Communications Specialist, Apia, Samoa

Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme

Country: Samoa

City: Apia

Office: One UN House

Closing date: Wednesday, 22 March 2023


Description of assignment title: Communications Specialist

Assignment country: Samoa

Expected start date: 04/01/2023

Sustainable Development Goal: 13. Climate action

Volunteer category: International UN Volunteer Specialist

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities: No

Host entity: UNDP

Type: Onsite

Duration: 24 months

Number of assignments: 1

Duty stations: Apia


Mission and objectives

UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. The UNDP Multi-Country Office (MCO) based in Samoa, which covers Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau, implements the UNDP Subregional Programme Document for the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (2018-22), which is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and country priorities as reflected in national development plans. In close partnership with the four Governments, UNDP works in collaboration with donors, the private sector, civil society organizations and local communities, academia, media and regional organizations to provide global knowledge and integrated development solutions to development challenges. UNDP promotes a whole-of-society approach to deliver on the ambition of the 2030 Agenda, with greater involvement of civil society actors, emphasis on empowering women, youth and vulnerable groups, and centered on the principle of leaving no one behind.


The UNDP Samoa Multi-Country Office (MCO) serves the Governments and people of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau. The MCO’s programme offer to the four countries is structured around the priorities of the UNDP corporate offer to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), climate action, digital transformation and blue economy, with the added localized priority areas circular economy and regenerative tourism. The MCO’s programme is anchored in the notion of leaving no one behind and gender equality, which the MCO pursues through initiatives such as promoting women’s leadership, ending violence against women and girls, and enabling access to justice of women with disabilities, while mainstreaming gender across all projects. This UNV assignment is part of the MCO’s new flagship project "Climate Action Pathways for Island Transport: Accelerating the Decarbonization of Samoa’s Land and Maritime Transport Sectors" (CAP-IT), funded by the Government of Japan with a project volume of USD 15.5 million. CAP-IT aims to promote urgent and inclusive transformation of the land and maritime transport sectors towards decarbonization by accelerating the uptake of electrical vehicles and outboard motors in support of the achievement of Samoa’s enhanced NDCs for the energy and transport sector by 2030. This will be achieved through a three-fold approach: i. Creating an enabling environment through strengthened and gender-sensitive institutional governance, financial, legal, and technical capacities for accelerating the decarbonization of both land and maritime transport systems; ii. Accelerating inclusive decarbonization of the land transport sector with a focus on adoption and imports of electric vehicles and accessible electrification service networks targeting public transport and public service delivery vehicles; and, iii. Introducing and piloting low-carbon outboard motors for Samoa’s fishing fleet through a gender sensitive grant mechanism for local fisherfolk and training scheme on installation, operation, and maintenance. CAP-IT is a directly implemented UNDP project, which will commence implementation on 1 April 2023, and has a duration of two years.

Task description

Under the overall supervision of the CAP-IT Project Manager and in close collaboration with the MCO’s Communications Analyst, the IUNV Communications Specialist will be responsible for strategic communications, visibility, advocacy and graphic design needs. I. Effective communication and visibility of project:

Formulate and implement project communications and visibility plan to ensure greater visibility and public understanding of the projects‘ goals and results;
Produce public relations materials for internal and external promotion of the project, and assist with planning and publicizing, including project-related press releases;
Coordinate the presence and coverage of national and international media in project-related events and/or milestones;
Develop project-related graphics, including logo, factsheets, banners, inter alia;
Support the organization of public events at the regional and national level in order to achieve better project understanding, recognition and visibility;
Ensure systematic recognition of donor support and partner involvement;
Provide graphic standardization for project-related documents, including reports, presentations, inter alia;
Use traditional media and social networks to share information about the project and the support it offers to, and benefits of, low-carbon development in Samoa;
Oversee and support awareness campaigns messaging and materials to maximize advocacy impact on the benefits of low-carbon transport;
Manage and feed the UNDP website and newsletter content with news, innovative topics and useful content, including blogs, op-eds, inter alia;
Manage and feed the Organization’s social media platforms with content and news-worthy topics;
Support and coordinate the creation of promotional videos (documentary or testimonials) filming successful stories on project beneficiaries, while organizing the entire production process (preparation, production and post production);
Prepare human stories featuring project beneficiaries and how the project has impacted the sector and testimonials from local counterparts and public service providers to share experiences from the project at national and regional events;
Ensure inclusive language throughout project documentation, including speeches, reports, social media, inter alia; and,

