USAID/Ukraine Solicitation for U.S. Personal Services Contractor (USPSC), Senior Communications Advisor, GS-15

Speeches Shim

I. GENERAL INFORMATION

1. SOLICITATION NO.: 72012121R00003

2. ISSUANCE DATE: July 09, 2021

3. CLOSING DATE/TIME FOR RECEIPT OF OFFERS: August 08, 2021 (11:59 p.m. EST)

4. POSITION TITLE: Senior Communications Advisor

5. MARKET VALUE: $110,460 - $143,598 per annum, equivalent to GS-15

Final compensation will be negotiated within the listed market value

6. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: one (1) year, with four (4) option years.  Options may be exercised based upon satisfactory contractor performance, mutual agreement between the Contractor and USG, continued Mission requirements and the continued availability of funds

7. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: Kyiv, Ukraine – with possible travel as stated in the Statement of Duties

8. SECURITY LEVEL REQUIRED: Secret

9. STATEMENT OF DUTIES

BASIC FUNCTIONS OF THE POSITION:

The Senior Communications Advisor reports directly to the Program Office (PRO) Director of the USAID Regional Mission for Ukraine and Belarus. The Mission is responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of USAID-funded activities operating in Ukraine and Belarus. This is USAID’s largest and most complex Mission in the Europe and Eurasia region, with an annual budget of approximately $200 million, 50 distinct activities and a total portfolio value of $1 billion. Due to the region’s strategic importance to the U.S. Government (USG), the Mission receives a high number of senior-level official visitors, works closely with interagency, host government, and civil society actors, and places a high importance on communication and outreach to advance USG priorities and highlight the impact of development efforts.

The Senior Communications Advisor ("Advisor") will be a key member of the Regional Mission’s Senior Management Team and PRO, supervising the Development Outreach and Communications (DOC) team (housed within PRO) whose primary objective is to generate greater public awareness about, and support for, U.S. assistance to Ukraine and Belarus. Other major responsibilities include: developing and implementing integrated, highly-effective communications strategies and campaigns; developing/writing/editing all external Mission high-level communications and outreach materials (in collaboration with the respective technical offices, the Embassy Public Affairs section, and others) to various external audiences; planning, carrying out, and serving as the control person for trips by high-level visitors; preparing, overseeing, and supervising the creation of high quality briefing materials, scene setters, and other materials to effectively communicate USAID's work and advance the impact of operations and further USG policy objectives; developing, monitoring, and improving Mission outreach and communications tools, including social and digital media; and planning, scheduling, and executing public events, conferences, seminars, press conferences, interviews, and other public-facing activities. The Advisor will provide expert communications advice and support to Mission priorities. 

The Advisor is required to proactively plan and execute his/her time to maximize the effectiveness and impact of communications efforts. S/he must balance a large variety of needs across the DOC portfolio and with USAID’s technical offices, Front Office, Washington colleagues, the interagency, Implementing Partners, host country and international media, civil society, the private sector, and the host government.  S/he will interact on a daily basis with the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Office (PAO) and others to ensure that USAID efforts are aligned with and mutually reinforcing of U.S. Embassy priorities and programs and that staff are aware of and coordinate with USAID activities.  S/he will also serve as the principal liaison with other USAID colleagues, including the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau (LPA) and Europe and Eurasia (E&E) Bureau communications staff in Washington, D.C.

MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

A.  Supervision and Coordination of Outreach and Communications

The Advisor is responsible for managing and supervising the DOC unit, exercising complicated and independent decision making over broad programmatic areas, setting overall priorities, ensuring deadlines are met, determining roles and responsibilities for the team, and providing support/training. Duties include:

  • Serve as the senior advisor to Mission leadership regarding public information, media relations, and outreach.
  • Supervise and provide direction to a team of four Foreign Service National (FSN) professionals, including two communications experts and two translator/interpreters, to ensure overall quality, timeliness, and coherence of the team’s communications and outreach products and initiatives.
  • Provide leadership, mentorship, coaching, and training to DOC team members as appropriate, in order to further develop the team’s skills and enhance effective team performance.
  • Advise and coordinate with Mission technical offices, the Embassy Public Affairs Section (PAS), implementing partners, and host government officials (as appropriate) on communications and outreach issues.
  • Coordinate with PAS, and other USG agencies, and USAID implementing partners to achieve maximum exposure and understanding of U.S. development efforts and initiatives, as defined by the Chief of Mission and USAID Mission Director.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of all USAID/Ukraine and Belarus activities and DOC processes, as well as a keen awareness of political and policy issues.
  • Provide oversight and guidance to a multimillion communications support mechanism.
  • Manage the DOC budget, which is part of the overall PRO budget.
  • Ensure proper management and execution of USAID-attended public and media events and communications campaigns; ensuring a cohesive, unified approach to outreach strategies, events and activities.
  • Develop and oversee implementation of communication strategies, branding and marking plans of all partners to achieve maximum exposure and understanding of USAID and USG humanitarian and development assistance efforts and initiatives.
  • Oversee the quality and publication of materials, including developing success stories, directing photo and video shoots, and coordinating graphic design.
  • Direct USAID digital communications work, including social media outreach, website updates, and digital photo and videography.
  • Serve as resident expert on USAID branding and style guidelines, ensuring staff and partners use and apply guidance as outlined in ADS 320 and the Agency’s Graphic Standards Manual; and recommending revisions as appropriate. Advise USAID staff and implementing partners regarding branding, collaboration, potential synergies in external communications, and on communications media strategy and relations.

B.  Strategic Communications

The Advisor will develop and implement a communications strategy, including traditional, online, and innovative outreach efforts and concomitant measures to monitor and evaluate progress toward communication objectives, adapting to changes in context and policy, as necessary. This includes:

  • Set communication policy for USAID/Ukraine and Belarus that promotes USAID and all USG programs to internal and external audiences, ensuring public awareness of programs and projects being funded by USAID and other USG Agencies.
  • Develop and coordinate a communication strategy to align with USG, Agency, Embassy, and Mission strategic objectives, priorities, and goals, in a complex, interconnected, complicated, fast-paced, and changing environment.
  • Innovatively translate the role and objectives of USAID and USG assistance into clear messaging, and define how information will be used to highlight the impact of USAID and USG assistance.
  • Develop methods of performance monitoring and for evaluating the effectiveness of outreach tools. These tools may include, but are not limited to, outreach events, the Mission's website, printed collateral, social media platforms, fact sheets, newsletters, video shorts, and advertising.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to promote the Mission's programs to internal and external audiences, facilitate information access across the Mission, and strengthen reporting functions to USAID/Washington, the Department of State, and the U.S. Congress.
  • Prepare and/or oversee a host of communications products, including daily bullets, monthly newsletters, annual reports, ad hoc reporting, targeted communications campaigns, etc. that align with, and advance, strategic goals, and promote understanding and knowledge of USG and USAID development priorities and activities.
  • Provide recommendations to Mission management on the selection, placement, and distribution of potential DOC materials in keeping with USAID's Country Development Cooperation Strategy. 
  • Keep up to date with new and innovative communications and outreach tools, including new technology, and make recommendations to Mission leadership about more effective methods of conducting and measuring outreach.
  • Establish/revise and maintain effective policies and procedures for Mission communications that clarify roles within the Mission, with the Embassy, and with implementing partners, including templates for communications tools, and guidelines for Mission materials and events
  • Relay related policies and achievements to key audiences in Ukraine and Belarus, the U.S. and throughout donor countries - and measure the success, reach and impact of communications efforts.
  • Collect, research, manage, and distribute information associated with U.S. Foreign Assistance in Ukraine and Belarus, maintaining quality control over all materials.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact and liaison for DOC related information, though s/he may delegate some of these responsibilities to DOC team members as necessary.

