Safety and Security Manager - Ukraine Response

Security Lviv, Ukraine


Location: L’viv (until return to Khiv) with travel to all offices across the country.

Position Status: Full-time, Regular 

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program

The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in over a mass displacement across Ukraine. The circumstances and populations are constantly evolving with the conflict. Mercy Corps has reopened its registration and presence in Ukraine as well as offices/activities to support people in neighboring Poland, Moldova and Romania. This includes partnerships

The Position (General Position Summary)

The Safety & Security Manager (SSM) is a member of the senior leadership team. His/her primary focus will be the operational mechanisms of organizational safety and security policies and ensuring processes are up-to-date, communicated and effectively socialized within the team. Our expectation is that these are responsive to the context, adequate for the circumstances and designed to enable the activities and works in the Mercy Corps Ukraine portfolio. For the immediate future, this will be a system of high command and control. A second priority for this role includes the planning and support for our program partners and team to safely and effectively implement program activities. The third priority for this role is support to the Mission Director and senior leadership team (SLT) in managing the broader scope of risks which Mercy Corps faces in the Ukraine. To fulfill this role, the SSM must maintain an acute awareness of the context and all threats as they relate to Mercy Corps operations. The SSM is expected to understand all Mercy Corps Ukraine program activities across all operational areas.


The SSM has technical oversight of a team of security officers who are line-managed by Heads of each Office and s/he must coordinate well with these individuals in a shared vision, the prioritization of tasks. and performance of local Field Security Officers. The SSM is expected to travel across to all offices and have an intimate knowledge of each program, major objectives, activities and primary constraints. S/he is expected to find value and integrate the learnings and outputs from our Crisis Analytics teams into an enhanced security culture at Mercy Corps.


Essential Responsibilities

  • Stay informed and abreast of evolutions in the environment. This includes the acute changes and also long, contextual arc of political, security, and economic situations in the Ukraine
  • Have a thorough understanding of the country capacity and strategy. Stay abreast of the needs and humanitarian situation in the country. Understand and help define Mercy Corps’ role and added value.
  • Ensure that the minimum standards in safety and security are met. This includes SOPs in premises, journey management, orientations, documentation, reporting, communications and other. Establish staffing, training and budgeting goals appropriate for the country.
  • Ensure that all security management processes are up-to-date and socialized, promoting the use of streamline documentation + promote user-friendly information sharing.
  • Manage the performance and coordinate the time of the core security team travel and focus so that it adequately serves the program operations. Undertake regular field visits to meet with team members and gain an independent assessment of the situation and our security capacity.
  • Work closely with the Heads of Office to schedule and prioritize support requests, the achievement of basic minimum standards and other needs.
  • Maintain technical management & support of all security leads/staff for Mercy Corps Ukraine so that performance and priorities are clear and shared goals.
  • Accountable for ensuring adequate budgeting for security costs across all hubs in coordination with security leads and hub Directors. Identification of areas of need and solutions to address such. 
  • Responsible for providing critical recommendations to the management of all Ukraine programs including the designation of Go/No-Go areas, location risk ratings and agency posture, acceptable levels of operational security risk and risk mitigation measures. 
  • Support the Mission Director and provide leadership on security aspects during crisis management situations. Work closely and collaboratively with other department leads and crisis management focal points.
  • Participate on the country SMT with support to the broader risk management of Mercy Corps program operations in Ukraine and globally.


  • The SSM is responsible for leading the development and update of all security procedures including standard operating procedures (SOPs) contingency plans (CPs), guidelines, planning for staff safety and operational security for all Ukraine offices.
  • Work across teams to ensure the achievement of Mercy Corps minimum standards of Safety and Security. Ensure that security policies, guidelines, SOPs and plans are documented. These should be brief and clear.
  • Ensure that security risk assessments are carried out for all new and existing Mercy Corps Ukraine  operating areas. This includes from macro to micro assessments and assessments prior to any program activities in new areas of intervention.
  • Quality assurance and program focus: ensure the security management systems are specific to the needs of each hub/program but also productively consistent across the Country Program.
  • Evaluate, review and update the security management plans, SOPs, Contingency Plans on a regular basis. Support and where needed lead the security risk assessment process for hubs/programs.
  • Prepare annual outputs required of this department: budgeting, planning, implementation and monitoring of standard activities. This includes (as example) the equipment, trainings and other needs to ensure teams are prepared for crisis management, first aid, fire safety and other priorities. Planning should include the suite of on-line, Mercy Corps trainings available and pre-requisite for all team members.


