Location: Sudan (the) (various)
Closing date: 14 Sep 2008
Job Description

Reference: (185285-927)

This is a full-time, temporary position (6 months).


Mercy Corps has been working in Sudan since 2004 and is implementing humanitarian, recovery and development program in Darfur, the three transitional areas and southern Sudan. Program activities include Emergency NFI distribution to IDPs, hygiene promotion, water and sanitation, civil society capacity building, agricultural livelihoods and education programs. Mercy Corps programming in Sudan is in highly dynamic and volatile locations where safety and security systems will support the flexibility ability for MC to continue programming. MC currently has over 40 expatriates, 450 national staff in 16 offices.


The Safety and Security Officer (SSO) will be brought in to accomplish three major functions. The primary function will be:

1. To assess the current operational context in each Mercy Corps Offices in the North Sudan, Three transitional areas and southern Sudan, identify our operational limitations and solutions based on potential insecurity, as well as make recommendations as to the budgetary and procedural implications for continued programming in this potentially insecure environment. For this, the SSO will work in coordination with the Operation Director to draw up a work plan that will allow him or her to travel and to implement safety and security mechanism in all Mercy Corps offices in the region

2. The second function will be updating or develop security management plan (SMP) base on the assessment of current operational context to enhance security and safety of Mercy Corps staff and operations in all offices in northern, transitional areas and southern Sudan. The SMP will emphasize acceptance as the primary strategy for security with consideration on protection and deterrence strategy when it is needed. Each field office will have specific security and safety plan as part of the general Security Management Plan which can include security tree, warden system, evacuation route, etc. This can be synchronized with existing UN security and safety plan in each area.

3. The third function is to institutionalizing the security management plan by building the capacity of the security management team to systematically hold the staff members accountable for the adherence to and periodic review of security protocols. This will be done by conducting formal safety and security training in each office base on the updated security management plan to ensure that staff are capable and confident in coordinating and leading security management functions, including threat assessment, policies/protocols, communications, inter-agency liaison, and critical incident response. The training will also ensure that appropriate field managers are fully cognizant of prevailing security threats and fully advised on means to reduce staff vulnerability to those threats. At the end of his/her contract, the SSO need to ensure that SMP is implemented consistently and effectively and that all employees are aware of their roles in maintaining staff safety and security.

Security Assessment of context and Mercy Corps Operations in Darfur, the three transitional areas and southern Sudan

The reported presence of the hostile parties in Darfur, the transitional area and a dramatic increase in violence in the region requires an expert assessment of the viability of continued operations in the area as well as the implications for the security of Mercy Corps staff stationed in the region. The Security Advisor will devote a considerable amount of time to this task and will be required to deliver a detailed assessment and security recommendations based this work, particularly regarding budgetary and procedural implications.

Security Management Plan and other Documents

Lead the implementation and the evaluation of the current SMP and other security-related documents, bringing them up to date and involving both national and international staff to ensure understanding and buy-in. Make concrete recommendations for revising Mercy Corps policies and procedures to further enhance safety and security. Institutionalize the revised SMP throughout Mercy Corps' presence in Sudan. The revised SMP will take into account the different contexts in which each office is located, as well as changing logistics according to the time of year.

Staff Capacity Building

Ensure that staff in all offices has the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively implement the SMP and keep it up to date in the face of evolving contexts. This will include ability to provide orientation to all new staff; proper use of Mercy Corps communications systems; acquire and disseminate information routinely to all staff in all security-related developments; appropriate networking with other NGOs, the UN system and other appropriate bodies; institute a consistent incident reporting mechanism and post incident follow-up procedures; enable staff to assist the Country Representative, Regional Director and the headquarters Crisis Management Team in the even that a staff member is killed, seriously injured, kidnapped, et cetera; and other tasks as appropriate according to the SMP.

Workplace safety

Address basic safety-at-work issues, including the provision of fire extinguishers/other tools, first aid equipment, etc., in all offices, vehicles, and residences. Ensure that relevant staff members are trained in basic first aid and proper use of safety equipment.

Other duties as requested by the Operations Director.


REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Operations Director

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Operations Manager, Deputy Country Director, Heads of Office, Program Managers, project and administration staff


At least 6 years field experience working with United Nations and/or NGOs in complex emergency operations.
Experience monitoring and directing staff security and safety related tasks, including training.
Experience living, traveling and working effectively in insecure and austere environments.
Excellent English oral and written communication skills required, knowledge of local languages preferred.
Demonstrated proficiency in using computers, basic software systems, and email. Strong knowledge of communications equipment (e.g., radio and satellite telephone systems), protocols, systems and usage.
Must be able to work in an environment where modern medical facilities may be several days away, and must maintain 24-hour on-call status for emergency purposes.


The successful SSO will have the ability to thrive in a fast-paced, multi-tasking environment, in which security management is only one facet of operations, while maintaining the respect of staff, vendors and colleagues. A keen understanding of security management practices, particularly with regards to promoting acceptance strategies while balancing program objectives and needs will be essential. The successful SSO will also demonstrate a strong understanding for the cultural, political and religious environment in the region, and be able to live and work successfully in those environments. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, and make effective communication and security a priority in all situations.


The Safety and Security Officer will travel to different offices in North and South Including Darfur, Khartoum, transitional areas and south Sudan. Living conditions in Sudan are mostly basic with better facilities in capital cities like Juba and Khartoum. Although conditions and services continue to improve rapidly, in some places, there are no permanent structure and activities needs to be carried out from camping facilities. Medical facilities are basic, and tropical diseases including malaria are endemic.
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