Consultant - North-East Syria NGO Forum, Strategy - Remote
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.
The North-East Syria (NES) NGO Forum, hosted by Mercy Corps, is the lead coordination body for NGOs working cross-border from Iraq and from within North-East Syria, into SDF-controlled areas of Aleppo, Deir-ez-Zor, Ar-Raqqa and Al-Hasakeh Governorates in Syria. The NES Forum was formally endorsed by the Whole of Syria Strategic Steering Group (SSG) in April 2017 and most recently in 2019. Given the unique coordination arrangements in North-East Syria, the NGO Forum is recognized as the key coordination body for NGOs operating in the North-East, within the Whole of Syria (“WoS”) coordination architecture. The Forum has a seat on the SSG and performs OCHA-like functions, including representation, operational coordination, information management and humanitarian advocacy as well as access mapping.
This happens in coordination with, and as part of, overall inter-hub, hub specific or Whole of Syria “WoS” processes. The NES NGO Forum coordinates with the UN - based out of Amman, Damascus and Qamishli, but with data sharing protection protocols in place due to the sensitivities involved in such exchanges.
The NES NGO Forum’s overarching objective is to contribute a principled, appropriate, accountable, timely and effective humanitarian response in North-East Syria. The NES NGO Forum seeks to: lead on operational coordination amongst NES NGOs in coordination with UN agencies to identify needs, gaps and standardize response across agencies; share timely information for action; streamline advocacy and policy messaging; and represent NGOs before a range of stakeholders and authorities, including vis-à-vis civ-mil coordination bodies. The NES NGO Forum is governed by a Steering Committee of elected members and a Secretariat comprising 12 staff, who support the administrative, coordination and thematic functions.
Purpose / Project Description:
This consultancy will aim to support the NES Forum in developing a strategy that will allow it to strengthen its operational representation and coordination on behalf of its members, in conjunction with the Whole of Syria (WoS) architecture. This should include guidance on enhanced engagement with local, regional and international actors, as well as with developing strengthened coordination systems which can better inform the NES operational response, HPC products and engagement with other fora (SIRF, NWS Forum, InterAction, IVCA etc.).
As such, the consultant is expected to explore these inter-linked work streams at a NES level but also at WoS and at a global level, hold consultations with the NES Forum membership (at the NES and WoS levels), UN and other NGO fora stakeholders as well as with donors, local authorities and CSOs, international experts on area-based coordination mechanisms and humanitarian policy; review HPC standard operating procedures and produce recommendations and engagement plans for the NES Forum.
2. Strengthen the NES Forum’s Structure and Coordination Capacity
The Consultant will:
- See objectives above.
- Conduct a desk review of the available literature and documentation on NES Forum, Syria humanitarian architecture and other coordination fora in and around Syria including accessible guidelines and procedures
- Conduct interviews with key informants from the ISWG, WoS NGO coordinators, SIRF, NGO fora including local NGOs, institutional donors, local authorities in NES, OCHA Regional and NWS Forum and OCHA Gaziantep teams, UN inter-agency leadership and Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISG)
- Interview leading authorities on alternative coordination mechanisms, including area-based coordination as well as on global humanitarian financing mechanisms
- Convene inter-agency meetings with NGO fora memberships, donor community and UN leadership pertaining to the identified workstream
- Report back on a biweekly basis to the consultancy steering committee
- Review draft report as per the above outlined objectives. and present it to NES Forum steering committee
The Consultant will:
- Propose an updated TOR to reflect the findings of the final report
- Presentation of the finding to the consultancy steering committee
Timeframe / Schedule:
The Consultant will report to:
The Consultant will work closely with:
The NES Forum Director and Secretariat
Required Experience & Skills:
- 5-10 years of experience in relevant technical field (required)
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
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Equal Employment Opportunity
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Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. 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.