Oct 9, 2019

Regional Security Advisor - Middle East

Employer: Mercy Corps
Location:  Middle East
Closing date: 12 Oct 2019

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 the region, Mercy Corps has expanded operations in areas of conflict and activities in Yemen, Syria and Iraq are considered high to extreme risk. Programming may differ from country to country but broadly covers emergency and recovery or development programming in the sectors of food security, economic development, logistics, protection and WASH. Mercy Corps works directly with beneficiaries and through partners, local businesses or other intermediaries carrying the same values and accountability.

Mercy Corps views security as three parts: a) operational safety b) access strategies and c) analysis and forecasting. While country program possesses its own security management plan and systems, the RSA supports the Regional Director and Global Security team by assisting country teams achieve standards, strategy and crisis management.

General Position Summary

The Regional Security Advisor (RSA) will travel at least 40% to regional offices ensuring basic levels of security management are achieved. This includes minimum standards in planning, operational security and Duty of Care elements are integrated in to budgets, staff onboarding and training. Security planning must be up-to-date. It is expected that the RSA for the Middle East will communicate regularly with all Security focal Points and Security team members in the region and support with their onboarding, mentorship and development. This is done in coordination with the Country Directors who retain direct supervision over in-country security staff.

S/he will be on-call and available for one-off support such as assessments of new locations, security audits, crisis and incident management etc. The RSA is expected to have leadership-level communication with country and program management and ensure that advisories, planning and quality is at globally acceptable standards.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Learn, monitor and stay abreast of the environment. Track the general security, humanitarian and political landscape in the region. Retain a familiarity with this and in the context of Mercy Corps programs, staffing and locations and provides regular regional trends analysis to the Regional Director.
Track and know general objectives and program activities in the region. Support the Regional Director in prioritizing risk management tasks and support.
Monitor the security indicators of all countries in the Middle East region including Risk Ratings, Security Management Plans, Security Focal Points and orientation. Conduct annual security audits with each country and support improvements, where necessary and possible.
Provide remote technical support to each country security team, be available to provide advice and guidance for daily and strategic operations. Encourage and support a Risk Approach to evaluating threat priorities (internal and to donor).
Support Country Directors in understanding cross-border or regional risks. Where necessary, support in prioritization and strategy.
Support Country Directors in implementing the risk management approach defined by the Enterprise Risk Management Committee, including through reviews and updates of country risk registers. Undertake strategic risk assessment when required.
Support the Regional Director and the Country Directors in strengthening and expanding due diligence work in line with risk management best practices.
Be available to stop-gap filling and also strategic, surge support. Be available at short notice during critical incidents and provide management-level support to the resolution of incidents.

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. Ensure reporting of critical security incidents to the regional and global security teams.

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.

Maintains a strong understanding of the context in the region (political, legal, social / tribal and conflict). Identify access opportunities for Mercy Corps to reach civilians in need of humanitarian assistance, including through coordination with the different country and regional access working groups.
Follow program objectives and activities in conflict & high-risk areas closely. Collaborate with country and security leadership to find daily and long-term strategies in the evolving context, where possible. Contribute actively to the design and update or Country and Regional strategies.
Contribute to the weekly report and assist on larger thematic outputs and reports led by the Policy Advocacy, HAT and other teams.
Provide support and inputs to the work carried out by Mercy Corps Analytical hubs across the region.
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.

Coach and mentor local team to fulfill their roles in safety & security management, conducting assessment and other required work.
Orient new Country Directors and regional staff. Be available to participate in the LEAP recruitment process.


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.


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.


None – No direct reports.

Reports directly to: Regional Director
Works directly with: Country Directors – Director of Field Security. Regional Team Members.

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
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 Regional Security Advisor will support the Mercy Corps country programs to design and implement programs operations that are safety conscious and designed with the nuances inherent in the region. S/he will help create and maintain common understanding of risk management, risk thresholds and effective mitigation. S/he will help nourish a regional team of proud and diligent security managers. Regional offices will display a culture of security awareness and programs that integrate thoughtful analysis of the environment and appropriate measures. A successful candidate will be able to follow and read the quickly changing conflict and understand the political landscape to better plan and forecast with coordination with others including the Humanitarian Access Teams. S/he will help the Regional Director create an environment of a well-trained staff with a strong, contextual awareness amongst its country teams. The Mercy Corps regional team 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 security and access.

Living/Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Jordan. Amman is an accompanied post with adequate medical care and amenities. Amman does have some security threats and require diligence.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and as such staff 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.

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