Humanitarian Access & Security Manager

Security Baghdad, Iraq


 About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.


Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming. Mercy Corps Iraq current goal is to work with new and existing civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate and long-term needs by strengthening communities’ ability to rebuild amidst increasing crisis. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) a relief-to-resilience pathway to meet the needs of conflict-affected communities leveraging agency expertise in conflict management and civil society development (2) a humanitarian response that empowers conflict-affected populations to meet their own needs (3) sustainable development and good governance programming through strategic partnership with Iraqis and Iraqi government to design and implement programs and concepts towards sustainable development of Iraq as democratic and prosperous country.


General Position Summary

The Humanitarian Access and Security Manager (HASM) as a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) will work with the country management team to ensure that organizational security policies and procedures are responsive to the context, adequate and known to staff and advise on humanitarian access processes and approaches in close coordination with program teams. This position must maintain an acute awareness of the context and all threats as they relate to Mercy Corps operations. S/he will provide the program, operations/logistics, advocacy and management teams with up-to-date briefings, analysis and engage as a thought partner in finding solutions to safely and effectively reach people in need with humanitarian and development assistance. This person is expected to have a strong understanding of program management, logistical capacities and humanitarian values. S/he is expected to apply these and other leadership qualities with the Mercy Corps team in Iraq. S/he will also advise the Country Director on operational security measures and manage a team to document, train and implement security management planning. Lastly, this position will interact, as directed, with the regional and global teams in analysis, advocacy and context updates.


Essential Responsibilities Humanitarian Access Management

  • In close cooperation with the program and safety & security teams develop and implement humanitarian access strategies and approaches tailored to local contexts in field sites throughout Iraq.
  • Ensure humanitarian access approaches are responsive to local context and include overarching community engagement components.
  • In consultations with the program team and Country Director, develop ongoing relationships with local authorities and other power brokers within Iraq.
  • Work to ensure that Mercy Corps, its mission and work in the areas of operations is known and accepted.
  • Work to encourage stakeholders to work with Mercy Corps in ensuring that staff and programs are safe and allowed to continue humanitarian activities in Iraq.
  • Provide technical input and advice in assessments to consider new Mercy Corps programs in new geographic areas.
  • In coordination with the relevant department, 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.


Networking and Liaison

  • Maintaining, with the Senior Safety and Security Officers a network of Mercy Corps security focal points in the country program as well as external professional contacts and counterparts.
  • Provide timely feedback on questions and technical assistance requests from country program team members.
  • Monitor and provide support and reporting on NGO field security initiatives as required.
  • Identify, create and maintain a network with NGO/UN and other humanitarian access and security specialists, commercial entities and Embassies and Consulates suitable for the Country.
  • Facilitate regional NGO security coordination through networking, collaboration and coordination with humanitarian actors.


Safety and Security Management Planning

  • With the security team, the HASM is responsible to develop and update all policies, procedures, guidelines and planning for staff safety, operational security and program continuity in Iraq;
  • Evaluate, review and update the security management plans on a regular basis. Reference and ensure compliance to Mercy Corps Security Management Framework within the SMP and all annexes.
  • Evaluate, review and update the hibernation and evacuation plans for Mercy Corps offices and residences in Iraq and ensure that the practical preparations are in place and known to all staff involved;
  • Conduct risk assessments of contracted and prospective offices and residences. Follow up on actions to be taken to ensure compliance with safety and security standards.
  • Undertake continual assessments of equipment, and the protocols by which that equipment is used, to ensure that minimal conditions for security are being met.
  • Provide and implement best possible solutions for use of equipment to facilitate communication between staff, including here proposing safe alternative means of communication and equipment.
  • Ensure safety and security protocol, reporting mechanism, and capacity building initiative account for gender-specific risks, staff profiles and background, and are sensitive to local contexts.
  • Conduct training and briefings to all staff through routine meetings and written reports. Ensure all expatriates and new team members are provided a security briefing within the first 24 hours in service. Coordinate with Operations and Human Resources on this.
  • Routine communication with program team members in daily and routine briefings to ensure the larger Mercy Corps team is fully aware of the context (political, social, security and humanitarian)
  • Both supports, and works closely with, the Ethics & Assurance Manager/Department when required


Incident Reporting and Response

  • Ensures the safety 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 HASM is part of the Senior Management Team and a core member of a crisis management team.
  • Help create an environment where 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;
  • Design and conduct training events with MC IQ staff about safety and security SoPs and protocols;



  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.


Organizational Learning

  • 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

Supervises the safety and security officers in Iraq




Reports directly to: Country Director Iraq

Works directly with: Members of SMT, Operations Management and team, HAT Team, Regional and the greater security team for Iraq


Knowledge and Experience

Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, Master’s degree or equivalent in experience 3-5 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, related security concerns, and appropriate responses to such emergencies. Good context analysis skills.

Experience of incident reporting, incident mapping, intelligence collation and analysis functions, set up and execution of an incident warning system (warden system), compilation of security reports and assessments

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 the Middle East region, preferred.

English proficiency required, knowledge of Arabic language strongly preferred.


Success Factors

The successful Humanitarian Access and Security Manager will enable the Mercy Corps team in Iraq to more effectively implement its programming across Iraq. 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 Country Director 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/Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Baghdad, Iraq and is unaccompanied.  This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Travel within Iraq is required to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s offices and programs. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps' policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

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. 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.