Head of Mission [International Position]

from Syrian American Medical Society Foundation
Closing date: 30 Nov 2019


The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Foundation is a global medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria, neighboring countries, and beyond; to alleviate suffering and save lives. SAMS is one of the most active and trusted international NGOs on the ground in Syria. In 2017, SAMS provided more than 3.5 million medical services, including 3.2 million inside Syria. SAMS also supports Syrian refugees in neighboring countries and Greece with critical psychosocial support, medical and dental care, art therapy programs, and more.

SAMS launched SAMS Global Response (SGR) in April 2016, a global platform that seeks to provide quality healthcare to crisis-affected populations by leveraging its expertise in leading and organizing healthcare services in challenging environments. The SGR Unit focuses on addressing key urgent needs using innovation, specialized medical care, and rapid response. To date, SGR has sent teams to Haiti, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Greece, and is currently developing operations in Iraq, Yemen, and Bangladesh.


SAMS Foundation’s Global Response Unit is looking for Head of Mission to lead and manage its team in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Working in close coordination with SGR headquarters staff, the Head of Mission will be responsible for the overall response on the ground, including planning, human resources, finance, communications, monitoring and evaluation activities, and medical programming. They will be responsible for the overall direction and implementation of SAMS’ program activities in compliance with national, organizational, and donor regulations.

Key Competencies Required

Creativity: Actively seeks to improve programs or services; offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs; promotes and persuades others to consider new ideas; takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks "outside the box"; takes an interest in new ideas and new ways of doing things; is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches.

Leadership: Proven record of building and managing teams and creating an enabling environment, including the ability to effectively lead, supervise, mentor, develop and evaluate staff and design training/skills enhancement initiatives to ensure effective transfer of knowledge/skills. Demonstrated ability to provide leadership and take responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives into substantive work.

Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities, and risks; clearly communicates links between the organization’s strategy and the field team’s goals; Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; Conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.


A) Field Team Leadership and Management

  1. Lead the SGR field team; actively participate in the recruitment process for new staff.
  2. Ensure strategically coherent response operations, in compliance with SAMS and donor regulations.
  3. Monitor and analyze the political, humanitarian and medical situation in the country and in the region.
  4. Direct an assessment of local and international humanitarian actors, including opportunities for coordination and collaboration.
  5. Ensure that all the distinct dimensions of the field office’s operations function effectively, including medical activities, public health and sanitation efforts, safety and security, human resources, communication, local hiring, finance, and monitoring and evaluation.
  6. Ensure that information flows effectively and that SAMS HQ and personnel are aware of any developments in the field.
  7. Ensure that field office personnel utilize standardized protocols, policies, and guidelines, as outlined by national and international standards. Ensure that all response activities are consistent with established best practices.
  8. Ensure timely reporting of field data to SAMS HQ and review M&E and accountability data, in coordination with the M&E Coordinator, to identify and address areas for operational improvement.
  9. Mitigate any potential Safety and Security (S&S) risks by reviewing security briefs, alerts and notifications and ensuring that field staff is fully aware and compliant with SAMS’ S&S policies and Standard Operational Procedures, in collaboration with the Safety and Security Coordinator.
  10. Any other duties deemed necessary for the effective leadership and operation of the field office.

B) Training and Capacity Building

  1. Identify gaps in training for the field team arrange necessary on-site training.
  2. Conduct performance evaluations for team members; continually seek out ways to build the individual and collective capacities of the field team members.
  3. In collaboration with the Logistics and Supply Chain Coordinator, ensure the quality of the field supply chain, including storage, export/import, distribution, medicines management, healthcare waste management, controlled drug management, etc.
  4. Coordinate within-country health staff, health authorities, and other NGOs as needed, to guarantee that the field office’s medicine selection and treatment protocols conform to national, international, and donor rules and regulations.
  5. Support set-up/construction of field office infrastructure (communications, workspace, etc.).

C) Representation and Networking

  1. Serve as a SAMS’ representative to relevant actors in the field, including NGOs, national authorities, media, etc.
  2. Actively develop and maintain effective working relationships with key organizations and donors in SAMS’ sectors of intervention.
  3. Develop strategic partnerships for the future with local actors wherever possible.


Minimum requirements for this position are:

  • Bachelor’s degree in humanitarian response, management, or similar fields. Master's degree in the related field is strongly preferred.
  • At least 8-10 years of experience in capacity building and humanitarian programs.
  • At least 3-5 years of management experience at the international level with NGOs or other humanitarian organizations.
  • Field experience working specifically in a complex emergency, disaster, or low-resource zones.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required, and Arabic or Kurdish is a distinct advantage.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.
  • Computer literacy; especially Microsoft Office suite (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel).
  • Knowledge of the global humanitarian response actors, cluster systems, donors regulations, and common practices.

Desirable profiles may have one or more of the following:

  • Advanced studies, certificates, or training related to public health and humanitarian response issues.
  • Experience as a head of mission or field coordinator with another NGO.
  • Experience in the set-up of health and medical infrastructure in disaster contexts.

SAMS Foundation staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the Code of Conduct, the Confidentiality Agreement and the Conflict of Interest Policy. SAMS Foundation operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

How to apply:

To express interest in this exciting opportunity to join a dynamic organization and a high performing team please forward your resume and cover letter to iraq-hr@sams-usa.net Review of applications and interviews will take place on a rolling basis. Please reference "Head of Mission" in the subject line.