Solicitation No.: MN 19-194 (0001)
Issuance Date: January 31, 2020
Closing Date/Time: February 29, 2020 04:30 p.m. (Nairobi Time)
SUBJECT: Solicitation for Local Hire U.S Personal Services Contractor (PSC): Communication Advisor, GS-13 – Amendment 1
Dear Prospective Offerors:
This solicitation has been amended in section I to change the issuance and closing dates only. All offers received including in the previous period will be considered.
The United States Government, represented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is seeking applications from qualified U.S. Citizens residing in Kenya to provide personal services under contract as described in this solicitation.
Offers must be in accordance with Attachment 1, Sections I through IV of this solicitation. Applicants must submit the following; Offer form AID 309-2, “Offeror Information for Personal Services Contracts with individuals,” available at https://www.usaid.gov/forms/aid-309-2, Curriculum vitae (CV) or Resume, Cover letter, Responses to Evaluation Factors #1 to #3 and include three (3) to five (5) references. Incomplete or unsigned offers will not be considered. Offerors should retain copies of all offer materials for their records.
This solicitation in no way obligates USAID to award a PSC contract, nor does it commit USAID to pay any cost incurred in the preparation and submission of the offer.
Any questions must be directed in writing to the Point of Contact specified in the attached information.
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
SOLICITATION NO.: Mission Notice MN 19-194 (0001)
ISSUANCE DATE: 01/31/2020
CLOSING DATE/TIME: 02/29/20 20 at 04:30 p.m. (Nairobi Time)
POSITION TITLE: Communication Advisor
MARKET VALUE: $78,681 to $102,288 equivalent to GS-13. Final compensation will be negotiated within the listed market value.
PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: Two (2) years, with three (3) one-year options subject to funding availability and satisfactory performance or better.
PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: Nairobi, Kenya
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: U.S. Citizens currently residing in Kenya (with a valid residence permit). Citizenship, if dual, must be clearly stated.
SECURITY LEVEL REQUIRED: USAID/W issued clearance level at the Facility/Computer Access Level (if U.S citizens)
POINT OF CONTACT: Executive Office/Human Resources, Patrick Bii, HR Assistant, email at email@example.com
PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The primary location of work will be on the U.S. Embassy/USAID compound in Nairobi, Kenya. The work is generally sedentary and does not pose undue physical demands. If traveling overseas, the employee may be subject to some additional physical exertion including long periods of standing, walking over rough terrain, or carrying of moderately heavy items (less than 50 pounds).
STATEMENT OF DUTIES/POSITION DESCRIPTION
USAID/Kenya and East Africa’s Office of Economic Growth and Integration (OEGI) implements programs to increase food security, promote resilience, improve water and sanitation, enhance trade and investment, expand access to energy, and increase sustainable economic integration in Kenya and East Africa. OEGI provides intellectual leadership to design, implement and evaluate programs and strategies in response to the Global Food Security Strategy, the Power Africa Initiative, and other U.S. Government and USAID initiatives and priorities. At the Kenya bilateral level, OEGI manages a $90 million portfolio of activities across multiple sectors including agriculture, livestock, trade, investment, and energy, as described below. At the regional level, OEGI manages a $25 million portfolio, which includes energy and resilience activities, as well as direct engagement with Regional Intergovernmental Organization (RIGO) partners, including the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). OEGI’s work with the RIGOs focuses on promoting regional economic integration and expanding regional and international trade, particularly in agriculture goods.
OEGI works collaboratively with USAID technical offices within USAID/KEA, bilateral USAID missions across East Africa, regional USAID missions across Africa, and USAID/Washington, as well as with USAID/KEA lifeline offices and USAID/KEA management, to achieve the objectives of the USAID/KEA Kenya Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) and Regional Development Cooperation Strategy (RDCS).
OEGI supports USAID/KEA’s Kenyan and regional communications strategies. OEGI communicates and coordinates knowledge management on Kenyan and regional programming and policy priorities to USAID bilateral missions and embassies, and works closely with USAID/Washington and inter-agency colleagues to coordinate U.S. Government activities in Kenya and the region.
OEGI focuses on the following objectives:
- Improve food security, both in Kenya and regionally. Increase access, availability, and utilization of African-grown staple foods in Kenya and in regionally integrated markets. Investments and partnerships facilitate the movement of quality, staple foods, livestock and inputs from areas of availability to areas of deficit, encouraging market-based responses to regional food insecurity. This includes addressing regional plant and animal diseases and other threats to food security.
