The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an international, not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops and delivers new treatments for neglected diseases that affect millions of the world’s poorest people.
Together with more than 200 public research and industry allies worldwide, we use the power of partnership, innovation, open science, and advocacy to find solutions to a great injustice: the lack of medicines for life-threatening diseases that disproportionately impact poor and marginalized people. Driven by collaboration, not competition, and by patients’ needs, not profits, we promote equitable access, foster inclusive and sustainable solutions, and advocate for a more effective global biomedical R&D system that meets the needs of neglected patients. Since our inception, DNDi has delivered 12 new treatments for people with sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, HIV, hepatitis C, and malaria that have saved millions of lives. We now aim to deliver an additional 11-14 new treatments by 2028 – addressing R&D gaps for neglected tropical diseases and viral infections, including new pandemic-prone diseases (such as Covid-19) and climate-sensitive diseases (such as dengue) with a focus on the needs of patients in low- and middle-income countries. With more than 250 employees of 33 nationalities located in nine offices on four continents, DNDi is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential parts of our culture and key drivers of our success. We encourage candidates of diverse profiles and backgrounds to apply.
Counting the Kenya Medical Research Institute as a founding partner and numerous collaborations with science and access leaders in the broader East African region, DNDi established itself in 2003 in Nairobi. An integral part of DNDi’s global network, DNDi Eastern Africa nurtures R&D and access partnerships across East Africa and beyond, while contributing to DNDi's global strategy. It hosts key global functions such as global clinical operations, communications, policy advocacy and operations. It leads regional networks and initiatives in R&D and access such as the Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform, and is also home to DNDI’s Data Centre, processing and leading the statistical analysis of clinical trials data for DNDi and a growing cadre of African science global health and science groups.
The External Affairs’ Communications & Advocacy team develops and implements the global communications and visibility strategy. It aims for DNDi to be seen as a unique, relevant, and impactful project, and visibly supported by powerful champions at the global and regional level, and within influential constituencies.
Purpose of the position
To contribute to DNDi’s global communication strategy, while initiating and leading communication activities in eastern Africa. This includes:
- Initiating and implementing regional Eastern Africa communication ambitions, by developing communications strategies and an annual plan of action and budget.
- Developing and implementing communication strategies for disease and project milestones of relevance to the region
- Reinforcing DNDi corporate communications and branding in the region
- Assessing current issues and developments in neglected diseases – including social and political issues, research, health policy, epidemiology, and civil society, and their relevance for DNDi positioning in the region
- Developing and maintaining strong relations with internal stakeholders (R&D teams, Access teams, etc.), communications and other teams in partner organizations including clinical trial sites, and communications stakeholders such as freelance reporters, influencers, and regional media houses
- Advising the Senior Management Team and the DNDi Director for eastern Africa on communication strategies.
- Leading the Communications Unit in the Nairobi office, currently composed of one staff member and several consultants.
Specific job responsibilities
Strategy and planning
- Contributes to defining DNDi’s global strategic objectives for communications as part of DNDi’s international communications team.
- Raises the profile of DNDi Eastern Africa within Africa and internationally.
- Contributes to raising the profile of the LEAP platform in Africa and internationally.
- Leads the development and implementation of the DNDi Eastern Africa-specific communications plans, including all efforts to increase awareness in Eastern Africa of DNDi’s activities, accomplishments, concerns, expertise, and values through the media, print and digital publications, scientific publications, conferences, public education, and advocacy campaigns, etc.
- Works in close collaboration with the Eastern Africa Director and the team as well as relevant teams globally, partners regionally and worldwide to ensure a comprehensive and coherent communication strategy for DNDi in the region.
- Monitors and analyzes progress towards established goals as articulated in the strategy and annual action plan.
- Participates in formulation of messages related to neglected diseases, R&D, access, public health, etc.
- Develop and manage the regional communication budget.
