Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has been working in Sri Lanka since 2002 locating and removing landmines and other unexploded bombs, helping Sri Lanka to reach its goal of becoming mine-free. The clearance activities are currently taking place in Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Trincomalee Districts. The organisation operates under the coordination of the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC), which is the government body in charge of the Sri Lankan Mine Action Programme and located within the State Ministry of Rural Housing and Construction & Building Materials Industries Promotion. MAG Country Representative Office is located in Colombo and the Central Operating Base (COB) is in Vavuniya. The organisation currently employs over 850 staff. Operations staff are deployed based on a 20 to 22-day full work cycle followed by a stand down period (off time of 7-8 days).
As Sri Lanka moves towards becoming mine-free in the coming years, MAG has initiated the development and implementation of a Skills Acquisition & Post-Demining Livelihood Transition Strategy. The ultimate aim being to assist our large demining workforce access a wider set of skills that can support their transition to alternative in-demand occupations and, mitigate the risk of income loss once the clearance work is over.
Background of the Assignment
At MAG, the newly established Staff Transition Unit is responsible for the implementation of the livelihood transition activities for specific groups of employees in multiple operational sites, through active coordination with expert service providers, consultation with the relevant teams within MAG, and regular field visits.
MAG applies a phased-approach to the implementation of the livelihood transition strategy which covers a wide range of interventions – such as financial literacy programme, Tamil literacy classes, language training, orientation & referral to commercial-oriented agriculture initiatives, etc. These interventions are being rolled out in parallel of landmine clearance operations, during the stand-down period, after working hours and/or during the rainy season when clearance cannot take place.
Information sharing is a pre-requisite for employees to participate in the livelihood transition activities. Therefore, the Staff Transition Unit’s ability to reach out to everyone within the workplace is an important aspect of their work, in order to keep MAG’s workforce up to date with news and information related to the staff transition interventions, select the eligible employees across the organisation and operations sites, organise the activities based on their availability, and for employees to provide feedback and inputs. Presently, information sharing among the demining workforce is conducted via phone calls, SMS, WhatsApp messages, memos, and face-to-face meetings in the operations sites (depending on COVID-19 situation). While the Staff Transition Unit is able to successfully reach out to a large number of employees using these channels of communication, it is anticipated that it may pose a challenge for the team when several interventions will take place at the same time in different geographical locations and with multiple service providers.
Scope of the Assignment
MAG is looking for an individual internal communications specialist to improve dissemination and accessibility of information among a wide range of employees within the organisation, by identifying and proposing practical solutions that can support the Staff Transition Unit to inform and engage with all MAG’s workforce in an accurate, transparent, and timely manner (two-way communication). The proposed information and communications solutions will be adapted to the needs and constraints of the priority groups, MAG’s work environment and COVID-19 movement restrictions which limit face-to-face communication. The priority groups are: (1) deminers who constitute 75% of the workforce, (2) other field operations staff and (3) middle operations staff.
The scope of the assignment will consist of:
Reviewing the existing internal information and communications practices and channels within the Staff Transition Unit and the organisation in general.
Providing information and communications solutions to improve dissemination and accessibility of information among the demining workforce, with a focus on the priority groups.
Recommending practical tools and techniques to develop mechanisms for collecting employees’ feedback on the livelihood transition activities.
Building the capacities of the Staff Transition Team on the proposed tools and techniques to channel information and engage with different group of employees across the organisation.
The Applicant shall consider the following activities to undertake the assignment (but should not be limited to):
· Conduct an induction briefing with the focal persons at MAG (Program Officer, Staff Transition Unit, Livelihood Consultant) about the scope of work and expectations. All relevant information and documents necessary for the assignment will be provided by MAG.
· Undertake an exposure visit to MAG’s operations sites to better understand the organisation’s mission and mandate, as well as to get familiar with the different groups of employees and profiles (if COVID-19 situation allows).
· Put forward a realistic workplan, including consultations with MAG focal persons for providing inputs and feedback throughout the assignment.
· Organise a series of consultations with the different departments of MAG (Staff Transition, HR, Operations, Safeguarding, Information Management, Finance & Logistics) to review the existing internal communication practices and channels in use (e.g. notice boards, SMS, WhatsApp messages, in-person / virtual meetings, memos, etc.).