- Enhance resilience, both in Kenya and regionally. Coordinate multi-sector resilience platforms to increase efficiency and effectiveness of USAID investments in drought prone areas across bilateral Missions and within USAID/KEA.
- Grow exports to the U.S. Increase awareness and utilization of trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) through firm-level assistance, partnership with regional trade associations, and the development and implementation of national AGOA competitiveness strategies.
- Increase trade in Kenya and the region. Assist the RIGOs in the development, harmonization and implementation of trade policies, procedures and standards. Partnering with governments and private sector organizations, OEGI seeks to reduce the number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, deepen regional integration, and advance the Single Customs Territory and Common Market.
- Reduce the time and cost of transport. Improve the performance of the most critical bottlenecks to transit and transport along the key Northern and Central Trade Corridors within the EAC, primarily focused at Port and Border Posts.
- Improve access to clean, reliable and cost-effective access to electricity in Kenya, and support increased cross-border energy trade for the wider East African region. Support development of the energy sector through financing, grants, technical assistance and investment promotion, to both public and private sector institutions, and the improvement of the enabling environment to facilitate increased private sector participation in power projects development.
- Increase private financing and investment in Kenya for USAID priority sectors, including energy, agriculture, and water and sanitation infrastructure, through technical assistance programs and a portfolio of Development Credit Authority (DCA) partial credit guarantees with 13 Kenyan financial institutions.
- Improve access to water and sanitation. OEGI manages USAID/KEA’s water and sanitation activities in Kenya and also manages water and sanitation activities in Kenya that are funded by AID/Washington. USAID/KEA is currently the chair of Water Sector Technical Group, which serves as the technical arm of the development partners for coordinating water and sanitation activities.
- Provide direct assistance and technical support to the RIGOs to advance shared priority development objectives and improve their organizational and technical capacity.
Major Duties and Responsibilities
The employee will develop and help manage communications throughout OEGI’s seven technical areas of Trade, Investment, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Feed the Future Kenya and Regional, Energy and Resilience. In addition, the employee will promote USAID/Kenya and East Africa (KEA)’s resilience platforms that cut across several technical offices within KEA or across missions within the region, namely Kenya’s Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) and the regional Horn of Africa Resilience Network (HoRN). The employee will manage all communications to numerous internal and external stakeholders including bilateral USAID Missions, USAID/Washington, and other U.S. Agencies or Departments. Using various resources and tracking programs to produce both internal and external communications, the employee will ensure messages are consistent with the overall USAID/KEA objectives to explain, promote, and raise awareness of OEGI and resilience platform activities. This will include developing communication materials, case studies, white papers, newsletter content, social media content, speeches, briefing checklists (BCLs), and other tools as necessary to raise awareness of the portfolio and highlight success stories to ensure that all stakeholders are well informed of OEGI and resilience platform activities and to maximize opportunities for coordinated programming, sharing of best practices, and improved knowledge management across the region. In addition, the employee will develop and provide trainings for OEGI and its implementing partners to strengthen communication skills and practices and will support, as requested, a broad range of communication approaches including public events and social media.
Outreach and Communications: 65%
● Develop a strategic communications plan and support messaging to highlight the progress of OEGI-funded activities towards the achievement of their overall goals and USAID/KEA objectives.
● Coordinate with the USADI/KEA Development Outreach Coordinator (DOC) to leverage local, regional and international media relationships that will ensure OEGI events/stories are covered on a timely basis with appropriate content and that USAID and Embassy Nairobi staff are well informed of OEGI activities, including USAID/KEA’s resilience platform events.
● Establish excellent working relationships and strategic engagement with a wide range of senior figures within the development and USG community related to communications, including communications officials in other USAID Missions, AID/Washington, the USAID/KEA DOC team, the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section (PAS) in Kenya, the Kenya and regional donor community, and OEGI’s implementing partners throughout the East Africa region.
● Support and advise OEGI leadership to ensure uninterrupted proper internal and external messaging for all of OEGI’s activities. The employee will need to be a thoughtful, diplomatic, consensus-building, strategic, analytical, and a leader. The employee must be able to use excellent judgment and have the ability to deal with ambiguity at all levels.
● Support logistics for OEGI and USAID/KEA resilience conferences, training events, press interviews, VIP visits, launches of project activities, or other events to ensure events run smoothly and meet USAID messaging goals.
● Write and/or edit briefing checklists (BCLs), speeches, talking points, blogs, success stories, press releases and other communications materials as needed by OEGI, the USAID/KEA resilience platforms, USAID/KEA senior management, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, or other VIPs as directed, in support of USAID-sponsored public events.
