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 4 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 3,000 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, protection and rule of law, education, women’s protection and empowerment, NFI and food distribution, cash assistance, water and sanitation, and livelihood 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.
As the conflict in Syria has entered its ninnth year, it is estimated that over 400,000 people have been killed in the country and a total of 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Additionally, 6.6 million persons are displaced internally and over 4.7 million people are living in ‘besieged’ and ‘hard to reach’ areas. Within the ProtectionSector, as per the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2019, it has been assessed that 13.2 million people are in need of assistance across the country.
Despite the efforts among a large number of International and Syrian NGOs and UN Agencies that have been providing assistance inside Syria, needs continue to increase and coordination structures remain fragile as a result of continuous political sensitivity in Syria. As a result, the humanitarian community has embarked since 2014 on a Whole of Syria Approach in order to improve the overall humanitarian response based on a more integrated and connected coordination structure between the various “hubs” from which relief aid is being provided– either from Syria or cross-border operations from Turkey, and Iraq.
The Iraq Hub – more commonly called North East Syria (NES) – has INGO led Working Groups across sectors that coordinate directly with Whole of Syria. The INGO led Protection Working Group already in place is supported by a dedicated PWG Coordinator.
The INGO Protection Working Group Coordinator (PWG) will be leading the coordination efforts of INGO Protection partners in NES, liaising with UN protection partners, Whole of Syria (Protection, Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence Areas of Responsibilities), and fostering information sharing between INGOs and UN agencies operating in NES, and leading NES INGO protection advocacy messaging and strategies for the INGO community, especially in relation to the Raqqa and Deir Ez Zor conflicts.
Coordination and Representation
Chair regular coordination meetings of the INGO Protection Working Group (PWG). Actively identify and make contact with new and existing actors to add to the working group, inclusive of those that may be registered in other hubs, but responding in North East Syria;
• Work with protection sector members to ensure that key protection concerns are reflected and addressed;
• Support the working group’s data collection efforts, helping partners to submit accurate and consistent data; provide analysis back to the working group and other interagency stakeholders; support the development of uniform data collection and monitoring tools for ease of comparison and analysis across INGOs;
• Raise protection concerns for the NES hub and liaise with coordination fora (NES INGO Forum/OCHA NES Focal Point/Qamishli Sub Office/Whole of Syria) locally and on a technical level to identify solutions to raised concerns. Ensure and facilitate contextual analysis, needs assessments and access to beneficiaries and sites/structures;
• Collaborate with other sectors, including the WASH Working Group, the Health Working Group and the FSL Working Group to ensure integration of protection principles, responsive programming across sectors and course correction where protection concerns identified;
• Identify gaps and areas of overlap in the protection sector in NE Syria;
• Represent on coordination with the WoS protection cluster coordinators and other Whole of Syria protection initiatives as required;
• Identify and support WoS resource and funds tracking and coordinate with WoS coordinators to advocate with donors to ensure appropriate support for inter-agency protection activities;
• Ensure protection sector preparedness and contingency plans are updated on a regular basis and made available to protection sector partners;
• Assist in developing/updating information management tools and products;
• Oversee, compile and analyze key protection indicators and data from the NES hub to ensure production of knowledge to steer strategic and operational planning for the WoS response, including but not limited to contributions to the HNO and HRP process.
Mainstreaming Protection and Application of Standards
• Establish and implement a strategy for mainstreaming protection across each sector/working group;
• Mainstreaming protection and application of national and international humanitarian principles among PWG actors and others as requested through trainings and technical support;
• In close coordination with PWG sub-groups and sub-clusters, coordinate and facilitate training for PWG members, local government authorities and other humanitarian actors on protection relevant topics; identify opportunities for training in other areas as needed;
• Look at ways of building the capacity of the local authorities and other PWG members to create a stronger protection environment and to prepare for future emergency responses;
Monitoring, Reporting and Communication
• Support existing systems for reporting on the progress of PWG members’ activities for effective monitoring and evaluation; Develop/refine/harmonize monitoring systems as required;
• Develop and maintain effective communication and information sharing within the PWG, UN partners and among other sectors;
• Ensure a high standard of analytical reporting on identified issues and production of regular situation reports;
• Support the design of evidence-based advocacy strategies and take a strong role in coordinating and leading advocacy initiatives on identified protection concerns;
• Work closely with the Regional Public Affairs team to identify and facilitate opportunities for field-driven advocacy;
• Support drafting of regional advocacy products and be available for media opportunities as required;
• Map out and report on funding gaps and programmatic needs of PWG members and regularly advocate to donors and various forums to help address such funding gaps and needs;
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Field Director NE Syria
Indirect/Technical Reporting: WoS Protection Sector Co-Coordinator
Position directly Supervises: n/a
Key Internal Contacts: IRC NE Syria Team, Field Director/Iraq CD, Regional team
Key External Contacts: NES INGOS, NES UNOCHA, NES INGO Forum, WOS, NES UNHCR, NES UNICEF, NES UNFPA