The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, IRC offers life-saving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted by conflict or disaster. IRC leads the way from harm to home.
The IRC established programs in Iraq in 2003 to address the overwhelming needs of displaced people in Iraq and the neighboring countries. Since re-establishing its presence in Iraq in November 2007, the IRC has been assisting thousands of internally displaced families in the northern, central and southern governorates in the sectors of protection, gender-based violence (GBV), education, economic recovery, child Protection and emergency humanitarian assistance. Working in coordination with the humanitarian community in Iraq, the IRC's assistance and emergency programs address the needs of war-affected Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian refugees from several operational bases in the country, and include both camp-based and urban-based assistance. IRC operates throughout Iraq, with the main office in Erbil and field offices in, Baghdad, SAD, Anbar and Mosul.
In Iraq, high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs have the potential to provide the foundation for children future academic success, health, prosperity, and wellbeing. A large body of scientific evidence emphasizes the need for increased investment in early childhood, particularly for children experiencing conflict, crisis and displacement; these children are extremely vulnerable to the long-lasting effects that prolonged stress has on the developing brain.
Ahlan Simsim program
In December 2017, Sesame Workshop and the IRC were awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change grant to make real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time. With the extraordinary investment of $100 million, our partnership will transform the language, early reading, math, and social-emotional skills of a generation of children ages 0-8 affected by the Syrian war. Focusing on children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria over the next five years, the plan combines the depth of in-person services, reaching 1.5 million children, with the breadth of mass media, reaching 9.4 million children. For more information, please visit: http://refugee.sesameinternational.org/.
Reporting to the Deputy Director of Programs and the Regional Deputy Project Director of Ahlan Simsim, the ECD Coordinator will serve as the project lead for IRC in Iraq and provide technical direction and leadership for the design, content creation, implementation, scaling, and advocacy of high-quality ECD programming within the region. The ECD Coordinator will work in close collaboration with the Ahlan Simsim Regional team and Technical Advisors.
The Early Childhood Development Coordinator is responsible for four key objectives:
- Program Quality and Implementation: Plan and execute effective deployment of ECD resources and materials to support quality and inclusive programming for children and caregivers, as well as support related to the development and implementation of sound M&E systems and research-driven efforts;
- Advocacy, partnerships and scaling: Establish and strengthen productive relationships with ECD-focused organizations and networks, technical experts, government agencies and donors within Iraq and work in collaboration with these actors for positive ECD outcomes for Children and Caregivers in Iraq in line with Simsim’s advocacy, scaling and sustainability objectives.
- Learning: Ensure high quality data and evidence consistently informs decision-making; create a culture of learning within the Iraq ECD team and share learnings internally and externally.
- Representation: Represent IRC and the Ahlan Simsim program inside and outside Iraq at strategic meetings and events.
- Program Quality and Implementation
- Supervise the implementation of Ahlan Simsim’s child facing and caregiver facing programs in IRC and non-IRC centers;
- Ensuring reach targets and quality standards are met and in line with local or national standards for early childhood development and pre-primary education;
- With guidance from the Regional Technical Lead for ECD, develop country-specific programmatic standards for parenting/home visiting and early learning/ preschool/daycare programs implementation;
- Supervise the development of relevant M&E systems and ensure regular follow-up on monitoring data relevant to the Ahlan Simsim program and other ECD initiatives inside Iraq;
- Support the implementation of the Iraq Strategic Action Plan by ensuring that program activities align and contribute to achieving selected pathways of the prioritized signature and core sub outcomes.
- Advocacy, partnerships and scaling
- Provide overall direction to align the scaling design with the Iraq national strategies and ECD needs.
- Ensure scaling and partnerships efforts are rooted in the partnerships principles and abides by the IRC partnership management system
- Coordinate the team dynamics to foster a shift in mindset towards scaling and oversee the scaling process and ensure different team members are accountable to their roles
- Work in close collaboration with the Grants and Partnership unit to develop a holistic and operational partnership strategy that is driven and rooted in context, stakeholder analysis and co-designed with key stakeholder in country;
- Lead on the co-designing and development of scaling and partnerships work;
- Establish and maintain solid relationships with ECD stakeholders, networks and government agencies that support Ahlan Simsim’s scaling and sustainability objectives;
- Work closely and coordinate with line ministries to influence national ECD strategies and initiatives, to ensure greater investments in ECD and greater access to ECD services, especially in conflict and crisis settings.