C.   Public Events and Activities

The Advisor will plan, schedule and execute activities to present Mission programs to the public and ensure maximum exposure while responding to a changing environment with conflicting possible technical solutions. This may include communications campaigns, site visits, field trips and media events.

Public events

  • Responsible for preparing schedules and briefing materials in collaboration with technical offices for events in which the Mission Director or Deputy Mission Director participates, as well as for the Ambassador and DCM for USAID events.
  • Ensure that scene setters, backgrounders, schedules, talking points, and speeches are prepared in a timely fashion and meet quality standards.
  • As requested, accompany the Mission Director, Deputy Mission Director, and/or other Mission colleagues to public speaking engagements, conferences, public affairs activities and site visits, providing input and assistance at the event.
  • Oversee coordination public events, including signing ceremonies, inaugurations, and/or dedications of USAID projects. As needed, coordinate with other USAID or Embassy officials, and implementing partners, on logistics, scheduling, seating and other arrangements.
  • Liaise with media (both traditional and social) to encourage coverage and amplification of public events and increase understanding and knowledge of USAID and USG programming and priorities by both the public of Ukraine and Belarus and the government of Ukraine.
  • Manage the posting of all event information and materials to the Mission website and social media sites
  • Draft and submit all press releases, interview requests, etc.  to appropriate entities for review and approval. Coordinate publication and promotion of releases and interviews to maximize exposure.
  • Manage/oversee photography and videography for USAID events for appropriate websites, social media feeds, and mission archives.

Outreach activities

  • As part of the strategic communications plan, produce and execute public outreach events and impactful communications campaigns, including  outreach to key audiences (U.S., Ukrainian, public sector, private sector, NGOs, etc.). Illustrative examples include USAID Ukraine Field Days and University Days and/or anti-corruption campaigns to press for reforms.
  • Develop and present outreach opportunities to technical office teams and implementing partners. These may include contractor and grantee implementing activities; and discussions on outreach and public relations issues facing the teams (participating where possible).
  • Manage USAID/Ukraine and Belarus video production and social media platforms. Because public outreach efforts increasingly rely on video and social media content, the Advisor will manage production of multiple videos annually, as well as oversee and develop daily content for the USAID Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
  • Liaise with and coordinate outreach with Embassy PAS, including cross-promotion of events and cross-posting of updates.

D.  Writing/Editorial Responsibilities and Quality Control

  • Draft/edit communication and outreach high-quality, timely materials for meetings with government and regional officials and other counterparts, including talking points, scene setters and other Mission documents
  • Appropriately manage multiple competing demands, both in terms of quantity and time pressures, for proofreading and editing throughout the year.
  • Help draft or edit major mission documents including the annual Operational Plan, Performance Plan and Report, Congressional Budget Justification, and various strategic plans.
  • Serve as the Mission speechwriter as directed, responsible for editing and clearing background materials, presentations and talking points for events attended by the Mission Director, the U.S. Ambassador and other officials.
  • Review correspondence and reporting on Mission activities to ensure that documents are written in a clear and professional manner.
  • Offer guidance on style to the Front Office, DOC team, and technical offices, conforming to the standards of USAID LPA branding and style guidelines, Associated Press (AP) Style, and professional business English.
  • Where necessary, coach and prepare the Mission Director, Deputy Mission Director or other USAID staff in advance of major speeches and media events.

