Job Description and Requirements
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
The war in Syria continues; more than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes and the number relying on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. With a large and complex portfolio of work across the country, Mercy Corps has established itself as an analytical, strategic and flexible responder, adapting continually to shifting front lines and operational realities to respond effectively and efficiently through multiple modalities with teams inside Syria and working cross-border from neighboring countries. Mercy Corps has a large and diverse portfolio of work and a substantial team that works in multiple languages across multiple locations, many of which are managed remotely.
Mercy Corps has been working in Syria focusing its interventions on humanitarian and recovery programming. With funding from USAID, DFID, EC, Unicef, and others, Mercy Corps has been able to work together with communities in Syria to respond to in WASH, Protection, Emergency, Livelihood, and Civil Society sectors bringing benefit to families and communities inside Syria.
General Position Summary
The Safety and Security Officer (Northwest Syria) is a member of the Safety & Security Department and is the lead national staff member for Northwest Syria. The Safety and Security Officer is responsible for coordinating operational security and information management related to security and access for the programs in Northwest Syria. The Safety and Security Officer will coordinate with the heads of each department on access and acceptance related strategies in these environments with the primary goal of safety and business continuity throughout the rapidly changing conflict area. The primacy of life and flexibility in program operations that allow adaptation and pauses in work activities are foremost in this strategy. The Safety and Security Officer is expected to know and understand all Mercy Corps programs, and activities in Northwest Syria and this includes expansion in new areas of Syria. A cultural understanding of this region is essential and has the same relevance as conflict related indicators in program planning. The Safety and Security Officer is also expected to deliver the orientation and training of new access and analysis function team members and ensure their preparation of Security Management Plans (SMPs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the access and analysis functions that support their formulation. The Safety and Security Officer must also support the heads of departments in their responsibility for ensuring a process of reporting and documenting security incidents and with an understanding of donor requirements of accountability. The Safety and Security Officer will also coordinate with partners, authorities and institutions that affect the access, safety and security of Mercy Corps staff, assets, partners and beneficiaries. The Safety and Security Officer will be requested to support the briefing requirements of country management and peer departments from time-to-time.
The Safety and Security Officer does not have the authority to impose procedures or evacuate staff, but rather will advance best practices through advisories, actions and approvals through critical analysis and predictions based on the conflict, demographics and historical context, and will support training programs, provide frequent briefings and critical analysis to program staff, and give technical advice and support for improved assessments and planning. It is expected that the Safety and Security Officer will advise the heads of departments to ensure safety and security is fully integrated across program and management teams. The Safety and Security Officer will also be responsible for tasks related to the collection, collation and verification of information, drafting of reports, and managing the documentation and reporting processes on incidents that require reports to MC HQ and donors.
Essential Job Responsibilities
– Sustain and improve, guided by the head of the department, the current system of media and context monitoring in all areas of operation.
– Ensure an internal information flow is maintained with the capacity to develop context analysis documentation for external bodies such as donors or peer agencies.
– Ensure the maintenance and updating of risk assessment for each location and partner and with an understanding of program activities.
– Ensure the maintenance and updating of Security Management plan for NWS hub with an understanding of program activities.
– Responsible for the maintenance and securing of access in all areas of operation with relevant Standard operating Procedures (SOPs) across each.
– Maintain a process of briefing and orienting all new team members focused on access and analysis functions.
– To take a supporting role in resolving all critical incidents through access functions.
– Ensure the continuity of staff and vehicle tracking across Northwest Syria
– Ensure testing, training, permissions for communication equipment options across Northwest Syria
– Will read and stay abreast of all programming activities and objectives. Ensure contingency planning is considered and in place for program activities, where possible.
– Will read and help create an awareness and culture of Mercy Corps access and analysis principles and humanitarian values.
– Coordinates on a daily basis with program, logistics and border operations staff in the daily dispatch of commodities and staff. The AIC is expected to support the head of department in making decisions to go/no-go.
