World Health Organization (WHO)

Geneva, Switzerland

Reference Number (optional): 
Application Deadline (optional): 
January 18, 2018

Grade: D2

Contractual Arrangement: Fixed-Term Appointment

Contract duration: 1 year renewable

Job Posting : Jan 2, 2018, 6:09:06 AM

Closing Date : Jan 18, 2018, 2:59:00 PM

Primary Location : Switzerland-Geneva

Organization : HQ/DCO Department of Communications

Schedule : Full-time  


The Director of Communications will maximize awareness and understanding of the impact of the organization's work and its advocacy by developing an effective communications strategy, using all available tools and develop innovative new channels to increase visibility and get the Organization's message across to key stakeholders as well as the general public. S/He will also ensure the most efficient strategy to ensure that WHO is seen as a trusted and credible source of health information.

Key objectives include the promotion of the new WHO vision of promoting  health, keeping the world safe, serving the vulnerable.

The work includes:

a) providing strategic communication advice to the Director-General and senior WHO staff to set, achieve, and monitor progress towards WHO health communication and advocacy goals;

b) supporting the Organization's resource mobilization efforts through targeted campaigns; donor engagement strategies; and increased visibility of the Organization's work and impact on health;

c) identifying challenges, opportunities, and emerging issues faced by the Organization that pose reputational risks and opportunities; identifying communications strategies to manage and/or leverage risks and opportunities to promote WHO visibility and/or protect the Organization's reputation;

d) employing and managing a full range of tactics, technologies, tools, and channels to ensure that WHO information, communications products and activities are accessible, actionable, credible, relevant, timely, and understandable to the public, partners and global stakeholders;

e) ensuring coherence in communications throughout the three levels of the Organization;

f) working across the External Relations cluster at HQ and with all levels of the Organization to develop, sustain and enhance WHO's brand and position, ensuring that clearly identified brand standards are followed in all Organizational communication materials;

g) leading Organizational communication coordination with UN and other partners and other global health stakeholder organizations to maximize consistent health information and leverage the communication networks and channels of others to increase the visibility of WHO work, value, and impact;

h) overseeing the design and implementation of internal communications strategies to ensure that all staff at all three levels of the Organization have the information they need to perform their functions effectively;

i) evaluating the effectiveness of WHO corporate communications products, activities, and capacity building; and building the results of communications evaluation into future work for improved performance.


Under the leadership of the ADG for External Relations and in consultation with other top officials, the incumbent will:

- Provide strategic and politically astute communication advice to the Director-General and senior WHO staff.

- Lead the development and implementation of a new WHO global communications strategy.

- Direct and manage the staff and resources of the Department of Communications.

- Ensure that WHO communications efforts support those designed to mobilize resources.

- Identify external challenges and emerging issues and design strategies to manage them; work with senior management to maximize internal and external communications opportunities, including media opportunities, and define and execute appropriate strategies as required.

- Oversee, monitor and promote WHO communications policies.

- Anticipate and incorporate appropriate modern communications tools and channels into WHO's work.

- Ensure that WHO communication products are credible, understandable, relevant and of a high quality.

- Establish, lead and maintain effective internal and external networks which include communications and communications-related senior staff.

- Ensure adherence to WHO messages among senior internal staff and liaise with external partners to ensure support in driving WHO messaging and advocacy.

- Monitor and evaluate the impact of WHO's communications activities in order to improve them. Measures of the director's performance will include: Implementation of WHO internal and external communications strategy; measurable improvement in impact of WHO external and internal communications; measurable improvement in stakeholder understanding of WHO's role and work; adherence of WHO information and communications products to branding standards; measurable impact of efforts of WHO communications network; effective, targeted news and advocacy outreach; a multilingual, global, WHO website trusted by all stakeholders as the source for the latest information on current and emerging public health threats; a range of options and tools available to support public information work of countries.



Essential: Advanced level university degree from a recognized university in communications and/or journalism or related area.


Essential: At least 20 years of experience in communications, with increasing levels of responsibility and seniority, of which : at least 5 years in a senior communications management position in a government department, international organization, global marketing, advertising or public relations company, or similar; and at least 10 years of management experience.

Experience in analysing trends in global communications and appropriately adapting strategies to maximize these.

Experience in effectively managing staff and resources, including strategic, advisory and technical staff.

Experience with developing and implementing a comprehensive communications strategy using appropriate tools and channels.

Familiarity with development and humanitarian issues.

Desirable: Experience in developing strategies to promote policies, advocacy or brands at a national or global level. Hands-on experience in working with traditional and social media.

Experience in internal communications.

Experience in developing and implementing training programmes.

Hands-on experience using modern communications technologies.

Experience in working in a variety of high, middle and low income countries.


- Expertise in analysing trends in global communications and appropriately adapting them; ability to foresee problems and rapidly develop organizational responses.

- Understanding of public health.

- Expertise in effectively managing staff and resources, including strategic, advisory and technical staff.

- Expertise in developing and implementing a comprehensive communications strategy using appropriate tools and channels.

- Ability to achieve results in a global, multicultural, multinational and decentralized organization.

- Ability to create and motivate networks of people across a range of communications-related disciplines.

- Knowledge of WHO and the United Nations, the way they operate and the global context in which they work.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
Promoting innovation and organizational learning
Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 107,150 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 7447 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link: Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.


Submission Instructions: