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Solicitation 72044019R00010: Development Outreach Communications Specialist (DOCS)

SOLICITATION NUMBER: 72044019R00010

ISSUANCE DATE: December 27, 2019

CLOSING DATE AND TIME: January 17, 2020, 17:00 Hanoi time

SUBJECT: Solicitation for Resident-Hire U.S. Personal Services Contractor (USPSC) – Development Outreach Communications Specialist (DOCS), USAID/Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Dear Prospective Offerors:

The United States Government, represented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is seeking offers from qualified resident-hire U.S. citizens to provide personal services under contract as described in this solicitation.

Offers must be in accordance with Attachment 1 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 Attachment 1.

   Sincerely,

 

Ken Seifert

Contracting Officer

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ATTACHMENT 1                                                                

  1. GENERAL INFORMATION
  1. SOLICITATION NO.: 72044019R00010
  1. ISSUANCE DATE: December 27, 2019
  1. CLOSING DATE AND TIME FOR RECEIPT OF OFFERS:

17:00, January 17, 2020, Hanoi time

  1. POINT OF CONTACT: Ken Seifert, Contracting Officer at kseifert@usaid.gov and Quyen Hoang,  Human Resources Specialist at qhoang@usaid.gov
  1. MARKET VALUE: $66,167 -  $86,020 equivalent to GS-12

Final compensation will be negotiated within the listed market value.

Salary to be paid within this grade will depend on experience, qualifications and salary history. 

  1. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: 

Two-year base contract with three one-year options.  The option years may be exercised depending on the need for the continuation of such services, availability of funds, and satisfactory performance.

  1. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: USAID/ Vietnam, Hanoi with possible travel as stated in the Statement of Duties.
  1. ELIGIBLE OFFERORS:  Resident-Hire U.S. citizens

* Resident Hire U.S. Personal Services Contractor means a U.S. citizen or resident alien who, at the time of hire as a PSC, resides in the cooperating country

(i) for reasons other than employment that provides for repatriation to the U. S., including

(A) with a U.S. government agency;

(B) under any U.S. government-financed contract or agreement; or

(C) under any other contract or employment arrangement.

(ii) as a spouse or dependent of a U.S. citizen with employment that provides for repatriation to the U.S., including

(A) with a U.S. government agency;

(B) under any U.S. government-financed contract or agreement; or

(C) under any other contract or employment arrangement.

  1. SECURITY LEVEL REQUIRED:  Facility Access
  1. STATEMENT OF DUTIES
  1. General Statement of Purpose of the Contract

This position of Development Communications Outreach Specialist (DOCS) is located within the Program Development Office (PDO), USAID/Vietnam Mission. PDO provides strategic, programmatic, evaluation and budgeting guidance to the Mission to implement a portfolio of programs of more than $115 million annually. PDO also manages external communications and relations with partners, donors, host country institutions, Washington, and the general public. Details about the Mission's portfolio may be found at http://vietnam.usaid.gov.

One essential function of PDO is to lead the Mission's external outreach and communications efforts. Given the history of U.S.-Vietnam relations and the particular sensitivity of a number of program areas in which we work, the DOCS plays a central role in defining our programs and explaining them to Vietnamese, American, and international audiences.

The DOCS is responsible for collecting, researching, managing, and distributing information associated with the USAID ‘s programs in Vietnam and serves as the point of contact and liaison for all public information requests. The DOCS’s recommendations on development outreach will assist USAID senior leadership in making strategic decisions, related to communications, messaging, and press relations. The incumbent collaborates closely with USAID/Vietnam technical teams (Economic Growth and Governance; Health; Environment and Social Development; and Higher Education) and numerous implementing partners to develop and implement USAID/Vietnam's overall development outreach communications strategy. S/he collaborates with the U.S. Embassy/Hanoi's Public Affairs Officer (PAO) to ensure that Embassy personnel are properly apprised of USAID program activities, achievements, and public events. The Vietnam DOCS will coordinate Mission efforts and liaise with the Agency's Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau in Washington (USAID/W).

