ESSA Job offer: Head of Communications

Job type: Permanent
Location: Accra, Ghana (other countries in sub-Saharan Africa considered)
Salary: $5000 per month
Hours of work: Full time - 35 hours per week
Travel: 10-20%
Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer
Direct Reports: Communications Assistant


Students in SSA

Job details

Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA)’s vision is high-quality education that equips millions of young people in sub-Saharan Africa with the skills they need for work, enables them to achieve their ambitions, and strengthens society. 

We support university and college leaders, employers, policymakers, and young people to turn evidence into practical solutions and maximize resources. By working together, we improve education policies and delivery. 

This is an exciting opportunity to join a small but passionate and driven team based in Africa and Europe. This role plays a key role in advancing our work, impact and partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

ESSA's values are at the heart of everything we do, and they are:

  • Evidence-driven: We are driven by data and evidence to find what works best, building an evidence alliance for education in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Solutions-focused: We seek the highest impact for young people and educators in sub-Saharan Africa with the cost-effective funds we invest.

  • Strengthening Trust: We strive to create supportive environments, building trust with the communities we work with.

  • Always learning: Everyone’s opinion is valuable; we develop solutions through teamwork.

About the Role

This exciting role is core to delivering ESSA’s mission. Fundamental to the role is communicating evidence to education leaders, policy-makers and young people to transform college and university education. We are looking for a creative, proactive and organised Head of Communications to join our team.

The Head of Communications will promote ESSA and share our work by creating informative and engaging digital and print content, media opportunities, events and communications strategies to paint a compelling picture of why we exist, the work we do and the results we’re seeing.

Main Responsibilities

  • Develop and lead on the charity’s external and internal communication strategy so that the public, media, partners, employees and other stakeholders receive accurate and timely information about ESSA’s aims and successes through various channels globally, including but not limited to: social media, newsletters, emails, website, press releases, thought leadership pieces and reports.

  • Manage the communications budget, Communications Assistant, and any relevant freelancers (including designers).

  • Management and coordination of the organisation’s communications and events calendar.

  • Proactively create opportunities to raise ESSA’s profile, share our learnings, and engage with target audiences (including students and faculty in sub-Saharan Africa) through PR, social media and events.

  • Develop and oversee the charity’s digital and social media strategy, recognizing the different needs and audiences across various engagement and social media channels.

  • Proactively generate and respond to media enquiries to raise the profile of ESSA as a thought leader in education.

  • Editorial control of the ESSA website and the African Scholarships Hub website, leading on development of both websites and marketing the African Scholarships Hub to students and other target audiences.

  • Work with the Director of Finance and Operations on the development of the annual report, and other members of the Senior Leadership Team on the Impact Report, as tools to position the organization and influence a range of other audiences.

  • Collaborate on funding proposals and other material for ESSA’s donors, to ensure a joined-up approach to fundraising and communications and look for opportunities to secure income for communications activities.

  • Organise and support ongoing communication within our distributed organization, to include:

    • Managing communications to the board, team and consultants to ensure they are aware of all sector developments and updates and organizational news,

    • Attending board meetings to update on strategic communications issues.

    • Overseeing the content of all internal communications including the weekly media monitoring, staff forums and team information-sharing meetings.

Person Specification


  • Bachelor’s degree level in a relevant discipline e.g. communications, public relations, journalism.

  • Substantial experience (at least 5 years), operating at a senior level in communications, creative content, public relations, journalism, or advocacy & campaigning.

  • Demonstrable strategic leadership experience of developing communication strategies and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and converting strategy into delivery.

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, adept in tailoring communication messages to diverse audiences as well as editing and proofreading; with outstanding attention to detail and accuracy, in content and quality.

  • The ability to articulate complex ideas in a way that is readily understandable for our different priority audiences.

  • Strong interpersonal skills coupled with credibility to act as an effective ambassador for ESSA at the highest level, including with CEOs, Vice-Chancellors and senior officials.

  • Proven experience in planning and project management; able to coordinate a project team to deliver against tight timelines.

  • Practical experience of using digital tools in the work of the communications function and within the wider organization, adapting style and content across multiple channels according to audience needs.

  • Experience of working with partners to deliver integrated communications campaigns.

  • Proven ability to enthuse and motivate a team, particularly mentoring junior staff.

  • A team player who is culturally aware/sensitive, with the ability to work collaboratively and creatively with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.

  • Strong understanding of international development.

  • Passionate about the role of education in unlocking the potential of young people in sub-Saharan Africa.


  • Knowledge and understanding of the Tertiary Education ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa and the key players.

  • Experience of communicating and disseminating research findings.

  • French speaking.

Equality & Diversity

The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) underpins our mission and values at ESSA. We prioritise inclusion and celebrate the breadth of knowledge and experience working across different cultures brings to the organisation.

EDI at ESSA is embodied in the current composition of our Board of Trustees and our workforce, which strongly reflects the communities we work in, and we actively encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and cultures.


To apply please complete the form by clicking on this link.  Please ensure that your CV and cover letter are saved using your given name and surname.  For example, Samuel.Nyarko_C.V

The closing date for applications is the 21st of June 2021.

You can also download a PDF file of the job description:

Head of Communications Job Description (PDF)