Regional Technical Advisor, Security, Central and West Africa Regions
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.
CRS works across west and central Africa in close to 20 countries including Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Niger, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Cote d’Ivoire; as well as Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Togo, Burundi, Rwanda, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon and Chad. The security situation in these regions is precarious and the outlook for the regions is that the security situation will continue to deteriorate. Staff are CRS’ greatest asset and the safety of these staff is a significant concern in the current context; as such staff security is the highest priority for the agency’s management.
The Regional Technical Advisor Security provides leadership and oversight on all aspects of security (both people and material) in the two CRS regions of West and Central Africa. Given the large CRS international staff presence in both regions, the RTA will have significant and specific responsibilities for security and staff safety in those locations where CRS staff reside (e.g. Dakar, Kinshasa). The RTA will be responsible for monitoring CRS offices, international staff housing and staff field travel, evaluating any security risks and recommending/putting in places improvements in systems, structures and processes to mitigate those risks.
The RTA provides leadership and oversight on all matters relating to security and staff safety in both regions, and ensures staff compliance with CRS security and safety policies and procedures. Key working relationships involve country program, security and staff safety to ensure that WARO- and CARO-based staff are fully apprised of, prepared for and responsive to potential emergency and security threats. The RTA is also responsible for helping the country programs prepare documented security updates to be sent on a regular basis to the country program staff, the region and HQ. S/he will keep track of the security situation across the two regions and advise the Regional Directors accordingly. The RTA will work very closely with the CRS Global Security Team. The post holder will assist the Regional Directors to implement CRS Security Protocols and procedures aimed at minimizing potential risk to Staff safety and security. The Person will continuously assess the security environment and devise risk reduction measures as needed in coordination with the RDs and the Global Security team.
- Ensure that appropriate security systems and procedures are in place and are fully operational.
- Improve and drive the threat assessment and risk analysis process.
- Develop information systems so as to provide analysis of potential threats to CRS programs.
- Raise CRS staff awareness about the safety and security risks they face and that they take all necessary steps to minimize these risks, to mitigate the impact of a safety or security event occurring.
- Conduct security assessment in all country programs, with special focus on areas where programs are being implemented, including the routes to and from program sites, and office and residential security protocols in conjunction with country-level security officers, and work with local security providers.
- Attend UN/INGO emergency logistics coordination meetings at the regional level and Sahel specific meetings on behalf of CRS; ensure that CRS programming complements inter-agency relief efforts and supports the broader humanitarian and local government strategies for emergency response.
- Build the capacity of country-level security officers, and help recruit new staff, where needed.
- Determine and assess the specific threats to CRS staff, premises, and programs.
- Identify recommendations for systems, procedures and resources to mitigate risk to manageable levels.
- Develop and monitor a prioritized implementation plan of recommended risk mitigating measures.
- Assess capacity of security guards at residences and office related to their security training needs.
- Ensure that all preparedness measures as laid out in the security guidelines are in place, in particular evacuation plans and security communication trees.
- Advise the Regional Directors and Country Representative, as well as BD staff and HoPs, on how to mainstream security in project planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
- Review the impact of security factors on CRS program designs and delivery, as well as the potential impact that programs might have on stability and security (both positive and negative), and make appropriate recommendations.
Safety and Security
- To liaise with the Global Security Team in terms of information collection, analysis and dissemination.
- To be familiar with CRS’ Safety and Security procedures and policies and support the Country Representative in ensuring that these are adhered to at all times.
- To continually review all safety and security procedures from each CP (staff safety and security manual, constant companion and visitor’s guide), ensuring that they are kept relevant to the evolving safety and security context of each location.
- Help CPs to develop contingency plans, as required.
- Regularly conduct field visits to assess that the field sites comply with safety and security procedures.
- Provide recommendations to the Country Representative on any aspect of a field site’s safety or security management that requires improvement.
- Ensure compliance with new CRS security training policy. Roll out agency wide training at the regional and country level Implement for CRS staff in relation to safety and security, including drivers and guards.
- Ensure vehicle and personnel tracking systems are appropriate, fully resourced and operational.
- Review, analyze and suggest recommendations for all security reports sent to the regions.
- Provide security briefings as part of the induction for new staff and visitors at the regions.
Security Plan and Minimum Operating Security Standards
- Ensure that staff members are provided with and are proficient in the use of safety equipment, including communications equipment, vehicle emergency equipment, firefighting equipment and personal security safeguards required for work in the field.
