The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Inside Syria, 7.6 million people are internally displaced and 12.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.8 million in hard-to-reach areas. There are 5 million Syrian refugees 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, supported by more than 2,000 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.
The IRC Country Director for Syria oversees all programs implemented in South and NW Syria. Programs in NE Syria are currently managed under the Iraq program. IRC is presently undertaking a feasibility study into potential for operating in Southern Syria given the changed context since July 2018. In northwestern Syria, IRC operates in Idlib and Northern Aleppo. In the northeast, IRC is active in Hasakeh and Raqqa and is currently managed from Dohuk, Iraq. All of these areas are prone to dynamic levels of conflict that require constant monitoring.
The Country Director will maintain continuity of humanitarian support in current operational areas in the country, while exploring the possibility of expanding the geographic scope as conditions allow and in collaboration with the regional office. The Country Director is responsible for overall leadership and supervisory management of IRC staff, programming, and operations within South and NW Syria, and those in supporting roles in Jordan and Turkey, including program quality and accountability, stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, performance management and external representation. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative on behalf of the Syria country program to government officials, non-governmental actors, donors, international organizations, Syrian civil society, other NGOs and the media. The Country Director is expected to manage responsive and effective humanitarian programs implemented both directly and with Syrian partner organizations. The Country Director will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in the strategy action plan for 2016-2020, bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results with high levels of accountability.
Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary demonstrated leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and diversify program resources. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior managers; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance, and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems.
Leadership and Representation
• Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.
• Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with: government ministries at various levels; UN OCHA; donors including OFDA, USAID , DFID, BPRM, ECHO, UNHCR, UNICEF and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as SIRF.
• Ensure that IRC remains a partner of choice for major international donors.
• Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities and planned funding streams.
• Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial and authentic partnerships with local organizations.
• Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of IRC and its partners, as well as the lives and the needs of the people IRC seeks to serve.
• Play a leadership role in efforts to improve humanitarian coordination in Syria.
• Lead country program collaboration with colleagues in IRC’s Middle East Region to deliver regional programming and advocacy.
• Ensure leadership and management processes enable the IRC to effectively adapt to contextual changes and fully leverage opportunities to expand humanitarian access and assistance.
Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth
• Ensure the strategic vision and direction of the country program is aligned with IRC2020 to serve people with responsive, high-quality and accountable programming, and secure the resources necessary for realization.
• Ensure the strategy action plan is of quality, implemented and guides decision making.
• Ensure program quality through consistent use throughout the country program of: rigorous assessment, design, and proposal development and review processes; comprehensive monitoring & evaluation, accountability and learning systems; staff development investments; and partner organization capacity strengthening.
• Actively seek out and pursue opportunities to expand humanitarian and resilience programming in Syria, in terms of populations and areas served.
• Remain current on national and regional issues impacting the country program and partners, and develop responsive strategies to changing contexts.
• Ensure the SMT delivers the leadership, management structures, staffing skills and approaches, and operational systems required to ensure a coherent ‘one IRC’ approach to achieve regional objectives.
• Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs, supported by the acquisition of and investment in human resources.
Safety and Security Management
• Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.
• Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.
• Maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program, including trainings and briefings that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response.
• Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.
• Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Advisor on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.
Staff Management, Learning and Development
• Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.
• Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a team of skilled, committed and motivated staff. Coach, train, supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting quarterly performance objectives, providing regular and timely positive and constructive performance feedback, and providing documented semi-annual performance reviews.
• 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.
• Hold high-quality meetings with each direct report on a regular and predictable basis, at least bi-weekly.
• Approve and manage all time, attendance and leave requests of direct reports to ensure adequate departmental coverage.
• As part of succession plan and nationalization goals, identify, train and develop capability and capacity of a national staff to successfully transition role and responsibilities, by end of assignment.
• 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.
• Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s country, regional and Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.
• Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.
• Undertake regular reviews of labor and salary markets in Jordan and Syria for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for national staff.
Stewardship and Operational Management
• Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.
• Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.
• Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance and supply chain.
• Provide timely and effective oversight of the Syria country program’s financial position.
• Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.
• Seek opportunities to introduce efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in existing business processes.
• Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Jordan country program.
• Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.
• Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Regional Director
Position directly Supervises: A senior management team responsible for programs, partnerships, field operations, finance, HR, compliance and business development.
Key Internal Contacts:
Country Program: All staff
Region: Middle East Regional Team
HQ: Ethics & Compliance, Operations and Strategy, Finance, Global Philanthropy & Partnerships, Policy and Practice including Advocacy and Program Quality Units and General Counsel
Key External Contacts:
Host country government officials
Public and private donor agencies
International and national NGOs
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the IRC Way – Code of Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. 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.
• Graduate degree in a relevant field
• At least 12 years of progressively responsible international work experience, including leadership at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment.
• Prior experience working within organizational structures in transition.
• Experience working in conflict/post-conflict or disaster response situations.
Demonstrated Technical Skills:
• Superior communications skills, verbal and written, in English.
• Experience of managing security in a complex and rapidly changing security context.
• Proven ability to negotiate and work with partner organizations. Experience with organizational capacity strengthening and partnership building helpful.
• Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities.
• Extensive representation and fundraising success, including prior experience with European, US and international donors.
• Established capacity to handle stressful situations in a healthy, constructive manner.
• Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes.
• A keen understanding of political complexities in the Middle East region.
Demonstrated Managerial/Leadership Competencies:
• Experience building personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities for the organization.
• Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary teams in cross-cultural settings, including active mentoring and coaching.
• Effective in developing high-potential staff to achieve career growth and maximum contribution.
• Proven experience delivering appropriate levels of oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects.
• Opportunity-awareness. A successful innovative approach to unpredictable programming, operational, and funding contexts.
• Ability to dispassionately represent program context, constraints, and successes to media, government, and other senior audiences.
• Professional fluency in written and spoken English.
• Arabic language skills a definite advantage.
Computer/Other Tech Requirements:
• Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
• Working knowledge of file sharing protocols such as Dropbox, SharePoint, etc., an advantage.
Ability to Travel: approximately 25% within the region and outside the region for workshops, representation and conferences
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.
The overall security situation in Jordan is relatively calm, especially in Amman. The Jordanian government is stable, and civil unrest is largely peaceful. However, Jordan’s generosity in hosting refugees from Palestine, Iraq and now Syria have created huge strains on the country’s economy and infrastructure. The IRC office is in a modern professional building.
IRC is offering this post as fully accompanied for the successful candidate and accompanying dependents including: vacation leave, home leave, education allowance, housing, water, electricity, internet connectivity, and other generous benefits. Modern amenities (health care, international schools, etc.) are readily available.
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.