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 meeting the needs of conflict-affected communities from Syria since 2012, with a focus on interventions in humanitarian and recovery programming. With funding from a range of donors, Mercy Corps works together with vulnerable families and communities in Syria focusing on Emergency, Livelihood and Social Cohesion sectors to promote positive coping strategies and address basic needs.
General Position Summary
The Syria Safety & Security Director is responsible to sync the security management planning and response throughout the country's programs. The Safety & Security Director is expected to provide the Country Director and the team with information, analysis, and tools for the expansion, evolution and management of program operations throughout the entirety of Syria. The Safety & Security Director is a senior member of the Syria team provides strategy, briefings and routine updates to the Country Director. The Safety & Security Director is based in the Country Office in Amman, but is responsible for quality control and strategy of security management for all Syria programs including all cross-border and in-country activities. The Safety & Security Director is expected to monitor the security situation, trends and political environment throughout the country, and identify potential clashes of interests across the portfolio. The Safety & Security Director will directly supervise security personnel for all in-country programming in Syria and this is expected to include staff members based in Lebanon, Jordan and Northeast Syria.
The Safety & Security Director has authority to work and coordinate with regional management (program and technical) as it relates to the situation in Syria. The Safety & Security Director is expected to understand all Mercy Corps programs activities. The Safety & Security Director is a key member of defining our strategy in program design and implementation. The Safety & Security Director will also provide guidance in both analysis and operations with an eye on safely expanding or contracting operations amidst the conflict environment. In this heightened security environment, the Safety & Security Director will be expected to proactively provide guidance and work closely with Directors of Programs and the Northeast Area Director.
The Safety & Security Director will also advance best practices through advisories, critical analysis, and forecasting based on the conflict, demographics and historical context, will support training programs, provide frequent briefings (written and presented) to program staff, give technical advice and support for improved assessments and planning.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Safety and Security Functions
- Be informed and keep abreast of evolutions in the conflict – political, security, and economic situations in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq as relates to the current conflict. This includes an understanding of the situation outside of the programmatic area in Syria. This includes maintaining a functional understanding of geopolitical influencing factors.
- Have a thorough understanding of humanitarian needs and our agency programmatic capacity. Strategize with senior management on forecasting population movements, surges in humanitarian needs, and how we can best meet them.
- Direct supervision of the Security Team to ensure accuracy of mapping the conflict and incidents, relevance and clarity on reports and applicability to agency objectives. Provide quality control over their work.
- Works closely with hubs/programs to devise efficient contingency/scenario plans and ensure they are up to date and reflect contemporary realities of the context.
Ensure the security management systems are contemporary, relevant and tailored to the needs of each hub/program but also productively consistent across the Country Program.
Critical review of the Security Management Plans and ensuring it is communicated and trained on to all staff, for all areas.
Provide the Syria Director, Regional Director and Director of Field Security with critical analysis of the conflict situation throughout the country and emerging trends, patterns and recommendations on meeting humanitarian needs and mitigating risk to other Syria-related programs. This includes potential cross-border effects to Iraq and Lebanon.
Ensures the incident log and reporting system is of standard to allow thorough planning and analysis. Undertake routine reviews to ensure quality statistics, mapping and planning.
Undertake regular field visits in order to meet with team members and gain an independent assessment of the situation and our posture in order to devise mitigation/avoidance measures and implement them.
Responsible to provide critical recommendations to the management of all Syria programs including the designation of Go/No-Go areas, location risk ratings and agency posture, acceptable levels of risk and mitigation measures.
Responsible for ensuring adequate budgeting for security costs (equipment, training, staffing, consumables).
Ensures that a standard and comprehensive security briefing and orientation plan is in place with all new staff and visitors. Ensure this critical skill is transferred to local and international staff.
Is a core member of any Crisis Management Team through the duration of any incident.
Is responsible for creating SOPs and communicating security related information to all applicable staff.
Communication and Coordination
- Responsible for connecting the right managers with relevant analysis and data required for high-level decision making and will develop/maintain a network of trusted sources to enhance this capability.
- Represents Mercy Corps with attendance at interagency security coordination meetings on behalf of Mercy Corps.
- Responsible for publishing a Weekly Update to keep the extended senior management team and other stakeholders in the agency abreast of major incidents and focused on trends relevant to operations.
- Lead senior management in evaluating Mercy Corps Syria program and operational risks using a risk management process.
- Adapt security strategies in remote management setting.
- Has an understanding of compliance concrns including anti-terrorism financing, fraud, corruption and other regulations relevant to the context in Syria. The Director elevates such issues, as they arrive to the Senior Management team to ensure compliance, reporting and risk mitigation strategies.
- As needed, supports with enhanced due diligence measures and investigations.
- Engage in inter-agency coordination in security; encourage Mercy Corps field-level coordination in the NGO community.
- Effectively represent, promote and protect Mercy Corps' mandate for independence, impartiality, and neutrality.
- Any other duties which are not listed but are essential to the safety and security for Mercy Corps staff, property/material, and reputation.
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: North Syria Security Manager, North East Syria Security Manager, South Syria Security Officer, South and Central Syria Partner Security Officer
REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Country Director Syria
WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Team Leaders, Head of Offices, SFPs, Program Managers, Operational Management. Regional Security Advisor. Director, Global Field Security, Humanitarian Analysis Team
COLLABORATES WITH: All Mercy Corps regional management. All Syria staff.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE
- Bachelors degree in a related field: (BA/BSc or equivalent Military College) in relevant field; or equivalent work experience: security qualification or advanced security management training.
- Advanced level of understanding with the philosophy and mode of operation of NGOs.
- Minimum of 5 years field based experience in complex and insecure settings and preferably a conflict environment. Preferably, in more than one country with large teams of staff.
- Proven written and analytical skills (sample may be requested).
- Experience in liaising with civilian, police and military government authorities, as well as with regional, national and international institutions.
- Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and mentoring.
- Willingness to work and travel frequently in often difficult and insecure environments.
- Competency in Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems.
- Fluency in English, both written and spoken.
- Knowledge and understanding of Syria and the Middle East Region.
- Ability to speak Arabic is strongly preferred.
- Formal training qualifications (HEAT, K&R, Personal Security, First Aid etc).
Ability to see and communicate security trends at a local and regional level in a way that effectively increases our safety, security and ability to meet humanitarian needs. Maintaining strong, cooperative relationships with other departments is crucial. A successful candidate will have the ability to interact effectively with international and national personnel both in a managerial as well as training capacity and demonstrate the ability to multi-task, meet deadlines, and process information in support of changing program activities. S/he will be able to live and 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 implementing the response.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Amman, Jordan and is currently an accompanied position. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff will have access to medical, electricity, water, etc. This position requires (40% of time) of travel to field offices, some in insecure environments. Although neighbouring countries continue to experience political unrest, Jordan has been a stable monarchy for over 30 years and the destination preference for many people from the Middle East to relax or gain access to available services. In recent years, events unfolding in Syria and Iraq have increased local concerns over the continued stability of Jordan but to date there have been no major incidents.
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.