PORT VILA URBAN DEVELOPMENT PROJECT: Communication and Public Relations Officer)
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Terms of Reference
1. Port Vila, with approximately 44,000 residents, is the largest population center, main commercial center, and seat of government in Vanuatu. It has already expanded beyond its originally defined urban boundaries due to rapid economic development, rural-urban migration, and proliferating informal settlements. The estimated population of the resulting “Greater Port Vila” area in 2009 was 58,000 residents. By 2025, this figure may reach 109,000. This does not take into account the growing number of tourists that visit Port Vila and/or transit through the city to different tourism destinations in the country. It is estimated that at a given time about 3,000-4,000 tourists are in the city and beyond. The tourism sector is the lifeline of the national economy. Hence, urban development and the quality of urban services in Port Vila have significant implications for the tourism-led economic growth and overall development of Vanuatu. Despite noticeable improvement in telecommunication and water supply, significant inadequacies continue to exist, particularly in drainage, roads, sanitation, and hygiene services. The poor conditions of these services are adversely affecting public health, economic activities, and the overall quality of life of Port Vila residents and visitors.
2. Port Vila’s major infrastructure, including the roads, storm water drainage, and sanitation subsectors, has received minimal capital support since the time of independence in 1980. Major surfaced roads are heavily potholed and deteriorated due to deferred maintenance and absence of a system to drain the storm water resulting from frequent heavy downpours. The runoff from these downpours causes flooding and chaotic conditions for the vehicle and pedestrian traffic resulting in considerable financial and economic losses. In addition, all road debris such as silt, grit, garbage, waste and oil reach the sea affecting the quality of receiving waters causing damage to the marine environment. The system for removal and disposal of human waste from households and business premises is, at present, environmentally unsatisfactory, as untreated sludge is disposed of in open pits near major waterways, exposing the urban population to waterborne diseases. Communities as well as major public areas of the central business district lack safe and hygienic sanitation facilities. Vanuatu is also extremely vulnerable to natural disasters due to it its geographical location in the “ring of fire” and the “cyclone belt” of the Pacific. It is at risk from a wide range of climate-related hazards such as tropical cyclones and floods that are expected over time to increase in severity and frequency as a result of climate change, warranting emphasis on climate resiliency.
3. Sustainable urban development through improved access to basic services such as sanitation and drainage facilities and urban infrastructure is an important priority for the government under its Priorities and Action Agenda (PAA) 2006-2015 and a medium-term action program, entitled “Planning Long, Acting Short Action Program. The latter prioritizes a set of short- and medium-term development initiatives. This is also identified among the three core sectors for support under the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Country Partnership Strategy for Vanuatu (CPS) 2010-2014. The CPS also places emphasis on long-term support for country systems and capacities in core areas such as rural and urban infrastructure. Currently, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Japan International Cooperation Agency and New Zealand Aid Program are providing a wide range of support covering the urban, rural, and interisland transport and capacity building.
4.The Vanuatu Project Management Unit (VPMU), established under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), is a dedicated unit for managing large and nationally significant projects with allocation of budget and core staff. Currently, VPMU is managing projects with a combined estimated cost of more than US$120 million including the Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP), the Vanuatu Inter-island Shipping Support Project (VISSP), and the Port Vila Lapetasi International Multi-purpose Wharf Development Project. VPMU is also likely to manage the implementation of the proposed Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project. The VPMU Steering Committee provides guidance and direction for projects managed by VPMU. The Director of VPMU is responsible for day to day management of the project supported by VPMU staff, project consultants and the implementing agencies.
B. Scope of the Assignment
5.The Communication and Public Relations Officer will: (i) develop and implement the VPMU communications and consultation strategy, (ii) oversee VPMU communications and generate visibility for VPMU’s Project work, (iii) and facilitate VPMU community consultation and awareness programs and be the VPMU focal point for community and stakeholder liaison. The Communication and Public Relations Officer, reporting directly to the Director of VPMU, will lead the Community Liaison Unit to be formed within VPMU and will work in close collaboration with the VPMU Environmental Social Mitigation Officer. While the main focus of the Communication and Public Relations Officer will be related to Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP) inputs on the other VPMU-managed Projects will be required.
