Regional Communications Manager

Nairobi, Kenya

[Closing date: 6  February  2015]

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a patient-needs driven, not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops safe, effective, and affordable medicines for neglected diseases that afflict millions of the world’s poorest people. DNDi focuses on developing new treatments for the most neglected patients suffering from diseases such as sleeping sickness (or human African trypanosomiasis), leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, malaria, specific filarial infections, and paediatric HIV. The initiative’s primary objective is to deliver 11 to 13 new treatments by 2018 and to establish a strong R&D portfolio for these diseases.

DNDi accomplishes its work through collaborative partnerships with public sector research institutions, particularly in disease-endemic countries, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academia, non-governmental organizations, and governments worldwide. It also works to strengthen research capacity in disease-endemic countries and to advocate for increased public responsibility for neglected disease R&D.

DNDi was established in 2003 by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, Institut Pasteur in France, and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), with the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) as permanent observer.

DNDi Africa was established in 2003, and is based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. This regional office conducts R&D projects in the region, including clinical activities and data management for clinical trials for treatments for leishmaniasis, paediatric HIV, and others. It also leads capacity building projects through multi-country research platforms.

The Africa office is seeking to recruit a suitable candidate for the following vacant position

Position: Regional Communications Manager
The position reports directly to the Director of DNDi Africa office.  As a member of the global DNDi communications network, s/he also maintains a functional reporting role to the Head of Communication and Advocacy based in Geneva. S/he will collaborate with communication and advocacy teams in Geneva and in other regional offices.

Overall objective of the job:
To contribute to DNDi’s global communication strategy, and coordinate and manage communication activities in Africa aimed at;
(a) developing a communications strategy and plan of action for all DNDi activities in Africa;
(b) reinforcing DNDi corporate communications by assessing current issues and developments in neglected diseases – including social and political issues, research, health policy, epidemiology, and civil society – in neglected-disease endemic countries in Africa.
(c) supporting, through communication, DNDi advocacy activities in Africa, which aim at boosting government engagement in R&D; access to medicines; positioning of African decision makers with respect to international initiatives and agreements, etc.
(d) developing and maintaining strong media relations in national and regional media.

Main duties and responsibilities:
Strategy and Planning

  • Contributes to defining DNDi’s global strategic objectives for communications as part of DNDi’s international communications team.
  • Raises the profile of DNDi Africa within Africa and internationally.
  • Leads the development and implementation of the DNDi Africa-specific communications plans, including all efforts to increase awareness in Africa of DNDi’s activities, accomplishments, concerns, expertise, and values through the media, print and digital publications, scientific publications, conferences, public education and advocacy campaigns, etc.
  • Works in close collaboration with the DNDi Africa team as well as relevant departments of DNDi in Geneva, regional offices, and partners regionally and worldwide to ensure a comprehensive and coherent communication strategy for DNDi in Africa.
  • Monitors and analyses progress towards established goals as articulated in the strategy and annual action plan.

Corporate Communication tools & publication

  • Leads the development of certain opinion pieces for DNDi, according to defined priorities, and contributes to development of other publications
  • Reviews and selects materials produced by DNDi globally for adaptation and use in Africa corporate communications materials
  • Selects and prepares editorial content and material for print and electronic publications of DNDi Africa
  • Reviews quality of final print or electronic materials, including advocacy, policy, and development/fundraising materials, before release
  • Coordinates filming and photo-shooting for multimedia projects


  • Develops and implements all media activities that target African audiences and national, regional, and international media outlets
  • Works closely with DNDi’s international network of communication professionals to develop and maintain good working relationships with key journalists and editors
  • Generates features and hard news angles to raise the profile of DNDi and highlight DNDi’s R&D projects
  • Fields, directs and selects responses to media-related inquiries and researches and pitches stories to media on DNDi personnel and projects
  • Assists and coaches DNDi staff with preparation for media interviews, public speaking engagements, presentations, and preparation of articles and/or Op Eds for publication
  • Writes and distributes press releases in conjunction with DNDi’s international communications team
  • Maintains an up to date database of media and public relations contacts

Conferences and Events
Coordinates and organizes DNDi presence at key scientific conferences and public speaking events taking place in Africa and ensures a strong scientific profile at such events, in close coordination with the DNDi Communication & Advocacy department at headquarters.


  • Supports advocacy by seeking and seizing opportunities for feature articles, interviews, presentations, and other public relations activities that promote awareness of DNDi, its R&D projects, and its advocacy efforts notably concerning leishmaniasis, paediatric HIV, filarial diseases, and sleeping sickness.
  • Participates in formulation of advocacy messages related to neglected disease R&D in Africa, the need for sustaining clinical research efforts and building capacity in the region, and policy change


  • Minimum of seven years’ professional experience (preferably journalism, or medical writing, media relations, or other relevant field.) with a strong scientific and/or public health background
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills and ability to work effectively as part of an international, multi-cultural team
  • Excellent organizational skills and proven ability to produce high quality results under tight deadlines, while simultaneously managing multiple projects and assignments
  • Deep understanding of and commitment to poverty-related global health, scientific research, medical innovation, and access to medicines issues in developing countries, especially in Africa
  • Initiative, good judgment, strong interpersonal skills
  • Experience working internationally, preferably with a non-governmental organization
  • Education: Master’s degree (MA) or equivalent
  • Language: Native English-language level written and spoken required, fluency in one or more regional languages as well as French a plus
  • Excellent computer skills, including proficiency with publishing, database, and web editing software

Terms of Employment:

  • The position is full time based in Nairobi with frequent travels locally, regionally and internationally.
  • Excellent salary commensurate with skills and experience and in line with DNDi Africa remuneration scales.
  • Contract is 2 years, renewable by mutual agreement and subject to exemplary performance, 3 months probation, notice period 1 month.
  • Preferred start date: April 1st 2015

Applications are due no later than: 6 February 2015 should be sent via email to:

Regional Operations Manager
DNDi Africa Regional Office
Kenya Medical Research Institute

Applications should include the following:

  • Application letter explaining why you are applying for this post
  • Current Curriculum Vitae listing names of three references with their contact details (Telephone and E-mail)
  • Contact Telephone Number
  • Certificates and Diplomas or transcripts to be available during interviews