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National Communications and Outreach Specialist


  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Colombo
  • Grade: All levels - NPP - National Project Personnel - Local Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
  • Closing Date: Closed

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device

  • FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture
  • Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply
  • Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO's values
  • FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination  
  • All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
  • All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

Organizational Setting

The FAO of the United Nations Sri Lanka implement EU funded project on supporting Sri Lanka's food control system to adopt better standards-based practices in the agriculture and food sectors. The project aims at assisting the government to improve the food control system in line with international best practices for consumer protection and change the social behaviour of consumers towards improved food safety. The National Communications & Outreach Specialist will contribute towards the implementation of this project.

Reporting Lines

The National Communications & Outreach Specialist will work under the overall guidance and supervision of the Assistant FAO Representative (Programme) Sri Lanka, the Lead Technical Officer, the FAO Legal Office and relevant FAO Technical Officers, in consultation with relevant government departments. He/she will interact closely with the national specialists and international consultants, and will be supported by the Project Management Unit (PMU).

Technical Focus

Result Area 4 - Consumers, enterprises, institutions, and other stakeholders are more aware, informed, and demanding of food safety and quality.

Sub-result Area 4.1 - Consumer-driven communication campaign implemented to change the social behaviour of consumers towards improved food safety.

Tasks and responsibilities

In close collaboration with OCC branches and focal points, the incumbent will:

• Serve as a member of the project team and work in partnership with the relevant national stakeholders to change the social behaviour of consumers towards improved food safety.
• Facilitate a study to analyse food risk data among the general public (particularly consumers in urban areas) to develop a public outreach strategy.
• Keep track on media reports (including digital media), evaluate the impact on social behaviour and propose interventions to counteract negative behaviour promotions.
• Develop a validated public outreach strategy to change consumer behaviour towards purchasing safe, healthy, and nutritious food in partnership with the national stakeholders.
• Identify the media trends to utilize opportunities to promote the necessity of strong food control system in Sri Lanka.
• Draft a communication strategy to be submitted to the Technical Advisory Group and to be revised taking comments into consideration.
• Develop key food safety messages, tools and communication material designed to induce behaviour change in food control system and awareness in targeted subsets of the population.
• Implement a national level consumer-driven social and behaviour change communication campaign on food safety in partnership with relevant national stakeholders.
• Identify and measure the impact of messaging penetration and effectiveness of the implemented campaign on food safety.
• Develop targeted food safety education material designed for schoolchildren of 8-12 years old with the support of an identified expert group and identify opportunities to introduce it as part of the regular school learning curriculum.
• Build advocacy capacity towards the dissemination of food safety messaging, identify opportunities of creating a sub-group dedicated to food safety education, and sustain action in collaboration with the civil society organizations, consumer associations, and trade associations.
• Develop TORs, oversee, and monitor the service providers hired for delivering identified outputs.
• Work closely with the UNIDO (implementing partner) communications and visibility officer to develop common project campaign materials on food safety and quality.
• Provide overall project communications support on visibility and maintaining branding guidelines.
• Familiarize him/herself with FAO’s corporate communication policy and operational guidelines to ensure mandatory coherence of all communication and information outputs in consultation with the National Communications Analyst at FAOLK.
• Study all relevant FAO guidelines on communications and then demonstrate a strong understanding of FAO Style in drafting documentation, without the need for continuous correction or oversight.
• Liaison with the Office of Communication (OCC) will be maintained, either directly or through an agreed focal point/coordinator, to ensure compliance with OCC standards, appropriate review and clearance processes.

• All communication materials will follow FAO clearance processes and comply with FAO standards, including:

FAOSTYLE (English:; French:; Spanish:; Arabic:; Chinese:;
FAO terminology;
FAO Names Of Countries;
Story guidelines;
Story template;
UN map standards (available to staff);
FAO Brand and policy book (available to staff).


Minimum Requirements

• Advanced university degree/ Master’s Degree in communications, media relations, journalism, international development, or a related discipline with two years of experience in the communications and media field
• Or Bachelor’s Degree with over 5 years of experience in the communications and media field.
• Excellent command of the English Language (reading, writing, listening, speaking) and working knowledge of Sinhala and/or Tamil.
• National of Sri Lanka.

FAO Core Competencies

• Results Focus
• Teamwork
• Communication
• Building Effective Relationships
• Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

• Experience in international development would be an added advantage.
• Good understanding of agriculture/food related development issues and similar activities in Sri Lanka.
• Demonstrated experience in working with government structures at national level and wider stakeholders and being well versed with national communication processes an added advantage.
• Knowledge of UN administration and related procedures is an advantage.
• Proficiency in the use of office software packages and in handling web-based management systems.
• Excellence in research and writing skills, with experience in drafting communication strategies and contents that communicate key messages in a simplified and easy-to-understand manner.
• Demonstrated experience in developing contents that clearly communicates development ideas for media, web, print production, and audio-visual productions.
• Skills in developing interactive, informative and engaging digital content would be ad added advantage.
• Substantive knowledge and practical experience in planning, designing, and implementing communications campaigns and initiatives preferably on social behaviour change.


  • FAO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing)
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you need help please contact:
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be accepted
  • Please note that FAO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at
  • For additional employment opportunities visit the FAO employment website:
  • Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances.

FAO seeks gender, geographical and linguistic diversity in its staff and international consultants in order to best serve FAO Members in all regions.

This vacancy is now closed.
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