Background: Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.
The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 28 offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees and other immigrants resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.
The Policy and Practice Department is a dynamic team combining the IRC’s Communications, Policy and Advocacy, and Technical Unit expertise. Its core purpose is to develop the IRC as a thought leader and drive transformational change in the humanitarian sector, and specifically to dramatically increase the productivity of humanitarian aid and its ability to achieve outcomes for people living in and displaced by conflict and crisis.
Job Overview: The International Programs Policy and Advocacy Officer will work closely with the Senior Director to lead the five-year vision whereby the IRC aims to become an outspoken implementer that shapes humanitarian policy and practice to achieve better outcomes for the people we seek to assist. This will be achieved by pursuing organizational strategic objectives through several streams of work focused on the removal of roadblocks to the delivery of aid, and securing long-term solutions for displaced people.
Specifically, the Officer will implement policy initiatives and work to: support country teams in removing acute bureaucratic, political and other barriers that prevent or impede program delivery; speak out in capitals on the realities encountered in our day-to-day work on a maximally credible basis in order to deliver our policy recommendations; and leverage IRC’s footprint to advocate for long-term solutions for displaced peoples as they move from conflicts to camps or urban settlements, resettlement, or repatriation. The Officer will engage in high level direct advocacy with government officials and international leaders. It is anticipated that for the first 12-18 months the Officer will focus primarily on conflicts and crises in the Lake Chad Basin, East Africa, and Yemen and their humanitarian consequences.
Collaborate with highly-motivated Policy and Advocacy colleagues and program staff in the Lake Chad region as well as East Africa and the Horn, as well as colleagues in Europe, in the design and implementation of advocacy strategies and country-based priorities
Lead the development and implementation of a focused, evidence-driven policy agenda to raise awareness and influence decision-makers to adopt effective solutions for identified operational challenges
Translate operational and regional and country-specific concerns into global level priorities and advancing them in coordination with the regional and organizational strategy
Liaise closely with counterparts in International Programs and Emergency Preparedness and Response at the headquarters, regional and country levels to channel the data and knowledge generated by IRC’s diverse programs into solutions-oriented policy recommendations and substantive advocacy plans, developing strategies that are derived from an intimate and analytical understanding of IRC’s work with the populations we serve
Work across the organization to align policy and advocacy work with programs, communications and the organizational strategy
Create and leverage direct relationships and dialogue with high-level government policy and decision-makers and leaders within international organizations who have the power to change policy and influence practice
Develop and maintain active working relationships with policy and advocacy colleagues in IRC partner organizations and other INGOs, and explore formal or semi-formal partnership opportunities with policy and research institutions.
Represent the IRC at high-level policy-related meetings, committees and fora with donors and key policymakers
Write, speak and present as a contributor to IRC’s thought leadership in areas of influence
Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations
Three to six years of experience working on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues, preferably in the area of forced migration, refugee protection and/or refugee resettlement
Demonstrated experience leading on the development, implementation and management of advocacy efforts in relevant organizations and contexts
Demonstrated skills and competencies:
Deep understanding of international relief and development, including financing and operational contexts, and ability to translate this knowledge into effective influencing strategies
Thorough understanding of foreign policy and diplomatic architecture, with experience influencing government officials and agencies in the U.S. and abroad
Ability to access and engage key decision-makers at high level of government, and serve confidently as a representative for the IRC in highly sensitive fora
Strong communication and writing skills, including the ability to distill complex and technical material into compelling narratives and briefs for high level officials
Fluency with key parts of the IRC’s strategy, including the aid community’s journey to become increasingly results and evidence-based
Ability to handle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously
Capacity to innovate and problem solve
Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 10% travel required.
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