West Africa Regional Partnership Specialist

International Rescue Committee

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 and struggling to endure. IRC leads the way from harm to home.

The IRC is present in West Africa since the 1990s and is currently operating in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. (Note that Cameroon and Chad will be integrated to a new region from April 2023). The IRC in WA implements programs through the arc of crisis, emergency, humanitarian, and development contexts.

Working in partnership with local civil society, government, and private sector actors is fundamental to the International Rescue

Committee’s mission. Effective local partnerships are central to the IRC’s partnership strategic ambitions in Strategy100 and West Africa Country Strategic Action Plans (SAP), resulting in more effective, responsive, and locally owned response and development efforts that reach more people and produce better outcomes for the people served. Investing in local civil society organizations (CSOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and government entities recognizes those organizations as critical actors in achieving outcomes, as permanent catalysts, and drivers of change. Within that context, IRC must also serve to influence wider regional/sub-regional networks/organizations’ partnership ambitions (such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission, NEAR Network, etc.), as well as donors’ partnership approaches, in support of the realization of the Grand Bargain Commitments

The Strategy100 partnership ambition recognizes that people affected by crisis and the actors closest to them are best placed, have the right, and should have the power and resources to respond and drive lasting change. Under the Strategy100 partnership ambition, we commit to ask ‘Why not partner?’ whenever we plan programming, and to ‘Partner as equals.’ This ambition recognizes that actors closest to crisis are the main agents of response and recovery. When we partner with local actors, we contribute to greater impact and scale and more sustainable outcomes. We are committed to being a feminist and anti-racist organization that promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion. That requires that we champion and resource leadership and action that comes from the communities in which we work.

The Partnership Excellence for Equality and Results System (PEERS) comprises IRC’s strategy, principles, policy, guidance, process, and tools for how we define our role and work in partnership in each context. PEERS promotes principled, collaborative partnerships that expand the impact and scale of each response, to reach the best outcomes for people affected by crises, consistent with Strategy100.

Job overview

The Regional Partnerships Specialist will be a key member of the West Africa regional team responsible for promoting effective and efficient programming in the region’s country programs, to ensure positive outcomes for clients, with a focus on partnership approaches. He/She will support WA country programs to define and deliver on the partnership components of their Strategic Action Plans, consistent with the Strategy100 partnership ambition. The Specialist will support WA country programs to build the internal capacity to partner effectively, and to use PEERS in promoting principled, collaborative partnerships, including through in-country support. He/She will promote cross-country learning and seek opportunities for cross-regional exchange. The Regional Partnerships Specialist will also contribute to efforts to drive the institutional change required to deliver on the Strategy100 partnership ambition.

Major Responsibilities

The RPS has three core areas of responsibility:

Country Program Support

• Support West Africa country programs in developing strategies to reinforce existing and build nascent partnership relationships with civil society organizations, government entities and private sector actors, as well as with regional / sub-regional networks

• Support country programs in applying proven principles and approaches that will fulfill their partnership ambitions, including through application of organizational guidance provided as part of the PEERS process.

• Support WA country offices to build meaningful participation of partners in key decision making, including in the context of strategy development and program design and management, and accountability to partner perspectives and feedback

• Support West Africa country teams to maximize collaboration in program design, defining our role based on our value add to local actors, and maximizing resources for local actors leading delivery

• Work with country programs, IRC’s partnership and client responsiveness teams, and the regional business development, and program and awards support teams, to improve clients’ and partners’ influence over program design and delivery

• Support West Africa country programs to conduct partnership capacity self-assessments, and to address the priority strengthening opportunities identified through those self-assessments, including through in-country support

• Based on the self-assessment outcomes and the priorities identified by the country teams, support West Africa country programs to establish and adapt approaches to ensure the six core building blocks of partnership success:

o Clearly defined and resourced partnership roles across all departments, with accountability (including for the partnership functions/departments)

o Partnership Working Group or similar fora to promote a coherent, one IRC approach

o Effective training and support for SMTs and the broader team on partnership, PEERS and managing change

o Deepening stakeholder analysis across each outcome area

o Maximizing collaboration in strategy, program and project design

• Collaborate with technical advisors, regional and programmatic and operation leads, including the Regional Program and Award Support (RPAS) teams, to support West Africa country programs to analyze the roles of local actors, to define IRC’s approach based on how it can best ‘add value’, prioritizing opportunities to support and reinforce local capacities and systems (asking ‘why not partner’)

• Provide support and guidance to business development efforts with the aim of reinforcing partnership, working closely with the Senior Program Development Advisor, Capture Advisor or other identified Business Development support teams.

