North East Syria Early Recovery Working group Coordinator – Syria


Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war over ten years ago, Mercy Corps has worked to address the urgent needs of nearly 5 million people while at the same time pave the way for peacebuilding, early recovery and development of people inside Syria. Within this context, Mercy Corps is hosting the early recovery working group in northeast Syria (NES).

The Program / Department Summary

Ten years into the conflict in Syria, lifesaving relief remains an important priority. In North East Syria affected populations have started looking for ways to move beyond survival and rebuild their lives. Developing and adapting programs that enhance community initiatives to rebuild their lives is vital in reducing the risk of further setbacks for the affected population and paving the way towards sustainable long-term recovery. This requires all actors to not only focus on saving lives but also on stemming further loss of livelihoods and security that are fundamental to the survival of the affected population, even during humanitarian operations. From the outset it is also vital to support, sustain, and begin to rebuild social fabric and the essential local governance capacities, where possible, that are necessary to manage the situation in the longer term.

Early Recovery (ER) is the application of development principles to humanitarian situations. It is intended to move affected populations from survival to self-reliance and to stabilize local and national capacities from further deterioration so that they can provide the foundation for full recovery and stimulate spontaneous recovery activities amongst the affected population. If such national capacities are used and strengthened, they are likely to reduce the overall burden of humanitarian support more rapidly. This can be achieved through distinctive early recovery activities to stabilize the situation, while identifying opportunities for longer term recovery and eventually development. Early Recovery aims to bring development principles into relief and seize opportunities to go beyond saving lives and contribute to the restoration of national capacity, livelihoods and human security. Early recovery and humanitarian efforts occur in parallel and use the same mechanisms, but their objectives and expertise are different. The early recovery working group in NES aims to achieve nexus between relief, peace building and development through:

▪ Establishing joint planning with early recovery actors in NES to address immediate and underlying drivers and causes of conflict and build foundations for long-term peace and stability.

▪ Enhancing the on-going emergency assistance operations through measures that foster the self-reliance of the affected population and meet the most critical needs to rebuild livelihoods;

▪ Supporting recovery initiatives that mitigate the risk on affected populations and in the long run increase their resilience in front of shocks and stresses (Establishing the foundations for longer-term recovery).

NES Early Recovery Working Group Coordinator is part of NES humanitarian architecture and will be working to enable early recovery actors in NES to be more effective in achieving their early recovery goals. The early recovery coordinator provides accountable leadership, early recovery direction and works on behalf of the working group as a whole, facilitating all working group activities and maintaining a strategic vision. He/she also ensures coordination regarding the areas covered, particularly leading members’ planning from relief to social cohesion, stabilization and development. e.g. governance, infrastructure and livelihoods, with other clusters and working groups in Syria.

The Early Recovery Working group Coordinator is based in the Mercy Corps field office in Hassekeh and reports to the Mercy Corps livelihood advisor in close coordination with the UNDP whole of Syria Early Recovery Coordinator.

The Early Recovery working group Coordinator will be responsible for developing the early recovery agenda and strategy for NES, leading the implementation of the early recovery action plans, and coordinating/monitoring the actors’ implementation.

Essential Responsibilities

Technical Support and Strategy Development:

▪ Facilitate the early recovery-related needs assessments and analysis and participate in joint needs assessment exercises as appropriate. This includes assessment and analysis on livelihood, conflict, displacement and any other needs assessment.

▪ Work with early recovery actors to identify the agenda and the strategic direction of early recovery in NES.

▪ Lead the actors’ analysis of sector-specific gaps and priorities and facilitate the development of strategies and tools to address them. Ensure that early recovery needs and strategies are adequately reflected in the whole of Syria HNO and HRP.

▪ Facilitate the formulation of the early recovery NES action plan and coordinate its implementation.

▪ Provide technical support to actors working on social cohesion, peacebuilding, governance and livelihood issues.

Capacity Building:

▪ Together with NES members, undertake capacity mapping and gap identification exercises to develop a capacity-development strategy for the sector including social cohesion, peacebuilding, governance and livelihood.

▪ Identify training needs of members and communicate them back to the members and to the whole of Syria early recovery cluster. Support resource mobilization efforts aimed at strengthening the capacity of the civil society and other local humanitarian partners.

Networking & Coordination & Advocacy:

▪ Identify core advocacy concerns for the sector and contribute key messages to the broader advocacy initiatives of Syria.

▪ Ensure appropriate coordination with NES authorities, to the extent the political situation allows. This will involve liaising with relevant counterparts and working with them to support or complement existing coordination mechanisms. Depending on the situation, the early recovery Coordinator will either represent the working group at sectoral meetings led by authorities or co-chair working group meetings with NES authorities.

▪ Identify and establish contact with all other relevant sector stakeholders including national and international organizations, and representatives of affected populations. Invite these stakeholders to participate as partners in the work of the early recovery working group as appropriate.

▪ As appropriate, convene and facilitate meetings of the early recovery working group and ensure that they are well-managed and action and results-oriented, with decisions clearly communicated to relevant partners and stakeholders. Ensure that meetings are managed in line with the Principles of Partnership.

▪ Help establish and maintain appropriate inter-working groups coordination mechanisms, adapting them over time to reflect the stage of the emergency and the changing capacities of local actors. Represent the early recovery working group in the inter-working group’s coordination fora, especially the ER network, as appropriate.

▪ Lead on the design of appropriate transition strategies for the early recovery working group including how coordination mechanisms and group membership will change during the transition from the emergency to recovery and development.

▪ Work closely with UNDP, donors and other stakeholders to ensure that the ongoing early recovery activities tie in with common recovery strategies in Syria.


▪ Support Mercy Corps global and regional initiatives for human resources, including safeguarding and diversity, and talent development;

▪ Collaborate with the people team to promote staff access to high quality learning opportunities, with a special emphasis on national team member development;

▪ Provide support and technical capacity building to key staff in field offices.


▪ Work with the team in your department to ensure that adequate risk management systems are in place;

▪ Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events;

▪ Cooperate with country level Ethics and Assurance managers as well as the global Ethics and Assurance department to track and analyze trends and needs across countries;

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.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Food Security and Livelihood Advisor

Works Directly With: Early Recovery partners, NES DOP, FSL TA, Social Cohesion TA, Project Manager, area Director and Director of Program Support.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

▪ 4-5 years of humanitarian response experience with focus on peacebuilding and livelihood.

▪ Bachelor degree in relevant field.

▪ Experience in remote management and Syria response.

▪ Willingness to travel regularly to other field offices

▪ Able to provide good methodology and detailed plans that ensure the work will complete within the agreed timeframe.

▪ Fluent in spoken and written English.

Success Factors

▪ Strong commitment to capacity building of staff with willingness to adopt a participatory and consultative management approach.

▪ Good interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate and negotiate clearly and effectively at all levels, taking into account cultural and language difficulties. Tact and diplomacy are essential.

▪ The ability to work closely in a team, be patient, adaptable, flexible, able to improvise and work in an environment that is often stressful and potentially volatile.

▪ The successful candidate will have existing knowledge regarding the Syrian context, as well as priorities of early recovery in the country.

▪ The ability to work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a high intensity and fluid work environment and will be able to communicate effectively within such an environment.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in Hasekeh, Syria. Accommodation will be provided in shared housing and all usual amenities afforded to expatriate staff will be made available but please note that opportunities for socialising, exercising and freedom of movement are limited. Staff will have access to good medical services and the living situation is of a high standard.

Ongoing Learning

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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.


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