Solidarites International

Country Director

Solidarites International

Job Description

Desired start date: 01/06/2021** Duration of the mission:** 12 months, renewable Location: Beirut, Lebanon

ABOUT THE MISSION

Lebanon hosts about 1.5 million Syrian refugees, mainly in its northern governorates (Akkar and Tripoli) and in the Bekaa Valley. SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL (SI) has launched its operations in Lebanon in March 2013 to address immediate needs of both Syrian refugees and Lebanese affected by the crisis. Ever since, SI in Lebanon has transitioned towards more integrated programs to still address Basic Needs such as WASH, Shelter, Health and protection (the 2 latter through partners). In 2020, SI Lebanon started an ambitious DRM project, funded by the AFD, and which aims at developing a river-basin integrated model to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies such as floods. In 2021 SI Lebanon started a EU-funded WASH project to work with local Water authorities to improve Water delivery networks. SI is also addressing the consequences of the Beirut Blast response through a 2-phased project to rehabilitate damaged dwelling units and public spaces (in partnership with the Lebanese and the French Red Cross).

SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL’s mission in Lebanon has two operational bases (Tripoli and Zahle) and a Coordination office in Beirut. The expatriate team consists of 18 staff members, while the national team represents about 170 staff members. At the time of writing, SI LEB budget volume amounts to roughly 15/16 M USD, Tripoli base counted for 60% of this amount and Zahle base for 40%.

Key areas of intervention for the mission are the following:
  • Emergency WASH service provision in informal settlements (UNICEF)
  • Integrated Protection for basic services (shelter and WASH rehabilitation) in Substandard Buildings (ECHO)
  • Integrated Wash and Shelter for Protection and Health in Collective shelters and substandard buildings (BRM)
  • Disaster Risk Management (AFD)
  • Wash infrastructures development (EU)
  • Mapping of informal settlements (MEDAIR / UNHCR)
  • Cash assistance third party monitoring system (CAMEALEON)

ABOUT THE JOB

General objectives:

  • The Country Director is SI’s official representative in the country
  • S/he oversees the mission’s program and support activities and is responsible for its global structuration and management.
  • In coordination with her/his Senior Management Team (SMT), s/he will analyze the humanitarian and geopolitical context of the country to adapt accordingly SI Lebanon’s strategy, making sure its programs are driven by needs, based on evidence, adaptable to contextual changes, conflict sensitive, monitored closely and resourced appropriately.
  • S/he will then ensure that all necessary means are deployed and well-managed to implement these programs efficiently, in accordance with SI’s charter and procedures. As per SI Lebanon strategic internal objectives for 2021, working on rationalizing and harmonizing processes and tools will be a key priority for the year.
  • S/he will play a key role in donors’ relations to maintain the on-going trust with exiting donors (mainly AFD, ECHO, BPRM and UNICEF) and build-up relationships with new donors to ensure budget diversification and multi-year funding.
  • S/he will be in charge of the mission’s security, including situation Analysis and update and implementation of the mission’s security plans, in close coordination with the mission’s Logistic Coordinator.
  • S/He is the direct liaison for Solidarités International HQ.
Responsibilities and main activities:

  • Coordination and strategic orientation
  • Program development & Quality Management
  • Resources management
  • HR management
  • Security
  • Relations with donors and partners and representation
  • Internal and external communication
The main challenges:

The humanitarian context in Lebanon has been fast and deeply deteriorating since the beginning of the social unrest in October 2019. The combination of the political deadlock, the social and economic crisis, and the COVID19 pandemic triggered an alarming situation in the country where the levels of extreme poverty, food insecurity rose sharply. In parallel the capacity of the most vulnerable people, regardless of their nationality, has deteriorated dramatically, making them resort to negative copying mechanisms, massive indebtment and prioritization of immediate vital needs (food and shelter) over others (education, health). The Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2017-2021 is currently under revision (adaptation) to better capture the new emerging needs and ensure a bigger inclusion of most vulnerable populations within the scope of the plan.

In this context SI has an important role to play since, at the time of writing, we are one of the very few implementers to be active in the three different temporalities of the response: immediate response to emergencies, recovery phase and development phase. We are also the biggest humanitarian responder in the North (Akkar) and one of the leading agencies as to the assistance in the informal settlements.

Thanks to a diversified yet integrated and complementary programming, SI is in a good position to convince donors to keep supporting us. Nevertheless, it will be of utmost importance in 2021 (and 2022) to better assess, report and communicate on our achievements.

2021 might also be the year where UNICEF changes their response strategy in the informal settlement, shifting to more localized partnerships (local CSOs) and to voucher/cash-based assistance rather than service delivery assistance for water delivery and desludging services. Si Lebanon will therefore have to anticipate for all possible scenario.

In 2021 and following years, SI will have other opportunities to secure multi-year and multi-partners funding for pure development projects, mainly with the AFD. This is definitely something SI, despite our emergency DNA, want to pursue in Lebanon.

2021 and 2022 will be key year as far as the SOLIS information management system developed by the mission is concerned. There are already both shared and dedicated resources to complete the development but the effort will have to be continued to secure the system’s roll out and maintenance.

