Mercy Corps

Inter Sector Working Group Coordinator (NES NGO Forum)

Mercy Corps

Job Description

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.

Program / Department Summary

Specific to the Syria Response, Mercy Corps has been exceptionally committed to the formal and informal humanitarian Coordination structures and has been hosting the North East Syria (NES) NGO Forum since 2016 to support coordination among NGOs. The NES NGO Forum was established as a unique and key coordination body for NGOs operating in North East Syria – as part of formalized coordination arrangements under the whole of Syria approach. The Forum is currently comprised of over 40 members, and continues to grow, with responsibility for a number of core functions, including operational coordination, representation with a range of stakeholders, engagement with authorities, information management and advocacy. The Forum engages in multiple work-streams, including area-based coordination, supporting and facilitating humanitarian access negotiations, engaging all relevant stakeholders and supporting a local NGO platform to foster linkages with local organisations.

General Position Summary

The NES NGO Forum oversees a unique NGO-led coordination and representation mechanism, in response to humanitarian needs in NES. Ensuring a continuum of effective coordination, collaboration, coherency and harmonization is crucial for an appropriate response to a complex crisis. This role focuses on strategic and operational coordination including maintaining linkages to the United Nations and the Whole of Syria coordination structure, of which the NES NGO Forum is a formal component. Moving forward, the ISWG Coordinator will have a central role in overseeing the evolution of the Forum into a coordination and representation mechanism that is fit for purpose and capable of speaking to both the prevailing humanitarian and development needs in NES, in so far as development needs exacerbate humanitarian needs.

The Inter Sector Working Group (ISWG) Coordinator will work closely with the Forum Director, the Access and Advocacy Coordinator and Forum Liaison team while additionally supervising the ISWG Deputy Coordinator and the Information Management Unit as well as with Whole of Syria sectoral Co-leads. The ISWG Coordinator chairs the Inter Sector Working Group comprising 16 Sector Coordinators and represents the ISWG on the Whole of Syria level. The successful candidate will work impartially with all partners active in North-East Syria inclusive of the United Nations.

The position reports to NES NGO Forum Director and includes line management of the ISWG Deputy Coordinator and the Information Management Unit including the Senior Information Management Officer, Information Management Officer and Analyst. They will act in the interest of coordination stakeholders in sharing information and advocating for populations needs. The position will support strategic and operational day-to-day coordination between NES sector Working Group Coordinators, including: 1) Chairing the ISWG 2) Multi sectoral needs assessments and response 3) Establishing and fortifying information sharing between the NGO community at the inter-sector level as well as UN counterparts 4) identify gaps and needs together with the sectors to improve the response 5) build where required the capacity of sectors in coordination or provide support to specific sectors 6) support linkages between humanitarian and stabilization/development stakeholders to improve where possible a coordinated response.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Ensure sectors and partners work collectively, towards complementarity, coherence, quality and harmonization of assistance delivery.
  • Convene and facilitate bi-weekly ISWG coordination meetings and ensure they are well-managed, action and results-oriented and documented.
  • Lead on collective identification of needs, gaps and response in collaboration with Sector Working Group Coordinators, the United Nations and the WoS sector architecture as well as in support of the Humanitarian programme cycle.
  • Work with the NES NGO Forum Director to maintain appropriate relationships and communication with North East Syria coordination stakeholders (Team Leaders and Country Directors), United Nations, Donors, Whole of Syria coordination forums and local authorities.
  • Work with the ISWG Deputy Coordinator to strengthen area based coordination and response in harder to reach areas.


  • In coordination with the NES NGO Forum Director and support of the ISWG Deputy Coordinator, maintain a healthy relationship with local governance structures as required – supporting technical meetings and enhancing knowledge of the NGO response with the view to maintain access and space to operate as well as meeting the needs of the affected population.
  • In coordination with NES NGO Forum Director, maintain a healthy relationship with the donors and expand the donor portfolio for the NGO response in NES.
  • Attend regional level coordination meetings to advocate for the needs and response in NES as required.
  • Network and conduct outreach to regional coordination structure representatives.
  • Provide regular reporting at the inter-sectoral level, including when required situation reports, emergency updates and needs/gaps overviews, in coordination with the ISWG, and NES Forum Information Management Unit..

PREPAREDNESS AND Capacity Building

  • Coordinate emergency preparedness and contingency planning among sectors and where possible with the UN, local authorities and other stakeholders.
  • Capacity building of the ISWG Deputy Coordinator in humanitarian coordination/mechanisms.
  • With the support of the NES Forum Local Partnerships Coordinator, support inter-sector efforts to strengthen inclusion of national/local partners into sector coordination and response planning.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

The NES Forum ISWG Coordinator will supervise the ISWG Deputy Coordinator, the Senior Information Management Officer and Analyst


Reports Directly To: NES NGO Forum Director Works Directly With: NES Forum Secretariat Team; NES Forum Team Leads; NES Sector Focal Points; Whole of Syria Coordination Forums; United Nations; Donors

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.

Minimum Qualification and Transferable Skills

  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA desired
  • At least 5 years of field experience in international relief and development, including demonstrable Syria and/or Regional experience.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
  • Proven understanding of the international humanitarian response architecture, including coordination mechanisms, humanitarian reform and action, and funding mechanisms (e.g. Consolidated Appeals Process, Central Emergency Response Fund and Flash Appeals).
  • Familiarity with global thinking around humanitarian-development-peace nexus, and alternative coordination modalities.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to humanitarian principles.
  • Demonstrated experience in coordination roles, preferably within formal coordination structures.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic is a plus.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse stakeholder base in a sensitive environment.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will have the ability to network effectively and influence and inspire others. They will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, will be highly motivated and possess ability to work independently. They will have the ability to undertake strategic Analysis and translate thinking into practice. They will work with sensitive issues in a multi-cultural environment and with virtual or/and dispersed teams and will have the ability to build confidence and to find creative and constructive solutions to difficult issues. The successful candidate will build trust and alliances and will empower others. They should like traveling, possess a good sense of humor, must be fond of coordination and understand its critical role for the more efficient humanitarian response.

Living Conditions

The position is based in Derik and Haseekh cities, Syria and it requires travel to other locations. This position is unaccompanied and is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.

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 elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.**
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