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Job Title: Women's Safe Spaces Specialist

Sector: Violence Protection

Employment Category: Regular

Location: USA-New York, NY - HQ

Job Description

Background/IRC Summary:  Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global leader in providing emergency relief, rehabilitation, post conflict development, human rights protection, resettlement services and advocacy for refugees and others uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression. The IRC is committed to restoring hope, freedom, dignity, and self-reliance. IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and thorough accountability to those we serve.

IRC is one of the first humanitarian organizations to bring together specific disciplines involved in violence prevention and response (VPR) in conflict affected settings to ensure collaborative and still specialized support to survivors and those at risk of violence. Over the past 16 years, IRC has pioneered and implemented programs that prevent and respond to violence against women and children, as well as other vulnerable groups in refugee settings and in other conflict-affected contexts, making the IRC a global leader in this field. IRC presently implements VPR programs in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Haiti, with funding from governments, the UN, foundations, and private donors.

Women’s Safe Spaces have been used for decades by GBV actors in humanitarian programming as an entry point for women and girls to report protection concerns, express their needs, engage in empowerment activities, and connect with the wider community.  In the past decade the use of Women’s Safe Spaces has proliferated and models and modes of implementation have expanded. Yet despite their widespread use, as well as emerging evidence of their positive effect for women and girls, to date only a handful of context-specific WSS resources exist.  The IRC together with the International Medical Corps seek to address this resource gap in GBV programming and build the capacity of the humanitarian community to better design and implement women and girls’ safe spaces to meet the needs of vulnerable women and girls, and GBV survivors in humanitarian settings. 

Job Overview/Summary: The Women’s Safe Spaces Specialist will be responsible for leading the development and piloting of a globally-endorsed Women and Girls’ Safe Space Toolkit that that combines best practices, guidance on different implementation models, sample activities and training tools to support humanitarian practitioners in the start-up, implementation, and the transitioning of WSS to local ownership. The WSSTK will provide practitioners with step-by-step guidance through the project-cycle from start-up to handing over to local ownership. The toolkit will include tested project management tools, staff capacity-building training materials, activity guides for developing culturally appropriate psychosocial, life-skills, empowerment and outreach activities and a monitoring and evaluation framework. This toolkit will improve the quality of existing women and girl’s safe spaces. It will empower agencies who have limited to no experience with this approach but are committed to supporting women and girls in humanitarian settings by providing them with the necessary tools to roll-out this intervention. The toolkit will be open source, and available for electronic downloading via multiple inter-agency platforms.

Major Responsibilities

Intervention Resource Development 

  • Carry out a review of existing guidance tools and training materials on implementing Women’s Safe Spaces.
  • Carry out formative research in two pilot countries to identify existing best practices for implementing Women’s Safe Spaces.
  • Develop Women’s Safe Space guidance and tools for piloting in two countries.
  • Establish a protocol and process for leading the inter-agency review and endorsement of the resource package.
  • Oversee the editing, translation and design of the resource package for public consumption.

Field Support: Training and Capacity Building

  • Provide training and ongoing technical support (both on-site and remote) on the implementation of the Women’s Safe Spaces guidance and tools in two countries (as part of piloting).
  • Integrate adaptations from pilot testing into the toolkit.


  • Develop a visibility plan to highlight the resource package and ensure practitioners are aware of and utilizing the resource.
  • Lead in-person and online dissemination and learning events for the humanitarian community.


  • Prepare donor progress reports and manage donor budgets.
  • Lead on developing implementation timeline and spending plan for this project.
  • Organize quick-off meeting with IMC and other relevant IRC staff.
  • Work closely with IMC counterpart collaborating on the project.
  • Work closely with Women’s Protection and Empowerment technical team members and other specialists on the Strategic Initiatives team carrying out work relevant to women’s safe spaces.
  • Participate in broader VPRU work on GBV service delivery through the unit’s action plan.
  • Participate in inter-sectoral meetings at the IRC relevant to service delivery.
  • Support new business development and feed into proposals as appropriate.


Key Working Relationships: 

Position Reports to:  Senior Technical Advisor, Strategic Initiatives
Position directly supervises:

Indirect Reporting:  Women’s Protection and Empowerment Senior Technical Advisor
Other Internal and/or external contacts:
describe the nature of departments or groups the position influences or requires support from to accomplish objectives.



Minimum Qualifications

Job Requirements:

  • MA in social work or other related field preferred
  • 3-6 years experience in humanitarian, development or similar organizations with direct experience working on and managing GBV response programming.
  • Experience specifically with the oversight of women’s safe spaces/centres.  
  • Demonstrated ability to create guidelines and training manuals, with direct training and facilitation experience.
  • Excellent oral and written communication, including proven success communicating in challenging and cross-cultural contexts.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in research and evaluation methodologies.
  • Highly organized and self-motivated, able to work efficiently on his/her own 

Working Environment:  Standard office work environment. Upwards 40% travel.