The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. We work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. UNHCR’s Innovation Service is committed to creating an enabling environment for innovation to flourish in UNHCR by equipping colleagues with the knowledge, resources, and skills needed to ensure that they can increasingly draw on innovation to solve the most pressing challenges. We create safe spaces for experimentation to take place in field operations, as well as at Headquarters, whilst instilling a future-oriented approach to how we solve problems
The goal of UNHCR’s Innovation Service is to support and facilitate a culture of innovation and change within UNHCR; a culture that understands, supports and invests effectively in innovation at all levels of the organization and is a key driver in enhancing impact and achieving UNHCR’s strategic directions to protect, respond, include, empower and solve.
One key pillar of UNHCR’s Innovation Service strategy is strategic communications.
The Innovation Service has developed and invested in a multi-year strategic communications strategy, with the goal of making innovation more visible, accessible, and actionable for UNHCR colleagues. The Innovation Service also aims to harness strategic communications and design as avenues to create new norms and perspectives, to challenge traditional communication approaches, and ultimately to drive a culture of innovation within the organization.
However, as those who work in the social sector understand, change is rarely straightforward. The problem of effectively communicating in the face of abstract ideas and complexity is no stranger to people working on innovation, as is identifying the desired scope and effect of communications interventions.
Measuring and understanding the effect of our communications work is important to ensuring that our efforts are strategic, achieve the Service’s desired outcomes, and help us learn from what works and what doesn’t so that strategies and interventions can be improved. In this context, the Service seeks to hire a consultant to explore how we might better gather learnings, insights and evidence from our communications work and use these insights and recommendations to improve current and future communication activities.
The learnings and evidence gathered will provide targeted insight for the Innovation Service’s communications team and UNHCR’s Internal Communication team, as they seek to gather insights and capture impact from strategic communications interventions focused on systems, behaviour, and culture change
Specific objective of this assignment
In consideration of current and past activities of the Innovation’s Service Strategic Communications team, generate insights and recommendations through a process review of the current portfolio. The primary objective of this review is to act as a learning opportunity for the Strategic Communications team and to generate recommendations for how strategic communications, storytelling and narrative change can be better leveraged as a tool for change within UNHCR.
These insights should serve as possible indicators for how we think about theories of change related to strategic communications activities and inform the team on possible areas of exploration, pivots in current or future strategies, understanding where further resources should/should not be invested, and provide credible and useful lessons learned.
Based on the above insights generated alongside the team, support the Strategic Communications team in designing a learning and outcomes measurement framework that emphasizes continuous organizational reflection and would allow the team to better understand the impact of its work. While this framework will be particularly useful for the Innovation Service, it should also provide practical guidance for others in the organization interested in understanding the outcomes of strategic communications activities in the pursuit of culture change. It should also give particular focus to contextualizing short- and long-term outcomes and the depths of change (artifacts, capabilities, behaviour, culture, etc).
In addition to the learning and outcome measurement, provide the Strategic Communications team with an action-oriented product or toolkit that can facilitate these deep insights, learning and monitoring indicators for short-term and long-term change. It should provide clear guidance on how to implement the framework and recommendations on how to implement this strategy through questions, milestones, transformations’ paths, indicators, hypotheses, assumption-mapping or other supporting tools.
The guiding questions which frame this exercise could be:
- In consideration of current and past activities, what have been some of the most valuable approaches to strategic communication and storytelling and what are the primary institutional and team challenges when implementing this work?
- What is success in this portfolio of work? Why? What does it look like?
- How might the Strategic Communications team articulate the progress and value of the work we’re doing in the short term, when its full effects aren’t likely to be seen for some time? How can we better monitor and evaluate long term, ambiguous value creation?
- How might the Strategic Communications team better understand the impact of its work when it’s happening in a dynamic and complex system?
- How can we measure the effectiveness of our communication work in a systematic manner and in a way that goes beyond vanity metrics and allows for learning and iteration as we roll out our communication strategy?
- How might the Strategic Communications team better test assumptions and intentionally incorporate innovative learning models into its work?
- How can we move beyond reporting on project outputs to learning about possible areas of success through engaging others in the Innovation Service and UNHCR?
- A brief inception report, to be submitted at the beginning of the assignment, detailing the methodology, scope of work and general work plan, and a timetable for the exercise. The inception report is to be validated by the Innovation Service’s Strategic Communications team.
- A learning and outcome measurement framework specific to the work/strategy of the Innovation Service’s Communications team and their short- and long-term goals within the organization.
- A toolkit / action-oriented product that provides tools for the implementation of the learning and impact framework and contributes to the understanding of what success looks like for the Strategic Communications team. It should provide clear guidance on how we can better measure innovative communications activities and guidance on how to implement this strategy through questions, milestones, transformations, paths, indicators, hypotheses, assumption-mapping or other supporting tools.
- A final report which provides findings, conclusions and recommendations related to the above inquiries on how we might better understand the outcomes of strategic communications at UNHCR’s Innovation Service.
The maximum total duration of the assignment is three to four months based on the proposed approach.
Estimated start date: 15 November 2021 – with flexibility.
Qualifications and criteria for selection
- At least 5 years of relevant experience in innovation, strategic communications, monitoring and evaluation or similar background;
- Demonstrated experience in conducting similar assignments in the innovation, strategic communications or humanitarian context;
- Knowledge of measuring success and/or monitoring and evaluation in complex and dynamic systems and through the lens of innovation or organizational and culture change;
- Experience in knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation and or learning initiatives aiming at culture and behaviour change;
- Proven experience in leading, coordinating and managing monitoring and evaluation systems to produce analysis for better decision making;
- Strong knowledge of data quality assurance, analysis and reporting;
- Evaluation methods and data collection skills;
- Experience working in and around narrative change, innovation, and storytelling is a plus;
- Excellent English communication and writing skills are required.
How to apply:
Interested applicants should submit their letter of motivation, outlining why they area good fit for the role, and Personal History Form (PHF) to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating “Strategic Communication: Consultant ” in the subject of the email. Please attach a brief (2 pages max) description of how you would approach this assignment – including the proposed approach, methodology, and anything else that would be useful.
The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity
Closing date for applications: 24th October