About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps believes in the possibility of a better world. To achieve this, we recognize that diverse teams, where each member feels a sense of belonging, perform at their best. We embrace diversity in backgrounds, perspectives, and skills to strengthen our impact in the long term.
Since 2007, Mercy Corps has been active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with around 400 staff operating in Eastern DRC and Kasai. The national office is in Goma, with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, and Kasai provinces. Mercy Corps focuses on a mix of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs, aiming to improve water service delivery, enhance food security and nutrition, and promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery, and development. The humanitarian programs specifically target populations affected by conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo, providing multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH support.
The Position (General Position Summary)
The Director of Safety and Security plays a crucial role as a member of the senior leadership team. The primary focus is on providing strategic oversight and direction to the security teams, managing the operational mechanisms of organizational safety and security policies, and ensuring processes are up-to-date, communicated effectively, and practiced by team members. The Director also prioritizes planning and supporting safe access, including negotiations when necessary, for the security of teams, partners, and communities. Additionally, the role involves supporting the Country Director and senior leadership team in managing the broader scope of risks faced by Mercy Corps in the DRC. To fulfill this role, the Director must maintain acute awareness of the context and all threats related to Mercy Corps operations, understanding program activities across all operational areas.
The Director oversees a team of access and security officers, coordinating with Heads of Office/Area Managers in six locations and Mercy Corps’ Crisis Analytics Team (CAT Team). The Director collaborates with line managers to prioritize the time, effort, and performance of local Field Security Officers, ensuring a thorough understanding of each program’s major objectives, activities, constraints, and team members.
General Position Responsibilities
- Stay Informed: Stay informed about environmental evolutions, including acute changes and long-term contextual arcs of political, security, and economic situations in the D.R. Congo.
- Agency Capacity and Strategy: Have a thorough understanding of the agency’s capacity and strategy, staying abreast of the country’s needs and humanitarian situation.
- Strategic Oversight: Provide strategic oversight and leadership to the development and implementation of a security department strategy.
- Documentation and Processes: Ensure all Mercy Corps documentation and security management processes are up-to-date, promoting the use of digital tools for streamlined documentation and user-friendly information sharing.
- Field Visits: Manage the performance and coordinate the time of the core security team’s travel, focusing on adequately serving program teams. Undertake regular field visits to meet with team members, assess the situation independently, and identify solutions and mitigating measures.
- Coordination: Work closely with Area Managers/Heads of Office to schedule and prioritize support requests, achieve basic minimum standards, and address other needs.
- Technical Management: Maintain technical management and support of all security leads/staff for Mercy Corps DR Congo to ensure clear performance and priority goals.
- Budgeting: Ensure adequate budgeting for security costs across all hubs, coordinating with security leads and hub Directors.
- Risk Recommendations: Provide critical recommendations to the management of all DRC programs, including designating Go/No-Go areas, location risk ratings, acceptable levels of operational security risk, and risk mitigation measures.
- Crisis Management Support: Support the Country Director in providing leadership on security aspects during crisis management situations, collaborating with other department leads and crisis management focal points.
- Cross-Department Collaboration: Promote cross-department collaboration and communication between operations, programs, HR/Admin, and other teams.
- Team Culture: Foster a service-oriented, collaborative team culture.
Operational Safety & Security
- Procedure Development: Lead the development and update of all security procedures, including standard operating procedures (SOPs), contingency plans (CPs), guidelines, and planning for staff safety and operational security.
- Documentation and Consistency: Ensure security policies, guidelines, SOPs, and plans are documented in a user-friendly way, easily and regularly updated using digital tools.
- Security Management Systems: Ensure security management systems are specific to the needs of each hub/program but consistently applied across the Country Program.
- Plan Evaluation: Evaluate, review, and update security management plans, SOPs, CPs regularly, and support the security risk assessment process for hubs/programs.
- Minimum Standards: Work across teams to ensure the achievement of Mercy Corps’ minimum standards of Safety and Security.
- Risk Assessments: Ensure security risk assessments are carried out for all new and existing operating areas.
- Annual Outputs: Prepare annual outputs, including budgeting, planning, implementation, and monitoring of standard activities for crisis management, first aid, fire safety, and other priorities.
- Incident Reporting: Ensure all security-related incidents are reported from hubs, and the incident management system and incident log are updated.
- Real-time Updates: Ensure the incident log and reporting system are updated in real-time for thorough planning and analysis, facilitating lessons learned after key incidents.
- Incident Management Team: Serve as an active member of the Mercy Corps DRC incident management team during serious or critical incidents.
- Reporting: Prepare semi-annual reports and other requirements for reporting on global indicators, providing briefings to senior leadership and risk management teams.