The primary duty of this DOCS position is to implement USAID/Vietnam’s communications strategy. As one of several DOCS positions in south-east Asia, it is important that the incumbent work with DOCS in neighboring missions and share information that will help tell the story effectively of USAID's programs throughout the region. As part of the DOCS duties, close collaboration with USAID’s Regional Development Mission Asia (RDMA) and USAID/Washington is essential.

  1. Specific duties

The specific duties of the Development Outreach Communications Specialist will include but are not limited to the following:

2.1. Supervision and Coordination

● Lead the Mission's Development Outreach and Communications team to ensure the overall quality, coherence and strategic application of the team's communications and outreach products and initiatives. The team comprises two Cooperating Country Nationals (CCNs). Within the mission, the team also includes communication points of contact in each of the technical offices. In addition, the DOC team has established linkages with communications professionals in each of the implementing partners.

● Collaborate and cooperate closely with U.S. Embassy Hanoi’s Public Affairs Section (PAS), USAID/Washington, and other regional DOCS to achieve maximum exposure and understanding of the U.S. contribution to Vietnam’s economic development and trade, its efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and avian influenza, sensitive bilateral issues such as Agent Orange/Dioxin remediation, vulnerable populations, global climate change, response to disasters requiring rapid delivery of humanitarian assistance, and other emerging USAID funded development assistance activities. 

● Lead the development and implementation of the Mission's communication strategy and outreach plan that promotes a better understanding of and support for USAID programs to external audiences. Ensure public awareness of programs and projects being funded by USAID and provide information to USAID/W and the U.S. Embassy.

● Formulate and manage the communication and outreach budget for the Mission. Given USG and agency directives to reduce expenditures on publications, travel and conferences, the incumbent must identify cost-effective ways to achieve communication goals.

● Monitor and evaluate progress toward communication objectives as outlined in the communication strategy. This includes establishing a monitoring and evaluation plan for the communication strategy, identifying indicators and measuring progress to assess effectiveness and impact of outreach activities. Also includes monitoring local and international press coverage, awareness and attitudes concerning USAID programs. Information gathered will inform ongoing activities and future programming.

● Formulate and implement innovative outreach activities that advance development objectives as outlined in the Mission's Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).

● Represent the Mission at the senior level in matters pertaining to public affairs and outreach activities with other branches of the USG, the Government of Vietnam, implementing partners and other donors.

● Mentor the DOC team and train technical office staff and implementing partners on developing effective communication plans and materials.

● Serve as the senior advisor to Mission management regarding all public information, media relations and outreach matters.

● Coordinate with PAS and other USG agencies to develop strategic communications at the Embassy level and ensure that USAID communications are in line with the broader Embassy goals.

● Serve as the primary liaison with PAS in the execution of USAID events, the dissemination of USAID publicity materials and on any other issues that may arise. Represent USAID in planning relevant Embassy events and site visits by the Ambassador and other high-level visitors.

● Collaborate closely with the Embassy's PAS to achieve maximum exposure and understanding of USAID's programs and initiatives.

● Through well-established professional contacts with donors, NGOs, and leaders of other international and local organizations active in development activities, the DOCS will gather, analyze, and properly format data and information on local and international opinion concerning USAID programs for the purpose of gauging the effect of information dissemination strategies, providing feedback on ongoing activities and for planning future communications programming.  

2.2. Public Information and Publicity Materials

● Coordinate information dissemination, media outreach and public events within the mission with technical offices and outside the mission with implementing partners.

● Build the capacity of implementing partners to develop timely, accurate, effective and well-written media materials.

● Oversee the drafting, editing, organization and dissemination of a standard information package of publicity materials, including fact sheets, newsletters, project briefs, country profile, development objective summary, presentations, responses to requests for information and all other public information materials related to USAID/Vietnam activities. Materials must be tailored for both internal audiences (incoming staff, high-level visitors, LPA, Congress) and external audiences (general public and media). Incumbent must be able to present development topics in clear, concise English and translate sometimes complex or highly technical language into a format easily understood by the general public.

