Program Advisor: High Risk Environment – Yemen

Location:
Sanaa, Yemen
Industry Sector:
International Public Sector
Type of contract:
Contract
Salary:
Competitive

Program Advisor: High Risk Environment – Yemen

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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.

Program / Department Summary 

Mercy Corps has had a presence in the Middle East since the 1980s with offices in Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya. In response to acute and increasing humanitarian needs in Yemen, Mercy Corps opened its office in Yemen in 2010. Primary program interventions include water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and nutrition; and livelihood support. Mercy Corps also develops value chains within the agriculture sector. Strategies to enhance the resilience of communities to the harsh environmental and social conditions in the country cut across the portfolio. The country program works to pivot its programming in response to exacerbated humanitarian need following from the airstrikes on Yemen which began in March 2015.

General Position Summary 

The Program Advisor High Security Environment (PA) has responsibilities primarily related to 1) safety of team members and 2) operational & access strategies for Mercy Corps programs across Yemen. 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, logistics 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 assistance. This person is expected to have a strong understanding of program management, logistical capacities and humanitarian values. S/he he is expected to apply these and other leadership qualities with the Mercy Corps team in Yemen. 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 Job Responsibilities

PROGRAM ACCESS AND ANALYSIS

  • Maintains a strong understanding of the context in Yemen (political, legal , social / tribal and conflict). Identify access opportunities for Mercy Corps to reach civilians in need of humanitarian assistance.
  • Follow all program objectives and activities closely. Collaborate closely with program & country leadership to find daily and long-term strategies in the evolving context.
  • Prepare and contribute to the weekly report and assist on larger thematic outputs and reports led by the Policy Advocacy, HAT and other teams.
  • Ensure analysis trends and forecasting are brought in to security and program planning. Support the overall continuation of a culture of a team, which is highly aware of the context.
  • Follow the political and conflict environment and develop and understanding of regional politics, events and how these relate to security and acceptance strategies.

OPERATIONAL SAFETY

  • Learn and monitor the environment. Track incidents and trends in Yemen, mapping the incidents. Coordinate with counterpart safety team members to understand larger trends and forecasting.
  • Is responsible to update and implement MC safety plan for Yemen across all locations. 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 Human Resources on this.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Primary person responsible for all flash reporting and incident management. Is responsible for the documentation and analysis of all incidents.
  • Conduct safety assessments either in work locations either directly or remotely. Is responsible for maintaining updated risk assessments and security strategies.
  • Work across departments on community acceptance and government engagement messaging and other operational strategies.
  • Is considered part of senior management for this office and a core member of a crisis management team.
  • Help create and environment where Mercy Corps 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;

SAFETY SYSTEMS & CAPACITY BUILDING

  • Coach and mentor local team to fulfill their roles in safety management, conducting assessment and other required work.

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 officers in Yemen

Accountability

  •  Reports directly to: Country Director Yemen
  •  Works directly with: Program Director & teams, Operations Management and team, HAT Team, Regional and the greater, security team for Yemen

Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, Master’s degree or equivalent in experience
  • 3-5 years field experience in safety with a humanitarian or development non-governmental organization. Experience in security management in conflict setting is desired.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related safety 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 safety 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 Program Advisor – High Risk Environments will enable the Mercy Corps team in Yemen to more effectively provide humanitarian relief to civilians affected by the conflict with 1) speed 2) strategy 3) duty of care. A 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. The Mercy Corps office and programs will be fit for purpose and with a culture of safety-mindedness across departments. S/he will network and communicate frequently with counterparts in the region for a comprehensive portrayal of safety and access.

Living/Environmental Conditions

This unaccompanied position is based in Sana’a, Yemen, and eligible for hardship and R&R breaks. Housing is in group housing. Security conditions in the country are variable, with a range of violence and insecurity, requiring close monitoring and vigilance. Conflict and corruption have also badly damaged the country’s infrastructure. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other, though the road network is good, the security situation often precludes travel by road. There is a landline telephone system, a somewhat reliable cellular phone system and internet is available in the residences and offices. Candidates must be able to work in an environment with energy, transportation and communication challenges. The position will require travel to the field sites in Mercy Corps Yemen’s operational areas up to 50% of the time including travel to some locations that may be insecure or austere.

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Mercy Corps is a leading global organisation 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.

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