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 implements a wide range of humanitarian programming across Syria, much of it through partnerships with Syrian organizations working in violent, fluid and complex environments (both cross-border and inside the country). Our commitment to the humanitarian imperative and to best assuring the security of our staff, assets and partners is consistently challenged by the Syrian war.
Mercy Corps is committed to the goal of better understanding crisis contexts like Syria in order to deliver better impact for the people and communities we serve. Only by understanding, in real time, not only what has happened but the political, social and economic dynamics underlying conflict and displacement can we hope to optimize impact and influence. Globally, Mercy Corps has humanitarian analysis teams currently deployed in Syria, Libya and Yemen and has the intent of both expanding the reach of this analysis and deepening its ability to match human insights with better use of quantitative and qualitative data.
In order to address the need for timely, credible analysis on the Syria crisis, Mercy Corps established the Humanitarian Access Team (HAT) in 2014. It has developed from a function focused on security and access into one that provides broad, deep context analysis and a range of field research and assessment capabilities. Its work informs program and operational decision-making, policy, advocacy and external communications, and is widely shared and valued across the humanitarian community engaged in the response to the crisis, including major bi- and multi-lateral donors, Embassies, peer NGOs, and other influencers and policymakers. The HAT’s products and services include daily and weekly context updates, situation reports, thematic reports (all hosted on a dedicated website) as well as internal due diligence assessments on potential partners, vendors and selected communities.
General Position Summary
The Analyst / Lead, Field Research & Assessment (AFRA) assists the HAT in managing a range of field-focused assessment activities, including due diligence vetting of Syrian implementing partners and vendors, community profiles and conflict assessments of specific areas. The AFRA will utilize both primary and secondary sources, including an extensive network of field informants inside Syria, social and traditional media feeds, and other information, both within Mercy Corps’ sphere and outside of it, to gather information on organizations, individuals and communities involved with Mercy Corps’ programming, consolidate it and analyze it in order to produce due diligence and vetting reports, assure compliance and accountability to our donors and partners, and inform programming.
She/he will coordinate the work of other HAT members in undertaking these research and assessment activities for Mercy Corps’ own use, and work closely with the Senior Analyst/Editor in producing reports and informing, where appropriate, other analysis intended for external sharing with relevant field data and insight. The AFRA will, in addition, work with the Country Safety and Security Director in ensuring Mercy Corps’ knowledge of key actors, institutions, and dynamics at community level are factored into decision making.
Essential Job Responsibilities
SYSTEMS & REPORTING
PROGRAMMING & OPERATIONS
- Maintain and, where necessary, rebuild a network of field contacts to serve as sources in shaping and developing a rich understanding of the actors, institutions and dynamics in areas of focus.
- In undertaking the above, work closely with the Senior Analyst / Editor in charge of context analysis and external communications.
- Develop and maintain an in-depth understanding of Mercy Corps’ programming and the humanitarian situation in general in areas of focus and for populations of particular interest.
- Produce, as directed, due diligence and vetting reports on Syrian non-governmental organizations, community groups and vendors engaged in Mercy Corps’ humanitarian operations in country.
- Produce, as directed, comprehensive community and/or conflict assessments of specific locales within Syria.
- Utilize field informant networks as appropriate to inform the above and other analytic product.
- Liaise as appropriate with country, regional and global Mercy Corps staff engaged in accountability, compliance and due diligence work.
TRAINING AND OUTREACH
- Ensure that communication of analysis and insights to program and operations teams is appropriate and regular. Liaise with programs and operations staff as needed and directed to develop a solid understanding of program approaches, content and implementation modalities.
- Develop and maintain an awareness of Mercy Corps’ culture and values as well as humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law.
- As directed by the Country Safety and Security Manager, advise on issues pertinent to security situations and any resulting humanitarian needs.
- Stay abreast of Mercy Corps program assessments and new business activities. Support these teams and special projects with analysis and insight where appropriate.
- Assist in promoting good contextual understanding across Mercy Corps staff in Syria
- Coach colleagues and improve their skills in risk and vulnerability assessments to include political, social and economic analysis.
- As needed and directed, participate in Mercy Corps regional and global events, gatherings and networks to represent Syria’s humanitarian analysis and due diligence capacity.
- Ensure own compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO BENEFICIARIES
- 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.
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward 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.
Manage a team of 3-5 people.
Reports Directly To: Senior Analyst/Editor
Works Directly With: Country Director, Director of Programs, Country Safety and Security Director (all Syria); Senior Director of Humanitarian Analysis (global); Regional Security Advisor (Middle East).
Knowledge and Experience
- Master’s degree in social sciences or investigative journalism; or equivalent work experience
- Understanding of humanitarian principles and the humanitarian system at national and international levels
- Field-based experience in complex and insecure settings and preferably a conflict environment
- Experience in liaising with civilian authorities, as well as with regional, national and international institutions
- Ability to build and maintain networks of information sources across different sectors, groups and locations
- Experience with information collation and analysis
- Proven excellent writing skills, displaying an ability to convey complex information concisely
- Highly developed interpersonal communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching
- Willingness to work and travel in often difficult and insecure environments
- Competency in Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems
- Fluency in English (written and spoken) is required; knowledge of Arabic required; fluency in Arabic desirable.
This role is crucial to Mercy Corps’ ability to carry out its humanitarian mandate in Syria. The AFRA will be central in assisting the country program effectively vet its partner implementing organizations, contract with reliable vendors, and be compliant with necessary regulations from funding partners. S/he will therefore need focus, discipline, and a commitment to high quality work, as well as the ability to network effectively, communicate crisply, and digest disparate information to produce clear conclusions.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Beirut, Lebanon and is an accompanied position. It requires up to 50% travel across the region and inside Syria. Beirut is a modern city with a nice climate, access to excellent schools and diverse entertainment options. The security environment is calm, and good medical services are available.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Staff 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.