Provide inputs and drafting support to narrative and annual reports. II. Support to MCO communication efforts

Support the implementation of the MCO’s Partnership and Communications Strategy;
Provide coordination support to MCO events, publications and web activities, including content management, norms for photography, video production, publishing, design, and editing;
Support the design and maintenance of the office websites, newsletters and social media platforms based on corporate requirements in cooperation with the ICT team and relevant staff members;
Support implementation of public information campaigns on issues including UNDP activities, UN Reform, and Sustainable Development Goals, including the enforcement of inclusive language;
Develop communication materials, including briefing materials and press releases, for MCO events in coordination with relevant staff members;
Write, edit, and supervise speeches and public statements for senior management and programme staff; and,

Support corporate and donor reporting requirements. III. Support to knowledge building, sharing and management in the MCO:

Identify and synthesize best practices and lessons learned directly linked to programme country goals and activities;
Contribute to knowledge networks and communities of practice including corporate communications repositories;
Provide training and advice to UNDP staff on internal and external communications for development; and,

Support M&E tasks as required.

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 - 80


Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience

3 years of experience in communications, advocacy and/or public relations at the national or international level;
Ability to communicate in a clear, concise and unambiguous manner both through written and verbal communication in both English and Japanese; to tailor messages and choose communication methods depending on the audience;
Ability to manage communications internally and externally, through media, social media and other appropriate channels;
Relevant experience in using tools and approaches for Communications for Development (C4D) is required;
Demonstrated experience in designing and implementing communication and/or media outreach strategies and plans in support of overall corporate goals is required;
Demonstrated experience in developing content that clearly communicates development ideas for media, web, print production and audio-visual productions is required;
Experience in the use of computers, office and graphic design software packages, and good knowledge and experience in handling web-based management systems is required;
Experience in conceptualizing and managing the production of printed materials, including detailed reports is advantageous;
Experience in developing video and photographic materials in-house and in commissioning films is advantageous;
Experience in translation work English-Japanese/Japanese-English is an asset;
Good knowledge of inclusive communication principles and best practices;
Excellent graphic design skills;
Accuracy and professionalism in document production and editing;
Previous experience working for an international organization and/or development agency is advantageous;
Prior experience in the Pacific is an advantage;
Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines;
Excellent interpersonal skills; culturally and socially sensitive; ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a range of partners, including government authorities and civil society;
Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a new environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team of international and national personnel;
A valid national driver’s license is desirable. *This assignment is funded by the Government of Japan; only Japanese candidates are eligible to apply.*

Area(s) of expertise


Driving license



English, Level: Fluent, Required Japanese, Level: Fluent, Required

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Communications, Media Relations, Journalism, Publishing or related fields. A master’s degree is desirable, but a first-level university degree or equivalent in combination with relevant training and/or professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.

Competencies and values


Adaptability and flexibility


Judgement and decision-making

Planning and organising



Working in teams

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

Samoa gained independence in 1962. Situated about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa is made of nine volcanic islands, two of which - Savai’i and Upolu - make up more than 99% of the land. The capital city of Samoa is Apia. The total population of Samoa is 200,000 with a total area of 2,934 square km. The terrain consists of narrow coastal plains with volcanic, rocky, 6 rugged mountains in interior. Samoa is a bilingual country. Samoan is the main language and English is the second official language. Most government bodies and institutions work primarily in English. The traditional Samoan way, the fa’a Samoa, remains a strong force in Samoan life and politics where family is all-important and elders are highly respected. Each village is made up of extended families that are represented on the village council by a chief (matai). The more western-style parliamentary system in Samoa is highly influenced by traditional social systems and the family, civic and political duties performed by the matai at village level. The country is predominantly Christian, with a conservative culture. The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas and agricultural exports. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism is an expanding sector in Samoa. Apia has good accommodation facilities in terms of the Pacific standard and good road networks. Medical facilities are limited in comparison to developed countries and emergencies are undertaking in New Zealand. Food items and imported commodities are easily available in the market. There is a functioning banking system in the country. Samoa has a warm tropical climate and insect repellents are needed for the nights. Apia has an international airport which is well connected to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy

Link to the organization’s job posting: