post Level :IPSA-11
Languages Required :
English   French  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Expected Duration of Assignment :1 Year

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Instructions to Applicants: Click on the "Apply now" button. Input your information in the appropriate Sections: personal information, language proficiency, education, resume and motivation. Upon completion of the first page, please hit "submit application" tab at the end of the page. Please ensure that CV or P11 and the Cover letter are combined in one file.

Personal CV or P11, indicating all past positions held and their main underlying functions, their durations (month/year), the qualifications, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate, and at least three (3) the most recent professional references of previous supervisors. References may also include peers.  A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page) indicating why the candidate considers him-/herself to be suitable for the position. Three writing samples.


  1. UNCDF will cover the cost of travel of the individual to the duty station, as well as their return to their home upon completion of their services. Travel costs are covered only in the event that the function will be undertaken physically in the duty station and excludes working from home arrangements.
  2. Include any official travel expected to be associated with performing the functions: NA

Office/Unit/Project Description:

UNCDF makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 46 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded. 

UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and by showing how localized investments — through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance — can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development. By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs. 

Since 2008, UNCDF has been supporting digital finance with significant success; digital finance is currently the largest part of its inclusive finance portfolio. Digital finance includes digital innovations linked to off-grid energy, agriculture, employment, health and transport. UNCDF is also host to the secretariat of the Better than Cash Alliance, a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth. 

With 60 professionals who have strong digital finance experience across the globe and with several hundred projects in digital on-going, UNCDF is one of the leading development agencies in digital finance aimed at very low-income customers in some of the world’s most difficult markets. UNCDF is in the process of consolidating its financial and technical resources to create a comprehensive team of experts in various domains to drive the new strategy “Leaving no one behind in the digital era.” 

This strategy aims beyond household- or community-based interventions to support the evolution of inclusive digital financial ecosystems. The strategy recognizes that reaching the full potential of digital financial inclusion in support of the SDGs aligns with the vision of promoting digital economies for the following reasons: 


• The value of digital financial services (DFS) is not necessarily obvious to poor and vulnerable populations, as it is not currently closely linked to their specific constraints and needs around agriculture, education, health, energy and other key aspects of daily life. 

• Innovative services should address these unmet needs. Innovation will not come from traditional providers but mainly from a range of new players (entrepreneurs, start-ups in various sectors, and platforms like Facebook, Grab, WeChat, etc.). 


The ‘Leaving no one behind in the digital era’ strategy to move from DFS to digital economies represents a logical integration of UNCDF interventions, developed over many years, in financial inclusion and digital. The legacy of UNCDF interventions was built through a range of country/regional programmes and global thematic initiatives, and has established a very strong reputation for UNCDF vis-à-vis donors and peers. Please refer to 

International Remittances 

The UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The 2030 Agenda recognizes migration as a core development consideration, marking the first time that migration has been explicitly integrated into the global development agenda. The 2030 Agenda also recognizes international migration as a multidimensional reality for the development of countries of origin, as well as that of transit and destination countries, and one which thus requires coherent and comprehensive responses. 


Migration is considered key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are the heart of the 2030 Agenda. All member states of the United Nations have signed on to the 17 SDGs which collectively contain 76 explicit references to migration, demonstrating that migration has been mainstreamed into global development policy. Migration can reduce poverty (SDG 1), improve health and education outcomes (SDGs 3 and 4), enhance gender equality (SDG 5), foster growth and innovation (SDGs 8 and 9), and reduce inequality (SDG 10). 


Meanwhile, remittances can also contribute to reaching the SDGs in a variety of ways: 

• Household level: By making it possible for individuals and families to pay for SDG-aligned goods and services they need (e.g., better nutrition, medical care, education, water, electricity) 

• Community level: Benefits associated at sub-national or municipal levels including reduced rural poverty, lower income inequality, increased micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) activity, and greater resilience to adverse effects of climate change or disaster risks 

• Government level: Benefits for public sector institutions including greater transparency, better communication with citizens, and increased private sector development and entrepreneurship as a result of access to capital and domestic credit 

• Macro level: At macro-economic level, remittances can foster much needed foreign currency exchange, stabilize low-income and vulnerable populations, reduce dependency on government aid, and re-allocate capital resources into more productive investments and other financial services – moving money from international to domestic, consumption to investment, and from urban to rural. 


Guided by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and informed by the Declaration of the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development adopted in October 2013, the 

Heads of State and Government and High Representatives adopted the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. The Global Compact expresses a collective commitment to improving cooperation on international migration, leading to a set of focused objectives on remittances: 


• Empowering migrants to catalyze their development contribution, and to harness the benefits of migration as a source of sustainable development 

• Promoting faster, safer, and cheaper transfer of remittances by enabling competition, regulation, and innovation in the remittance market 

• Developing financial safety net and wealth stock for migrants and their families in the home countries which build the potential to facilitate dignified and sustainable return of the migrants. 