• Promote and guide principled, collaborative, and contextualized risks analysis and management with partners across all organizational functions, consistent with the IRC Partnership Excellence for Equality and Results System (PEERS,) working closely with the Regional Program and Awards Support (RPAS) teams to identify risk mitigation measures and strategies as needed.

• Guide, coach, and mentor partnership leads in each country program. Support the country program leadership in recruitment and onboarding of staff with significant partnership responsibilities in collaboration with the RPAS where relevant

• In collaboration with the global partnership team and the RPAS in respect of compliance matters, continue to build the principles, skills and approaches required for effective partnerships in our WA teams, including through in-person and remote training in PEERS and partnership principles, skills and approaches, and building training capacities in the country offices

• Support Country Programs to ensure accountability towards partners, including but not limited to conducting regular exercises to measure partners’ perception of the partnership, relationship, communication, identify issues and proposing corrective measures

Sub regional learning and engagement

• Foster and promote effective capacity sharing and systems strengthening approaches across West Africa country programs, as well as broader organizational development and systems strengthening approaches, and ensuring that IRC is understanding and leveraging opportunities to learn from partners

• Coordinate the WA regional partnership working group, ensuring multi-functional engagement at regional level

• Lead or facilitate structured interactions with West Africa partners to promote accountability and solicit feedback with respect to IRC’s role and partnership practices

• Engage with counterparts in other regions and Partnership Unit colleagues to ensure cross-regional experience sharing

• Contribute to the continued development and strengthening of PEERS policies, processes and tools

• Contribute to the pro-active building of our reputation with key donors and potential primes as a leading partnership organization

Regional Strategy Support

• Lead the IRC West Africa engagement in strategic partnerships and networks with key local/national/regional organizations to support program quality, research, advocacy, communications, and capacity strengthening that are complementary to the IRC’s expertise and humanitarian & development goals.

• Maintain awareness of key partnership trends and debates in the international development sector and support the regional leadership team to track and engage in these initiatives, as necessary.

• Provide regional oversight for developing regional analyses and engaging with regional/sub-regional organizations/networks and regional partnership programming with relevant donors, given the cross-border dynamics within the region and the regional ambition to increase our partnerships throughout the region

• Promote a space for dialogue among WA CPs and between regions to share learning, leverage opportunities and manage risks associated with organizational transformation related to partnership

• Contribute to partnership components of multi-country / regional projects from conception through to delivery

• Track and analyze IRC partnership ambition key performance indicators for learning and decision-making

Key Working Relationships

• Reports to: West Africa Deputy Regional Director and the Partnership Unit Director

• Coordination: works in close collaboration with Country Programs SMT, Country Programs Partnership staff, regional SMT, RPAS, and other HQ relevant functions as needed

• External Contacts: national, regional/sub-regional networks/organizations

Professional Qualifications and Requirements

Education: Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree is a plus; Degrees in non-profit management, business management, organizational development, international development or another related field, an asset; background in humanitarian and development assistance

Work Experience: Minimum of six years of relevant experience, including field experience in relevant settings, partnership, capacity sharing, organizational change and learning and/or related work

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:

• Experience in a range of sectors, in both humanitarian and development contexts, including proven partnership-focused results, experience in building principled partnership rooted in feminist value across various contexts

• Demonstrated experience of coordinating complex projects and leading change both through working culture and business processes

• Experience fostering and collaborating with community-led local organizations, including conducting CBO capacity strengthening, governments and private sector organizations

• Team player, flexible and able to work within a small group of decision-makers to diagnose and provide support to country teams in a timely, efficient, and effective way

• Demonstrated capacity for strategic and systems thinking and development.

• Skilled at persuading and leading through influence, negotiation and coaching.

• Self-starter with excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to develop positive relationships with local and remote team members at multiple levels across the organization

• Professional experience within the West Africa region to understand the partnership landscape and cultural context

• Ability to work successfully independently and with multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams

• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills including oral and written communication skills, in French and English

• Ability to apply analytical thinking to evidenced, justified recommendations

• Experience in programs and grant management will be an asset

Language Skills: Working professional Proficiency in French and English required, and knowledge of region’s local language is an asset.

IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability. IRC is an equal opportunity employer.

Professional Standards: The IRC and IRC staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Equality 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.

How to apply