SECURITY ADVISOR – GLOBAL SUPPORT
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.
Operational Security Management at Mercy Corps is decentralized with planning and operational management in each country office. Mercy Corps is primarily reliant on a community acceptance-based security strategy and employs a risk management approach that requires a process of regularly assessing and evaluating threats and mitigation. The global security team is responsible to provide policies, tools and technical support to implement these and other essential steps in our global security management framework. At country level, this, generally, consists of three main fields: a) operational safety b) access strategies and c) risk management.
This position covers responsibly in the Americas region and also global team priorities, estimate a 50-50 split of their time. Mercy Corps has had a presence in the Americas since the 1980s with offices currently in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the US. This is a diverse portfolio which faces routine, natural disasters, mass migration of underserved communities and narco-economy amongst other challenges. Programming differs from country to country but Mercy Corps activities broadly cover work in climate change, land management and emergency response amongst other activities in water, sanitation and cash. Mercy Corps works directly with beneficiaries and through partners, local businesses or other intermediaries carrying the same values and accountability.
Regional Responsibilities: The Security Advisor will travel at least 40% to country offices within the region and is expected to visit each once every 18 months, minimum with the goal of ensuring basic levels of security management are achieved. It is expected the Security Advisor has a strong working relationship with the Regional & Country Directors on priority areas, transparent schedule and achieving a common goal. This includes minimum standards in planning, operational security and Duty of Care elements are integrated into budgets, staff onboarding and training. Security plans must be up-to-date. It is expected that the Security Advisor will communicate regularly with all Security focal Points and Security team members in the region and support them with their onboarding, mentorship and development. This is done in coordination with the Country Directors who retain direct supervision over in-country security staff. This includes technical support, routine on-site visits and helping operational teams achieve standards, develop appropriate strategies resources and also crisis or incident management.
They will be expected to be ready and available for one-off support such as assessments of new locations, security audits, crisis and incident management etc. The Security Advisor is expected to have leadership-level communication with country and program management and ensure that advisories, planning and quality is at globally acceptable standards.
Global Security Team Responsibilities: The Security Advisor will spend approximately 50% of their time supporting the global team and responsibilities such as semi-annual reporting, roll-out of policy & tools or revised guidance on safety and security practices. They will attend routine team meetings and on occasion, may be asked to provide support outside the region in a critical event.
REGION: OPERATIONAL SECURITY AND RISK MANAGEMENT
● Monitor and stay abreast of key trends in the region. Track the general security, humanitarian and political landscape. Retain a familiarity with this and in the context of Mercy Corps programs, staffing and locations.
● Track and know general objectives and program activities in the region. Support the Regional Director in prioritizing risk management tasks and support.
● Monitor the security indicators of all Mercy Corps countries in the Americas region including Risk Ratings, Security Management Plans, Security Focal Points and orientation. Conduct annual security audits with each country and support improvements, where necessary and possible.
● Support the SFPs in achieving security management goals.
● Provide remote technical support to each country security team, be available to provide advice and guidance for daily and strategic operations.
● Support Country Directors in understanding cross-border or regional risks & trends.
● Ensure analysis trends and forecasting are brought in to security and program planning.
● Support the overall continuation of a culture of a team, which is highly aware of the context.
● Support country teams with strategies on humanitarian access.
● Support Country Directors in implementing the risk management approach defined by the Enterprise Risk Management Committee, including through reviews and updates of country risk registers. Undertake strategic risk assessment when required.
● Be available to stop-gap filling and also strategic, surge support. Be available at short notice during critical incidents and provide management-level support to the resolution of incidents.
● Ensures the safety team contributes and maintains the requisite documentation of security incidents and updates for a comprehensive view on events & trends in the region. Ensure reporting of critical security incidents to the regional and global security teams.
● Help create an environment where Mercy Corps all Mercy Corps programs and team members and business are conducted with professionalism, impartiality, accountability and other core principles required as a humanitarian agency.
● Lead and participate in important, global activities that further the global strategy and achieving a Duty of Care. This can include the development, roll-out and training materials of tools or guidelines on security targets and minimum standards.
● Support the global team evaluate and improve tools, guidance documents and other documents important to capturing security practices. Ensure these are modern, contextualized and support Mercy Corps’ working model of country-lead strategies.
● Monitor the changing global context and proactively support the development or adaptation of security standards, tools and skills set.
● Lead or participate in inter-agency or internal working groups on behalf of the global security team. This could be, as example, civil-military relations, access negotiations or other important topics that cross departments.
● Work closely with the analysis teams in the region and utilize existing analysis. Contribute to analysis and support teams in linking this to operational safety.
● Support the Policy & Advocacy units in the region ad with major, trends in humanitarian aid. Support the development of Mercy Corps policy positions, talking points and a strong understanding of security priorities, as relates to Policy & Advocacy priorities.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT & CAPACITY BUILDING
● Coach and mentor local team to fulfill their roles in safety & security management, conducting assessment and other required work.
● Orient new Country Directors and regional staff. Be available to participate in leadership recruitment processes.
None – No direct reports.
● Reports directly to: Sr. Director of Global Director
● Works directly with: Regional Director, the Americas, Country Directors and all field security team members. Regional Team Members. Humanitarian Leadership & Response Team.
Knowledge and Experience
● 5-7 years field experience in safety and security with a humanitarian or development non-governmental organization.
● Experience in security management in conflict settings is desired.
● Experience in country and program management is desired for this position.
● Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses to such emergencies. Good context analysis skills.
● Experience of incident reporting, incident mapping, intelligence collation and analysis functions, set up and execution of an incident warning system (warden system), compilation of security reports and assessments
● Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching and ability to work with teams from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
● Excellent planning, coordination and reporting skills, with the ability to organize a substantial workload comprised of complex, diverse tasks and responsibilities, and present complex information in succinct and compelling manner
● Competency in Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems
● Experience living and working in South and Central America is preferred.
● Spanish proficiency is required. English proficiency is required. Knowledge of French is strongly preferred.
The Security Advisor will support the Mercy Corps country programs to design and implement programs operations that are safety conscious and designed with the nuances inherent in the region. They will help create and maintain common understanding of risk management, risk thresholds and effective mitigation. They will help nourish a regional team of proud and diligent security managers. Regional offices will display a culture of security awareness and programs that integrate thoughtful analysis of the environment and appropriate measures. A successful candidate will be able to follow and read the quickly changing conflict and understand the political landscape to better plan and forecast with coordination with others including the Humanitarian Access Teams. They will help the Regional Director create an environment of a well-trained staff with a strong, contextual awareness amongst its country teams. The Mercy Corps regional team will be fit for purpose and with a culture of safety-mindedness across departments. They will network and communicate frequently with counterparts in the region for a comprehensive portrayal of security and access.
This position is based in a Mercy Corps location in Bogota, Colombia and is an accompanied post with adequate medical care and amenities. This role requires up to 40% travel to support country teams, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and as such 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.
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.