  • The relevant security documentation is accessible to the team and clear.
  • Accountable for ensuring all security incidents are reported from each office, communicated to the mission leadership and also documented on the global incident log.  
  • During serious or critical incident management serve as an active member on the Mercy Corps Ukraine incident management team (IMT). 
  • Prepare annual reports and other requirements for reporting on global indicators. Be prepared to brief the in-country senior leadership and risk management teams at routine meetings and as requested.


  • Coordinate closely with program operations teams and Crisis Analytics for area and activity specific strategies. This should engage and make efforts to enhance our network of advocates and supporters within communities.
  • Cooperate closely with the crisis analytics analysis team to integrate access, analysis and conflict trends into our planning, forecasting and programmatic thinking.
  • Provide regular updates and briefings to program and operational leads.
  • Ensure access issues, incidents and constraints are reported internally and through the UNOCHA reporting system.
  • Liaise with the Mission Director on participation/practice in the existing deconfliction processes.


  • Responsible for identifying training needs and developing adapted training plans on security topics (defensive driving, security SOPs, HEAT, etc.) for team members, drivers, guardians, and as appropriate other partners. 
  • Conduct regular capacity building of security focal points, area managers, teams working in remote or high-risk areas, drivers, and guards. Ensure these core skills are delivered to all incoming team members.
  • Clear and routine communication of context updates, briefings or other reports to the country team.
  • Represents Mercy Corps with attendance at interagency security coordination meetings on behalf of Mercy Corps.
  • Engage in inter-agency coordination in security; ensure ongoing Mercy Corps field-level coordination in the NGO community, including INSO, with MONUSCO liaisons, etc.
  • In collaboration with the Mission Director, communicate and coordinate with MC regional and global security leads regularly and notably during any critical incident or situations requiring support outside of the country office. 
  • Adapt security strategies in remote management settings.
  • 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.


Supervisory Responsibility

One L’viv-based security staff including a Deputy Security Manager. Indirect line-management to field based security officers.


Reports Directly To: Ukraine Response Director

Works Directly With: Safety & Security Officers, Senior Leadership Team, Area Coordinators (Heads of Office), Program and Operations Management


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.


Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • Desired: Mercy Corps is seeking an individual with experience in Program Management in high risk environments or a role with similar responsibilities to effectively fulfill this role.
  • Alternatively, extensive experience in the security or management field that reflects 5+ years in team management and working at the senior leadership level is required.
  • Advanced level of understanding with the philosophy and mode of operation of NGOs. At a minimum, of 3 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.
  • Experience working or managing a program that required humanitarian access negotiations and strategizing is highly desired.
  • Proven written and analytical skills (sample may be requested).
  • Proven ability to use technology and digital tools to streamline management of security processes (policies, SOPs, etc.) and information sharing.
  • Highly developed interpersonal, collaboration and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and mentoring.
  • Willingness to work and travel frequently in often difficult and insecure environments.
  •  Proven experience remotely managing staff in a matrix management environment.
  • Competency in online and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other online database/mapping systems.
  • Fluency in English (both written and spoken) is required. Fluency in Ukrainian or Russian is highly desirable.
  • Formal training qualifications are a plus. (HEAT, K&R, Personal Security, First Aid etc).


Success Factors

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 multitask, 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 L’viv, Ukraine with the potential to move to Khiv, when the agency makes this shift. This is an unaccompanied post with travel up to 30%.  Accommodations are being defined and access to services – medical, electricity, water, etc is in place but may change depending on the situation. This position requires travel to surrounding countries, as security permits. Given the emergency context, this position requires exceptional work schedules, including evenings and weekends.


 Ongoing Learning

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.