● Develop external communication materials, case studies, white papers, regional newsletter content, social media content, and other tools as necessary to raise awareness of OEGI and USAID/KEA resilience activities and success stories, and ensure that stakeholders, including bilateral missions in the region, are well informed of OEGI activities.
● Advise and make recommendations to USAID staff, the USAID Mission Director, technical offices, implementing partners, and others to communicate about the work and achievements of OEGI. Ensure that all activities well-coordinated with other donor activities through regular updates given to USAID stakeholders and external development partners, including Annual Reports, Portfolio Reviews, Congressional Budget Justifications, briefings, newsletters and talking points.
● Assist OEGI staff to periodically review implementing partner communication strategies and practices, and provide guidance on USAID branding and marking requirements as required by each award.
General Management: 35%
● Maintain a current database with all relevant communications contacts that are involved in the implementation of OEGI and USAID/KEA’s resilience platform activities (i.e. spokespersons and programmatic focal points from implementing partners, USAID Missions in East Africa, AID/Washington, Embassy Nairobi agencies, other donors, etc.).
● Proofread and edit OEGI materials to provide quality control.
● Maintain an OEGI repository of publications, fact-sheets and briefers and work with the DOC to ensure periodic publications are completed and submitted on time. These include the Annual OEGI Report and OEGI input into the annual USAID/KEA Events Calendar.
Knowledge level required: Knowledge applicable to a wide range of duties involving oral and written communication principles, practices, techniques and methods; analytical methods; and interpersonal relations practices. Skill in applying such knowledge in the modification of standard methods and adaptation of approaches in developing new information materials aimed at enhancing the understanding of groups or individuals of the significant issues of an agency's program. Knowledge applicable to and skill in assessing public reaction and identifying extent of understanding achieved to evaluate effectiveness of information programs. Knowledge and skill to explain significant issues to generally responsive groups or individuals interested in the agency's programs.
Available Guidelines: The employee must be able to exercise broad knowledge of USAID regulations related to communications, Africa Bureau and PPL procedural guidance, USAID/USG strategy documents, Mission Orders, Automated Directive System (ADS), and the Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAR), PPL policies, and other USAID or USG policies related to communications. The employee must be proactive in keeping abreast of evolving guidelines and policies of the Strategic Planning and Analysis (SPA) Office, the SPA DOC team, and USAID/KEA, including but not limited to the Branding and Marking Guidance, Mission Orders, Mission Notices, and USG procurement regulations.
Guidelines including operating instructions, public affairs manuals, agency or local policies and regulations, and standard agency public affairs practices and precedents are readily available and generally applicable to situations encountered, although some gaps exist in specific areas. For routine work situations, the communications Advisor independently selects, interprets and applies the guides, modifying and adapting them to suit specific situations not directly covered by the guidelines. In addition, the specialist is beginning to interpret and apply guidelines and precedents in some unusual situations without assistance from others.
Supervisory Controls: The Communication Advisor will work under the supervision of the OEGI Senior Operations Specialist. The employee will exercise independence and decision making authority in carrying out duties, subject to final review by the Senior Operations Specialist and the OEGI Office Chief. The supervisor will set overall objectives and resources available, and work with the employee to develop deadlines, projects, and work to be accomplished. The employee will be responsible for planning and carrying out assignments, resolving most conflicts, coordinating with others, and interpreting policy in terms of established objectives. Keeping the supervisor informed of progress, the employee may determine the approach to be taken and the methodology to be used. The supervisor will review completed work from an overall standpoint of feasibility, compatibility with other work, or effectiveness in meeting requirements. The supervisor will review and approve the employee’s work plan and performance measures. The employee is expected to work independently with limited guidance, take initiative where appropriate, and support the writing, coordination, and communication needs of OEGI staff members and KEA Resilience platforms, as appropriate.
Authority to Make Commitments: The incumbent is expected to take initiative and act independently with little direction, but will have no authority to make financial commitments on behalf of the USG unless such authority is specifically delegated.
Nature, Level, and Purpose of Contacts: Maintain professional and effective working and senior level contacts with internal and external stakeholders including USAID and other USG officials (USAID DOC, Embassy Public Affairs, Embassy Political/Econ officers, Foreign Commercial Section, Foreign Agriculture Service, United States Department of Agriculture, etc.) senior implementing partner representatives including EAC, COMESA, and IGAD officials, as well as Government of Kenya officials.
