Safety & Security Manager - Syria
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.
The war in Syria continues; more than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes and the number relying on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. With a large and complex portfolio of work across the country, Mercy Corps has established itself as an analytical, strategic and flexible responder, adapting continually to shifting front lines and operational realities to respond effectively and efficiently through multiple modalities with teams inside Syria and working cross-border from neighboring countries. Mercy Corps has a large and diverse portfolio of work and a substantial team that works in multiple languages across multiple locations, many of which are managed remotely.
Mercy Corps has been meeting the needs of conflict-affected communities from Syria since 2012, with a focus on interventions in humanitarian and recovery programming. With funding from a range of donors, Mercy Corps works together with vulnerable families and communities in Syria focusing on Emergency, Livelihood and Social Cohesion sectors to promote positive coping strategies and address basic needs.
General Position Summary
The Syria Security Manager (SSM) will work with the Syria hubs to ensure that organizational security policies and procedures are responsive to the context, adequate and known to staff and advise on operational security processes and procedures in close coordination with security and program teams. This position 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 Syria program activities across all operational areas.
The SSM will work with Area Directors and Director of Programmes in Hubs to ensure that the country program adheres to and exceeds compliance with the Global Safety and Security Minimum Standards. The SSM will technically manage all security personnel for programming in Syria to include staff members based in Lebanon, Jordan and Northeast Syria.
The SSM is based in the Country Office in Amman, but is responsible for quality control and of security management for all Syria programs including all cross-border and in-country activities. This position will require extensive travel to insecure locations and for extended periods to provide support.
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 Director of Country Risk, Security and Safety Management (DCRSSM) on operational security measures and document, train and implement security management planning. The SSM will support training programs, provide frequent briefings (written and presented) to program staff, give technical advice and support for improved assessments and program planning.
Essential Job Responsibilities
General Position Responsibilities
● Keep informed and abreast of evolutions in the conflict – political, security, and economic situations in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq as relates to the current conflict. This includes an understanding of the situation outside of the programmatic area in Syria for Mercy Corps.
● Have a thorough understanding of humanitarian needs and our agency programmatic capacity.
● Maintain close coordination with Mercy Corps Syria program leads and provide assistance for security and access matters when needed.
● Undertake regular field visits in order to meet with team members and gain an independent assessment of the situation and to look for solutions and any mitigating measures needed to protect staff and assets in Mercy Corps Syria’s operational areas.
● Works closely with hubs/programs to ensure efficient contingency/scenario plans are in place and ensure they are up to date and reflect contemporary realities of the operational environment.
● Technical (matrix) management of all security leads/staff for Mercy Corps Syria in coordination/cooperation with Area Director and hub leads. Provide quality control over all their work.
● Provide the DCRSSM and Regional Security Advisor with critical analysis of the conflict situation throughout the country and emerging trends, patterns and recommendations on meeting mitigating safety and security threat and risk to Mercy Corps staff and operations.
● 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 Syria 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.
Operational Safety and Security
● 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 Syria hubs.
● Ensure the security management systems are tailored to the needs of each hub/program but also productively consistent across the Country Program.
● Evaluate, review and update the security management plans (SMPs), SOPs, CPs on a regular basis.
● Support and where needed lead the security risk assessment process for hubs/programs.
● Review all security risk assessments (SRA) in line with Mercy Corps Syria’s review and approval matrix for safety and security documentation.
● Ensure that security risk assessments are carried out for all new and existing Mercy Corps Syria operating areas. This includes from macro to micro assessments and assessments prior to any program activities in new areas of intervention.
● Undertake routine reviews to ensure quality statistics, mapping and planning.
● Monitor passive and active tracking systems for staff in program areas.
● Manage incident management and tracking platforms for the Whole of Syria (WoS).
● 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.
● Conduct trainings and ensure briefings are given to all staff. Ensure that hub security leads are providing security briefings for new hire staff and refreshers briefs for all staff.
Security Incident Reporting
● Accountable for ensuring all security related incidents are reported from hubs and the incident management system and incident log are updated.
● Ensures the incident log and reporting system is updated in real-time to allow thorough planning and analysis. Facilitate lessons learned in cooperation with other departments after key incidents or learning opportunities.
● Update the DCRSSM in real-time of any security related incident(s).
● During serious or critical incident management be an active member on the Mercy Corps Syria incident management team (IMT).
● Assist ADs and hub security leads with humanitarian access needs including the development of access and exit strategies.
● Feed into proposal development for access related matters in coordination with program and security leads.
● Ensure access issues, incidents and constraints are reported internally and through the UNOCHA reporting system.
Communication and Coordination
● Responsible for connecting the right managers with relevant analysis and data required for high-level decision making and will develop/maintain a network of trusted sources to enhance this capability.
● Represents Mercy Corps with attendance at interagency security coordination meetings on behalf of Mercy Corps.
● Responsible for developing a comprehensive weekly operational access and security update to the DCRSSM.
● Engage in inter-agency coordination in security; ensure ongoing Mercy Corps field-level coordination in the NGO community.
● 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.
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: Technical (matrix) management of security leads/staff in Mercy Corps Syria operational areas.
REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Director of Country Risk, Security and Safety Management, Syria
WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Area Directors, Directors of Programmes, SFPs, Program Managers, Operational Management, Regional Security Advisor.
COLLABORATES WITH: Mercy Corps Syria Team Members
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE
● Bachelor's degree in a related field: (BA/BSc or equivalent Military College) in relevant field; or equivalent work experience: security qualification or advanced security management training.
● Advanced level of understanding with the philosophy and mode of operation of NGOs.
● 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.
● Proven written and analytical skills (sample may be requested).
● Experience in liaising with civilian, police and military government authorities and international institutions.
● Highly developed interpersonal 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 Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems.
● Fluency in English, both written and spoken.
● Knowledge and understanding of Syria and the Middle East Region is essential.
● Ability to speak Arabic is an asset.
● Formal training qualifications (HEAT, K&R, Personal Security, First Aid etc).
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 Amman, Jordan and is an accompanied position. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff will have access to medical, electricity, water, etc. This position requires (50% of time) of travel to field offices, some in insecure environments. Although neighbouring countries continue to experience political unrest, Jordan has been a stable monarchy for over 30 years and the destination preference for many people from the Middle East to relax or gain access to available services. In recent years, events unfolding in Syria and Iraq have increased local concerns over the continued stability of Jordan but to date there have been no major incidents.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. 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.
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. 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