- Represent the Ahlan Simsim/ECD team in Iraq to donors, the UN, international and national NGOs, line ministries, and key ECD actors inside and outside Iraq;
- As ECD focal point at country level, participate actively in external coordination forums; participate in internal coordination and management meetings to promote effective and efficient information sharing, problem-solving and decision making.
Grant Monitoring and Business Development
- Ensure sound and effective management of the ECD portfolio and donor compliance, including appropriate and timely spending of grants to achieve program goals, grant reporting contributions, use and distribution of supplies and resources;
- Lead the development of new business concept notes and proposals for the continuation and expansion of ECD programming in Iraq;
- Ensure the submission of timely, accurate and well written donor reports and other reporting requirements for all ECD programming in Iraq ;
- Work closely and coordinate with IRC other technical unit, logistics, finance and grant staff to ensure timely and compliant program activities and expenditures; including active participation in grant opening/closing and review meetings and participation in bids opening and review.
Staff Management and Development
- Coach, train, and mentor staff with the aim of strengthening their technical capacity, exchanging knowledge within the team and providing professional development guidance;
- Develop and implement staff capacity building plan to ensure quality ECD programming across programming teams and other IRC programming;
- Promote and support staff well-being and work-life balance;
- Conduct timely and quality performance evaluations.
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Deputy Director of Programs and Regional Deputy Project Director of Ahlan Simsim
Position directly supervises: ECD Research Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Manager, ECD Managers in Mosul and Anbar, ECD Quality, Training, and Capacity Building Manager, Ahlan Simsim Scaling and Learning Manager, ECD Admin Officer.
Other Internal and/or external contacts:
Internal: Regional Ahlan Simsim team, HQ Ahlan Simsim team, other IRC programs and support departments.
External: all relevant donors, NGOS, DPOs, universities, partners, ministries, stakeholders, and government agencies.
- Masters level qualification in Social Sciences, Education, Psychology, Human Development, Social Work, or related subject; Bachelors level qualification, over 5 years work experience, with addition work experience in the below area will also be considered;
- Passion for children’s issues especially in the area of child development, child health, and early childhood education with proven experience in managing and/or technically supporting early childhood development, education, health or child protection programs
- Experience working in positive partnerships with local actors across Iraq, and in particular government officials and line ministries in Federal Iraq
- Good critical thinking; ability to synthesis a wide scope of information.
- Solid organizational skills, with a proven ability to prioritize projects with attention to detail.
- Understanding of monitoring and evaluation systems and use of data for learning
- Strong leadership, staff management and project management skills; Strong budget management and reporting, skills; and an ability to oversee multiple awards from a variety of donors.
- Excellent Computer skills: MS Word, Excel, PTT, Outlook
- Self-directed, able to independently set priorities and solve problems with minimal guidance; comfortable working for a supervisor who is remotely located and to manage a team remotely if needed
- Strong written and oral communication skills, comfortable in a multi-cultural environment and effective in representation
- Fluent written and spoken Arabic and English.
- Proven track record in building coalitions or networks for positive change
- Experience working with Academic institutions to carry out rigorous research or learning studies and using those to inform program or policy changes
- Experience working in policy and advocacy, with proven experience developing and implementing policy and advocacy strategies resulting in change
The position will be based in Erbil, Iraq with at least 50% of time travelling to field sites in Baghdad, Ninawa, Anbar and other locations as needed. Alternatively, the position can be based in Baghdad with the same amount of travelling to Erbil and field locations. Travel outside of Iraq for meetings, conferences, and training will also be required.
Standards of Professional Conduct:
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.
IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including maternity leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances. Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
Attention Returning National Candidates:
IRC strives to attract, motivate and retain qualified national staff in our programs. We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national of the country in which this position is based and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, IRC has introduced an attractive remuneration package. The package includes competitive compensation, return flight to post, shipping allowance, temporary housing and a relocation allowance. Certain restrictions may apply.
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