Roles and responsibilities

In an emergency, communications materials will need to be produced, approved and shared extremely quickly, and media requests must be answered immediately. It is very important to be clear in advance who is responsible for what, and to coordinate between the Country Office (CO), Lead Member (LM), Regional Communications Advisor (RCA), CI Secretariat communications and CI Members (CIMs) to ensure needs are met and there is no duplication of effort.

Position Key responsibilities
Regional Communications Advisor (RCA) With the support of CI Secretariat communications, the Lead Member Media Manager and COMWG, and in coordination with the Country Office, the Regional Communications Advisor is responsible to: provide emergency media support to Country Offices; ensure the timely provision of information and communication materials on rapid or slow-onset emergencies; ensure a senior Country Office staff person is designated as media focal point; arrange for the deployment of an Emergency Communications Officer (ECO) and photographer/videographer if necessary, in collaboration with the Lead Member Media Manager; write or edit press releases, pitch spokespeople and communications materials to regional media outlets and coordinate sign-off of communications materials according to CI’s sign-off procedures in section 2 of the CARE International Communications Handbook. If an ECO is not deployed, the Regional Communications Advisor or Lead Member Media Manager will fulfil the role.
Lead Member Media Manager The Lead Member Media Manager is responsible to: provide timely input and sign off on all communications materials; provide support to deploy an Emergency Communications Officer and/or videographer/photographer; provide support to prepare press releases when needed and pitch spokespeople and communications materials to media outlets.
CI Secretariat communications In coordination with the Lead Member, Country Office and COMWG, CI Secretariat communications is responsible to: ensure that communications and media work is effectively coordinated for all emergency responses; and ensure regular production and dissemination of communications materials for new and on-going emergencies. In the absence of Country Office or Lead Member capacity and if the Regional Communications Manager is not available (eg: on leave), CI Secretariat communications will fulfil some or all responsibilities of the ECO and/or LM Media Manager in an emergency. CI Secretariat communications leads during the first weeks of a fast onset humanitarian emergency where there is multi-member interest and a high need for effective coordination.
Country Office Communications Officer (Please note: most COs do not have a Communications Officer. If there is no CO Communications Officer, the Regional Communications Advisor, LM Media Manager and/or CI Secretariat communications will provide remote support until an ECO is deployed, and the CD will appoint a CO media focal point to handle media calls (also supported by the Regional Communications Advisor.) With the support of the LM Media Manager, Regional Communications Advisor and CI Secretariat communications, the CO Communications Officer is the first point of contact for emergency communications and provides the immediate communications materials needed after an emergency.  If an ECO is not deployed, the CO Communications Officer will fulfil the duties of the ECO (see below). If an ECO is deployed, the CO Communications Officer works alongside the ECO to meet communications needs, with an extra focus on media outreach to national journalists and project participant communications where appropriate. See annex for a CO Communications Officer TOR.
Emergency Communications Officer The Emergency Communications Officer is an expert in communications who may be deployed or appointed from within the CO to support the response. This will be coordinated through the Crisis Coordination Group (CCG) call with the support of the CI HR Coordinator who is responsible for deployments. The CI HR coordinator will consult with CI Secretariat communications to determine which individual either in CI or on the CI-RED (deployment roster) is most appropriate and available to deploy and support. With the support of the Regional Communications Advisor, LM Media Manager, CI Secretariat Communications and COMWG, and in coordination with the CO, key responsibilities of the Emergency Communications Officer include: act as main contact for journalists and CI members for media requests; arrange media interviews with CARE staff; act as spokesperson when appropriate; arrange media visits to see CARE’s work; produce and disseminate communications and media materials such as talking points, press releases, stories, blogs, photos; manage/hire photographer or videographer; develop media strategy; train CO staff on media relations; and share news updates and media angles with CI. See Annex for a sample TOR for an ECO. Note: For large-scale emergencies, the ECO may be replaced by an Emergency Communications Manager, a longer-term position. See Annex for a sample TOR for an Emergency Communications Manager.
Country Director (or Assistant Country Director or Emergency Team Leader) If there is no CO Communications Officer, the Country Director, Assistant Country Director or Emergency Team Leader are usually the first point of contact for information about the emergency. Responsibilities include: approves communications materials as per the CI sign-off procedures; does media interviews (should be media trained) or appoints a staff member to do media interviews (local and female where possible); provides necessary information for the production of communications materials; in consultation with CI through the Crisis Coordination Group (CCG), ensures and supports timeliness of communications/media support to the CO to raise the profile of the emergency and supports media and CARE member visits. If there is no CO Communications Officer, the CD will appoint a CO media focal to handle media calls. The Regional Communications Advisor will also support.
COMWG The Communications Working Group (COMWG) is a network of all communications and media experts in offices across CI. Responsibilities of COMWG members include: raise awareness of CARE’s emergency responses and ongoing emergencies through all available media channels; provide support as needed for the production of media and communications materials; in coordination with the ECO/RCA, prepare media materials for their own national market. Full COMWG TOR here.