Senior External Relations Officer



Standard Job Description

Senior External Relations Officer Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The Senior External Relations Officer normally reports to the Representative or Deputy Representative. The incumbent has direct supervisory responsibility for External Relations staff. External contacts are predominantly with partners, media, government, embassies and other international organizations in the country on matters of importance to the organization. All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity. Duties – Stay abreast of the challenges posed by the political context, the UN and humanitarian reform, and institutional developments in the area of forced displacement and humanitarian operations. – Through a consultative process with UNHCR colleagues (Programme, Protection, etc.) with external actors and partners, develop and implement protection and assistance strategy, with clearly articulated objectives, timelines and outputs. – Implement a communications strategy that generates support for UNHCR¿s operations from external partners (e.g. the general public, governments, partners, the media, academia and persons of concern). – Articulate all issues pertaining to the needs of the populations of concern and the strategies in place to respond to their needs. – Ensure that the UNHCR priorities are given adequate weight in the documentation of the UN Country Team. – Maintain a close dialogue with and provide accurate information to donors by organizing regular briefings, bilateral meetings and donor missions. Prepare reports as appropriate. – In accordance with the operational context and in close cooperation with headquarters, access new and non-traditional funding sources, as appropriate, including private sector and humanitarian pooled/basket funds (e.g. Central Emergency Response Fund, Human Security Fund). – Through a consultative process with headquarters, disseminate information on UNHCR¿s global funding situation and mobilize additional funds to implement special projects aimed at enhancing the quality of protection for persons of concern in the country operation. – Participate in inter-agency cooperation and communication strategies, initiatives and tools. – Support senior management in representing UNHCR in the UN Country Team and other UN coordination fora. – Support, and participate in, local UN integrated missions, Inter-Agency Standing Committee, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Cluster communication strategies and initiatives. – Manage the information flow within the country operations by identifying priority matters, securing, analyzing and disseminating documentation and information to support country operations and corporate communication processes and priorities. – Consolidate information on UNHCR¿s country operations and identify appropriate messages for campaigns and appeals. – Coordinate the drafting of, and/or draft, situation reports, briefing notes, background material, talking points, fact sheets, press releases and articles. – Develop targeted communications strategies and media packages for situations and/or activities that require focused attention. – Identify and target major events and initiatives (e.g. commercial, cultural, political and sports) to promote the work of UNHCR. – Manage media relations by, inter alia, responding to direct queries, publishing press releases and organizing regular briefings and visits to country operations. – Approve fund-raising messages. – Approve any relevant expenditure for the implementation of fund-raising activities. – Decide which donors to approach and which operations or activities to prioritize for special fundraising appeals. – Approve the communications strategy. – Approve budgets and expenditures for communications activities. – Clear external relations/communication products and tools. – Represent UNHCR fund-raising and communication priorities in inter-agency initiatives and fora. – Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Education & Professional Work Experience Years of Experience / Degree Level For P4/NOD – 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree Field(s) of Education Political Sciences; Social Sciences; International Relations; Journalism; or other relevant field. (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses Not specified Relevant Job Experience Essential Experience in humanitarian operations in a field environment. Excellent knowledge of local institution, politics and culture. Desirable Good knowledge of UNHCR operations both at Headquarters and in the Field. Fund-raising and programming/programme management experience. Experience of working with social media. Functional Skills IT-Web Content Management IT-Computer Literacy ER-Inter-Agency External Relations ER-Inter-Agency Leadership/Coordination CO-Drafting and Documentation (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates. 

Desired Candidate Profile


Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):




Desired languages



Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:


Kinshasa is currently a security level 2 duty station. The security situation in Kinshasa is relatively calm. The security related threats staff may face in Kinshasa are mainly from crime and civil unrest. Criminality is prevalent in Kinshasa, including Gombe commune in the city centre. Criminality activities include street and house robbery, vehicle-related crimes such as break-ins. UN personnel are not specifically targeted, but criminals focus attacks on those perceived to have money and valuables. Identified crime actors are street children locally called Shegués, organized gangs and unemployed youth called Kulunas, and sometimes uncontrolled elements of the national security forces. Of special concern are armed robberies committed by criminals posing as policemen who target foreigners walking alone. These criminals present what looks like a legitimate ID card of the security forces, get the victim inside a vehicle and rob them of valuables before letting them go. UN personnel must also be aware of the danger from driving in Kinshasa. Road traffic accidents are the most common security incident for the UN in Kinshasa.

