Solicitation for Local Hire U.S. Personal Services Contractor (PSC): Strategic Communications Manager, GS-14 – Amendment 1 ( US citizens only)

  • Added Date: Friday, 17 January 2020
  • Deadline Date: Friday, 31 January 2020

Solicitation No.: Mission Notice 19-145 (0001)

Issuance Date: January 17, 2020

Closing Date/Time: January 31, 2020 04:30 p.m. (Nairobi Time)

SUBJECT: Solicitation for Local Hire U.S. Personal Services Contractor (PSC): Strategic Communications Manager, GS-14 – 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. 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.



Natalya Komarova

Executive Officer

Attachment 1:


  1. SOLICITATION NO.: Mission Notice (MN) 19-145 (0001)

  2. ISSUANCE DATE: 01/17/2020

  3. CLOSING DATE/TIME: 01/31/2020 at 04:30 p.m. (Nairobi Time)

  4. POSITION TITLE: Strategic Communications Manager

  5. MARKET VALUE: $92,977 to $120,868 equivalent to GS-14. Final compensation will be negotiated within the listed market value.

  6. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: One (1) year, with four (4) one-year options Not-to-exceed five (5) subject to funding availability and satisfactory performance or better.

  7. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: Nairobi, Kenya


· U.S. Citizens currently residing in Kenya[1]. Citizenship, if dual, must be clearly stated.

· Submit a complete application as outlined in the solicitation section titled APPLYING;

· Be able to obtain a USAID/W issued clearance level at the Facility/Computer Access;

· Be able to obtain a medical clearance;

· Employment is subject to funds availability and all the required approvals obtained.

SECURITY LEVEL REQUIRED: Facility/Computer Access

POINT OF CONTACT: Executive Office/Human Resources, Patrick Bii, HR Assistant, email at

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The primary location of work will be on the U.S. Embassy compound in Nairobi, Kenya. No special demands are required to perform the work.**



The USAID/Kenya and East Africa Environment Office is responsible for implementing a number of high-level U.S. government initiatives including President Trump’s Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking, which identified wildlife trafficking as a threat to public safety and national security, given its link to transnational organized crime. In addition, the Office is implementing the U.S. Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, and the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act. Kenya is a Tier 1 Country under the USAID Biodiversity Policy and East Africa is a Tier 2 Country, meaning that mission resources and staff must align activities to achieve positive outcomes to protect biologically significant ecosystems. USAID’s biodiversity earmark remains strong, with significant expectations for advancing cutting-edge conservation programming with high impact.

USAID is a leader in donor coordination in Kenya for wildlife conservation and climate change and prioritizes significant staff engagement on donor coordination and host-country engagement. USAID is an active member in the Development Partners Wildlife Issues Group and is a leader in the U.S. Embassy’s Counter Wildlife Trafficking sub-working group. These expectations require appropriate human capital resources to support the operational objectives.


The incumbent will provide requisite technical and programmatic advice and support (internal and external) for the management and implementation of the ENV Office Project Appraisal Document (PAD) and Regional Development Cooperation Strategy (RDCS) related to communications. The RDCS is the highest-level strategic planning document for the Mission which guides all programming priorities, policies, and activities of the Mission. It is critical to ensure that USG investments are directed towards the greatest results and impacts. 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.

Outreach and Communications: 65%

● Assess current communications products and develop a strategic communications plan in coordination with the Development Outreach Coordinator (DOC)/Strategic Planning & Analysis Office (SPA) and support messaging to highlight the progress of ENV-funded activities towards the achievement of their overall goals and USAID/KEA objectives. Ensure that Collaboration, Learning and Adapting (CLA) is strongly embedded in the ENV communications strategy.

● Ensure that the ENV communications strategy supports the office’s and mission’s objectives for the Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR).

● Coordinate with the USAID/KEA DOC to leverage local, regional and international media relationships that will ensure ENV events/stories are covered on a timely basis with appropriate content and that USAID and Embassy Nairobi staff are well informed of ENV activities, including ENV 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 ENV’s implementing partners throughout Kenya and the East Africa region.

● Support and advise ENV leadership to ensure uninterrupted proper internal and external messaging for all ENV’s activities. This includes developing a proactive communications plan to provide a counter narrative to work by certain social-media personalities that are actively trying to undermine the investments in community conservation supported by the ENV office. Support logistics for ENV conferences, training events, press interviews, VIP visits, launches of project activities, or other events to ensure events run smoothly and meet USAID messaging goals. The ENV Office manages a stream of VIP visits related to interest in wildlife trafficking from CODELs, USAID Washington leadership, Cabinet Secretaries and the White House.

● Write and/or edit briefing checklists (BCLs), speeches, talking points, blogs, success stories, press releases and other communications materials as needed by ENV, the USAID/KEA 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 for Agency-wide publications such as Impact Blog, Frontlines, case studies, success stories, and social media content, etc.

● Serve as editor of the ENV monthly e-newsletter, developing thematic foci each month, proper content, and audience reach. Analyze reach and impact of each newsletter.

