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Sector : Research
Location : Jordan
Employee Type: Regular
Employee Category : Full Time
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, IRC offers life-saving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted by conflict or disaster. IRC leads the way from harm to home.
As Regional Innovation Director in the Middle East region, you will building and leading a specialist team to create and scale solutions to some of the most deep-seated problems facing Syrian refugees and host communities.
SYRIA CRISIS BACKGROUND
IRC’s work in the Middle East region is among the most innovative and challenging. Years of war in Syria have pushed millions from their homes and into poverty, while scores of families have become refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Equally complex is the emergency in Iraq, where waves of fighting and displacement have overwhelmed infrastructure and services and pushed communities to the brink.
The socioeconomic and health effects of these dual crises have changed the entire region. The IRC responds to acute and longer-term needs with integrated programs to improve people’s health and safety, continue children’s education, foster economic wellbeing, and empower communities to regain control over their lives. Our work gives rise to some of the most pressing issues facing contemporary humanitarian action, including questions of access, conflict sensitivity, coordination, and funding.
Lebanon hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees, 1 out of every 4 people. Many have been displaced for years, and struggle to find safe shelter, access education and livelihoods, and navigate complex regulations. Since 2012, the IRC has helped refugees overcome these challenges, while also supporting vulnerable Lebanese. Across Lebanon, over 500 IRC staff – 97% Lebanese – reach refugee and host communities via 4 offices, 6 program centers, and 11 mobile teams. Our integrated programs improve the safety, education, and economic wellbeing of adults and children, and empower those experiencing displacement, poor living conditions, and unemployment. In 2016, we served over 74,000 clients.
Since 2012, Jordan has welcomed over 650,000 Syrian refugees. A full 80% live in the Kingdom’s bustling cities – most in poverty. A lead responder in Jordan since 2007, the IRC helps both Syrians and Jordanians in need to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. In 2016, the IRC reached over 57,000 unique clients at our community centers and clinics, and via mobile teams. We provide an array of integrated services that improve health, safety, and economic wellbeing for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians.
In 2016, IRC established a research and development unit which designs, tests and scales new products, services and delivery systems for humanitarian response. The IRC’s R&D unit works with field and technical staff to apply new practices like human-centered design, rapid prototyping, and behavioral science to accomplish breakthroughs in some of the most deep-seated problems in humanitarian response, like:
- Scaling breakthrough mobile education programs that work extremely well, and that help refugee parents mitigate the impacts of displacement on their children
- Helping refugees secure high quality jobs and foster inclusive growth in local economies
- Creating new types of programming to address large gaps in current humanitarian response practices – for example, addressing the unique needs of young children 0-5 in crisis settings
- Supporting Syrian refugees and host communities to develop bottom-up solutions for greater cohesion, cooperation, and resilience
The Syrian refugee crisis is in its sixth year, and as it grows longer with no end in sight, it has a deeper impact on both Syrians who are displaced and on the communities that host them. History is no guide to what comes next – aid structures are designed for short-term response, not long-term displacement. This requires dynamic, tenacious aid professionals to bring rigor and fresh thinking to address the challenges of the coming years.
That’s where you come in. As Regional Innovation Director, you will be IRC’s senior-most innovation officer in the Middle East Region, tasked with building a portfolio of breakthrough solutions for the problems facing Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon.
We’re seeking a highly effective, entrepreneurial spirit with the grit and determination to identify and bring 4-5 new innovations to scale in the next 3 years—new solutions that will help millions of Syrians living in displacement survive and recover. You will partner with IRC leadership, internal innovation experts, and external collaborators – building networks and capabilities to bring new solutions to life quickly. The ideal candidate will have a track record of making difficult things happen in uncertain environments, bringing people together, and solving problems dynamically to deliver results.
Develop a regional portfolio of R&D programs
- Take ownership of our regional innovation strategy, and work with IRC local leaders to set priorities, identify opportunities and partners for 6-8 new projects in Jordan and Lebanon over the first two years
- Work with Airbel Center, IRC’s innovation unit and country program and regional teams to launch the first generation of R&D projects (already underway) that implement R&D methods into project work, and be the local manager for individual project leads
Manage local idea generation, prototyping, piloting and development processes
- Structure, launch, and manage teams to execute processes for identifying and nurturing new ideas – 8-12 week idea development ‘sprints’ led by a topic lead that integrates design research, co-creation workshops, quantitative evaluation, and technical expertise – with the goal of articulating ideas that can increase impact, scale, and cost-effectiveness of humanitarian programs
- As ideas mature, work cross-functionally to develop them into full programs that integrate prototyping, piloting and testing, and routes to scale program implementation
- Partner with local leadership and Airbel HQ to map out funding and other operational needs to design, test, and scale interventions.