The presidential election scheduled for 2023 may generate significantly more tensions and protests in the country overall and not only in the East. This in a context of a rise in the anti-UN sentiment, a difficult socio-economic situation and a number of inter-community tensions, compounded with a rise in violence due to armed or terrorists’ groups in the East.



Nature of Position:



As of 30 September 2022, DRC hosts 522,803 refugees in the country and more than 5.5 million IDPs located mainly in the provinces of Ituri, Kasai, Kivu (north and south) and Tanganyika. As Protection Cluster lead, UNHCR plays a key role in supporting the DRC Government in implementing a durable solutions strategy to help end the protracted displacement in the country.  There are 5 sub-offices, all of which cover several field offices, employing more than 450 personnel, with a presence in the provinces of Kasai, Ubangi, Kivu (north and south), Tanganyika and Haut Uele/Bunia.


The incumbent will be under the direct supervision of the Representative. S/he will work closely with the Program team to implement the Fundraising Strategy, build and maintain strong relations with government donors, and further develop relations with private donors. Under the incumbent’s supervision, the External Relations team is responsible to set up regular donor briefings, missions, meetings between the Representative and Ambassadors of donor countries and is involved in the development of grant writing, the development and drafting of funding appeals, response plans and other instruments to raise funds for the operation. The External Relations team is responsible for all PI activities of the operation at the national level and works closely with the external relations staff across the sub-offices and field offices as well as protection and field staff to implement the Communications Strategy of the operation. This entails, among others, to identify issues and stories to present to the general public, prepare reports, updates, social media posts, videos and multi-media stories to highlight the needs of persons of concern in the DRC and the activities of UNHCR to address these. S/he works closely with the Bureau in Pretoria and with HQ to ensure that the issues, needs and achievements in the DRC operation are highlighted and funds are mobilized. S/he must possess highly developed drafting ability both in the French and English languages, possess excellent communication skills in both languages to participate in inter-agency cooperation and communication strategies that generate support for UNHCR¿s operations from external partners (e.g. the general public, governments, partners, the media, academia and persons of concern).

Living and Working Conditions:


DRC is the third largest country in Africa, and as a result is quite diverse.  Living conditions therefore vary between UNHCR duty stations, with some amenities present in the capital Kinshasa, but only very basic conditions in remote duty stations in the provinces, where for instance, there may be no guarantee of public power supply nor running water.  Accommodation is very expensive in Kinshasa. There are several Supermarkets in town, but consumer items are generally very expensive. Local markets offer a much cheaper alternative for food items but sanitary conditions are questionable.  Kinshasa is considered family duty station effective 1 January 2015, despite the fact that most facilities and amenities remain very basic in particular in terms of medical services. UN international personnel are only allowed to reside within an established Residential Security Perimeter in the capital.

The unit of currency is the Congolese Franc. The US dollar is the other preferred currency. It may be impossible to exchange travellers checks away from the capital city. Credit cards are usually accepted in major hotels only in Kinshasa. In larger towns and cities (e.g. Kinshasa, Goma, Bukavu, Kisangani), it is recommended to open US Dollar bank accounts, while in other places, banks may be absent (including ATMs) and payments will be processed in cash.

In addition to French, there are four major spoken languages in DRC, namely Lingala, Kikongo, Tshiluba and Swahili.



Additional Qualifications



CO-Media relations, CO-Reporting skills, ER-Donor Reporting and Related Tracking Systems, ER-Donor Visibility, ER-Inter-Agency External Relations, LV-Strategic Planning and Advocacy for Refugee Socioeconomic Rights, UN-Policy Advocacy in UNHCR 


BA: International Relations (Required), BA: Journalism (Required), BA: Political Science (Required), BA: Social Science (Required) 



Work Experience

Annual Budget OL in Operation/Office, Number of Persons of Concern Served, Number of Workforce in Operation/Work Setting, Workforce to Supervise, Working with Persons of Concern: Asylum Seekers, Working with Persons of Concern: Internally Displaced Persons, Working with Persons of Concern: Others of Concern, Working with Persons of Concern: Refugees, Working with Persons of Concern: Returned IDPs, Working with Persons of Concern: Returned Refugees, Working with Persons of Concern: StatelessCompetencies

Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Organizational awareness, Political awareness, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

UNHCR Salary Calculator


Bi-annual Compendium 2022 Part B – November 2022#4LKDN – job post also available on LinkedIn 





Functional clearance

This position doesn’t require a functional clearance