● Develop an effective communication plan for the ENV office with all relevant bilateral and other regional missions for both EA regional activities as well as for EA ENV support mechanisms which Missions across Africa utilize. Ensure a strong element of CLA in all cross-mission communications products, meetings, and workshops so they are well informed of ENV activities.

● Ensure all communications products for all program cycle planning and reporting, including Annual Reports, Portfolio Reviews, Congressional Budget Justifications, briefings, etc. are well written and presented on time.

● Manage weekly Implementing Partner updates and submit edited version to Front Office.

● Assist ENV staff to periodically review implementing partner communication strategies and practices and provide guidance on USAID branding and marking requirements as required by each award.

● Develop written responses and compile other information as requested by GAO during their completion of the Kenya Wildlife Trafficking and Poaching Assessment for Congress.

Activity/Partnership Management: 25%

● Serve as Task Manager for several strategic ENV office awards under the EA PAD sub IR: Increase the Perceived Value of Living Wildlife. This will include awards to 1) Internews and the Earth Journalism Network for journalist training and development of investigative reporting; 2) Wildlife Direct for conservation television programming in East Africa; 3) USFS communications support.

● Serve as lead for further development and growth of partnership with the National Geographic Society for several high-potential future, and current, partnerships using the NGS Partners media group to advance USAID objectives for both the bilateral and regional programs.

General Management: 10%

● Maintain a current database with all relevant communications contacts that are involved in the implementation of ENV activities (i.e. spokespersons and programmatic focal points from implementing partners, USAID Missions in East Africa, AID/Washington, Embassy Nairobi agencies, other donors, etc.).

● Maintain an ENV repository of publications, photos, factsheets and briefers and work with the DOC to ensure periodic publications are completed and submitted on time. These include the Annual ENV Report and ENV input into the annual USAID/KEA Events Calendar.


a. 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 the effectiveness of information programs. Knowledge and skill to explain significant issues to generally responsive groups or individuals interested in the Environment Office’s programs. Prior experience in a position of similar complexity is preferred. The individual should have experience developing communication materials. Strong writing, analytical, interpersonal and coordination skills are required.

b. Supervisory Controls:** The Strategic Communications Manager will work under the supervision of the Supervisory Natural Resources Office Chief. The employee will exercise independence and decision-making authority in carrying out duties, subject to final review by the Supervisory Natural Resources 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. However, a high degree of autonomy, self-direction and time management is required. 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 lead writing, coordination, and communication needs as appropriate.

c. Supervision Exercised: No supervision is performed under this position.

d. Guidelines:** The incumbent 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), the Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAR), and other USAID or USG policies related to communications. The employee must be proactive in keeping abreast of evolving guidelines and policies of the Environment (ENV) Office, the Mission DOC team, and USAID/KEA, including but not limited to the Branding and Marking Guidance, Mission Orders, Mission Notices, and USG procurement regulations. For routine work situations, the Strategic Communications Manager 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 will interpret and apply guidelines and precedents in some unusual situations without assistance from others. 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

e. Level of Complexity:** Duties are significantly varied and require many different unrelated processes and methods that are applied to a broad range of problems/situations that require a substantial depth of analysis.

f. Scope and Effect:** This position provides robust and strategic communication on USAID/Kenya and East Africa Environment Office’s commitments in achieving high-level U.S. government initiatives including President Trump’s Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking, the U.S. Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, and the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act.

g. Level and Purpose of Contacts: Maintain professional and effective working relations and senior level contacts with internal and external stakeholders including USAID and other USG officials (USAID DOC, Embassy Public Affairs, Counter Wildlife Trafficking sub working group), senior implementing partner representatives including EAC and IGAD officials, as well as Government of Kenya officials. The incumbent must demonstrate a high level of sensitivity to the diverse cultural context in Kenya and the region.

h. 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.

i. Security Clearance Requirement: Facility/Computer Access

j. 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.

k. Support Items: The employee will be provided with the support services, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform the work. This will include a workstation that includes a desk, computer, file cabinets, network access, with the possibility for mobile computing devices based on need and Mission management approval.

l. Sunday Pay: Is not authorized.


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 and anthropology. However, 10 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 eight 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:

  1. Working knowledge of USG policies, priorities and strategies.
  2. Demonstrated familiarity and expertise with a diverse range of communications software.
  3. Ability to lead meetings and presentations with internal and external stakeholders.


The Government may award a contract without discussions with offerors in accordance with FAR 52.215-1. The CO reserves the right at any point in the evaluation process to establish a competitive range of offerors with whom negotiations will be conducted pursuant to FAR 15.306(c). In accordance with FAR 52.215-1, if the CO determines that the number of offers that would otherwise be in the competitive range exceeds the number at which an efficient competition can be conducted, the CO may limit the number of offerors in the competitive range to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition among the most highly rated offers. FAR provisions of this solicitation are available at

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 your not receiving credit for all your pertinent experience, education, training and/or awards.

Applicants should cite specific, illustrative examples for each Evaluation Factor. Responses must be limited to 1500 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 combating wildlife trafficking in Kenya and 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.

Evaluation Scoring:

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

[1] 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.

This vacancy is archived.

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