Humanitarian Access & Security Coordinator

Iraq is emerging from over three years of civil war against the Islamic State and remains one of the most complex operating environments in the world. The devastating human consequences to huge numbers of people will endure for decades and the destruction of communities, livelihoods, homes and infrastructure will take years to repair. Over 4 million Iraqis have returned in the past year, but 1.9 million remain displaced. 230,000 Syrians continue to seek refuge in the Kurdish region. The new government will struggle to rebuild trust and restore basic services.

A lead responder in Iraq since 2003, the IRC delivers aid and services that help communities survive, recover, and gain control of their future. The IRC is providing robust programming across six governorates through women’s protection and empowerment, child protection and protection and rule of law programming; cash distributions and livelihoods programming in support of economic recovery and development; education programming; and integrated early childhood development programming. Our work spans emergency response to long-term programming supporting our clients to rebuild their lives.

Scope of work:

As a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT), the Humanitarian Access & Security Coordinator (HASC) is the country’s security lead and will work to ensure that organizational security policies and procedures are responsive to the context, adequate and known to staff, and advise on humanitarian access processes and approaches in close coordination with field management and program teams. Under the direct supervision of the Deputy Director-Operations, the HASC will analyze security trends, advise, update, and implement the IRC’s Security Management Plan and related SOPs. The HASC will streamline humanitarian access approaches in line with humanitarian principles, humanitarian needs, and the IRC’s strategy action plan for Iraq. The HASC will undertake training needs analysis and deliver onsite training for staff, facilitate the development and implementation of appropriate capacity building plans, standard operating procedures and contingency plans. S/he will provide expert humanitarian security and access advice to all levels of IRC staff in the country office including access negotiations and mediation, context and conflict analysis, advisories, and incident management. This position will manage the Humanitarian Access & Security Department and provide technical supervision for all dedicated Humanitarian Access & Security staff as well as all non-dedicated SFPs throughout Iraq.


Safety and Security Management Planning

• Provide technical support to the Country Director and Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) on all policies, procedures, guidelines and planning for staff safety, operational security and program continuity in Iraq;

• Evaluate, review and update the security management plans on a regular basis. Reference and ensure compliance to IRC Security Management Framework within the SMP and all annexes.

• Work with DDO and Field Coordinators to develop, consolidate and implement operating procedures and contingency plans;

• Evaluate, review and update the hibernation and evacuation plans for all IRC offices and residences in Iraq and ensure that the practical preparations are in place and known to all staff involved;

• Conduct risk assessments of contracted and prospective offices and residences. Follow up on actions to be taken to ensure compliance with safety and security standards.

• Undertake continual assessments of equipment, and the protocols by which that equipment is used, to ensure that minimal conditions for security are being met.

• 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.

• Ensure safety and security protocol, reporting mechanism, and capacity building initiative account for gender-specific risks, staff profiles and background, and are sensitive to local contexts.

Humanitarian Access Management

• Develop and implement humanitarian access strategies and approaches tailored to local contexts in field sites throughout south central Iraq.

• Ensure humanitarian access approaches are responsive to local context and include overarching community engagement components.

• Develop ongoing relationships with local authorities and other power brokers within Iraq.

• Work to ensure that IRC, its mission and work in the areas of operations is known and accepted.

• Work to encourage stakeholders to work with the IRC in ensuring that staff and programs are safe and allowed to continue humanitarian activities in Iraq.

• Provide regular updates to access procedures for all south central program areas.

• Provide technical input and advice in assessments to consider new IRC programs in new geographic areas.

• In coordination with DDO, DDP, and Program Coordinators, liaise with relevant security actors e.g., NGO Security Focal Point, NCCI, INSO, other NGO security coordinators, region UNDSS contacts, local community stakeholders, Governors, etc.

• Maintain a high level of preparedness vis-a-vis predicted contextual fluctuations operationally and programmatically.

Networking and Liaison

• Maintaining a network of IRC security focal points in the country program as well as external professional contacts and counterparts.

• Provide timely feedback on questions and technical assistance requests from country program team members.

• Monitor and provide support and reporting on NGO field security initiatives as required.

• Identify, create and maintain a network with NGO/UN and other humanitarian access and security specialists suitable for the region.

• Facilitate regional NGO security coordination through networking, collaboration and coordination with humanitarian actors.

Training and Capacity Building

• Undertake periodic training needs analysis in consultation with key program and operations staff

• Develop Update and implement the country capacity development plan in line with the regional Humanitarian Access & Security Capacity Development Strategy.

• Work closely with the Regional Security Learning and Development Coordinator to identify learning and development needs and design relevant learning material.

• Provide regular trainings for IRC staff on humanitarian principles and safety and security preparedness. Training(s) may include Standard Operational Procedures; Humanitarian Negotiations; Contextual Understanding; Safety & Security Risk Management; Incident Management &Reporting; etc.

• Liaise with partners to assess capacity building needs and provide advice and support where feasible and necessary

• Work with relevant internal focal points to develop and review the IRC Iraq information and on-boarding package for new hires and visitors

• Liaise with external vendors to deliver bespoke training modules to field staff

Context Understanding and Reporting

• Compile and submit regular reports that track incidents and trends in humanitarian access and local security contexts within the IRC’s area of operation.

