In line with its Global Communications Strategy, UNHCR requires skilled communications professionals to conceive and execute a range of activities that help us lead the narrative on forced displacement, generate empathy and mobilize action. This body of work spans communications strategy and coordination, news and media relations, multimedia content production, social media engagement, Goodwill Ambassadors and other influencers, public outreach and campaigns, fundraising, analytics and brand.

UNHCR’s Associate Communications Officers need to cultivate a keen understanding of our target audiences—including an up-to-the-minute grasp of the methods and tone of voice that resonate deeply, win trust and spark quality engagement. They must be vigilant about editorial and journalistic standards, attentive to protection concerns and political sensitivities, and focused on communicating successfully with key demographics. These audiences will vary by location, language and platform, among other factors, as well as whether the aim is to inform, advocate or raise funds.

The Associate Communications Officers’ functions, working relationships and skills specializations differ depending on language, location, grade, and whether they sit within a country operation, a regional bureau or the Global Communications Service. UNHCR’s primary target audiences include public, media and policymakers, while our main partners and influencers include peers and private sector, trusted figures and our own workforce. Some communicators will focus mainly on news and media relations, for example, while others will produce multimedia content, manage social media accounts or lead advocacy campaigns. Forging partnerships with media outlets that reach target audiences is a central role for all Associate Communications Officers.

All Associate Communications Officers are expected to work strategically in support of UNHCR’s operational and communications objectives for their geographic area of responsibility (AoR) as well as global priorities. Communications approaches should reflect our core values as an organization that is caring, trustworthy, proactive, outcome-focused and responsive. This will reinforce UNHCR’s role as the lead agency that protects refugees, internally displaced and stateless people and mobilizes action to provide solutions


  • Support the implementation of communications strategies for countries, situations and special projects; identify thematic priorities and target audiences to meet UNHCR’s global communications objectives.
  • Monitor news and popular trends to insert UNHCR’s messaging into ongoing conversations; identify key moments for proactive communications.
  • Forge strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations who can help produce and promote UNHCR content, activities and messaging as well as provide research insights to improve communications; promote the work of engaged businesses and civil society actors.
  • Contribute to the development of news-driven and authoritative content to lead the narrative on forced displacement and show UNHCR’s impact (e.g. interviews, press releases, flagship reports, speeches), create emotive storytelling to generate empathy (e.g. stories, multimedia content) and mobilize action by signposting concrete steps people can take to help refugees (e.g. digital diplomacy, action-driven campaigns, fundraising).
  • Support the supervisor in ensuring content created reaches maximum impact by developing strategies for distribution from the outset, boosting the visibility of our content on relevant UNHCR channels and placing it on external channels.
  • Closely monitor the implementation of communications projects and adjust accordingly. Benchmark the results of communications projects against set success indicators; build on communications successes.
  • Implement communications strategies, campaigns, events and other initiatives in support of UNHCR’s strategic objectives, including its need for leading share of voice on refugee and related matters, and ensure coverage of refugee situations in their country or region in global and domestic media.
  • Research, prepare, fact-check, edit and produce professional media and communications materials for target audiences and ensure their timely dissemination via UNHCR’s communications channels, ensuring highest quality standards.
  • Draft media releases, statements and media briefing notes, and secure clearances, working in conjunction with relevant focal points and keeping sensitive to needs of both internal and external audiences.
  • Act as a spokesperson for UNHCR, organizing press events, handling interviews requests and providing responses to requests from media relating to UNHCR and its work.
  • Engage with journalists and public audiences via social media channels.
  • Regularly provide ideas for communications initiatives and considered professional communications advice to senior staff of UNHCR.
  • Undertake missions and field trips with media and other official visitors in support of UNHCR and its work.
  • Actively maintain media relations for UNHCR, ensuring that media (and other important external stakeholders, such as governments, embassies, NGOs etc.) are briefed regularly on issues of importance to UNHCR, and have access to information and UNHCR expertise.
  • Prepare and manage communications budgets.
  • Ensure alignment with UNHCR’s global branding and messaging.
  • Continually maintain and upgrade communications skills, keeping abreast of emerging platforms and tools, and systematically reviewing media impact results and other measurement tools for learning purposes
  • Act as the primary interface on communications matters between the country office and the Global Communications Service.
  • Support the supervisor in crisis communications work for the country within the AoR, alerting the GCS/News & Media Section’s crisis communications lead to risk issues and ensuring close coordination

  • Analytical Thinking
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Political Awareness

  • Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) in Journalism; International Relations; Political Science; Communications; Public Information; Media Film / Video; or other relevant field or related fields is required
  • Minimum 1 year of previous professional experience in journalism and/or communications, mainly at international level is required.
  • Knowledge of English is required.

  • Strong social media presence is desirable.
  • Experience working on advocacy campaigns is desirable.
  • Experience working with goodwill ambassadors and other high-profile influencers is desirable.
  • Experience with brand management is desirable.
  • Experience with measurement and evaluation, especially providing analysis of media coverage, social media engagement, web traffic, etc is desirable.
  • Experience reporting, writing, editing for magazines, newspapers and websites is desirable.
  • Experience using digital asset management systems is desirable.
  • Experience with digital analytics and performance reporting is desirable

This position is the most senior national Communications position in the Uganda operation, the largest refugee response in Africa, with more than 1.4 million refugees, 30 settlements and a budget of over USD 344 million.

Uganda has a model refugee policy and as the first country to pilot the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), it currently leads on the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees with an explicit goal to sustain and further operationalize its progressive refugee policies whilst leveraging sustainable support for both refugee and host communities.

Under these frameworks and initiatives, stakeholders in Uganda have promoted inclusion of refugees in the delivery of national services, such as education, health, water, environment, job and livelihoods as well as national development plans and programmes. With over 100 partners supporting the response, the Uganda Refugee Response Plan contributes significantly to these goals while maintaining a strong focus on emergency preparedness and response.

This position is key in raising the visibility of the GCR/CRRF in Uganda, through a strong engagement with national and international media (traditional and new media), coordination of visibility and communication activities with partners (government, NGOs, UN agencies, donors) and frequent field missions to source and produce content, ensuring that the views of the refugees are reflected in communication outputs.

This position requires outstanding communications skills: writing, re-writing, headline-writing and editing skills, including the ability to produce news-writing of high standard on tight deadlines. Experience in drafting Op-eds, messages and talking points is a requirement as well as proven experience of having worked as a Spokesperson, in a leading press office, or dealing regularly with live interview situations. This position must be able to produce multi-media content and have a strong knowledge of UNHCR operations, mandate and global affairs. Experience with strategic planning, coordination abilities, political and organizational awareness and stakeholder management are key to the success.

Proven experience in handling relations with journalists and media organizations is also a key requirement for this position, including drafting news releases, responding to media enquiries, pitching stories and initiatives, and building dialogue with individual journalists and editors, as well as with news-planning desks.

As the operation continues to spearhead efforts to improve accountability in the refugee response, following the allegations of fraud and corruption in 2016-2017, this position must research, study and fact-check information and ensure clearance of communication products, especially news outputs, with the highest standards of accuracy and editorial content in all external outputs.

This position reports to the Senior External Relations Officer and provide support to the entire operation.