UNCDF aims to improve the functioning of the remittance market in order to improve the financial health of migrant families while strengthen economic development efforts of the origin and host countries. In doing so, UNCDF engages with public and private sector stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of the regulators to monitor and analyze the remittance transaction data towards evidence-based policy making, enable a conducive policy and regulatory environment, and deliver financial and technical assistance to a wide range of financial institutions (e.g. banks, cooperatives, microfinance institutions, money transfer operators, and mobile networks operators) to improve the digital remittance ecosystem and design migrant-centric financial products and services (e.g. savings, credit, insurance, payment services, remittances, pension, and investment). 

The Strategic Communications Specialist will be responsible for providing the communications and digital engagement strategy of UNCDF’s migration and remittance portfolio. The specialist will work under the supervision of the Lead Specialist very collaboratively with UNCDF global, regional, and country leads and colleagues on the implementation of Digital Strategy. UNCDF is looking for a resource with strong knowledge of the digital economy and the role that the digitization of finance can play in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The core function of the specialist is to proactively lead the design and implementation of a well-targeted communication and advocacy strategy for UNCDF’s digital portfolio, seeking opportunities for effective engagement and tailored content creation for diverse range of partners and market actors. 

Institutional Arrangement 

The Strategic Communications Specialist reports to Lead Specialist of the Migration and Remittances portfolio. 


Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work 

• Lead the implementation of the Communications and Advocacy Strategy for the migration and remittance portfolio of UNCDF by working closely with the Lead Specialist and the team; 

• Lead on developing tools and establishing process/platforms to effectively disseminate content to support the objectives of the portfolio and focus on the portfolio’s key audiences which include governments’ line ministries – Foreign Affairs, Finance, Labor-Central Banks amongst other policymakers and regulators; private-sector financial institutions, money transfer operators, telecommunications companies, insurers, pension fund operators and administrators, and fintechs; 

• Focus on external relations with donors, development partners, the UN System, the media and the public to increase awareness and support of activities within the portfolio; and enhance communications and branding, including improving internal and external communications through web-based tools (website, Intranet, social media), events, publications, new media initiatives, etc.; 

• Content creation and management: Play a team-lead role, donning multiple hats including, but not limited to project management, reporting analytics, working with the knowledge management team on learning platforms, and distribution of content for internal usage and external dissemination; 

• In collaboration with the digital communications specialist, lead the dissemination of content through the digital communications channels including social media, newsletter and new innovative methods to amplify the migration and remittance portfolio of UNCDF messages and success stories from partners beyond the financial inclusion and development communities; 

• Provide strategic communications input for thematic research and learning for all communications-related activities of thematic and national research reports (e.g. diagnostics, roadmap etc) in close partnership with Leads, and ensure end-to-end project management of all communications aspects of the research from inception to launch; 

• Lead and manage the Communications resources including communications consultants, external vendors such as the graphic design agency, the webmaster, technical editors, proof-readers, photographers, videographers, printers and translators. 



Technical Skill

Knowledge of how digital financial inclusion and digital payments help advance the Sustainable Development Goals is desired.


Ability to make new and useful ideas work.


Ability to persuade others to follow.

People Management

Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.

Communication & Relationship Management.

Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.


Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.

Functional/Technical Competencies

Ability to visualize: to turn complex or arid content into graphic representations that tell a story non-specialist can understand and care about. 

Required Skills and Experience

Min. Academic Education

• A Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in communications, journalism, international relations, public policy, public relations or related filed is mandatory.

Min. years of relevant Work experience

• Minimum 7 years with Masters or 9 with Bachelors.

Required  skills and competencies

• Professional experience in an international setting in journalism, public and/or private communications or advertising, of which at least 4 years working on digital payments and/or digital financial services is mandatory.
• Experience in designing and implementing communications strategies in financial services, ideally for high-level global players in that industry is mandatory.


Desired additional skills and competencies

•  Minimum 5 years of experience in writing and editing outstanding communications products, including social media posts, newsletters, comment pieces and PowerPoint presentations is mandatory.
• Minimum 3 years of experience providing support on advocacy and communications towards international organizations, development agencies, and governments, including donors is desired.
• Strategic thinking, creativity and innovation; positive, proactive, “can do” approach.
• Sets high standards for quality of work and consistently achieves project goals.
• Proven ability to conceptualize, plan and execute ideas.Minimum 5 years of experience in writing and editing outstanding communications products, including social media posts, newsletters, comment pieces and PowerPoint presentations is mandatory.

• Minimum 3 years of experience providing support on advocacy and communications towards international organizations, development agencies, and governments, including donors is desired.
• Strategic thinking, creativity and innovation; positive, proactive, “can do” approach.
• Sets high standards for quality of work and consistently achieves project goals.
• Proven ability to conceptualize, plan and execute ideas.

Required Language(s) (at working level)

• Excellent writing and editing skills in both English and in French are required.

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact the eRecruit Helpdesk.

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme