Humanitarian Access & Security Coordinator



The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Inside Syria, 6.3 million people are internally displaced and 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.5 million in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. There are over 5 million Syrian refugees registered in neighboring countries. This is no short-term humanitarian episode. The devastating human consequences to huge numbers of people will endure for decades. The destruction of relationships, communities, livelihoods, homes and infrastructure will take years to repair.

IRC is offering a robust humanitarian response to the Syria crisis. With an annual budget in excess of $140 million and a rapidly expanding portfolio, supported by more than 3,000 staff and workers in the region, IRC is undertaking programs in Syria and the neighboring countries of Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan in the fields of health, child protection, education, women’s protection and empowerment, NFI and food distribution, cash assistance, 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 & Security Coordinator (HASC) is a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT), reporting to the Deputy Director of Cross Border (DDCB), and manages the Humanitarian Access & Security Management Unit (HAU) for the northeast Syria program.

The HASC will supervise the Humanitarian Access Managers (HAM), in collaboration with key programs and operations colleagues in northeast Syria, to safely enable the delivery of essential services to women, men, and children inside Syria. She or 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 strategy.

She or he will lead the HAU to identify changes and trends in the humanitarian access and security environment in northeast Syria, 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.

She or he will provide expert humanitarian access and security risk management advice to all levels of IRC staff in the country office on building relationships with stakeholders, negotiating and mediating humanitarian access, contextual understanding, managing critical incidents, and providing timely advisories.

She or he will work closely with the DDCB, Field Coordinator (FC), and Program Coordinators (PC) 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.

Working closely with the DDCB and PCs, she or he will help maximize the effectiveness of IRC’s activities in northeast Syria by contributing to the design and ongoing adaptation of programming to ensure it is contextually appropriate. Where applicable, she or he will also provide guidance and support to partner organizations and ensure the capacity building of IRC staff, incentive workers, and partners with active hands-on collaboration.


Humanitarian Access Management

• Develop and implement humanitarian access strategies and approaches tailored to local contexts in field sites throughout northeast Syria

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

• Ensure that the IRC field humanitarian access teams conduct principled and sustainable negotiations with relevant actors in northeast Syria in line with humanitarian principles, humanitarian needs, duty of care principles, and the IRC’s strategy

• 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 northeast Syria

• 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 teams and activities across northeast Syria

• 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, to ensure timely and appropriate follow-up to violations of IRC’s Code of Conduct, in addition to operational breaches to humanitarian principles

Safety and Security Risk Management

• Provide technical support to the DDCB and Senior Management on all policies, procedures, guidelines and planning for staff safety, operational security and program continuity in northeast Syria

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

• Work with DDCB, Field Coordinator, and members of the HSU to develop, consolidate and implement operating procedures and contingency plans

• Maintain a network of IRC Security Focal Points at each field office and program site

• Evaluate, review and update the hibernation and evacuation plans for all IRC offices and residences in northeast Syria and ensure that the practical preparations are in place and known to all staff involved

• Conduct 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, including here proposing safe alternative means of communication and equipment

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

Networking and Liaison

• Maintaining a network of IRC security focal points in the country program as well as external professional contacts and counterparts

• Provide timely feedback on questions and technical assistance requests from country program team members

• Monitor and provide support and reporting on NGO field security initiatives as required

• Identify, create and maintain a network with NGO/UN and other humanitarian access and security specialists

• Facilitate regional NGO security coordination through networking, collaboration and coordination with humanitarian actors

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.

• Submit daily contextual updates as needed to the SMT and relevant field and program management staff

• Work closely with IRC field management teams 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

• Monitor the operating environment in the region, identify new threats, assess IRC vulnerabilities and recommend possible responses

• Coordinate regularly with the Regional Safety & Security Director on safety and security, and fulfill reporting requirements to the region

• Contribute to local-level conflict sensitivity analysis and macro- level analysis of trends within the Syrian conflict with the support of the Regional Humanitarian Analysis Advisor

• 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

Training and Capacity Building

• Provide a capacity development plan with precise implementation plans in line with the regional Humanitarian Access & Security Capacity Development Strategy

• Work closely with the Regional Security Capacity Building Coordinator to identify learning and development needs in the country program

• 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 information and on-boarding package for new hires and visitors

Program Development:

• Participate in program design in close cooperation with the DDCB and PCs

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

• 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

Emergency Preparedness and Response

• Contribute to the development of country emergency preparedness plans

• As required, 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 northeast Syria

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

Staff Performance Management, Learning & Development

• Hire, supervise, and build the capacity of team members in relevant technical and management competencies

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

• Coach, train, supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting annual performance objectives, providing regular and timely positive and constructive performance feedback, and providing documented semi-annual performance reviews

• 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

• Approve and manage all time, attendance and leave requests to ensure adequate departmental coverage; ensure monthly, accurate timesheet submission and carry out probationary reviews

• Hold high-quality meetings with each direct report on a regular and predictable basis, at least monthly

• Provide a measurable development plan including on-the-job learning with the aim of strengthening technical capacity, exchanging knowledge within the team and providing guidance on career paths.

• As required identify staff performance issues and work with Human Resources to document and address these in accordance with the National Staff Employment Policies

• 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

Key Working Relationships

Position Reports to: Deputy Director for Cross Border – Iraq

Indirect/Technical Reporting: Regional Safety & Security Director

Position directly Supervises: Humanitarian Access Manager

Key Internal Contacts:

 Senior Humanitarian Access Coordinator (Syria Country Program)

 Country Program: Senior Program Coordinator, Senior Operations Coordinator, Field Coordinators, Program Coordinators

 Region/Global: Team members in security, partnership, public affairs, HR, supply chain, monitoring and evaluation, ICT4P and others

Key External Contacts:

• INGO humanitarian access and security focal points

• Relevant UN agencies: UNOCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, etc.

• Relevant coordination forums, working groups, and clusters for Syria: SIRF, MRHS, Security Forums, etc.

• Information sharing and analysis bodies: INSO, HAT, etc.

• Community leaders and local powerbrokers

Job Requirements

Education: University degree in Business Management, International Relations, Political Science, or related field, preferred. Technical degree or certification in related field with significant applicable experience.

Work Experience:

• A minimum of 3 years of non-profit or NGO work experience within international humanitarian assistance programs with demonstrated capabilities in planning, organizing and executing humanitarian security operations in the field

• Understanding of local context, dynamics, and access limitations related gender, disability, religion, tradition, and local norms.

• Knowledge in communications technology, including, satellite communications, cell phone mediums, etc. is a plus

• 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, operational positions and interactions, providing clear dynamic briefings and analysis of given and unfolding security and political situations when they occur

• Regional experience strongly preferred

Demonstrated Technical Skills:

• Proven experience as professional and reliable manager (including 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

• Exceptional 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 essential with experience in conflict resolution is essential

• 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.

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

Languages Required/Preferred:

• Fluency in spoken and written English is required

• Knowledge of Arabic or Kurdish language is a plus

Computer/Other Requirements:

• Full professional competency in Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Ability to Travel: 30-40% travel, primarily within Syria

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.

Attention Returning National Candidates: IRC strives to attract, motivate and retain qualified national staff in our programs. We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national 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.

Working Environment

The security level is 3 (Orange) in Derek though the situation is generally very calm. Staff must comply with all IRC security policies and procedures applicable to international staff.

Shared housing in a guest house with modern amenities will be provided. The position is unaccompanied.

IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.


Applications to be submitted on:

Deadline for Applications: 
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 00:00
Degree Required: 
Bachelor Degree
Job Country: 
Experience Required: 
Contract Type: 
Monday, March 11, 2019 - 10:45