Senior Communications Officer - Global Development

Abuja, Nigeria

About the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was established in 2000 by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.  It is the largest private foundation in the world with an endowment of US $42.3 billion as of 24th November 2014.  The foundation aims to improve the quality of life for billions of people worldwide, providing research and working with other organisations to tackle global problems and drive change. 

The goal of the Global Development program (GD) is to increase opportunities for people in the developing world to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty and to help deliver targeted healthcare solutions in these regions. Their strategies focus on Agriculture Development; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene; Financial Services for the Poor; and Family Health which includes Maternal, New-born and Child Health, Family Planning, and Nutrition. These strategies are supported by functional teams that focus on Vaccine Delivery and Integrated Delivery. GD also has Special Initiatives that focus on Urban Poverty, Emergency Relief, Global Libraries and Value for the Money.

Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. The foundation has offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.

Vision and Mission

Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation prides ourselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Our vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.  We have four missions to:

  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;

  • Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;

  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and

  • Inspire people to take action to change the world.

Key to enabling these missions is our commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk taking.  Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.  We have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.


Role Profile

The primary responsibility of the Senior Communications Officer, Nigeria, is to develop and execute a communications and media strategy that will use a range of high-quality communications tactics, materials and specific events/initiatives to help achieve the foundation’s programmatic and advocacy goals in Nigeria. This will be done in close collaboration with Nigeria-based leadership and staff, communications partners in the Gates Foundation’s Africa Regional and Seattle offices, program teams, and other policy and advocacy colleagues. It will also involve collaboration with a range of external foundation grantees and partners, including—given the Gates Foundation’s work with Nigeria’s government—government communications professionals at both federal and state level.

The focus of the foundation’s work in Nigeria is women’s and children’s health and nutrition issues, agricultural development and financial service for the poor. The Senior Communications Officer will report to the Nigeria based Deputy Director for Policy, Advocacy and Communications, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Africa Regional Office’s Deputy Director for Communications, based in Johannesburg.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • With leadership and staff colleagues, develop and implement a Nigeria communications strategy that deploys foundation assets (e.g., grants and contracts, leadership voice, convening ability, staff time) in support of the Gates Foundation’s strategy and its programmatic, policy and financing goals.

  • Work internally with Abuja-based, regional, and global program stakeholders and communications colleagues to align strategies, gather information and manage specific communications projects.

  • Work with internal partners—and manage investments in outside partners—to develop communication materials, events and initiatives, and to support the communications engagements of foundation leadership (primarily the Nigeria Country Director, but potentially including Co-chairs, CEO, division Presidents and other Directors visiting Nigeria), as well as the foundation’s advocacy goals.

  • Build and maintain relationships with Nigerian media partners, and communications partners at other relevant government, donor, and NGOs in Nigeria—in coordination with internal foundation communications colleagues.

  • Work closely with the global External Communications team, the Africa Communications team, the Program Advocacy and Communications team, and Program Strategy teams to coordinate and prioritize the foundation’s use of voice in Nigeria.

  • Potentially represent the foundation and the Nigeria program to internal and external constituencies, including both formal and informal presentations, making speeches, attending conferences and other meetings as necessary.

  • Manage project development, coordination and post-production activities of specific communications initiatives.

  • Drive strategic insights to ensure that communications strategies are aligned with the broader foundation and advocacy objectives.

Leadership and Culture

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Required Experience and Qualifications

  • Exceptional knowledge, experience and expertise in media and communications in Nigeria—either directly involving global health and development issues, or in areas that have provided strong and meaningful experience that can be translated to health and development issues.

  • Experience and/or proven ability in engaging with government communications partners in Nigeria, preferably at both national and sub-national level. Experience communicating around policy and advocacy efforts, and in working with NGOs and the private sector (in addition to the media and government), preferred.

  • Experienced in shaping a strategic communications portfolio and building and developing strategic communications and media partnerships.

  •  Understanding of strategic audience segmentation, and how to leverage communications channels, traditional and social media, and multi-media approaches to reach audiences with appropriate messages. Able to recommend appropriate distribution channels that reach intended audiences.

  • Deep awareness of communication industry trends, channels and resources. Demonstrates awareness of global differences when communicating with people in other countries.

  • Proven ability to generate ideas that support audience and channel strategies.

  • Ability to translate complex ideas and information into simple messages aligned to targeted audiences.

  • A commitment to using facts and sound rationale to convey benefits to goals, as well as a demonstrated commitment to creativity and innovation.

  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills; with demonstrable experience of writing engaging articles on social impact issues.

  • Experience working with international organizations (in a communication role) and/or in multiple countries is preferred.

  • Experience or high ability to work in a complex, matrixed environment – requiring cultural awareness, and a collaborative nature that knows the benefits of seeking consensus.

  • Ability to work with flexibility, entrepreneurship, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort. A proven ability to effectively manage and adapt within a changing environment.

  • A deep commitment to development issues in Nigeria.

  • Ability to travel up to 25% domestically and internationally.

  • 7+ years of related experience.


  • Bachelor’s or other advanced degree in relevant fields including marketing, PR, media and communications, public policy or international relations.

Reports to:

Deputy Director, Policy, Advocacy and Communications, Nigeria Country Office, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Africa Regional Office’s Deputy Director for Communications, based in Johannesburg.

Important to note:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will collaborate with SRI Executive in the search for a stellar candidate to take up this exciting and challenging appointment.  Should you wish to apply for this position, we kindly ask you to submit your CV for consideration before Friday, September 7th via [email protected].

For questions around this vacancy please contact Ms. Aveen Colgan, Senior Consultant – SRI Executive via [email protected]

Applications received through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Careers site will not be reviewed.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

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