- Remain continuously informed of the security situation in the two regions. Coordinate closely with security services providers and partners – UN/INGO, INSO, UNDSS, MONUSCO, etc.
- Document the dates and types of security training staff members have received and make recommendations on training needs. Facilitate training, as needed.
- Provide advice on selection and procurement of appropriate equipment for security (vehicles, telecommunications equipment, etc.).
- Ensure appropriate professional liaison with local authorities responsible for security, law and order, counterparts in diplomatic missions and municipal/ civic/ religious and traditional leaders.
- Ensure that staff members are provided with situation reports and other appropriate security-related information generated both within CRS and from external sources.
Staff Safety & Security Management
- Cultivate and lead a WARO/CARO community of practice among country-level security point persons and other interested parties to encourage learning and implementation of best practices in the area of security management.
- Liaise with other members of the CRS global security community for additional sources of technical or training assistance, best practices learning, etc., and security staff from peer agencies.
- Provide training and technical assistance to W/CARO CPs on security management decisions and processes, including supporting security threat assessments and risk reduction workshops.
- Advise RD and DRD/MQ or designate on W/CARO-level security management decisions, policies and practices, monitor open sources and cultivate personal sources of information, news and analysis around safety and security trends in the region; share relevant informational items with RD, DRDs, other regional managers, CRs, Field Office Directors, and the HQ Safety and Security Director.
- Review, improve and adjust CRS staff tracking systems as necessary and monitor staff compliance.
- Carry out regular threat and vulnerability assessments, and amend working procedures accordingly. Ensure that all staffs are aware of any changes in the security situation.
- Security & Staff Safety Guidelines. Ensure regular updating of the CRS Safety Portal. Interface with country-level security committees, staff and key contacts from other agencies to update FSPs. Carry out regular assessments to review and monitor compliance. Conduct initial security assessments before the opening of new CRS offices/programs and assignment of staff to a country.
Office and Residential Security
- Conduct appropriate security assessments of CRS premises and equipment, and advise on shortfalls in security preparedness with recommended improvements and solutions.
- Establish and implement access control mechanisms (visitor/vehicle screening), as necessary, for regional and project offices.
- Ensure that there are mechanisms in place so that security costs are included in all project proposals.
- Ensure the installation of an appropriate fire system escape route in the CRS offices, and the implementation of effective security management processes, policies and procedures.
- Conduct security assessments at staff residences in all CPs in both regions (particularly new residences).
- Coordinate closely with security service providers. Ensure the proper installation and management of emergency backup generators at the residences and main office.
- Review current security practices for CRS offices and international staff housing. Guide/train the in- country security officer or responsible person in best practices for expat housing and office security procedures, controls, etc.
- Orient all new staff on security plans and precautionary measures.
- Maintain an updated list and contacts with focal points across the programs.
- Maintain confidentiality, impartiality and neutrality in all aspects of security arrangements
Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff)
These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.
- Serves with Integrity
- Models Stewardship
- Cultivates Constructive Relationships
- Promotes Learning
These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff working in emergencies to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.
- Communicates strategically under pressure
- Manages stress and complexity
- Actively promotes safety and security
- Manages and implements high-quality emergency programs
Key Working Relationships
Internal: DRD-MQ, CRs, FODs, CP security point persons, HQ Safety and Security Director, ERT Security RTA, General Services Officer
External: US Embassy RSOs within the region; contracted security service providers (particularly in Nairobi), security officers of other international NGOs operating in EARO
Supervisory Responsibilities: none
- Education: Graduate degree in international development, non-profit management, or related field, or equivalent work experience;
- Minimum of 10 years with an international humanitarian organization.
- Demonstrated knowledge of best practices in emergency preparedness, security and staff safety.
- Formal technical training in security and safety a plus.
- Strong cross-cultural skills. Experience working in delicate situations with local partners.
- Demonstrated ability to transfer knowledge through formal and informal training.
- Excellent interpersonal and negotiating skills.
- Knowledge of and working experience in west and central Africa strongly preferred.
- Excellent communication, reading and writing skills.
- Fluency in English and French required.
- Proficiency in MS Office.
- Diplomatic; able to manage conflict and move groups toward consensus.
- Self-motivated and able to work without close supervision.
- Good judgment and sound decision-making skills.
- Excellent organization and planning skills; detail-oriented; ability to work on multiple task simultaneously.
- Quick learner; adaptable; creative.
Fluency in English and French required.
Based in Dakar, it is expected that the incumbent will travel approximately 50% of the time throughout the two regions, sometimes on very short notice.
This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.
CRS’ talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.