Humanitarian Access & Analysis
- Strategic Coordination: Coordinate closely with program and operational teams for area and activity-specific strategies, enhancing the network of advocates and supporters within communities.
- Collaboration with CAT Team: Cooperate and collaborate closely with the Crisis Analytics Team to integrate access, analysis, and conflict trends into planning, forecasting, and programmatic thinking.
- Updates and Briefings: Provide regular updates and briefings to program and operational leads.
- Reporting: Ensure access issues, incidents, and constraints are reported internally and through the UNOCHA reporting system.
- Training Needs: Identify training needs and develop adapted training plans on security topics for team members, drivers, guardians, and other partners.
- Capacity Building: Conduct regular capacity building of security focal points, area managers, teams working in remote or high-risk areas, drivers, and guards.
Communication and Coordination
- Data and Analysis: Connect the right managers with relevant analysis and data required for high-level decision-making, maintaining a network of trusted sources.
- Representation: Represent Mercy Corps at interagency security coordination meetings, engaging in inter-agency coordination in security.
- Collaboration with Regional and Global Security Leads: Communicate and coordinate with Mercy Corps regional and global security leads regularly, especially during critical incidents or situations requiring support outside of the country office.
- Adaptation of Strategies: Adapt security strategies in remote management settings.
- Mandate Representation: Effectively represent, promote, and protect Mercy Corps’ mandate for independence, impartiality, and neutrality.
- Other Essential Duties: Undertake any other duties essential to the safety and security of Mercy Corps staff, property/material, and reputation.
Supervise two Goma-based security staff, including a Security Manager. Provide indirect line-management to four field-based security officers.
Reports Directly To: Country Director.
Works Directly With: Senior Leadership Team, Area Coordinators (Heads of Office), Crisis Analytics Team, Program and Operations Management.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders: Mercy Corps team members are committed to accountability to program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and international standards guiding international relief and development work. They actively engage communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of field projects.
Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
- Desired: Experience in Program Management in high-risk environments or a role with similar responsibilities. Alternatively, extensive experience in the security or management field reflecting 7-10+ years in team management and senior leadership.
- Advanced understanding of NGO philosophy and operation, with a minimum of 5 years’ field-based experience in complex and insecure settings, preferably in conflict environments and in more than one country.
- Experience in managing a program that required humanitarian access negotiations and strategizing is highly desired.
- Excellent organizational and follow-up skills.
- Positive attitude and energetic approach to working with teams.
- Proven written and analytical skills.
- Proficient use of technology and digital tools to streamline security processes and information sharing.
- Highly developed interpersonal, collaboration, and communication skills.
- Willingness to work and travel frequently in difficult and insecure environments.
- Experience in remotely managing staff in a matrix management environment.
- Competency in online and Microsoft Office systems, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other online database/mapping systems.
- Fluency in French or Swahili (both written and spoken) is required. Fluency in English is highly desirable.
- Formal training qualifications (HEAT, K&R, Personal Security, First Aid, etc.).
The ability to identify and communicate security trends at a local and regional level is crucial. Maintaining strong, cooperative relationships with other departments is essential. The successful candidate should interact effectively with international and national personnel in both managerial and training capacities. They should demonstrate the ability to multitask, meet deadlines, and process information to support changing program activities. The candidate needs to live and work closely with a diverse team in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment, willing to travel regularly to Mercy Corps field offices and project sites. Professionalism and neutrality in implementing the response are paramount.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Goma, DRC, and is unaccompanied, with up to 40% travel.
The role involves travel to various locations within North and South Kivu, Ituri, and Kasai. While conditions in the country are improving, pockets of violence and insecurity still exist, and petty crime is present. Mercy Corps’ offices experience variable levels of insecurity, closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to cover the country, and although mobile phones and cellular service are widely available, internet access is limited. Field site visits may require living in basic, secure conditions. Health services are available, with evacuation options for serious illnesses. Access to most consumer goods is reasonable.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting. They are expected to conduct themselves professionally, respecting local laws, customs, and MC’s policies, procedures, and values.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to creating an inclusive environment.
In line with the belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient, and relevant, all team members are empowered to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities for personal and/or professional growth and development.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Enriching the organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking is essential to leveraging the collective power of teams. Mercy Corps is committed to fostering a culture of trust, respect, and inclusivity, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaching their potential individually and as teams. The organization is on a journey of learning, listening, and evolving to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer, rejecting discrimination on any basis. The organization actively seeks diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills to collectively strengthen its impact globally.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is dedicated to treating all individuals it comes into contact with respect and dignity. The organization adheres to core principles regarding the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and it has signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. Child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of team members is not tolerated. Team members are expected to conduct themselves professionally, respect local laws and customs, and adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values, completing mandatory elearning courses upon hire and annually.