- Oversee the selection and set up a of dedicated space, either co-located with IRC functions or co-located with other innovators, that houses early-stage projects and enables collaboration
- Oversee local budget management, compliance, and recruitment processes with local IRC functional staff
Be the primary focal point for all R&D programs, capabilities, and networks in the region
- Identify, recruit, and cultivate local talent, relationships, and capabilities needed to be successful – with a special focus on cultivating specialized skillsets such as graphic design, service and product prototyping skills, research/measurement capacity, language and communications skills, and workshop facilitation that complements core IRC skillsets
- Develop partnerships with local institutions, businesses, universities, and government
- Facilitate connections between local staff and international partners who can bring skills, capabilities, and operational support to programs
Team Development and Management
- Develop an operating model that draws in IRC staff, consultants, and local contractors into multidisciplinary working teams for ideation, piloting, and scaling implementation
- Recruit, train, and mentor project lead staff with the aim of fostering successful interdisciplinary teams to integrate design-thinking, quantitative analytics, technical expertise, and behavioral science expertise
- Identify, supervise, and mentor local talent to participate in idea generation, piloting, and implementation processes
- Guide program leads to set performance objectives, communicate clear expectations, and provide regular and timely performance feedback, including annual and mid-year evaluations for project participants and staff
- Offer leadership support for successful adherence by staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Director of R&D, and Regional Director for Middle East Region
Position directly supervises: Individual project leads, and small teams working on innovation projects. Over time, may supervise team leads of larger scale implementations and research projects
Other Internal and/or external contacts:
Internal: Country Directors, Deputy Directors of Programming and Operations for Lebanon and Jordan, Regional Team and Airbel HQ team
External: Project funders, local partners
- Behavioral Competencies: Results-driven professional with a strong desire to make a social impact and a track record of success in an international/multi-cultural humanitarian or development field. You’re a people-person, and a curious thinker, able to combine quantitative and qualitative analysis, and your interpersonal skills in a solutions-oriented way. Bringing a collaborative spirit and commitment to IRC’s mission is vital.
- Education: Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s Degree or equivalent work experience preferred.
- Work Experience: 10+ years total work experience, including social sector program implementation, and 2+ years with track record of success in social innovation or entrepreneurship. Direct experience running an innovation/social innovation projects or past experience in top tier management consulting, design consulting, behavioral economics, or other interdisciplinary work environment is strongly preferred.
- Demonstrated Skills and Competencies: Ability to recruit, structure and manage multi-disciplinary processes, entrepreneurial and/or innovative thinking. Experience developing and running workshops, design or ethnographic research with vulnerable populations, quantitative analytics, and/or other core innovation processes strongly preferred. Proficiency with software development. Budgeting skills and strong coordination skills required.
- Language Skills: English required, and strong preference for proficiency in Arabic.
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity Anti-Retaliation and Combating Trafficking in Persons
- Based in Amman, Jordan or Beirut, Lebanon
- Standard office work environment, with the ability to help us define a unique workspace that acts as a hub for innovation programs in the region.
- For international candidates, a generous housing and allowances package is included.
- Regular travel between Jordan and Lebanon, occasional international travel may be required.
IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including a flexible hours (when applicable), parental leave, and gender-sensitive security protocols.
Attention Returning National Candidates: We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national of Jordan and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, the Middle East Region has introduced an attractive remuneration package. The package includes competitive compensation, return flight to post, shipping allowance, temporary housing and a relocation allowance. Certain restrictions may apply. IRC strives to attract, motivate and retain qualified Jordanian national staff in our programs.
IRC leading the way from harm to home.
IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
If you need assistance in the application or hiring process to accommodate a disability, you may request an accommodation at any time. Please contact Talent Acquisitions at IRC.Recruitment@rescue.org. As required by law, the IRC will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with a known disability.