Supervision Exercised: None
Work Environment: Work is primarily performed in an office setting. If the employee travels, the work may additionally involve safety and/or security precautions, wearing of protective equipment, and exposure to severe weather conditions.
Time Required to Perform Full Range of Duties After Entry Into Position: It is expected that the incumbent will have the ability to immediately perform the full range of duties as listed above. This will require specific experience in food assistance programming and USAID regulations.
Security Clearance Requirement: USAID/W issued clearance level at the Facility/Computer Access Level (if U.S citizens) or Moderate Risk Public Trust access authorization (if U.S Permanent resident or Third Country National)
Travel Requirement: The employee must be available and able to travel through the greater East Africa region, including Kenya. Travel may represent 15% of total work time.
Support Items: The employee will be provided with the support services, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform the work. This will include a work station that includes a desk, computer, file cabinets, network access, with the possibility for mobile computing devices based on need and Mission management approval.
Sunday Pay: Is not authorized.
II. SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS
The incumbent must meet the following requirements in education and professional experience:
Education: A master’s degree in a relevant professional discipline such as media, journalism, communications, international relations, history, anthropology, human rights and/or law degree. However, five years or more of substantive and specifically relevant experience may be acceptable in lieu of a master's degree.
Professional Experience: The candidate is required to have a minimum of seven years of experience directly involved in media, outreach and communications in development partner and/or donor contexts. The candidate must have excellent interpersonal and networking skills and the ability to liaise authoritatively with representatives from the development sector, local media, local government, USG, and other relevant actors. Clear understanding and demonstrated skills in outreach and coordination of organizational messaging is required.
The candidate must have demonstrated experience in leading consultations and facilitation of various teams with diverse backgrounds and development perspectives; applying broad USG (or similar development organizations) principles, policies and strategies; leading effective USG interagency, partner country, and donor coordination; and working with USG leadership at the working- and senior-levels.
Additional Desired Skills:
Working knowledge of USG policies, priorities and strategies;
Demonstrated familiarity and expertise with a diverse range of communications software.
Ability to lead meetings and presentations with internal and external stakeholders.
III. EVALUATION AND SELECTION FACTORS
Applicants who clearly meet the skills and qualifications requirements will be further evaluated based on scoring of Evaluation Factor responses submitted with the applicant’s application.
Applicants are required to address each of the following Evaluation Factors in a separate document describing specifically and accurately what experience, training, education and/or awards they have received that are relevant to each factor. The evaluation factors will be used to determine the competitive ranking of qualified applicants in comparison to other applicants. Be sure to include your name and the announcement number at the top of each additional page. Failure to specifically address the Evaluation Factors may result in you not receiving credit for all pertinent experience, education, training and/or awards.
Applicants should cite specific, illustrative examples for each Evaluation Factor. Responses must be limited to 500 words per factor. Any words above the limit will neither be read nor scored.
Factor #1: Demonstrated experience designing and managing strategic communication programs related to economic growth and development, preferably in East Africa.
Factor #2: Demonstrated experience preparing outreach materials for a wide range of outlets and audiences including print, video, and social media.
Factor #3: Demonstrated experience coordinating with U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, national or local governments, and/or other high-profile entities supporting economic growth.
The most qualified candidates may be interviewed, required to provide a writing sample, and demonstrate an ability to operate commonly used office applications. USAID will not pay for any expenses associated with the interviews. In addition, applications (written materials and interviews) will be evaluated based on content as well as on the applicant's writing, presentation, and communication skills. If a candidate has fully demonstrated his/her qualifications and there are no other competitive applicants, USAID reserves the right to forego the interview process. Professional references and academic credentials will be evaluated for applicants being considered for selection.
Applicants selected for an interview will be asked to submit three examples of previously developed visual and/or written materials in order to demonstrate experience editing and developing a range of visual and/or written materials for external and internal communications, including websites.
Factor #1 – 25 points
Factor #2 – 25 points
Factor #3 – 10 points
Examples of Materials – 10 points
Interview Performance – 30 points
Satisfactory Professional Reference Checks – Pass/Fail (no points assigned)
Total Possible Points: 100
 Resident hire means a U.S. citizen who, at the time of hire as a PSC, resides in the cooperating country as a spouse or dependent of a U.S. citizen employed by a U.S. government agency or under any U.S. government-financed contract or agreement, or for reasons other than for employment with a U.S. government agency or under any U.S. government-financed contract or agreement. A U.S. citizen for purposes of this definition also includes persons who at the time of contracting are lawfully admitted permanent residents of the United States.