Humanitarian Access and Safety & Security Coordinator

Closing date:

Cameroon background and Humanitarian Context:

The IRC started operations in Cameroon in 2016 to respond to the increasing concerns for people affected by violence linked to Boko Haram, in the Far North of the country. Assistance to displaced populations extends across the Far North, notably Mayo Sava, Mayo Tsanaga and Logone & Chari, delivering lifesaving programming to increase access to water and improving hygiene practices in vulnerable displaced and host communities, cash programming to enable poor families to meet basic needs and improve food security, and protection programming, including meeting specific needs of women and girls. The IRC has field bases in Maroua and Kousseri.

Following the increasing crisis in the North West and South West (NWSW) regions of Cameroon, the IRC expanded its operations into the South West region in August 2018 and into the North West in 2019. The IRC is delivering lifesaving humanitarian assistance to internally displaced populations, with activities in Fako, Meme, Ndian, Lebialem and Mezam divisions managed through field bases in Buea and Bamenda.

With its coordination office in Yaoundé, the IRC Cameroon country program will develop its new ‘Strategy 100’ strategic plan in late 2021, through which we aim to provide the best possible impact for some of the most vulnerable boys, girls, women, and men affected by the humanitarian crises. In all that we do, we strive to deliver through IRC’s core values of Integrity, Accountability, Service and Equality.

Scope of Work:

The Humanitarian Access, Safety & Security Coordinator will inform strategic decision-making and deliver operational management in Cameroon. The person will be based in Yaoundé with 50% of their time spent travelling in the regions of the country where IRC works.

S/he will report directly to the Cameroon Country Director and have strong links with the Senior Management Team (SMT) as well as the Operations team (represented either by a Deputy Director of Operations-DDO or an Operations Coordinator). S/he will develop and oversee the implementation of humanitarian access and security management systems and protocols in line with humanitarian principles, humanitarian needs, duty of care principles, and IRC’s overall strategy.

S/he will identify changes and trends in the humanitarian access and security environment in Cameroon, develop and oversee the implementation of responsive plans, standard operating procedures and contingency plans, and facilitate training and capacity building of both management and field staff. Separate access and security strategies will be developed for different regions of Cameroon – in particular one for the NWSW Region and another for the Far North.

S/he will ensure that expert humanitarian access and security risk management advice are provided to all levels of IRC staff in country offices, building relationships with stakeholders, negotiating and mediating humanitarian access, contextual understanding, managing critical incidents, and providing timely advisories.

S/he will work closely with Field Coordinators to ensure that organizational security policies and procedures are responsive to the context, adequate and known to staff, and in line with global safety and security standards. She/he will also support Field Coordinators in setting up and clarify roles and responsibilities in security management, and will provide management-in-partnership with the Field Coordinators to field-based security focal points and officers via regular provision of technical support and guidance.

Major Responsibilities

1. Humanitarian Access Management

• Develop and implement humanitarian access strategies and approaches tailored to local contexts in field sites where IRC has programs in Cameroon

• Ensure humanitarian access approaches are responsive to local context and include overarching community engagement components.

• Ensure that the IRC field teams conduct principled and sustainable negotiations with relevant actors in Cameroon in line with humanitarian principles, humanitarian needs, duty of care principles, and Cameroon’s IRC’s Strategic Action Plan (SAP) currently being developed.

• Work to ensure that IRC, its mission and work in the areas of operations is known and accepted.

• Work to encourage stakeholders to work with the IRC in ensuring that staff and programs are safe and allowed to continue humanitarian activities in Cameroon

• Provide technical input and advice in assessments to consider new IRC programs in new geographic areas, and regular assessment reviews for existing locations.

• Assist in the continued development of humanitarian access and security teams and activities across Cameroon

• Contribute in developing and implementing guidelines for humanitarian access and engagement with non-state actors articulating standard IRC policy and guidance.

• Oversee and advise on the implementation and review of tailored acceptance strategies.

