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 Senior Analyst / Editor (SAE) assists the HAT in producing timely and insightful analysis of the complex crisis situation in Syria. The analyst will utilize both primary and secondary sources, including an extensive network of field information sources, social and traditional media feeds, and other information, both within Mercy Corps’ sphere and outside of it, to gather information on different dimensions of the crisis, consolidate it and analyze it for critical insights. Areas of focus for data gathering will include, inter alia, the social, political, and economic dynamics that shape the crisis and its manifestations in selected areas important to Mercy Corps and the wider humanitarian community; consolidation of varying humanitarian indicators; and conflict reporting.
She/he will work with the team to ensure the production of clear, concise and timely analytical reports that can inform Mercy Corps’ own program, security and operational decision-making, as well as be fed into policy development and advocacy as appropriate at local, federal and international levels (both by Mercy Corps and by the wider NGO community.) In addition to frequent and regular context reports, the SAE will coordinate more in-depth occasional thematic or situation reports, act as a focal point on humanitarian issues with Mercy Corps’ global Research and Learning and Policy and Advocacy teams (as guided by the Country Safety and Security Manager and the Country Director), and provide ad hoc briefings to programs and operations key staff and teams as directed and appropriate.
Lastly, the SAE will undertake team leadership functions for the context analysis and external communications units within the HAT, working alongside team members dedicated to field research and website management to ensure HAT product is delivered and shared with its intended audience. This is a transitional period for the HAT in which the SAE will play a leadership role in retaining, maintaining, and, where necessary, rebuilding analytic capabilities.
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 political, social and economic environment in areas of focus.
- In undertaking the above, work closely with the Analyst in charge of the field research and assessment unit.
- Maintain a constant scan of traditional and social media in order to inform analysis of the humanitarian situation.
- 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.
- Consolidate and digest diverse data to produce weekly broad-based context reports and a series of thematic or situation reports (illuminating specific issues or locations in greater depth) as directed or informed by the Syria Country Director and the Senior Director for Humanitarian Analysis.
- Provide overall editorial oversight for all Mercy Corps HAT products.
- Maintain and constantly develop use of technology platforms to interpret and map humanitarian and conflict data.
- Translate analysis and insights into program materials as directed and appropriate.
- Liaise as appropriate with country, regional and global Mercy Corps staff engaged in advocacy and influence 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 access issues pertinent to security situations and any resulting humanitarian needs.
- Ensure effective communication within access and analysis team and ensure the accuracy, brevity and clarity of security updates, briefings and incident reports to program teams in a timely manner.
- 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 understand across Mercy Corps staff in Syria
- Coach colleagues and improve their skills in risk and vulnerability assessments to include political, social and economic context analysis.
- As needed and directed, participate in Mercy Corps regional and global events, gatherings and networks to represent Syria’s humanitarian analysis 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.
Direct reports: 3-4. Manages an overall team of 10-15.
Reports Directly To: Country Director
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
- 3 years 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, mapping and use of infographics to frame analysis
- Proven excellent writing skills, displaying an ability to convey complex information concisely
- Demonstrated editorial skills with the ability to craft inputs from varied sources into coherent narrative.
- 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.
- Knowledge and understanding of Syria and the Syrian crisis is required.
This role is crucial to Mercy Corps’ ability to carry out its humanitarian mandate in Syria. The SAE will be central in enabling the country program and global organization better understand Syria’s complex, changing context, take better, more informed decisions, and undertake effective advocacy. S/he will therefore be a team player but able to guide the HAT in its mission to produce timely, credible analysis of consistently high quality. The SAE will need excellent communication, networking and diplomatic skills – able to navigate a diverse range of internal and external actors with a focus on providing analytic insight.
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.