● Serve as the coordinator and technical point of contact for implementation of Agency branding efforts. Ensure that USAID mission staff is familiar with the requirements of program/activity branding; as needed, work with Agency partners and implementers on ensuring compliance with Agency branding guidance.

● Prepare draft presentations, speeches, briefers, and talking points in response to requests for information and taskers, and for preparation of reports regarding Vietnam program activities.

● Generate and maintain a standard set of narrative data related to the Mission's development portfolio for general use in briefers, outreach materials, communications, etc.

● Develop and maintain online outreach, including websites, social media.

● Manage preparation of a weekly summary of events, submissions for USAID Frontlines and other USAID public information platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other new and emerging social media sites.

● Train technical staff on Agency’s communication standards, outreach methods, branding policy, taking photos, writing, editing, and public speaking as requested or needed.

2.3. Media and Public Relations

● Manage information and media outreach activities, in coordination with the Front Office and technical teams. Ensure strategic selection of events and optimal representation by USG personnel to more effectively and efficiently communicate USAID messaging.

● Work with PAS to manage USAID/Vietnam’s relationship with international, regional, and local press, including encouraging accurate reporting, equity, and trouble-shooting as necessary. Interact with local media contacts regularly. Process materials and address any necessary changes to ensure that items go to press on time. Provide advice to the Mission and to USAID/LPA regarding appropriate press contacts.

● Advise and work with PAS to expand opportunities to keep media abreast of USAID/Vietnam programs, including TV, radio and other media. This may include arranging interviews, preparing talking points, organizing briefings and media tours of USAID projects.

● Work closely with the Front Office and USAID staff on press and media relations to ensure targeted and coherent messages consistent with the Communication Strategy from all USAID staff and implementing partners.

● Build media relations; cultivate media contacts - television, radio, newspaper etc. in Vietnam. Maintain media contacts database.

● Photograph USAID/Vietnam program activities, events and impact providing USAID with digital and other media to document and communicate USAID success and lessons learned. Coordinate and oversee use of photos, video and digital cameras, and digital video conference room equipment and supplies.

● Respond to inquiries from the general public, media and other sources about USAID/Vietnam programs and projects.

● Oversee development of effective media outreach materials, ensuring accurate information and presentation of development topics and the impact of USAID/Vietnam programs in a format easily understood by the general public.

2.4. Publicity Events

● Plan and schedule a calendar of events with the DOC team and technical team staff, including project managers, host country officials, NGOs, and implementing partners.

● Develop innovative publicity events used to further Mission strategic goals.

● Serve as advisor on the outreach component of events, in coordination with PAS, Front Office, technical teams and implementing partners. This includes conferences, openings, ribbon-cuttings and other ceremonies. Organize press packets, deal with protocol issues, site selection, staging and logistical issues and identify USG representation.

● Organize and coordinate with the USAID/Vietnam Technical Offices and PAO on all aspects of public events for USAID such as program/activity inaugurations and program assistance completions, including preparation and dissemination of press releases and background information, protocol issues, site selection and preparation, staging and logistical issues, scheduling and maintaining contact with speakers, and notification of appropriate U.S. and local government officials and media, as well as on-site coordination of media.

● Maintain a calendar of USAID/Vietnam program events in close coordination with implementing partners and Contracting Officer's Representatives (CORs).

● Review and edit press releases, scene setters and talking points drafted by implementing partners for USAID/Vietnam events.

● Manage documentation of USAID/Vietnam events, including video, documentaries, photos, updates to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts.

● Serve as the Mission's primary point of contact for publicity events and site visits by official visitors from the Embassy, USAID, Congress and other USG agencies or entities. Serve as control officer or participate in teams planning VIP visits. Lead preparation of briefing materials, scene setters and other information products to support these visits. Maintain a diverse list of potential site visit locations appropriate for a variety of high-level visitors throughout the country.

