International Rescue Committee Deputy Director, Field Operations, Syria in Syria


The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Inside Syria, 7.6 million people are internally displaced and 12.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.8 million in hard-to-reach areas. There are 5 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. This is no short-term humanitarian episode. The devastating human consequences to huge numbers of people will endure for decades. The destruction of relationships, communities, livelihoods, homes and infrastructure will take years to repair.

IRC is offering a robust humanitarian response to the Syria crisis. With an annual budget in excess of $140 million and a rapidly expanding portfolio, supported by more than 2,000 staff and workers in the region, IRC is undertaking programs in Syria and the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan in the fields of health, child protection, education, women’s protection and empowerment, NFI and food distribution, cash assistance, and livelihoods programming. Our work in these challenging settings gives rise to some of the most pressing issues facing contemporary humanitarian action, including questions of access, security, funding and coordination.

Job Overview/Summary

The Syria Deputy Director of Field Operations (DDFO) is a member of the Senior Management Team, reporting to the Country Director, and will remotely lead IRC operations throughout Syria in close coordination with other members of the Syria Senior Management Team and key program, operations and finance personnel based in Amman, Jordan. The DDFO is responsible for advising senior management about strategic programming directions and opportunities, and ensuring that program activities are carried out effectively, efficiently, and safely, in furtherance of objectives established by the Country Director, and taking into consideration all internal and external factors affecting the operational environment.

S/he will supervise field office management inside Syria via Field Area Coordinators and ensure the timely implementation of quality programming in coordination with technical program and operations coordinators. S/he will contribute to the design of IRC programs in Syria from operational and feasibility perspectives, and oversee the implementation of programs in an integrated approach. Where applicable, the DDFO will also provide guidance and support to partner organizations and ensure the capacity building of IRC staff, incentive workers, and partners with active hands-on collaboration. S/he will promote coordination among field-based staff and colleagues based in the Amman office.

Major Responsibilities

Leadership and Repr * esentation*

  • Provide leadership and supervisory management for programs in Syria, including mobilization and stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, program quality and accountability, and performance management.
  • Work closely with Finance colleagues to ensure systems are in place and functioning effectively for budget development, management and realignment; cash management, financial planning, cash transfers using the Hawala system, and staff effort allocation.
  • Set operational objectives with support function leads, including Human Resources, Supply Chain and Security Management, working closely with Operations to achieve compliance, coordination with programmatic activities, and appropriate budget planning.
  • Participate actively in country program management and strategy meetings with other members of the senior management team.
  • Actively oversee the engagement with local authorities and key stakeholders in Syria, staff protection and community acceptance.
  • Provide leadership and support to IRC staff in Syria through development and implementation of robust remote monitoring plans, capacity building and other identified areas of support.
  • Actively liaise with other IRC country programs towards finalizing and settling the full transfer of cross border programs into the management of IRC Syria.
  • In close coordination with the partnership unit(s), actively collaborate with partner organizations to avoid duplication of efforts, maximize impact and ensure a coordinated response in the area of implementation during the transition period, and continue support to partner organizations as the response program evolves, to ensure excellent collaborative working relationships.
  • Coordinate closely with other INGO and UN agencies on the ground.

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

  • Provide cohesive leadership to Syria programming, ensuring that priorities and opportunities identified are in line with and contribute to achievement of IRC's objectives for the Middel East region.
  • In close coordination with the Deputy Director of Programming, support the Country Director in fundraising efforts for Syria programming.
  • Work with colleagues in country program, region and HQ to actively identify funding opportunities and contribute in developing competitive, responsive proposals that are aligned with the Strategy Action Plan, meet internal standards, and are donor compliant. In close coordination with the Director of Programming, meet with donors to discuss current and potential funding.
  • Work closely with operational support departments to ensure systems are regularly reviewed and in place to support strategic growth.
  • Work with country program staff and HQ technical advisors to examine the suitability of introducing new sectors/program activities into the cross-border portfolio.
  • Work with regional Public Affairs colleagues to develop clear advocacy messages, contribute to policy analysis, and contribute in producing program-related information materials.
  • Participate actively in relevant sector coordination groups to better represent IRC’s Syria response into the emerging response of other actors and share/observe lessons learned to maximize the impact of IRC Syria response.

Grant Monitoring & Partner Management

  • In close coordination with M&E; colleagues, contribute in developing, adapting and implementing appropriate monitoring and evaluation systems; analyzing results to ensure and enhance program effectiveness and quality.
  • Support Program Coordinators as needed to ensure appropriate and timely grant spending to achieve program goals, including procurement, use and distribution of supplies and resources.
  • Support the submission of timely, accurate and clear donor reports and other reporting requirements.

