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Communications & Advocacy Associate

Colombo (Sri Lanka)


Volunteerism has a rich history in Sri Lanka and it is deeply woven into the socio-cultural fabric of the country. This is reflected in the National Survey on Volunteerism which states that over 40% of the population in each province is engaged in volunteering activities. In 2014 UNV Sri Lanka launched “Sri Lankan Youth: Volunteering to Make a Difference” which captures different dimensions on youth and volunteerism in Sri Lanka. According to the survey, 74% of respondents believe that volunteering contributes to the development of Sri Lanka.   

Volunteerism can be a tool to achieve SDGs and volunteers can widen dialogues spaces, design innovative models for stakeholder engagement and support the data revolution by tapping on peoples’ experiences as a new form of data.   

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organisation that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilisation of volunteers. It values free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity which are the foundations of volunteerism.     

Through the years, UNV Sri Lanka has worked on a number of youth-related projects (e.g. VForce, World Conference on Youth, etc.).     UNV along with UNFPA and UN Women developed a project titled “Participation of Youth and Women in the Peacebuilding Process,” which will leverage volunteer networks for community engagement in various peace building activities to support strengthening the role of civil society and volunteerism to foster social cohesion and trust.   

The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) was established by the UN Secretary General in October 2006, following a request from the General Assembly and the Security Council. With the primary aim of preventing a relapse into violent conflict, the PBF is currently providing fast, flexible and relevant funding to over 20 countries.     

As part of this project, UNV will conduct a series of outreach and visibility activities to raise awareness on the role of youth and volunteers in promoting peace, including V-Awards 2018 as one of the flagship initiative. In 2011, UNV Sri Lanka took a stance to recognize Sri Lanka’s volunteers nation-wide and to host ‘V-Awards’. 

V-Awards was initiated in cooperation with the National Steering Committee on Volunteering and one of Sri Lanka’s leading media. The event is organized every two years and aims at recognizing individuals who make extraordinary and selfless contributions to society at large and reward the most outstanding volunteer at national level. This year, V-Awards 2018 will have a Special Award on “Volunteering for Peace” to recognize the acts of volunteerism in peace building in the country.

Duties and Responsibilities

Task descriptions  
Under the matrix management of the UNV Programme Analyst and the Project Manager PBF the National Youth UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:   
Ensure the effective implementation of the Communication and Advocacy Strategies related to UNV/PBF project towards strengthening the presence online and offline.   
 • Coordinate the implementation and strategic development of the communication and advocacy activities to raise awareness on youth, volunteerism and peace. 
• Preparation of written and visual content for communication and knowledge products ensuring high editorial quality (social media posts, presentations, speeches, printed and online communication tools, newsletter, press releases, etc.) 
• Conception and management of the social media accounts for the project and UNV Sri Lanka (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram) preparing relevant posts and entries. 
• Support the design of creative presentations, visual content, fact sheets and other knowledge products. 
• Capture volunteer stories from UN Volunteers, V Force and with particular focus on youth and peace. 
• Generate photographic and video content to promote the work of UNV in Sri Lanka 
• Assist with the social media coverage of project activities (e.g. University Challenge, Hackathon, V Awards). 
• Assist in developing partnerships and network with journalists, bloggers, local media, service providers, local innovators, private sector, youth-led and volunteer-involving organisations. 
• Identify and assist the production of new communications vehicles for UNV Sri Lanka, including videos and stories of UN Volunteers. 
• Support the work of the United Nations Communications Group (UNCG) in Sri Lanka   Track effectiveness of the communications campaign drafting monthly reports. 
• Keep abreast of news and trends at local and global level aiming at bringing digital innovation ideas into the organization. 
• Update the UNV website on a regular basis by updating its content. 
• Perform other related tasks and responsibilities as requested.   
Furthermore, UN Volunteers are required to:   
• Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day); 
• Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country; 
• Reflect on the type and quality of voluntary action that they are undertaking, including participation in ongoing reflection activities; 
• Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.;  
• Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers;  
• Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering, or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.   
Results/Expected Outputs: 
• The advocacy and communications strategies are implemented and activities effectively conducted.   
• Advocacy opportunities for youth volunteering identified and the involvement of UNV in various other projects/programmes facilitated.   
• New thinking is infused within UNV Sri Lanka with a continued focus on ‘creative thinking’    Social media engagement is strengthened and posts are uploaded regularly. 
• Monthly social media and website monitoring reports are produced 
• Volunteer stories, lessons learnt, best practices, are captured and shared   
• The development of capacity through coaching, mentoring and formal on-the-job training, when working with (including supervising) national staff or (non-) governmental counterparts, including Implementing Partners (IPs); 
• Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) perspective is systematically applied, integrated and documented in all activities throughout the assignment 
• A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for peace and development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed.


  • Integrity and professionalism: demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented. 
  •  Accountability: mature and responsible; ability to operate in compliance with organizational rules and regulations. 
  • Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment. 
  • Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities. 
  • Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender; 
  • Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; ability to maintain composure and remain helpful towards the staff, but objective, without showing personal interest; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups; 
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and ability and willingness to operate independently in austere, remote and potentially hazardous environments for protracted periods, involving physical hardship and little comfort, and including possible extensive travel within the area of operations; willingness to transfer to other duty stations within area of operations as may be necessary; 
  • Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards the UN core values.   

Required Skills and Experience

Education – Required Degree Level:    Bachelor's degree 
Type of degree: Communication, journalism, public relations, international relations, social science or related field   
Required Experience: minimum years of experience 2 years 
Experience Description:  
• Demonstrated interest and/or work experience in advocacy, communication, media or related activities such as blogging, community development and management.   
• Experience in photography/videography would be an added advantage. 
• Exposure to, or demonstrated interest in, volunteerism and sustainable development would be a definite advantage 
Language Skills:  
• Strong spoken and written English skills is essential; Sinhala and/or Tamil would be an advantage  
Areas of Expertise:   Communication, mass media and art    
Additional Requirements for Area of Expertise:   
• Proactive attitude with capacity to propose new initiatives and think “outside the box”.   
• High attention to detail   
• Excellent skills in interpersonal relations, networking, and communication 
• Willingness to contribute and work as part of a team;   
• Flexible and open to learning and new experiences; 
• Proven competency and proficient knowledge and experience in social media, as well as full ability to use standard computer applications (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Internet) 
• Knowledge in using Adobe Illustrator/ Photoshop or any other online/offline graphic design software is an asset.   
Conditions of Service: A 6-month contract; with subsequent contract extensions subject to availability of funding, operational necessity and satisfactory performance. However, there is no expectation of renewal of the assignment.   
Travel to duty station (if applicable) and a Settling-In-Grant will be provided in the event duty station is not within commuting distance from the place of recruitment. A Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) of LKR 77,366 is provided monthly to cover housing, utilities and normal cost of living expenses. Life, health and permanent disability insurance are included (health insurance for up to 3 dependents), as well as final repatriation (if applicable) and a resettlement allowance for satisfactory service.   
Living Conditions:   
Colombo is situated on the Western Province of Sri Lanka and is the commercial capital of the country. Colombo is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the administrative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte. The climate is fairly temperate all throughout the year but humidity is usually high. From March to April the temperature averages around 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit). The only major change in the Colombo weather occurs during the monsoon seasons from May to August and October to January when heavy rainfalls occur. Sri Lanka became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955.   


The United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) is an equal opportunity programme which welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. 

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Grade: National UN Volunteer - Locally recruited Volunteer
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Peace and Development
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Legal - Broad
    • Political Affairs
  • Closing Date: 2018-09-28

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