- Develops and implements all media activities that target Eastern African audiences as well as national, regional, and international media outlets.
- Works closely with DNDi’s international network of communication professionals to develop and maintain good working relationships with key journalists and editors.
- Generates features and hard news angles to raise the profile of DNDi in Eastern Africa and highlight DNDi’s R&D projects.
- Maintains a comprehensive list of regional media contacts and builds relationships with them.
- Fields, directs and selects responses to media-related inquiries and research and pitches stories to media on DNDi Eastern Africa personnel and projects or other stories of relevance.
- Assists and coaches regional staff on preparation for media interviews, public speaking engagements, talking points, and preparation of articles and/or op eds for publication
- Writes and distributes press releases in conjunction with DNDi’s international communications team.
- Acts as the guardian of DNDi branding in the Eastern Africa region and contributes to international DNDi branding guidelines and best practice.
- Leads the development of publications for DNDi Eastern Africa, according to defined priorities, and contributes to development of other publications.
- Reviews and selects materials produced by DNDi globally for adaptation and use in the region.
- Coordinates the selection and preparation of regional editorial content and materials for print and electronic publications.
- Reviews quality of final print or electronic materials, including advocacy, policy, and development/fundraising materials, before release
- Oversee the Senior Communication Officer in implementing strategies to advance DNDi’s digital footprint in the region thereby engaging new stakeholders and strengthening existing relationships.
- Support the development of content for the Eastern Africa Director’s digital platform.
- Together with the global digital team ensure that selected content from the region is featured in DNDi’s digital platforms, including the website.
Content collection and story telling
- Develops ideas and opportunities for feature articles, interviews, presentations, and other public relations activities that promote awareness of DNDi, its R&D and access projects, and its advocacy efforts.
- Come up with strategies for the development of compelling stories and content for digital and other channels.
- Working with global teams to collate and utilize resources for DNDi’s visibility while ensuring compliance with the branding guidelines and aligning to best practices regarding communications content.
- Lead the process of collecting and disseminating content in the Eastern Africa region including compelling stories, images, and videos.
- Oversee the Senior Communication Officer’s work in updating the digital asset management repository with regional media resources and facilitating access to the resources.
Conferences and events
- Coordinates and organizes DNDi’s presence at key scientific conferences and public speaking events taking place in Eastern Africa and the African continent and ensures strong scientific profile at such events, in close coordination with the global teams.
- Supports the policy/advocacy teams in raising DNDi’s profile during select events.
- Develops and implements regional communication strategies during key regional and global days such as World NTD Day, International Women’s Day among others.
- Supervise the regional communication team.
- Is a member of the Eastern Africa Office Senior Management Team.
- The Regional Communications Manager reports to the Head of Communications based in Nairobi.
- Directly supervises the Senior Communications Officer, and a team of consultants and service providers.
- Works closely with communications and advocacy teams in Geneva and other regional offices
- Works with R&D and access teams and other members of the Nairobi office.
Skills and attributes
- Very strong ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines.
- Very clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates strong judgment and problem-solving competencies.
- Very strong communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments. French is highly desirable.
- Very strong ability to work effectively as part of a multicultural team.
- Very well organized and structured
- Very strong analytical skills
- Very strong ability to lead project delivery.
- Very strong ability to manage large size projects with budget management.
- Strong strategic thinking and leadership abilities
- Very strong management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
- Very strong ability to exercise high degree of independence to support program delivery and explore new areas of activities.
- Very strong ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders.
- Lead and motivate a team for optimum performance, supervising junior staff.
- Over 10 years in a similar role
- Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure.
- Experience working in the public and private sector is highly desirable.
- Experience of working in journalism, medical writing, media relations etc. is desirable.
- Master's degree (M.A) or equivalent communications, Journalism, Public relations or a related field, or equivalent professional experience
- Status: Full time role
- Please submit your application using the online form
- Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 9 June 2023.
- Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
- This position might close early if we have filled the position.