Risk and Security Management

  • Ensure security procedures are in place and being followed. Maintain close coordination and communication with the Deputy Director of Operations and the Regional Safety and Security Director on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.
  • Ensure business continuity through an integrated risk management approach, including security, financial, operational and reputation risks by supporting in/developing contingency plans and scenarios; and take ownership of the action plans.
  • Maintain close coordination and communication with operational support staff and the Regional Safety and Security Director on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.
  • Identify and/or develop and disseminate guidelines for IRC and partner organizations (where applicable) to operate safely with high-quality programs inside Syria.
  • Support the Field Area Coordinators in developing ongoing relationships with community leaders and stakeholders within the operations area. Work to ensure that the mission and work of IRC 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.
  • Support the Area Coordinators in developing and/or identify optimal practices to minimize the diversion of aid and assistance in Syria.

Stewardship and Operational Management

  • Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of cross-border programs.
  • Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance inside Syria and with the Director of Operations and the partnership unit, make business processes (e.g., financial, procurement, donor reporting) more consistent between partner organizations operating in Syria.
  • Identify key areas for improvements in these processes and practices and work to push them forward.
  • Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.
  • Provide timely and effective oversight of the financial position of IRC's cross-border operations.
  • Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes.
  • Play an active role in preparing for internal and external audits; ensure recommendations related to operations are followed and take all necessary measures to address audit findings.

Staff Performance Management, Learning & Development:

  • 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.
  • Promote and monitor staff care, well-being and self-care.
  • 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.

Coordination and representation:


  • Directly develop and support the Field Area Coordinators in developing and maintaining effective working relationships with all stakeholders – including community and religious leaders, NGOs, government ministries/authorities and UN agencies, to enhance cooperation and coordination between organizations.
  • Participate in various cluster and working group meetings as appropriate.


  • Ensure various sector teams are integrated and there is collaboration and coordination amongst the teams;
  • Coordinate timely and accurate reporting to donors, government and IRC headquarters as needed.
  • Provide critical input for the Grants Unit for use in developing proposals and preparing consolidated reporting.
  • Communicate field support requirements to the Shared Services Unit for continuity of operations.

Key Working Relationships

*Position Reports to: * Country Director, Syria

Position directly Supervises: Field Area Coordinators

Key Internal Contacts:

  • Country Program: Senior Management Team members across partnerships, field management, operations, HR, compliance.
  • Region: Team members in security, partnerships, public affairs, HR, finance, supply chain, monitoring and evaluation, ICT4P and others

*Key External Contacts: *

  • Community and religious leaders via Area Coordinators
  • NGOs
  • Government ministries/authorities
  • UN agencies
  • Clusters and working groups

Job Requirements

*Education: * University Degree in Management, Supply Chain, or related field, preferred. Technical degree or certification in related field with significant applicable experience.

Professional Experience:

  • At least 8 years of progressively responsible professional experience managing complex humanitarian programming. Previous experience in an emergency or conflict-afflicted setting is required.
  • Established success in managing teams working remotely, under difficult conditions, with less-than-ideal communications systems.
  • Motivated, positive individual who excels at taking initiative and is able to motive team members to produce results under pressure while maintaining a sense of humor.
  • Experience and reliability in carrying out safety and security protocols.

Demonstrated Technical Skills:

  • Proven experience as an efficient and effective manager (including management of people, projects and budgets).
  • Highly skilled in organizing large-scale, fast-paced, responsive field programs.
  • Situational awareness and opportunity awareness.
  • Solid ability to provide team-building, coaching, and development for staff as well as encourage cross-functional collaboration and cooperation.
  • Exceptional organizational and coordination skills.

Demonstrated Managerial/Leadership Competencies:

  • Excellent relationship-building, interpersonal skills and the ability to effectively represent IRC at forums and with donors.
  • Strong negotiation skills essential with experience in conflict resolution desirable.
  • Superior oral and written communication skills, with ability to express ideas and concepts clearly and persuasively with senior internal and external stakeholders.
  • Experience of working successfully with local stakeholders such as local and international NGOs, government, etc. with sensitivity and diplomacy.
  • Proven ability to design and lead training engagements with staff and partners to enhance skills and adapt to changing program demands.

*Languages Required/Preferred: *

  • Fluency in spoken and written English is required.
  • Fluency in Arabic is required.

Computer/Other Requirements:

  • Full professional competency in Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint.

Ability to Travel: 20% - 25% travel,primarily within the Middle East region

Standards of Professional Conduct

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the IRC Way – Code of Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Harassment-Free Workplace, Fiscal Integrity, Anti-Retaliation, Combating Trafficking in Persons and several others.

Gender Equality

IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances.

Attention Returning National Candidates

IRC strives to attract, motivate and retain qualified national staff in our programs. 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 Middle East 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.

Working Environment

The overall security situation in Jordan is relatively calm, especially in Amman. The Jordanian government is stable, and civil unrest is largely peaceful. However, Jordan’s generosity in hosting refugees from Palestine, Iraq and now Syria have created huge strains on the country’s economy and infrastructure. The IRC office is in a modern professional building.

IRC is offering this post as fully accompanied for the successful candidate and accompanying dependents including: rest and relaxation leave, vacation leave, home leave, education allowance, housing, water, electricity, internet connectivity, and other generous benefits. Modern amenities (health care, international schools, etc.) are readily available.

Sector: Operations

Location: Jordan - Syria Cross Border

Employee Type: Regular

Employee Category: Full Time