E. Media & Visitor Relations

Liaising with the Press

  • Build and maintain relationships with international and local media entities, and public outreach staff of USAID implementing partners. 
  • Coordinate information dissemination and journalist outreach in collaboration with USAID technical offices, the Public Affairs Section, Washington/LPA, E&E Bureau communications staff, other donors, and with non-USG entities. 
  • Provide expertise in planning, researching, drafting and/or editing press releases, fact sheets, and brochures targeting regional and international media sources.  
  • Lead USAID mission media activities, liaising with the PAS media team, and working closely with PAS staff and the DOC team to generate press coverage of USAID activities in Ukraine. 
  • Arrange and prepare staff for press interviews, press conferences, briefings, tours of projects/activities, and interaction with host-country and American journalists. 
  • Track USAID/Ukraine and Belarus project/activity milestones and events to identify activities, and assess for newsworthiness as well as anticipate the need for and ensure that appropriate press coverage is provided.
  • Advise the Mission Front Office and staff on press outreach priorities, and whether coverage is culturally and politically appropriate.
  • Track media coverage of USAID events to measure DOC effectiveness and review whether coverage is accurate and relevant to USAID’s work.
  • Oversee and produce media materials (including news releases, backgrounders, and fact sheets) designed to inform editors and reporters of USAID projects/activities and their achievements
  • Coordinate with technical offices and PAS to produce and release timely, accurate, and useful written material for the host-country and American media; and, advise and work with PAS to expand opportunities for coverage of USAID efforts. 
  • Accompany the press to interviews and site locations for filming.

Official Visits

  • Oversee pre-visit planning, coordination with implementing partners, and execution of high level Executive Branch, Congressional or Host Government visits to USAID activities, assisting or assuming the role of the designated control officer.
  • Conceptualize, advance and execute official visits and ensure that sites, activities and/or events properly reflect USAID aims.
  • As needed, review and clear necessary documents through USAID Mission staff, Washington/LPA, E&E Bureau communications staff, implementing partners, and with PAS with the goal of producing timely, accurate and impactful information.

SUPERVISORY RELATIONSHIP:

The incumbent will work under the direct supervision of the Program Office Director of the USAID Regional Mission for Ukraine and Belarus, or her/his designee.

10. AREA OF CONSIDERATION:  U.S. Citizens only

11. PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The work requested does not involve undue physical demands. Routine office work with occasional field visits to project sites or partner office locations throughout Ukraine.

12. POINT OF CONTACT: All questions and offers must be submitted by email to KyivVacancies@usaid.gov

II. MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR THIS POSITION

Education: A bachelor's (or equivalent) degree in journalism, marketing, business administration/management or a related field to the Statement of Duties is required.

Prior Work Experience: Ten years of progressively responsible experience in related fields is required, with at least five to seven years of experience in a field such as marketing, public relations, journalism, and/or communications.

Only offerors clearly meeting the above minimum qualifications will be considered for further evaluation.

Security and Medical clearances: The ability to obtain the required security and medical clearances in a reasonable timeframe is considered a minimum qualification. See Section V.

III. EVALUATION AND SELECTION FACTORS

Selection Process and Basis of Evaluation: Offerors who clearly meet the aforementioned minimum education and work experience qualification requirements may be further evaluated through review of the offeror’s submitted required documents (see section IV below) and ranked based on the below evaluation and selection factors. A competitive range may be established of the highest-ranked offerors, who may be further evaluated through technical tests, interviews, and reference checks to determine the most qualified/highest-ranked offerors.  Reference checks may be conducted with the highest-ranked offerors. Reference checks may be conducted with individuals not provided by the offeror. Any offeror not receiving satisfactory reference checks will no longer be considered for the position. Negotiations may be conducted with the most qualified/ highest-ranked offerors at the conclusion of evaluations.

Education (10 Points):

A bachelor's (or equivalent) degree in journalism, marketing, business administration/ management or a related field to the Statement of Duties is required. A master's degree or higher in one of the above fields is desirable.

Prior Work Experience (30 Points):

Ten years of progressively responsible experience in related fields is required, with at least five to seven years of experience in a field such as marketing, public relations, journalism, and/or communications. Supervisory experience is a plus. Previous work experience in federal or state government or an international development organization is highly desirable. Relevant overseas work experience, especially in former Soviet republics, is highly desirable.