● Perform other duties relating to public outreach, information and communication, as assigned or required such as:

             ● Initiate and coordinate interviews with the USAID Mission Director and other staff.

● Provide content to USAID’s storytelling platforms.

● Draft and review speeches for the USAID Mission Director, the Ambassador, and other senior staff.

  1. Supervisory Relationship

This position supervises two CCNs including one mid-level Communications Specialist and one Translator/Interpreter in the PDO.

  1. Supervisory Controls

The incumbent will report to the Director of the Office of Program Development, USAID/Vietnam. Incumbent is expected to display a high degree of independence in planning and carrying out his/her assignments.

  1. PHYSICAL DEMANDS

The work requested does not involve undue physical demands.

  1. MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR THIS POSITION

This position requires a combination of leadership, analytical and technical expertise, and managerial skills. The incumbent must have native-level English writing skills and be able to meet strict deadlines in a fast-paced environment. The incumbent must be familiar with and be able to work well in an overseas environment with a wide range of government and non-government counterparts. The successful candidate will have experience with local, regional, and international press. The Development Outreach Communications Specialist shall have the following qualifications. In order to be considered those marked "required" must be met.

Education:

A Bachelor’s degree in the field of public relations/ affairs, journalism, international development/relations, English, marketing, communications, social studies is required.         

Relevant Experience:

A minimum of three years (full time equivalent) of demonstrated successful experience in public relations/ affairs, communication, journalism, international development, international relations, is required. Previous work experience with an international development organization overseas is strongly preferred. Proven experience with writing and communications that demonstrate skills and hands-on experience in a combination of the following areas: public relations, editing, public information, publishing, and digital communications. Proven experience in developing and disseminating targeted information to a variety of audiences is required. Relevant marketing experience will be considered, as applicable. The incumbent must be able to mentor, guide, and build capacity of staff and implementing partners. Strong preference will be given to candidates familiar with Vietnam. Experience in report writing, events planning, and execution, website design, and social networking media is strongly preferred.     

                          Technical Knowledge:

The successful candidate must be capable of crafting strategic communication plans and information messages in various media formats (e.g. press releases, web-site, cables, social media, etc.), targeting a variety of audiences. Excellent leadership, coordination, and organizational skills within a multi-cultural work environment are required. Experience in planning, strategizing, and application of policies and procedures regarding all development outreach communications activities, such as branding and marking, are preferred. Must have broad understanding of issues related to international development and be able to translate them to a general audience. Knowledge of local, regional, and international press, and regional development issues, is desirable.

Skills:

Native level fluency in English (reading, writing, and speaking) is required. Given the nature of the position, demonstrated effective written and oral communication is a requirement. Strong communication, interpersonal skills, and ability to lead and work in teams required. Excellent organizational, critical, and strategic thinking skills required. Strong staff development and management skills preferred. Strong computer skills in the full range of MS software, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Apps, GIS and graphics is preferred. Experience with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RSS feeds and other social media platforms strongly preferred.

Applicants should provide at least two writing samples with their applications. The samples should be 750 to 1,000 words. They can be excerpts from longer articles or papers and do not have to be specifically written for this application. The samples should demonstrate the applicant's ability to clearly and succinctly communicate complex ideas to the public. Co-written articles will not be accepted - the applicant must be the sole author.

In addition, the incumbent must also be:

  1. Able to obtain residence permits (and/or requisite visas) and work permits for Vietnam (or the demonstrated ability to obtain the required authorizations for employment in Vietnam);
  2. Able to obtain U.S. Government medical and “Public Trust” level security clearances;
  3. Available and willing to work outside the regular 40-hour work week when required or necessary; and
  4. Willing to travel to work sites and other offices both in Vietnam and regionally as/when requested.