– Will support through the delegation of actions to access and analysis staff, programmatic and operational responses to security situations and resulting humanitarian needs.
– Ensures the coordination of the requests of the head of department for to provide updates, briefings and incident reporting from and to program teams in a timely and routine manner. This relates to access, analysis and operational security.
– Stay abreast of Mercy Corps program assessments and new business activities. Support the head of department and these teams and special projects with the necessary support to conduct safe operations, planning and access strategies.
– Maintain the log of all incidents effecting Mercy Corps and coordinate with others in the Security and Safety department in mapping and analyzing their contributing factors and impact.
– Support the necessity of donor-reporting requirements for losses of commodities or incidents to ensure all are documented, investigated and reported to the required standard.
– Will document and follow up on all enquiries relating to security incidents with a view to capturing critical lessons and mitigating and reducing their repetition.
Training and Outreach:
– Advise the Security Director on a comprehensive safety and security training plan and portfolio. Oversee the implementation of this with both direct and hired consultants.
– Execute incident and crisis management exercises for all staff and management.
– Establish and develop a ‘checking in’ function for all locations in Syria, in cooperation with respective supervisors.
– Look into training needs of staff especially Drivers and Guards in consultation with Heads of Office and Operations teams.
– Coach SMTs and sharpen their skills in risk and vulnerability assessments, evaluating information and developing security protocols and strategies that work for the team and allow Mercy Corps programs to progress safely and with the lowest risk possible.
– Coach and mentor local security team members to effectively fulfill their operational role in the Mercy Corps security management strategy. Develop a work plan that can be remotely managed.
Coordination & Support:
– Place high value on inter-agency coordination in security; encourage Mercy Corps field-level coordination in the NGO community. Seek opportunities for formal and informal cooperation.
– Develop and engage Mercy Corps’ internal network of Security Focal Points and encourage inter-communications between them.
– Pursue opportunities to engage others in our community in creative solutions to our security challenges through collaborative efforts.
– Fill-in and support security management during times of increased need staffing gaps.
As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve – we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries:
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Supervisory Responsibility: 4 officers at the national level, all in remote management capacity.
Reports Directly To: Senior Security Coordinator for Syria Programme
Works Directly With: Team Leaders, Area Coordinators, Program Officers, Senior Program Officers, Program Managers, Program Coordinators, Operations Managers and Heads of Departments
COLLABORATES WITH: All Mercy Corps colleagues; works within agency parameters of impartiality and independence.
Knowledge and Experience
– Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field; or equivalent work experience: security qualification or advanced security management training are desirable
– A minimum three (3) years of experience in security operations centers or similar within a military, police or security organization is required
– An understanding of the philosophy and mode of operation of NGOs
– Field-based experience in complex and insecure settings and preferably a conflict environment, preferably, across more than one country with large teams of staff.
– Experience in liaising with civilian, police and military, government and non-State authorities, as well as with regional, national and international institutions
– Experience with incident reporting, incident mapping, information collation and analysis functions, set up and execution of an incident and early-warning systems, compilation of security reports and assessments
– Excellent communication skills including in remote management configuration
– Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching
– Excellent task management and ability to prioritize
– Competency in Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems
– Fluency in English and Arabic, both written and spoken is required; ability to speak Turkish is also an asset
– Knowledge and understanding of the Middle East region
– Capacity to train and effectively provide trainings to national staff
The successful candidate will have the ability to identify and communicate security trends to departmental management in a way that effectively increases our safety, security and ability to meet humanitarian needs. Maintaining strong, cooperative relationships across departments is crucial. A successful candidate will have the ability to interact effectively with international and national personnel both in an operational and training capacity and demonstrate the ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and process information in support of management of the department. S/he will be able to work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment and be willing to travel regularly to Mercy Corps field offices and project sites. The candidate will ensure a high degree of professionalism and neutrality when it comes to advising the head of department and subsequently coordinating its response.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
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