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volunteer: Assistant to the International Communications Team, Dakar, Senegal

The Assistant to the International Communications Team has the important job of tracking and managing coverage of all international stories. This will be done in collaboration with the International Communications Team, the Volunteer Coordinator, Regional and Country Volunteers, and in-country staff, especially National Coordinators. This goal will be achieved mainly through the collecting, researching, and writing of stories to share with Tostan’s international network of supporters and partners. The Communications Assistant will travel to the field when necessary, but will primarily use other volunteers’ first-hand depictions of events, program participants’ stories, village portraits, and other various reports to write communications documents that will be used to share Tostan’s important work with others around the world.
Date: June 2011
Minimum commitment: 6 months
Hours per week: 40 hours/week, but must also be flexible to work/travel on weekends depending on projects
Location: Dakar, Senegal
Direct supervisor(s): Manager of African Communications             
Collaborator(s): International Communications Team members in Dakar, DC, and Paris, and Tostan Sweden

Primary Responsibilities:     

  • Assist the international team to track, organize, and coordinate all communications activities
  • Manage the Story Tracking Sheet, a document that lists and summarizes all potential stories and events at Tostan
  • Keep Communications team up-do-date regarding upcoming events/stories
  • Update tracking spreadsheet on the intranet
  • Update the Tostan Events calendar
  • Develop relationships and keep in contact with National Coordinators and regional volunteers to ask for stories, event descriptions, portraits
  • Participate in bi-weekly International Communications Team meetings; keep minutes and email to team within two days of each meeting
  • Submit week-in-review communications update email to Executive Director and International Communications team
  • Along with the Volunteer Coordinator, coordinate volunteers attending and writing reports for all major events
  • Manage and constantly improve declaration/major events communications documents (fact sheet, guidelines for 24-hour reports, questionnaires, templates, etc.)
  • Ensure that village portraits, final event reports, and articles are written, proofread, and translated (when necessary) before sharing final documents with international team
  • Manage Picasa web album tracking sheet and work with volunteers to ensure that photos are being uploaded following Tostan photo guidelines
  • Using the Picasa web album tracking sheet, work with volunteers who attend events, write reports, etc. to develop Flickr photo albums to accompany press releases, articles, etc.
  • Assist the Manager of African Communications with projects related to African media and press coverage
  • Assist staff to professionally present Tostan’s work, including during donor and partner visits, with local and national media, in the office space, etc.
Secondary Responsibilities:
  • In collaboration with the Webmaster, work to develop user-friendly Communications page on the Intranet
  • Help to develop an archival system for the international communications team in order to maintain copies of all press releases, articles, stories, etc. produced by the international team
  • In collaboration with the Communications Assistant for Special Projects (Dakar),  produce publicity materials (in French and English), such as website pages, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, films (if qualified), etc.
  • Write and edit reports, proposals, articles, etc. for the International Communications Team, including translation and/or other administrative projects as necessary
  • Initiate capacity-building activities for staff in ICT skills, report writing, statistical data collection and analysis, and English through trainings, workshops, and collaboration/critique
Final Products
  • Up-to-date story tracking document to handover to whomever takes over document management
  • Electronic copies of all documents produced, edited, etc. to supervisor, incoming volunteer, and Volunteer Coordinator
  • Final narrative report of individual activities for internal distribution and adaptation for external use
  • Completed “Request for Volunteer” forms, submitted to the Volunteer Coordinator, as needed
  • Other activities, as requested by Executive Team, Volunteer Coordinator, and other immediate supervisors and collaborators

Qualifications and Necessary Skills
  • Bachelors degree or current enrollment in Bachelors program; studies in International Development, Education, Gender Studies, another social sciences, Business, Management, or related field
  • Experience working with a non-governmental organization / non-profit OR prolonged experience in a developing country
  • Thorough understanding of Tostan’s programs and methodologies
  • Strong written and spoken proficiency in English (writing sample required)
  • Capable of working with external stakeholders on planning and program implementation
  • Strong computer skills in Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; experience with Access or other database software preferred
  • Knowledge of Gmail, Google Groups, Google Documents, Google Calendars, and other Internet programs preferred.
  • Project management experience preferred
  • Ability to be persistent and diplomatic, and to establish mutual respect among Tostan staff, project partners, and local community members
  • Ability to define and meet organizational needs with minimum supervision or oversight, and to manage multiple tasks at once
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Flexible to adapt to a multicultural environment, to work in varied conditions, to be considerate of limited resources, and to adapt work priorities to the immediate needs of the project or donor
  • Ability to travel independently


As a non-profit organization who works to commit the maximum level of resources to our communities, we rely on volunteers to cover many of their own costs during their volunteerships. These costs include expenses such as travel between their home countries and work countries, medical costs, and other personal incidentals such as meals, personal travel, clothes, etc. We in turn do our best to commit to covering housing and weekday lunches for all of our volunteers.

Professional Experience:

  • Hands on experience with an internationally recognized NGO
  • Development of curriculum vitae/resume
  • Opportunity to develop highly sought-after skills in project management, training, and written and oral communication in a multicultural, multilingual environment
  • Opportunity to collaborate and interact with communities, Tostan staff, international volunteers, and a variety of donors and partners
  • Common volunteer housing and utilities
  • Lunch Monday-Friday
  • All work-related travel covered by Tostan
  • Internet access in office during business hours
Trainings provided:
  • Week-long volunteer orientation with other volunteers
  • Introduction to national language skills
  • Short introduction to software
  • Other training, as deemed necessary and appropriate by supervisors
To learn more about the Tostan Africa Volunteer Program and the application process, please click here .

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