Security & Humanitarian Access Lead - Ukraine Response
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.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps’ Ukraine crisis response seeks to meet the humanitarian needs of vulnerable Ukrainians and other conflict-affected people where they are: displaced inside Ukraine, refugees in Poland, Romania and Moldova, or trapped behind frontlines. We aim to reach 500,000 vulnerable people with multi-purpose cash assistance, in-kind humanitarian support, and protection services across four countries. Almost all of our impact will be delivered in partnership: with Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian and Moldovan civil society organizations through a granting program that matches humanitarian action with capacity strengthening, and with peer international NGOs through a consortium in Ukraine.
General Position Summary
The Security & Humanitarian Access Lead (SHAL) ensures that Mercy Corps’ Ukraine Response operates at all times with optimal understanding of the dynamics that shape our context, underpinned by robust and adaptive safety and security protocols, and with the capacity to leverage analysis into humanitarian decision making and access.
The core of this role is our crisis response in Ukraine. As a foundation for all other activities, the SHAL will work with the Safety & Security Manager (SSM) to ensure our Ukrainian operations work within best-practice safety and security practice and that our Security Management Plan is kept up to date and understood and complied with by all team members. S/he will also oversee the work of the SSM and field security focal points in assuring site and travel security.
Building on this foundation, the SHAL will oversee and guide a suite of analytical capabilities designed to generate contextual insights and translate these into actionable analysis that can inform decision-making, program design and humanitarian access. S/he will work with a Humanitarian Access Officer (HAO) and Crisis Analytics Team Leader (CATL) to ensure that our analytical work can help guide the Response Senior Management Team (RSMT) and program and operations teams in navigating complex context dynamics, in establishing multiple points of contact to inform both program design and its implementation, and in undertaking humanitarian negotiations to assure operating space and access (including into non-government controlled areas or NGCAs).
The SHAL will also serve as a member ex officio of the RSMT and, where appropriate, participate in both internal and external meetings, networks and fora relevant to security and humanitarian access, and from time to time act as a spokesperson or representative for Mercy Corps Ukraine on these issues. S/he is expected to help consolidate, articulate and prioritize risks associated with safety, security, access and business continuity to the broader risk management team.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- The SHAL is a key role in the broader risk management goals of Mercy Corps Ukraine. They will sit on the Risk Management Committee of Mercy Corps Ukraine and participate in routine risk management activities including (but not limited to)
o The evaluation of Enhanced Due Diligence reports and partnership engagement
o The country risk register and prioritization of agency or team risks.
o Investigations – as determined.
o Critical Incident and crisis management
SAFETY AND SECURITY MANAGEMENT
- The SHAL oversees the development and updating of all policies, procedures, guidelines and planning for staff safety, operational security and program continuity, working closely with the RSMT and the Safety & Security Manager.
- Coordinate risk assessments of contracted and prospective offices and residences. Oversee follow up on actions to be taken to ensure compliance with safety and security standards.
- Support effective communication protocols and use across the team to ensure good security awareness and practice.
- Ensures, along with the SSM, regular safety and security dialogue exchanges with peer agencies, UNDSS; UNOCHA, Embassies, commercial entities etc
- Ensure that all protocols and practice recognize gender specific risks and are responsive to safeguarding concerns.
- Under the direction of the Response Director, coordinate with the civ-mil actors working in Ukraine and lead the deconfliction guidelines and process with UNOCHA. The SHAL is expected to give critical feedback into this process and (in coordination with the Response Director) the Mercy Corps advocacy and global security teams for agency positioning on this process.
- Ensure a clear coordination process is in place for cross-border movements.
- Working with the Humanitarian Access Officer (HAO) and Crisis Analytics (CA) team, ensure humanitarian access approaches are responsive to local context and include overarching community engagement components.
- Working with the HAO, develop ongoing relationships with relevant national and local authorities and other power brokers within Ukraine.
- Work to ensure that Mercy Corps, its mission and work in the areas of operations is known and accepted. Coordinate with the CARM and PAQ team to understand relevant feedback from communities to assess levels of trust and acceptance. Assist the Response Director in building a common vision and actionable goals towards acceptance.
- Work to encourage stakeholders to work with Mercy Corps in ensuring that staff and programs are safe and allowed to continue humanitarian activities in Ukraine.
- Provide regular updates to access procedures for all Ukraine program areas.
- Provide technical input and advice in assessments to consider new Mercy Corps programs in new geographic areas.
- In coordination with the SSM and HAO, liaise with security actors e.g., NGO Security Focal Point, NCCI, INSO, other NGO security coordinators, region UNDSS contacts, local community stakeholders, Governors, etc.
- Maintain a high level of preparedness vis-a-vis predicted contextual fluctuations operationally and programmatically.
- Guide and coordinate the work of the CA team under its Team Leader, ensuring that analysis generated can be fed into operational decision making
- Serve as a member of the Ukraine CA editorial working group, inputting to planning and decisions around content, the pipeline for reports and other work, and in establishing editorial guidelines.
NETWORKING & LIAISON
- With the SSM, maintaining a network of Mercy Corps security focal points in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova, as well as external professional contacts and counterparts.
- Provide timely feedback on questions and technical assistance requests from country program team members.
- Facilitate regional NGO security coordination through networking, collaboration and coordination with humanitarian actors.
INCIDENT REPORTING & RESPONSE
- Ensure the SSM and team contributes and maintains current tracking, mapping and automated reporting systems of security incidents and updates for a comprehensive view on events & trends in the region.
- Primary person responsible for all flash reporting and incident management. Is responsible for the documentation and analysis of all incidents.
- The SHAL is a member of the Response Senior Management Team and a core member of any crisis management team.
- Help create and environment where Mercy Corps all Mercy Corps programs and team members and business are conducted with professionalism, impartiality, accountability and other core principles required as a humanitarian agency.
- 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.
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 security members in field offices
- 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
- Ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ Safety and Security Global Minimum Standards as well as security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are both aware of, and implementing, policies.
Supervises the Safety & Security Manager, Humanitarian Access Officer, and Crisis Analysis Team Leader.
Reports Directly To: Deputy Ukraine Response Director
Works Directly With: RSMT, field teams, other relevant departments across Mercy Corps, including Global Security and Crisis Analytics
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, Master’s degree or equivalent in experience
- Five years field experience in safety and security with a humanitarian or development non-governmental organization. Experience in security management in conflict setting is desired
- Formal security qualification or advanced security management training is desirable
- Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, conflict sensitivity and conflict management. Good context analysis skills.
- Experience of incident reporting, incident mapping, intelligence collation and analysis functions
- Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching and ability to work in with team from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Excellent planning, coordination and reporting skills, with the ability to organize a substantial workload comprised of complex, diverse tasks and responsibilities, and present complex information in succinct and compelling manner
- Competency in Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems
- Experience living and working in Ukraine is preferred.
- English proficiency required, knowledge of Ukrainian or Russian preferred.
The successful SHAL will enable the Mercy Corps Ukraine response team to more effectively provide humanitarian relief to civilians affected by the conflict with speed, strategy and duty of care. The successful candidate will be able to follow and read the quickly changing conflict and understand the political landscape to better plan and forecast. S/he will help the RSMT create an environment of a well-trained staff with a strong, contextual awareness. S/he will network and communicate frequently with counterparts in the region for a comprehensive portrayal of security and access.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in either L’viv or Kyiv, Ukraine, and is unaccompanied. Travel within Ukraine, and neighboring countries is required to support Mercy Corps offices and programs. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present.
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.