Security, Safety and Access Director - Ukraine

Programs Dnipro, Ukraine


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
Since the escalation of conflict in 2022, Mercy Corps has reached 1.38 million people in Ukraine and neighboring countries. The organization’s humanitarian response has focused on supporting local partners, providing urgent cash assistance to families, household, food and hygiene kits for the coming winter, and information services for newly arrived refugees to Poland. Mercy Corps previously worked in Ukraine from 2015-2017, delivering humanitarian assistance to over 200,000 following the 2014 conflict.

The Position
The Safety Security and Access Team (SAAT) is part of the wider Security and Humanitarian Access groups which consists of the Security & Safety Team, the Crisis Analysis Team (CAT), and the Civil-Military and Government Liaison Team. In Ukraine the SAAT currently consists of one Security and Safety Officer (SSO) in each office location (currently 3) and one Safety & Security Manager (Kyiv) and one Security Focal Point (SFP). SAAT structure will evolve to meet the needs of the country program. The office in Poland also has 1 SFP.

The Security, Safety and Access Team is also supported by the Crisis Analysis Team’s Conflict Analyst to analyze security trends and events. The Security and Safety team also receives assistance from an Admin Assistant who helps with the automation of processes and supports administrative tasks.

The SSA Director is in both a strategic leadership position as well as an operational region-wide field position. The SSA Director is an individual who understands that enabling humanitarian and resilience programming is high-risk and hard-to-reach areas is the primary objective of their team, while also having to balance Mercy Corps’ legal and duty of care obligations towards its staff members. Through calmness under pressure, technical expertise related to NGO risk management, and people management skills, the SSA Director leads her/his/their team through the daily dilemmas and uncertainties that our work entails.

Essential Responsibilities

·       Direct and manage the Ukraine SAAT to ensure the implementation of Mercy Corps Global and Regional safety and security standards.
·       Develop and implement SOPs and MOSS regarding safety and security procedures in areas with different risk levels.
·       Conduct security assessments of areas where Mercy Corps plans to operate, as well as route assessments.
·       Work closely with Crisis Analytics Team to identify and mitigate risks in the areas where Mercy Corps Ukraine Response operates or will operate in the future.
·       Establish effective communication between Mercy Corps and partners such as training providers, etc.
·       Cooperate with colleagues from other NGOs and INGOs to share and exchange the best practices for security management.
·       Develop safety, security, and crisis management strategy for the program.
·       Engages with the regional and global safety and security directors to ensure effective resourcing, standards, accountability, and management of SSA in Ukraine
·       Work closely with the program and operations team to assess and manage risk, especially when accessing new areas of operation.
·       Ensure training of all staff and compliance with safety and security SOPs.
·       Ensure high quality incident reporting and communications with senior management, region and HQ in a crisis response.   

·       Ensure that effective systems are in place in all country offices for the adequate management of safety and security functions.
·       Manage the SSAT, providing support and guidance in daily tasks.
·       Act as the Security Focal Point on the country incident response team in case of any emergency or critical situation, and be ready to provide support in case of incidents involving the staff of Mercy Corps. 

Supervisory responsibility
Security Manager, Senior Security Officers, Roving Security and Safety Officers.

Reports to: Country Director
Works closely together with: Crisis Analysis Team, Operations Team, Programs Team, partner and implementing partner organizations. Regional and Global safety and security teams.

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 Qualifications and Transferable Skills
·   5+ years in a relevant security management, risk management, NGO country program management position
·   Have worked at least 3 years in a high-risk environment.
·   Experience previously supervising and coaching junior staff members is preferred.
·   Knowledge of operating humanitarian INGOs
·   Solid understanding of humanitarian and resilience programming is required.
·   A deep understanding of risk analysis is required.
·   A deep understanding of NGO security and safety management is required.
·   Must have working proficiency in English. Ukrainian and Russian language skills are a plus.
·   The ability to conduct personal safety and security training for staff if needed is a plus.

Success Factors
The perfect candidate is a person with a deep understanding of NGO’s best practices for security management and experience in a relevant field. The candidate can work in a high-risk environment and operate effectively under pressure. Confident in taking the lead of her/his/their team and able to clearly communicate and guide them.

Living conditions

The position will be based in Dnipro. Shared accommodation (in one apartment with 1-2 person max. mostly, with one other person). The position requires up to 50% travel across the region and to high-risk areas.

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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.