Management:

The Country Director will directly line-manage 9 persons (1 Deputy Country Director / Head of Programs, 1 Finance Coordinator, 1 Human Resources Coordinator, 1 Logistics Coordinator, 1 Conformity & Transparency Manager, 1 AFD Consortium Coordinator, 1 BPRM (Integrated Approach) Consortium Coordinator, 1 Field Coordinator for Bekka, 1 Field Coordinator for the North).

The Country Director is under the line Management of the Middle East Desk Manager.

YOUR PROFILE

EDUCATION:

  • Advanced university degree (Masters and above) in development and/or political studies, international relations, economics, management or equivalent
EXPERIENCE:

  • 5 years management experience at senior level, preferably in complex humanitarian environments
  • 3 years’ experience in CD or DCD position
  • Knowledge and experience in Project Management (especially on multi-sectoral projects, Wash, Shelter, Protection, middle income countries, and urban settings) an asset
  • Experience in conflict/post-conflict contexts and in the Middle East an asset
  • Previous experience with SI an asset
  • Previous experience with UN donors an asset (UNICEF mainly)
  • Previous experience with development donors (AFD, USAID) an asset
TECHNICAL SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE:

  • Excellent diplomacy and representation skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong team management capacities. Capacity to train a team and create a dynamic atmosphere
  • Coordination skills and capacity to highlight the value of coordinated activities
  • Specific skills on contextual, security and access analysis are an asset
  • Stress management skills: ability to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines, with peaks of heavy workloads; ability to work as stand‑alone staff with only remote support
  • Computer literacy with very good command of MS Office Suite
  • Knowledge of Solidarites rules, tools and procedures a STRONG asset
SOFT SKILLS AND SPIRIT:

  • Solid organizational and communication skills
  • Demonstrated successful leadership experience managing a multi-disciplinary team and cross-cultural dynamics.
  • Problem Solving and analytical skills with the ability to assess challenges and recommend solutions
  • Autonomy and capacity of initiative
  • Diplomacy, cultural sensitivity, negotiation skills
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines, with peaks of heavy workloads
  • Team player, capacity to positively mobilize a young team while being fully part of the mission’s senior management
LANGUAGES:

  • Fully fluent English: excellent speaking, reading and writing skills
  • Arabic and French an asset

SI WILL OFFER YOU

A salaried post:

According to experience, starting from 3000 euros gross per month (+ 10% annual leave allowance paid monthly i.e. 3300 euros gross per month) and valorization according to experience (+100€/year of humanitarian experience on an equivalent position and +50€/year of humanitarian experience on a non-equivalent position) and a monthly Per Diem of 750 USD This position is entitled to a family package and an accommodation allowance.

Vacation: During the assignment, a system of alternation between work and time off is implemented at the rate of 7 working days every three months. For a one-year assignment, the expatriate will have a 7 working days break at 3, 6 and 9 months (with 850 USD allocated by Solidarités).

To these break periods, it is necessary to add the granting of one additional rest day per month worked, i.e. 12 days in addition for a one-year contract**.** Social and medical cover:

Expatriates benefit from an insurance package which reimburses all healthcare expenses (including medical and surgical expenses, dental care and ophthalmological expenses, repatriation) and a welfare system including war risks. Essential vaccination and antimalarial treatment costs are refunded.

LIVING CONDITIONS:

The political and security situation in Lebanon is complex and volatile and domestic tensions remain high. Reflective of divisions within Lebanese society, the situation of Syrian refugees is becoming increasingly precarious.

International tensions are as well important, even if no imminent conflict is for now foreseeable.

Despite these on-going internal and external tensions, Lebanon’s security situation is currently good. There is no curfew in place on the Lebanon mission and international staff can move around without too many restrictions (except from the ones related to the COVID context) even though Akkar and the Beqaa valley include some no-go areas. The security measures in place could still be upgraded quickly depending on the context’s evolution.

As the country’s capital and one of the largest and safest cities in the Middle East, Beirut is home to many iNGOs, UN agencies, and international news networks.

Depending on the employee’s contract, SI Expats are either hosted in the Beirut guesthouse ( The Beirut guesthouse is located inside the city – Sodeco area -, at walking distance from shops, cafes and restaurants. The city hosts cinemas, gyms and reputable walking and hiking trails. Each international staff member has its own room, access to 24/7 electricity and Wi-Fi, a central heating system for the winter as well as air conditioning for summer months.

Beirut is a relatively liberal city by Western standards and no particular clothing restrictions apply, although this may vary depending on the neighbourhood.

Vehicles are available for SI expatriates on evening and week-end if you have a valid international driving license. When COVID19 related lockdown is not on, Lebanon is a safe country that you can discover by yourself. SI also have guesthouses in Zahle and Tripoli where you can stay over the weekend.

At the time of writing, schools are closed and no information is yet communicated about the reopening. Hospitals are still running but shortages of human resources, materials and medicines affect their treatment capacity, which was already overstretched because of COVID19 pandemic.

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