C. Specific Tasks
The Communication and Public Relations Officer will be recruited on a full-time basis for a period of 12 months. Specific tasks of the Communication and Public Relations Officer will include:
- Serve as a spokesperson for the VPMU.
- Be responsible for all communications within the VPMU and generate visibility for VPMU and projects managed by VPMU.
- Plan, coordinate, and implement all VPMU communications and media relations work.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate the VPMU communications and consultation strategy and corresponding plans including the development of clear communications goals, identification of stakeholders, articulation of messaging and measuring the effectiveness of these actions.
- Supervise, draft and manage the production and distribution of public information materials including press releases, newsletters, speeches and statements, brochures, articles, fact sheets and audiovisual materials.
- Write speeches for the Director VPMU, messaging, media products and other material as needed.
- Establish and maintain contacts with a network of country-based communication and public information officers in the media and others.
- Manage communications campaigns connected with VPMU and the Projects being implemented, launching of key reports and special events such as Health and Sanitation meetings for PVUDP.
- Brief the community on VPMU public information highlights, events and activities, and keep the Public informed of Project news, items concerning VPMU and related matters.
- Control the quality of the concept, design and layout of VPMU publications and audiovisual products.
- Promote policy or behavior change through public health communications in the PVUDP and oversee public health communications and health advocacy strategies, plans and communications products and ensure they are evidence-based and accurate.
- Maintain and update a database with all the relevant contacts (i.e. stakeholder representatives and focal points) from the different organizations and government departments.
- Liaise with Vanuatu and international media and promote the Project work, as required.
- Document achievements and challenges for VPMUs learning purposes, as required.
- Support VPMU in its liaison with the partners and stakeholders.
- Develop relationships and provide ongoing liaison with the local partners to ensure smooth information flow is established and maintained.
- Prepare and maintain a comprehensive operational information database, including names of officials and persons met, contact details, points of discussion and meeting schedules. This includes the collection of data on all partners that can be referred for any future engagement.
- Support the Environmental Social Mitigation Officer VPMU and the various projects by communicating and provide briefings as required.
- Communicate with various government ministries, ministers, heads of departments and other relevant officials to clarify issues concerning VPMU and VPMU-managed projects.
- Identify information requirements of local government authorities, including business, civil society and local NGOs and make recommendations on their needs for the development of VPMU activities;
- Contribute to lessons learned, identification of information flow problems and recommends solutions;
- Other duties as requested by the Director of VPMU.
6. Provide weekly summary of activities in process and ensure timely delivery of assigned tasks.
E. Specialist Qualifications and Experience
7.The Communication and Public Relations Officer will have a University degree in communications, media, journalism, social or political science, public or business administration, international relations, or another related field. The Communication and Public Relations Officer will a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible professional experience in public information work and/or public relations work, preferably in a large governmental, intergovernmental or international organization and possess the following skills and traits:
- excellent communications and interpersonal skills and ability to communicate with respect, tact and diplomacy
- ability to serve as a spokesperson for VPMU exercising political diplomacy and judgment.
- ability to exercise analytical and evaluating skills; ability to convincingly present public relations concepts and to function in a deadline-driven environment;
- excellent written and oral communication skills in English and Bislama;
- demonstrated gender awareness and sensitivity, and an ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities;
- ability and willingness to work as a member of team, with people of different backgrounds, different gender and diverse political views, whilst maintaining impartiality and objectivity.
- ability to work with the media to communicate appropriate messages on a tight deadline.
- computer skills in Microsoft packages, including Word, Excel and Outlook
- flexibility and adaptability.
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