Communications Assistant: Early Childhood Development (full-time post-graduation)

Communications Assistant: Early Childhood Development
Knowledge for Policy Team, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, The Hague
full-time post-graduation

After five decades of investing in early childhood development, the Bernard van Leer Foundation is entering a new phase where we believe the major challenge is the transition to scale. Plenty of ideas to improve the youngest children’s health, nutrition, protection and learning have proven their worth in small-scale projects – but how do we effectively reach hundreds of thousands or millions of children? In our current strategy (2016-2020), we have chosen to address this question in two ways. Pioneering Scalable Solutions: First, we are focusing on two ideas emerging from the inspiring work of our partners that we believe have potential for impact and scale. Both ideas – Parents+ and Urban95 - look for opportunities to incorporate greater focus on early childhood development in activities already taking place at scale. Parents+ combines coaching activities for parents and other caregivers about early child development with at least one other service designed to meet a child and/or her parents’ basic needs. For example, health workers who provide coaching on health, nutrition and early learning to families that also benefit from cash transfers; home visitors who provide coaching on child health and nutrition combined with mental health screening of mothers; coaching on early learning and child protection to parents also receiving agricultural productivity inputs to improve crop yields; and parent coaching on emergent literacy skills delivered in combination with pre-school services. Urban95 partners with cities around the world to look at their cities from an elevation of 95cm – the average height of a healthy three-year-old – and incorporate the resulting insights into city planning, design and management. For example, working with city planners and designers to transform storefronts, rooftops and vacant lots into green areas for children and caregivers to play, meet and rest; helping city administrators develop neighbourhood level dashboards with comprehensive data about early childhood development that can be seen by all city departments; or working with city transportation officials to make it easier and safer for parents with young children to walk to services such as healthcare, childcare and pre-school education. Building Blocks: Second, we will continue our long history of helping to track, curate and share the latest advances in the field of early childhood development. In the next five years, we will focus this aspect of our work on promoting the science of nurturing care and sharing best practices in how to transition successful early childhood programmes to scale. Through this work, we will engage both specialists in early childhood development, as well as non-specialist advocates, policymakers, funders and managers who are responsible for early childhood development within a larger portfolio of responsibility. Our primary activities will include (1) expanding the scope of our signature journal Early Childhood Matters to include a suite of products for a wider audience, a series of live events to encourage discussion and the use of strategic partnerships to increase distribution; (2) providing financial and technical support to advocacy that uses the science of nurturing care to raise awareness about the importance of the early years and secure more public and private financing for early childhood development; and (3) providing financial and technical support to the development and delivery of capacity building activities for policymakers, funders and managers to help them transition small-scale projects to large-scale policies and programmes. In the next five years, we will concentrate on seven countries chosen for their economic, geographic and cultural diversity: Brazil, India, Israel, Ivory Coast, the Netherlands, Peru and Turkey. We are also launching one regional initiative to improve support for Syrian families who have been forcibly displaced across the Middle East and Europe. Finally, we will reserve a portion of our budget to invest in selected partnerships in other geographies where we observe the kind of exceptional momentum and energy required to achieve large scale change for the youngest kids. In addition to providing financial support, we also act as a ‘knowledge broker’ to track, develop and share knowledge on early childhood development policies and programs with organizations who work at a large scale, such as governments, foundations, international organizations and businesses. This work is organized primarily by the new Knowledge for Policy (K4P) team. As part of this mandate, K4P is responsible for BvLF’s internal and external communications. Responsibilities: As we are building up the team and engaging in a number of new activities, we are seeking short term support. The role of Communications Assistant is a one-year position to provide support to K4P communications activities. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to participate in a number of exciting new external and internal communications activities, including the expansion of our signature publication, Early Childhood Matters and the development of a more structured approach to internal and external reporting. Core communications-related activities include: (1) disseminating knowledge on early childhood development, for example through the publication of our signature publication Early Childhood Matters, on which we will be refreshing the branding and expanding distribution; (2) supporting all staff to communicate compellingly about our work, for example developing and maintaining a basic set of flyers and presentation slides on our investment areas and key partnerships; and (3) facilitating internal communications and reporting, for example coordinating the production of our annual external report and internal lessons-learned report. The following competencies are important for all BvLF positions: (1) teamwork; (2) learning ability; and (3) result orientation. Job specific competencies include (1) planning and organisation; (2) creativity; (3) client orientedness; and (4) written communication. The communications Assistant will work closely together with the Communications Publishing Officer and the Knowledge for Policy Director to support new and ongoing communications activities. New initiatives include development (1) new communications materials for the BvLF, including flyers and presentation slides; (2) launching the 2017 Early Childhood Matters, including expanding distribution through new partnerships and developing new knowledge products under the ECM ‘brand;” and (3) co-ordinating a more structured approach to internal and external reporting, culminating in the publication of our external Annual Report 2017 and a new internal lessons-learned report. Responsibilities and tasks include, but are not limited to (1) liaising with our designers and copywriters; (2) supporting the publication production process, e.g. requesting pictures from authors, liaising with the translator, sending thank you notes to contributors; (3) co-ordinating the digital publication and dissemination process, e.g. uploading to the website and publishing on social media, uploading individual articles, running distribution lists (for offline and online dissemination); (4) supporting the development of our visual materials (e.g., managing and populating the online and offline photo database [upload, required info, tags]); providing support for colleagues to access images; providing support to country offices to organise photo shoots); (5) responding to internal and external requests for publications; (6) formatting documents; (7) contributing to our social media feeds; and (8) other activities as required. Requirements and Qualifications: (1) Bachelor’s degree or significant work experience related to communications; (2) strong affinity for and love for communications; (3) highly organised and pro-active, with a demonstrated ability to manage projects and to organise one’s own work; (4) strong skills in Word, Powerpoint and a range of digital tools; (4) fluent in spoken and written English. Dutch and/or Spanish is highly desirable; and (5) passionate about social change or international development, and driven to make a difference in the lives of the youngest citizens. Additional Information: Position reports to Publishing Officer and is a one year contract. Location is The Hague, The Netherlands. Principal relationships inside BvLF are Knowledge for Policy Director, Knowledge for Policy Team, Executive Director, Programme Team, Operations Team. Principal relationships outside BvLF are strategic institutional or individual contacts, partners. To Apply: Contact Rachel Machefsky at (posted 3/2017)