• Maintain a high level of preparedness vis-a-vis predicted contextual fluctuations operationally and programmatically.

• Enhance IRC image and acceptance within the community and amongst stakeholders by providing guidance on inclusive visibility strategies.

• Work with appropriate IRC units, including HR, Supply Chain, and Finance, to ensure timely and appropriate follow-up to violations of IRC’s Code of Conduct and various SOPs, in addition to operational breaches to humanitarian principles.

2. Safety and Security Risk Management

• Oversee and provide technical support to implement all policies, procedures, guidelines and planning for staff safety, operational security and program continuity in all IRC offices and presence in Cameroon

• Mainstream a gendered approach in security risk management

• Evaluate, review, and update the security management plans on a regular basis in compliance with global safety and security standards and requirements.

• Work with Field Coordinators in the Far North and NWSW to develop, consolidate and implement operating procedures and contingency plans.

• Maintain and build up the existing network of IRC Security Focal Points at each field office and program sites (enhancing gender balance as much as possible).

• Evaluate, review and update the contingency plan for all IRC offices and residences in Cameroon and ensure that the practical preparations are in place and known to all staff involved.

• Oversee risk assessments of contracted and prospective offices and residences. Follow up on actions to be taken to ensure compliance with safety and security standards

• Undertake continual assessments of equipment, and the protocols by which that equipment is used, to ensure that minimal conditions for security are being met

• Provide and implement best possible solutions for use of equipment to facilitate communication between staff.

• Ensure safety and security protocols, reporting mechanisms, and capacity building initiative account for gender-specific risks, staff profiles and background, and are sensitive to local contexts.

• Ensure that incident and crisis management protocols are known by the different teams that may be implicated.

3. Networking and Liaison:

• Organize and ensure IRC offices keep and maintain a network of key informants and interlocutors at field level.

• Link to universities or other institutions that could support context understanding.

• Maintain and build upon a network with NGO/UN and other humanitarian access and security specialists operating in Cameroon

4. Context Understanding and Reporting

• Compile and submit regular reports that track incidents and trends in humanitarian access and local security contexts within the IRC’s area of operation in Cameroon.

• Submit daily (DSR) and monthly contextual updates as needed to the SMT and relevant field & Yaoundé-based staff

• Work closely with Field Coordinators to ensure all incidents and accidents are followed up with an official written report, which is then shared with relevant stakeholders and filed appropriately. Ensure that final incident reports are provided when IRC is closing the case and that lessons learnt are incorporated in the security management system.

• Monitor the operating environment in Cameroon (and, as appropriate, in neighboring countries), identify new threats, assess IRC vulnerabilities and recommend possible responses

• Coordinate regularly with the Regional West Africa Safety & Security Advisor on access, safety and security, and fulfill reporting requirements to the region.

• Contribute to local-level conflict sensitivity analysis and macro- level analysis of trends within both conflicts zones active in Cameroon

• Provide credible information and contextual understanding of localized and country-wide security situations and incidents along with appropriate advice to IRC field and program management staff.

5. Training and Capacity Building

• Identify safety, security and access learning and development needs for country program staff

• Provide regular trainings for IRC staff on humanitarian principles and safety and security preparedness. Training(s) may include Standard Operational Procedures; Humanitarian Negotiations; Contextual Understanding; Safety & Security Risk Management; Incident Management &Reporting; etc.

• Liaise with partners to assess capacity building needs and provide advice and support where feasible and necessary.

• Work with relevant internal focal points to develop and review the IRC Cameroon information and on-boarding package for new hires and visitors., ensuring they went through a complete safety and security briefing.

6. Program Development:

• Participate in program design in close cooperation with the Deputy Directors of Programs and Operations (DDP and DDO)

• Ensure that safety and security needs are included in the country program’s budgets. In case, there is a specific budget allocated to Safety and Security, he/she will be the budget holder

• Support program coordinator and field management staff in developing conflict-sensitive and contextually appropriate approaches in Cameroon

• Participate in program review meetings and contribute to implementation plans to ensure the timely, safe, and secure delivery of IRC service to beneficiaries.