 

  1. EVALUATION AND SELECTION FACTORS

Applicants will be evaluated on the extent and quality of their education, relevant experience, language and work skills as they relate to this position against the following criteria:

  1. Meet education and experience requirements: Pass/Fail
  2. Subject Master Expert Test: Top scoring candidates will be invited for Interview
  3. Interview
  4. Professional Reference check: Pass/Fail

Evaluation Factors:

  1. Education (10 points)
  2. Relevant Experience (30 points)
  3. Technical Knowledge (30 points)
  4. Skills and Abilities (30 points)

After the closing date for receipt of applications, a committee will be convened to review applications and evaluate them in accordance with the evaluation criteria. Applications from candidates who do not meet the required selection criteria will not be scored. As part of the selection process, final candidates may be interviewed either in person or by telephone at USAID’s discretion. Reference checks will be made only for applicants considered as finalists.

If an applicant does not wish USAID to contact a current employer for a reference check, this should be stated in the applicant’s cover letter, and USAID will delay such reference check pending communication with the applicant. Only finalists will be contacted by USAID with respect to their applications. The final selected candidates must obtain security and medical clearances within a reasonable period of time (USAID will provide details regarding these clearances to the selected candidates). A substantial delay in obtaining either required clearance will make the applicant ineligible for selection.

  1. SUBMITTING AN OFFER
  1. Eligible offerors are required to complete and submit the following documents and information in order to be considered for the position:

 

  1. Offer form AID 309-2, “Offeror Information for Personal Services Contracts with Individuals,” available  at https://www.usaid.gov/forms/aid-309-2

 

Only include base salary information in box 4 of sections B and C. During negotiations, salary history may be verified through pay slips, earnings and leave statements, or other appropriate documentation.

 

  1. 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;

 

  1. A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) which, at a minimum, describes education, experience and career achievements relevant to the evaluation and selection factors in section III of this solicitation;

 

  1. Names of three professional references that have knowledge of the offeror’s ability to perform the duties set forth in the solicitation, including current and accurate contact information. This information may be included in in cover letter, resume/CV, or in a separate document.

Incomplete/un-signed offers will not be considered.

 

  1. Offers must be received by the closing date and time specified in Section I, item 3,

and submitted to the Point of Contact in Section I.

  1. Offeror submissions must clearly reference the number of this Solicitation to ensure the offer is for the position in this Solicitation.

 

  1. LIST OF REQUIRED FORMS PRIOR TO AWARD

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:

1. Medical History and Examination Form (Department of State Forms)

2. Questionnaire for Sensitive Positions for National Security (SF-86), or

3. Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF-85)

4. Finger Print Card (FD-258)

Timely completion and submission of the required documents are needed to obtain the necessary Visas and 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 Visas, 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 Visas and clearances have been received, or unless another date is specified by the CO in writing, the selected offeror shall proceed to Hanoi, Vietnam to perform the services specified in section I, item 10.

  1. BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES

A U.S Resident-Hire Personal Services Contractor is not eligible for any fringe benefits, differentials, or allowances; and is only eligible for contribution to FICA, Health insurance, and life insurance. As a matter of policy, and as appropriate, a Resident-Hire Contractor is authorized the following benefits:

  1. Employer's FICA Contribution
  2. Contribution toward Health & Life Insurance (except spouse of a current or retired Civil Service, Foreign Service, Military Service and who is covered by their spouse’s Government health insurance policy for health or life insurance under this contract)
  3. Pay Comparability Adjustment
  4. Annual Increase (pending a satisfactory performance evaluation)
  5. Annual and Sick Leave
  1. TAXES

Resident-hired USPSCs are required to pay Federal income taxes, FICA, and Medicare.

  1. 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 .
  1. Contract Cover Page form AID 309-1 available at https://www.usaid.gov/forms .
  1. Acquisition and Assistance Policy Directives/Contract Information Bulletins (AAPDs/CIBs) for Personal Services Contracts with Individuals available at http://www.usaid.gov/work-usaid/aapds-cibs .
  1. 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 .

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, physical handicap, genetic information, age or membership or non-membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military services, or other non-merit factor.

END OF SOLICITATION

Last updated: December 30, 2019

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