· Conduct a desk research on the traditional methods and technologies available in Sri Lanka and used by large-scale organisations and corporates (1) to facilitate rapid and effective communication with their employees in a timely manner and (2) to collect feedback from their employees. It may include data collection through interviews and/or phone calls to relevant organisations.
· Identify creative and effective ways that are adapted to the organisation’s culture and staff literacy level / digital literacy level to convey messages to keep MAG’s workforce up to date with important news and information.
· Prepare and facilitate a half-day workshop with the Staff Transition Unit to present best practices and practical examples that may suit MAG’s work environment, and brainstorm with the participants on the best channels of communication to use with each of the priority groups.
· Develop a draft outline of the internal communications plan (including employee feedback mechanism), with the range of tools and techniques adapted to the literacy skills and digital literacy level of the demining workforce, with a focus on the priority groups.
· Develop the content of the plan within the pre-agreed timeline; the document should not exceed 10 pages.
· Finalize the content of the plan, incorporating the changes suggested by MAG and submit the final version for validation.
· Prepare and facilitate a half-day workshop with the Staff Transition Unit to present the internal communications plan and provide tips and guidance on the proposed tools and channels to use with the priority groups.
The Consultant will deliver the following outputs:
(1) A brief note containing the preliminary findings of the series of consultations and desk research.
(2) Facilitation of a workshop with the Staff Transition Unit to brainstorm about alternative and effective channels that can be used with the demining workforce.
(3) An internal communications plan (including employee feedback mechanism), with tools and techniques adapted to the literacy skills and digital literacy level of the demining workforce; no more than 10 pages.
(4) Facilitation of a workshop with the Staff Transition Unit at the end of the assignment.
The deliverables will be produced in English.
Timeline of the Assignment
The assignment will span over the months of August and September 2021 as per the following timeline:
Induction, Exposure Visit & Review of MAG documents -
1st week of August 2021 - 3 Days
Consultations with the different departments of MAG -
1st week of August 2021 - 2 Days
Desk research - 2nd and 3rd weeks of August 2021 - 5 Days
Drafting of the note with the preliminary findings -
3rd week of August 2021 - 2 Days
Preparation & Facilitation of the first workshop - 4th week of August 2021 - 1 Days
Drafting of the Internal Communications Plan - 4th week of August and 1st week of September 2021 - 5 Days
Finalization of the Plan, incorporating feedback from MAG -
2nd week of September 2021 - 2 Days
Preparation & Facilitation of the second workshop -
2nd week of September 2021 - 1 Day
Total 21 Days
The selected Applicant will report to MAG Programme Officer (based in Colombo).
Profile of the Consultant
· Demonstrated experience in developing internal communications plans for large organisations and/or corporates in Sri Lanka.**
· Experience using a wide range of communications tools and channels to disseminate information and engage with employees within a workplace.**
Knowledge & Skills:
· Knowledge of internal communications practices and techniques (both traditional and digital)
· Ability to stay updated on current technologies, techniques and trends.
· Ability to produce clear and concise documents.
· Ability to work with multicultural teams (ethnicity, language, religion and nationality).
· Fluency in written and spoken Tamil and English; Sinhala is an asset.**
All applications should contain technical and financial proposals.
The technical proposal should include:
1) A summary statement of relevant experience and competencies for the assignment (no more than two pages).
2) A brief description of how you will approach and conduct the assignment successfully. You should clarify, add and/or suggest alternative activities/deliverables, based on what is proposed under point 4 and 5 of this section.
3) Confirmation of your ability to meet the indicated timeline.
4) CV tailored to the assignment (maximum 4 pages).
The financial proposal will include:
5) Cost per day in LKR that is inclusive of daily consultancy rate, other assignment related costs (transportation, accommodation, communication, etc.) and consultancy related taxes due to GoSL.
Payments of total budget will be processed upon delivery of the following deliverables along with invoice:
· Advance payment following acceptance of the proposal and contract signature (30%).
· Facilitation of the first workshop with the Staff Transition Unit (20%).
· Facilitation of the second workshop with the Staff Transition Unit, following the development
and finalisation of the internal communications plan (50%).
How to apply
Applications must be submitted electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30/06/2021 at 5pm.Late submission, incomplete applications and/or application receives out of given guidelines will be rejected.
As part of MAG’s commitment to Safeguarding, this consultancy post subject to reference check from two latest institutional references including a police clearance before an offer is made.