• Advise program and field management teams on context-specific risks pertaining humanitarian access, safety, and security, and contribute to the development and implementation of mitigation measures and plans

7. Emergency Preparedness and Response:

• Contribute to the development of country emergency preparedness plans.

• Support and advise the SMT during humanitarian or security/safety emergencies.

• Assist with the humanitarian access and security component (situation analysis and background information, security assessments) of the Emergency Response Team deployments in Cameroon.

• Contribute to the development of operational and programmatic contingency plans that respond to different emergency scenarios.

8. Staff Performance Management, Learning & Development:

• Hire, supervise, and build the capacity of team members in relevant technical and management competencies. S/he will be the technical supervisor of Security ad Access focal points and will participate on the definition of their objectives and in the performance appraisal (management in partnership with Field Coordinators).

• Develop and implement remote management capacity building approaches to build the strengths of the team in Cameroon.

• Coach, train, supervise and mentor key field staff and security focal points, including communicating clear expectations, setting objectives, providing regular and timely feedback, and feeding into formal performance review processes as needed

• Maintain open and professional relations with team members, promoting a strong team spirit and providing oversight and guidance to enable staff to successfully perform in their positions

• 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

• Look for opportunities to support staff in their career growth, where appropriate. As part of succession plan and nationalization goals, identify, train and develop capability and capacity of national staff to successfully transition role and responsibilities, by the end of assignment

• Adhere to and act in accordance with 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: University degree in Management, Political Sciences, or related field, preferred. Technical degree or certification in related field with significant applicable experience.

Work Experience:

• A minimum of 5 years of non-profit or NGO work experience within international humanitarian assistance programs with demonstrated capabilities in planning, organizing and executing humanitarian operations safely in the field.

• Understanding the humanitarian principles, code of conduct and specific intricacies of delivering essential of services by NGOs

• Understanding of regional and local context, dynamics, civil-military relationships, and access limitations in the Lake Chad basin & Cameroon specifically.

• Knowledge in communications technology, including satellite communications, cell phone, etc.

• Strong experience as a trainer; ability to develop, implement, facilitate and impart learning to a wide range of audiences

• Experience of gaining a precise and impartial understanding of local, regional and international policies.

• Provide clear dynamic briefings and analysis of given and unfolding security and political situations when they occur.

• Experience in the Lake Chad Basin, with experience in Cameroon, preferred.

Demonstrated Technical Skills:

• Proven experience as professional and reliable manager (management of people and projects)

• Highly skilled in organizing large-scale, fast-paced, responsive field programs

• Situational awareness and opportunity awareness

• Solid ability to provide team building, coaching, and development for staff as well as encourage cross-functional collaboration and cooperation

• Solid organizational and coordination skills

Demonstrated Managerial/Leadership Competencies:

• Excellent relationship-building, interpersonal skills and the ability to effectively represent IRC at forums and with external stakeholders

• Strong negotiation and mediation skills with experience in conflict resolution are essential

• Good 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.

• Proven ability to design and lead training engagements with staff and partners to enhance skills and adapt to changing program demands

Languages Required/Preferred:

• Full fluency in both spoken and written French and English is required.

Computer/Other Requirements:

• Full professional competency in Microsoft Office, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Geographic Information System knowledge is a plus.

Ability to Travel: 50% travel in field offices

Working Environment: The Humanitarian Access, Safety & Security Coordinator will be based in Yaoundé with regular travel up to 50% to field offices in Cameroon. Strict adherence to security guidelines is requested of all IRC staff.

Standards of Professional Conduct: The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the IRC Way – Code of Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Accountability, and Equality. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Harassment-Free Workplace, Fiscal Integrity, Anti-Retaliation, Combating Trafficking in Persons and several others.

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.

How to apply

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