Humanitarian Access and Security Director

Background/IRC Summary:

The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Today, 13.4 million people in Syria – more than half of the country’s population – are in need of humanitarian assistance with needs increasingly being exacerbated by economic decline. This is no short-term humanitarian episode. IRC is providing a robust humanitarian response to the Syria crisis with a rapidly expanding portfolio, supported by more than 1000+ staff in the Syria Country Program. IRC is undertaking programs in Syria in the fields of health, child protection, early childhood development, women’s protection and empowerment, cash assistance, protection and rule of law, and livelihood programming. Our work in these challenging settings gives rise to some of the most pressing issues facing contemporary humanitarian action, including questions of access, security, funding and coordination.

Job Overview/Summary:

The Humanitarian Access and Security Director (HASD) for Syria is the principal humanitarian access and security risk advisor to the country program 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 Director (CD) and Regional Safety and Security Director (RSSD), the HASD will supervise a team of humanitarian access, safety and security personnel based in Syria, Turkey and Jordan. S/he 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.

Key Responsibilities

Strategy Development

• Advise the country program on security and access risks 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 access, safety and security risks across the country program.

• Understand the existing gaps between security risk, programs, operations, and other functions and identify measures to collaborate, coordinate, and jointly plan for managing risk

• Ensure safety and security due diligence processes are developed, responsive to arising requirements, and aligned to IRC’s principled approach to public advocacy and communications, partnerships, and external 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 leadership team and program leads to ensure that 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

Safety and Security Management

• Develop a quality assurance framework for existing safety and 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 Field Directors, Program Coordinators, Finance and 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, report noticeable changes in threats through appropriate channels and receive timely advice 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 conduct exercises for management and field staff using real-life scenarios; ensure every individual knows their roles and responsibilities when plans fall to operational realities

Humanitarian Access Management

• Support the SMT in evaluating access constraints 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

• Ensure that humanitarian access strategies in field locations are considerate of the risks and opportunities for programs and operations in other locations controlled by the same or different actors.

• 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 tracking incidents and trends in humanitarian access across the country

Monitoring and Incident Reporting

• 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 and do no harm assessments to inform risk and opportunity management decisions in partnership with relevant counterparts, including the Regional Context Analyst

• Submit monthly security situation reports with mitigation measures to relevant leadership and field staff

• Work closely with the field management teams to ensure all incidents are captured in a timely manner 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, regional office and donors as requested

Training and Capacity Building

• Identify learning and development needs across the country program

• Develop and implement training and capacity development plans, and prioritize initiatives based on the needs of the country program and the evolving context

• Build the capacity of the HAS team to operate in volatile contexts with limited supervision

Partnership and External Representation

• Promote partnership equality principles through thoughtful engagement with partners to share capacity, capability, and experience pertaining to 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

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Country Director and Regional Safety and Security Director

Position directly Supervises: 2 Humanitarian Access and Security Coordinators, 1 Humanitarian Access and Security Senior Manager – Partnerships

Internal: SMT members, Country Leadership Team, Field Coordinators, Regional Humanitarian Access and Security Coordinator, and Regional Context Analyst.

External: Partners, donors, peer humanitarian agencies, training providers, specialized networks and forums.

Job Requirements

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. Previous regional or Syria experience highly desirable.

Technical Competencies:

• Demonstrated understanding of the humanitarian principles, code of conduct and specific sub-sector work linked to NGO field and operations contexts.

• Experience of monitoring relevant local, regional and international developments and assessing their impact on operational positions and interactions.

• Demonstrated ability to provide clear and timely incident reporting on unfolding security situations

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

Leadership Competencies:

• 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

• Able to effectively and efficiently lead teams through crisis and during times of uncertainty


• English is required, while Arabic is a strong advantage.

• 50% travel to field in Turkey and northeast Syria and attending regional/global workshops and meetings

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.

Returning National Candidates: We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a citizen of the Country in which this position is based and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, the Middle East Region has introduced an attractive remuneration package. The package includes competitive compensation, return flight to post, shipping allowance, temporary housing and a relocation allowance. Certain restrictions may apply. IRC strives to attract, motivate and retain qualified national staff in our programs.

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.

How to apply

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