The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Inside Syria, 6.5 million people are internally displaced and 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.5 million in hard-to-reach areas. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) first began assisting Syrians in 2012, responding to needs in both Northwest and Northeast Syria (NWS-NES). Our programs are coordinated by teams based in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan providing support that is tailored to the needs of local communities in the fields of health, child protection, education, women’s protection and empowerment, food distribution, cash assistance, water and sanitation, and livelihood.
The Humanitarian Access, Safety and Security Senior Coordinator (HASS SR. CO.) for Syria act as the principal risk advisor to the country and provides technical leadership and direction to the Humanitarian Access & Security Team (HAS) team in IRC Syria. A member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) and reporting to both the Country Senior Coordinator (CD) and Regional Safety and Security Senior Coordinator (RSSD), the HASS SR. CO. will supervise a team of humanitarian access, safety and security personnel in Syria, Turkey and Jordan and will oversee the development and implementation of sound humanitarian access, safety and security management strategies in line with IRC’s strategy, humanitarian principles, and Duty of Care principles.
1. Strategy Development
• Act as the principal risk advisor to the country program by ensuring that the security risk management process is strategically integrated into the project management life cycle and program decision making – including program design and budgets development – in order to achieve a holistic and inclusive approach to the management of safety and security risks across the country program
• Understand the existing gaps between risk, programs, operations, and other functions and identify measures to collaborate, coordinate, and conjointly plan for managing risk with others
• Ensure safety and security due diligence processes are developed, responsive to arising requirements, and aligned with IRC’s principled approaches pertaining to public advocacy and communications, partnerships, and other externally facing stakeholders
• Lead on the development and implementation of strategies to enhance the country program security culture both within the SMT and across the field by ensuring that the humanitarian access and security agenda remains front and center for the country leadership team and by adopting an open and engaging approach to influencing others.
• Pro-actively collaborate with key members of the country leadership team and program leads to ensure that the humanitarian access and security management strategies are appropriately aligned with response priorities across all locations
• Ensure humanitarian access and security management procedures are in alignment with IRC’s global polices and international best practice
2. Safety and Security Management
• Develop a quality assurance framework for existing security systems and procedures by regularly evaluating, reviewing and updating security management plans and SOPs
• Seek to develop an agile and flexible safety and security support system that focuses on delivery at the field level, employing appropriate change management approaches when required
• Work with Program Coordinators and the Grants team to ensure security budgets and staffing levels are in alignment with the assessed levels of risk in each location.
• Ensure that all field staff are fully cognizant of prevailing security threats and fully advised on means to reduce their vulnerability to those threats
• Conduct in-person and remote safety and security assessment/audit on a regular basis in each field location to assess the level of adherence to relevant security plans and procedures designed for each geographical area
• Codify a solid critical incident management plan and put forward a process to drill management and field staff through various real-life scenarios and ensure that every individual knows exactly how to spring into action when plans fall to operational realities
3. Humanitarian Access Management
• Support the SMT in evaluating access constrains for IRC interventions in Syria, including input on new program development opportunities
• Develop and implement humanitarian access strategies tailored to the local context in each field location in order to improve the existing and expand principled humanitarian access to conflict-affected populations
• Demonstrated understanding of humanitarian principles, codes of conduct, and NGO organizational culture thorough familiarity with principles and current approaches to permissive/acceptance models of humanitarian access management
• Support the field teams to develop and implement community engagement strategies that promote acceptance of IRC mission and enable durable programming
• Compile and submit regular reports that track incidents and trends in humanitarian access within each area of operation
4. Context Analysis and Incident Reporting
• Promote context analysis as a principle methodology that informs risk and opportunity management decisions in partnership with relevant technical counterparts
• Monitor the operating environment across all areas of operation, identify new threats, assess IRC vulnerabilities and recommend adequate response strategies or corrective action plans
• Contribute to local-level conflict sensitivity analysis
• Submit monthly situation reports to relevant field and program management staff
• Work closely with the field management teams to ensure all incidents are timely captured and followed up with an official written report, which is then shared with relevant stakeholders and filed appropriately
• Fulfill other reporting requirements to the country program and the regional office
5. Training and Capacity Building
• Work closely with the Regional Security Learning and Development Coordinator to identify learning and development needs across the country program
• Engage with partners to assess learning and development needs and provide advice and support where feasible and necessary
• Develop and implement training and capacity development plans in line with the regional Humanitarian Access & Security Learning and Development Strategy
6. Partnerships & External Representation
• Promote partnership equality principles through thoughtful engagement with partners to share capacity, capability, and experience pertain humanitarian access and security
• Liaise with peers and attend meetings at relevant humanitarian fora e.g., NGO Security Focal Points, INSO, NGO Forums, HAO etc.
• Contribute to the creation of a positive image and overall credibility of the organization vis-à-vis donors and other external stakeholders
7. Performance Management
• Hire, supervise, and build the capacity of team members in relevant technical and management competencies
• Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff
• Ensure adherence to the IRC Global HR Policies and Procedures, and communicates through word and example a high standard of compliance with all applicable policies and regulations.
Education: A university degree in a relevant field or an advanced certification in safety and security operations management in complex environments.
Work Experience: A minimum of 10 years of leadership and management experience, at least 7 of which with INGOs, with demonstrated capabilities in planning, organizing and executing complex humanitarian security operations in multiple conflict or high-risk settings.
• Demonstrated understanding of the humanitarian principles, code of conduct and specific sub-sector work linked to NGO field and operations contexts.
• Experience of gaining a precise and impartial understanding of local, regional and international policies, operational positions and interactions, providing clear dynamic briefings and analysis of given and unfolding security and political situations when they occur.
• Strong experience as a trainer; ability to develop, implement, facilitate and impart learning to a wide range of audiences.
• Excellent relationship-building, interpersonal and leadership skills
• Strong negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution skills
• Superior oral and written communication skills, with ability to express ideas and concepts clearly and persuasively with senior internal and external stakeholders
• Experience of working successfully with local stakeholders such as local and international NGOs, government, etc. with sensitivity and diplomacy
• Fluency in spoken and written English is required
• Knowledge of Arabic or Kurdish language is a strong plus
• Advanced competency in Microsoft Office Suite
• Willingness and ability to travel to areas of responsibility approximately 40% of time
• Previous regional or Syria experience highly desirable
Professional Standards: IRC staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Accountability and Equality. In accordance with these values, IRC operates and carries out policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti-Workplace Harassment, Respect at Work Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.
Gender Equality: IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances.
Diversity and Inclusion: at IRC MENA, we are passionate about creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity. Organizations that are diverse in age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, nationality, and perspective are validated to be better organizations. More importantly, creating a safe workspace environment where everyone, from any background, can do their best is the right thing to do. So, bring your whole self to work.