Knowledge (25 Points):

Specialized knowledge related to dealing with the press/communications; demonstrated knowledge of media/press coordination and media events execution; a deep understanding of the local landscape, as well as U.S. foreign policy considerations; high level understanding of social media mediums; excellent knowledge of English grammar; and knowledge of how to utilize a multi-disciplinary approach that satisfies multiple stakeholders, including the USAID/Ukraine and Belarus mission and inter-agency players, is essential. The position requires professional-level knowledge of public relations and marketing-communications strategy. Broad understanding of international development issues - including transitioning economies and democracies is required.

Skills and Abilities (35 points):

Demonstrated Skills and Abilities in the below areas are essential:

  • Superior, native-level English communication skills. This includes strong spoken and excellent writing skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work professionally in a high-stress, multi-cultural team setting while representing USAID, including before senior government officials and other high level visitors;
  • Demonstrated capabilities in leading development and execution of  development outreach and communication (DOC) strategies and workflows, including supervision of staff, analytical and team oriented contributions, and visionary leadership;
  • Aptitude in press and media event outreach and event coordination;
  • Excellent ability to work independently with minimal supervision along with the ability to manage multiple projects and prioritize on tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated competence in, and facility with, social media, social media outreach tools, website updates, digital photo and videography; and publication, developing success stories, directing photo shoots, coordinating graphic design, and directing digital communications;
  • Language proficiency (written and spoken) in Ukrainian and/or Russian is desirable, but not required.

Total Points: 100 pts

IV. APPLYING

1. Eligible Offerors are required to complete and submit all the following documents and information in English in order to be considered for the position:

a. Completed and signed form AID 309-2,“Offeror Information for Personal Services Contracts,” available at https://www.usaid.gov/forms/aid-309-2. Only include base salary information in box 4 of sections B and C. Do not include bonuses, differentials, cost of living allowances, or other types of compensation. During negotiations, salary history may be verified through pay slips, earnings and leave statements, or other appropriate documentation.

b. A cover letter of no more than 2 pages that demonstrates how the Offeror’s qualifications meet the evaluation and selection factors in section III of this solicitation;

c. A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) of not more than 3 pages which, at a minimum, describes education, experience and career achievements relevant to the evaluation and selection factors in section III of this solicitation;

d. Names of three professional references, including at least one current/former supervisor, that have knowledge of the offeror’s ability to perform the duties set forth in the solicitation. This information may be included in the cover letter or resume/CV.

Late, incomplete, and/or un-signed offers will not be considered

2. Offers containing all required documents must be received by the closing date and time specified in Section I, item 3, and submitted electronically to the email Point of Contact in Section I, item 12.

3. To ensure consideration of offers for the intended position, Offerors should prominently reference the Solicitation number in the offer submission.

V. PRE-AWARD DOCUMENTATION / LIST OF REQUIRED FORMS FOR PSC HIRES

Once the Contracting Officer (CO) informs the successful Offeror about being selected for a contract award, the CO will provide the successful Offeror instructions about how to complete and submit the following forms, needed to obtain medical and security clearances.

  1. Medical History and Examination Form/ Medical Clearance Update (DS-6561/DS-3057)
  2. Questionnaire for Sensitive Positions for National Security (SF-86), or
  3. Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF-85)
  4. Finger Print Card (SF-87)

Timely completion and submission of the required documents are needed to obtain the necessary Security and Medical Clearances. Failure of the selected offeror to accurately complete and submit required documents in a timely manner may be grounds for the CO to rescind any conditional pre-contract offer letter and begin negotiations with the next most qualified/highest ranked offeror. Selected offerors who are unable to obtain required Security and Medical Clearances in a reasonable timeframe are considered un-qualified for this position.

Within 2 weeks after written notice from the CO that all required clearances have been received, or unless another date is specified by the CO in writing, the selected offeror shall proceed to Kiev, Ukraine to perform the services specified in section I, item 9.