• Submit contextual updates as needed to relevant field, program, and senior management staff.

• Work closely with IRC field management teams to ensure all incidents and accidents are followed up with an official written report, which is then shared with relevant stakeholders and filed appropriately. Ensure that final incident reports are provided when IRC is closing the case.

• Monitor the operating environment in the region, identify new threats, assess IRC vulnerabilities and recommend possible responses

• Coordinate regularly with the Regional Safety & Security Director on safety and security, and fulfill reporting requirements to the region

• Contribute to local-level conflict sensitivity analysis.

• Provide credible information and contextual understanding of localized and country-wide security situations and incidents along with appropriate advice to IRC field and program management staff.

Program Development

• Participate in program design in close cooperation with the Deputy Director of Programs and Deputy Director of Operations

• Support program coordinator and field management staff in developing conflict-sensitive and contextually-appropriate approaches in Iraq

• Participate in program review meetings and contribute to implementation plans to ensure the timely, safe, and secure delivery of IRC service to beneficiaries

• Advise program and field management teams on context-specific risks pertaining humanitarian access, safety, and security, and contribute to the development and implementation of mitigation measures and plans

Emergency Preparedness and Response

• Contribute to the development of country emergency preparedness plans

• As required, support and advise the SMT during humanitarian or security/safety emergencies

• Assist with the humanitarian access and security component (situation analysis and background information, security assessments) of the Emergency Response Team deployments

• Contribute to the development of operational and programmatic contingency plans that respond to different emergency scenarios

Staff Performance Management, Learning & Development

• Hire, supervise, and build the capacity of team members in relevant technical and management competencies

• Develop and implement remote management capacity building approaches to build the strengths of the security members in field offices

• Coach, train, supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting annual performance objectives, providing regular and timely positive and constructive performance feedback, and providing documented semi-annual performance reviews

• Maintain open and professional relations with team members, promoting a strong team spirit and providing oversight and guidance to enable staff to successfully perform in their positions

• Approve and manage all time, attendance and leave requests to ensure adequate departmental coverage; ensure monthly, accurate timesheet submission and carry out probationary reviews

• Hold high-quality meetings with each direct report on a regular and predictable basis, at least monthly

• Provide a measurable development plan including on-the-job learning with the aim of strengthening technical capacity, exchanging knowledge within the team and providing guidance on career paths.

• As required identify staff performance issues and work with Human Resources to document and address these in accordance with the National Staff Employment Policies

• Maintain open and professional relations with team members, promoting a strong team spirit and providing oversight and guidance to enable staff to successfully perform in their positions

• Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff

• Look for opportunities to support staff in their career growth, where appropriate. As part of succession plan and nationalization goals, identify, train and develop capability and capacity of national staff to successfully transition role and responsibilities, by the end of assignment

• Adhere to and act in accordance with the IRC Global HR Policies and Procedures, and communicates through word and example a high standard of compliance with all applicable policies and regulations.

HR Managements

• Maintain open and professional relations with team members, promoting a strong team spirit and providing oversight and guidance to enable staff to successfully perform in their positions including staff development plans.

• Lead with commitment, integrity and accountability the “IRC Way” – Global Standards for Professional Conduct – and ensure adherence.

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Deputy Director – Operations

Dotted Line to: Regional Safety & Security Director

Position directly supervises: Humanitarian Access & Security Officer

Position provides technical supervision to: All Humanitarian Access & Security staff in Iraq

Other Internal and/or external contacts:

• Internal: close collaboration with Field Coordinators, Program Coordinators, field-level security and access staff, and Regional Security Learning and Development Coordinator

• External: close collaboration with other humanitarian actors, local implementing partners, UN agencies, government, and service providers


• A minimum of 6 years of international security management experience of which at least 3 years of non-profit or NGO work experience within international humanitarian assistance programs with demonstrated capabilities in planning, organizing and executing humanitarian security operations in the field.

• Understanding the humanitarian principles, code of conduct and specific sub-sector work linked to NGO field and operations contexts.

• Advanced knowledge in communications technology, including, satellite communications, cell phone mediums, etc.

• Strong experience as a trainer; ability to develop, implement, facilitate and impart learning to a wide range of audiences.

• Ability to gain a precise understanding of the various local, regional, country and international policies, operational positions and interactions, providing clear dynamic briefings and analysis of given and unfolding security and political situations when they occur.

• Regional experience strongly preferred

• Previous NGO security management an asset.

• Excellent Written and verbal English; Arabic and/or Kurdish a plus

Returning National Candidates: We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national of the Country in which this position is based and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, the Syria Response 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 national staff in our programs.

Work Environment

The position will be based in Erbil, Iraq, and covers all operating areas in Irag and Northeast Syria. The security situation in Erbil remains broadly permissive with continued attention paid to the potential for growing instability due to the continual influx of displacement and proximity to insecure areas in other governorates within Iraq.

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 or disability.