Back Country Safety and Security Manager, Iraq

  • Added Date: Tuesday, 04 July 2017
  • Deadline Date: Thursday, 03 August 2017

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 works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.

Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq's 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq current goal is to work with new and existing civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate and long-term needs by strengthening communities' ability to rebuild amidst increasing crisis. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) a relief-to-resilience pathway to meet the needs of conflict-affected communities leveraging agency expertise in conflict management and civil society development (2) a humanitarian response that empowers conflict-affected populations to meet their own needs (3) partnering with conflict-affected adolescents to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society.


The Country Safety and Security Manager (CSSM) is responsible for managing all safety and security systems in Iraq. The CSSM will work closely with the Country Director and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in developing and implementing Iraq-specific policies and procedures, including security management plans. The CSSM will provide support and advice to the Country Director and other team members on safety and security issues. The CSSM will supervise the Senior Safety and Security Officers in Iraq (SSSOs) and provide capacity-building as well as mentoring and technical support to the Security Focal Points (SFPs) in the field offices. Moreover, the CSSM will provide (or arrange for) necessary training of all Mercy Corps Iraq staff and partners. He/she also will assist program teams in incorporating security planning and awareness into program planning. In addition, the CSSM will work closely with the Director of Field Security and Regional Security Teams. The CSSM will also coordinate with the Iraq INSO Team, UNDSS and other security focal points in INGOs, Embassies, etc. The CSSM is a member of the SLT.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Work with SFPs, SO, Heads of Office and the SLT to monitor the security environment in Iraq;
  • Prepare analytical reports, based on information from internal and external sources, to support policy and procedure reviews as well as to mitigate risks to programming;
  • Prepare and update the security brief and share with all relevant staff, including international staff and SFPs;
  • Work with SFPs, SO, Heads of Office and other key staff to conduct stakeholder mapping;
  • Be readily available at all times to the Country Director and field staff to advise on security developments.


  • Develop, review and ensure effective implementation of the Mercy Corps Iraq Security Management Plan including a security plan in each office, together with key actors;
  • Develop, review and ensure the effective implementation of hibernation and evacuation SOPs;
  • Actively participate in SLT meetings and support members in sharpening their skills in risk and vulnerability assessments, evaluating information and developing security protocols and strategies that work for the team and allow to progress safely and with the lowest risk possible;
  • Conduct security assessments in all offices and international staff residences, with recommendations to the Country Director for any necessary improvements;
  • Ensure adequate supply of necessary safety and security-related equipment at all offices and international staff residences;
  • Ensure that relevant staff members understand and are able to use this equipment, including satellite phones, fire extinguishers, etc;
  • Conduct comprehensive security/risk assessment in potential new program/field sites, as necessary;
  • Conduct a security review of existing programs, with recommendations regarding necessary changes;
  • Implement and ensure effective monitoring of a vehicle tracking system in each office;
  • Review and revise incident tracking and reporting protocols, with key stakeholders;
  • Prepare and update as necessary the “Constant Companion”;
  • Review and revise security telephone tree for all locations as necessary, with key stakeholders;
  • Conduct yearly crisis management exercises for all staff and management;
  • Conduct mock drills in all Mercy Corps Iraq offices (e.g. fire drill, evacuation drill etc.);
  • Promote and support efforts by field offices to meet the Inter Action Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS) through effective planning and budgeting for security;
  • Work with SFPs, Program Managers, Heads of Offices, Director of Programs and CD on community acceptance messaging and strategies.


  • Participate in the recruitment and hiring process for the SSSOs as necessary. Participate in the recruitment and hiring process for field SFPs, as necessary;
  • Supervise the Senior Safety & Security Officers, including setting objectives, developing quarterly work plans, performance evaluation, etc. Assist SFP in developing a monthly/quarterly work plan that can be monitored by CSSM and Country Director;
  • Mentor the SFPs to fulfill their safety and security responsibilities at the field-level;
  • Work with Country Director to include necessary safety and security information in pre-departure information packages for new international staff and visitors;
  • Work with the Human Resources Officer (HRO) to develop and implement security orientation for new staff (international and national) and visitors;
  • Work with the HRO to identify security training needs of team members and include security awareness as an essential part of program trainings and refresher workshops;
  • Assess the training needs of drivers and guards in consultation with SFPs and Logistics officers in Mercy Corps Iraq offices;
  • Ensure appropriate technical support is provided to Field Offices, through responding to phone calls and emails as well as through field visits. Prepare field visit report format (including action plan) and quarterly visit schedule, and share with SFP and Heads of Office.


  • Place high value on inter-agency coordination in security. Actively participate in security coordination activities in Iraq and encourage SFP and Heads of Office to participate in coordination activities at the field-level;
  • Actively seek opportunities for formal and informal cooperation in security;
  • Develop a network of relationships with peers in the humanitarian community (UN, NGO, ICRC, appropriate governmental offices, etc.);
  • Develop and engage Mercy Corps' internal network of SFPs, SO and Heads of Office, and encourage inter-communications between them;
  • Pursue opportunities to engage others in our community in creative solutions to our security challenges through collaborative efforts;
  • Any other duties which are not listed but are essential to the safety and security for Mercy Corps Iraq staff members and properties.


  • 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.


  • 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.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Senior Safety and Security Officers in Iraq

Reports Directly To: Country Director (CD)

Works Directly With: SFPs, Head of Offices, Program Managers, Operations Director, Finance Director, Director of Programs, MEL Director

Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline and or college degree with equivalent experience.
  • 3- 5 years field experience in safety and security with a humanitarian or development nongovernmental organization, 3 of which in a supervisory role.
  • Extensive experience in setting up and managing safety and security systems and protocols and provide training to staff and partners.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses to such emergencies. Good context analysis skills.
  • Excellent negotiation and representation skills and the ability to work comfortably with an ethnically diverse staff in a very sensitive environment.
  • Effective skills in coordination, organization and prioritization as well as in Microsoft Office applications.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meets deadlines and work cooperatively with team members.
  • Proven ability to work and solve problems independently without direct supervision.
  • Experience living and working in Iraq, or in the Middle East region, preferred.
  • Knowledge of Mercy Corps/INGOs systems and procedures highly desirable.
  • English proficiency required: excellent written and oral skills.
  • Knowledge of Arabic language strongly preferred.

Success Factors:

  • The Safety and Security Manager is responsible for the implementation of security policies, procedures and systems that are appropriate of the conditions in Iraq. Critical in problem solving and the ability to workout methods to deliver successful programs while demonstrating excellent stewardship of donor funds and compliance with Mercy Corps and donor regulations. Maintaining strong cooperative relationship with the other departments is crucial. The successful candidate will have the ability to interact effectively with national and international staff members and demonstrate ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and provide relevant advice and support in a fluid security environment. The candidate will have a high degree of professionalism and must be able to live and work closely with the diverse team of individuals in a highly intense environment.

Living /Environmental Conditions:**

  • This position is based in Baghdad, Iraq and is unaccompanied. This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Travel within Iraq is required to support Mercy Corps Iraq's offices and programs. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members 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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This vacancy is archived.

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