VI. BENEFITS/ALLOWANCES

As a matter of policy, and as appropriate, an Off-shore hire USPSC is normally authorized the following benefits and allowances:

1. BENEFITS:

Employer's FICA Contribution

Contribution toward Health & Life Insurance

Pay Comparability Adjustment

Annual Increase (pending a satisfactory performance evaluation)

Eligibility for Worker's Compensation

Annual and Sick Leave

2. ALLOWANCES (If Applicable)*:

Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance (Section 120)

Living Quarters Allowance (Section 130)

Post Allowance (Section 220)

Separate Maintenance Allowance (Section 260)

Education Allowance (Section 270)

Educational Travel (Section 280)

Post Differential (Section 500)

Payments During Evacuation/Authorized Departure (Section 600)

*Dept. of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) (Government Civilians Foreign Areas)

As a matter of policy, and as appropriate, a Resident Hire USPSC is normally authorized the following benefits:

BENEFITS:

Employer's FICA Contribution

Contribution toward Health & Life Insurance

Pay Comparability Adjustment

Annual Increase (pending a satisfactory performance evaluation)

Eligibility for Worker's Compensation

Annual and Sick Leave

In accordance with AIDAR, Appendix D, 1 (Class Deviation M/OAA-DEV-AIDAR-21-02c):

(b) Definitions:

(5) Resident Hire U.S. Personal Services Contractor (PSC) means a U.S. citizen or resident alien who, at the time of contract award, --

(i) resides in the cooperating country for reasons other than U.S. government or non-U.S. government employment, under any contract or employment arrangement that provides repatriation to the U.S.; or

(ii) is a spouse or dependent of a U.S. citizen or resident alien with U.S. government or non-U.S. government employment, under any contract or employment arrangement that provides repatriation to the U.S.

VII. TAXES

USPSCs are required to pay Federal income taxes, FICA, Medicare and applicable State Income taxes.

VIII.    USAID REGULATIONS, POLICIES AND CONTRACT CLAUSES PERTAINING TO PSCs

USAID regulations and policies governing USPSC awards are available at these sources:

1. USAID Acquisition Regulation (AIDAR), Appendix D, “Direct USAID Contracts with a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. Resident Alien for Personal Services Abroad, ” including contract clause “General Provisions,” available at https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1868/aidar_0.pdf.

2. Contract Cover Page form AID 309-1 available at https://www.usaid.gov/forms.

Line Item Table

           

ITEM NO

(A)

SUPPLIES/SERVICES (DESCRIPTION)

(B)

QUANTITY

(C)

UNIT

(D)

UNIT PRICE

(E)

AMOUNT

(F)

0001

Compensation and Fringe Benefits/Other

Direct Costs (ODCs)

Award Type: Cost

Product Service Code: R497

Accounting Info:

1 year LOT    
1001

Option Period (OP) 1 – Compensation and ODCs

Award Type: Cost

Product Service Code: R497

Accounting Info:

1 year LOT    
2001

OP 2 – Compensation and ODCs

Award Type: Cost

Product Service Code: R497

Accounting Info:

1 year LOT    
3001

OP 3 – Compensation and ODCs

Award Type: Cost

Product Service Code: R497

Accounting Info:

1 year LOT    
4001

OP 4 – Compensation and ODCs

Award Type: Cost

Product Service Code: R497

Accounting Info:

1 year LOT    

3. Acquisition & Assistance Policy Directives/Contract Information Bulletins (AAPDs/CIBs) for Personal Services Contracts with Individuals available are at http://www.usaid.gov/work-usaid/aapds-cibs.

4. Ethical Conduct.  By the acceptance of a USAID personal services contract as an individual, the contractor will be acknowledging receipt of the “Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch,” available from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, in accordance with General Provision 2 and 5 CFR 2635

See https://www.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/OGE%20Regulations.

Issuing Country 
Date 
Friday, July 9, 2021 - 6:30am

Last updated: July 09, 2021