Syria Country Director

  • Contract
  • Jordan
  • TBD USD / Year

Relief International

Position: Country Director – Syria

Location: Amman, Jordan – with frequent travel to NWS (Syria/Turkey) and NES (Syria/Iraq) Hubs and other RI offices upon request (ie, regional meetings, workshops, etc)

Reports to: Regional Director- Middle East


Relief International (RI) is a leading nonprofit organization working in 15 countries to relieve poverty, ensure well-being and advance dignity. We specialize in fragile settings, responding to natural disasters, humanitarian crises and chronic poverty.

Relief International combines humanitarian and development approaches to provide immediate services while laying the groundwork for long-term impact. Our signature approach — which we call the RI Way—emphasizes local participation, an integration of services, strategic partnerships and a focus on civic skills. In this way, we empower communities to find, design and implement the solutions that work best for them.

RI includes the four corporate members of the RI Alliance: RI-US, RI-UK, MRCA/RI-France and RI-Europe. Under our alliance agreement, we operate as a single, shared management structure.

About the context and RI role:

Relief International has been implementing programming in Syria since 2013, and is currently actively engaged in the response to the protracted complex crisis in Syria focusing implementation in Northwest and Northeast Syria through our NWS and NES Hubs. RI’s Syria program constitutes RI’s largest country mission with approximately $45 million annual revenue, over 2,000 staff (direct and indirect), and operations spanning four countries with support currently from nine institutional donors. Relief International’s multi-donor portfolio in Syria focuses primarily on Health but has recently expanded and evolved to an ever-integrated approach which includes WASH, Protection and Livelihoods as key sectors of our mission. Relief International also values coordination with other agencies and takes leadership roles within the response as relevant.


Reporting to the Regional Director for the Middle East, the Country Director is responsible for the Syria mission overall, including high-level representation, fundraising and program development, strategic planning, risk management, program quality, administrative processes, security, and all other aspects of the mission vital to ensure the health of the mission. The Country Director must be extremely dynamic, maintain the ability to work on both macro/ strategic and micro/ detail-oriented issues simultaneously, and have strong communication skills in order to work effectively with internal actors at all levels of the organization and external actors including but not limited to donors, government institutions, U.N. agencies, partners and other key stakeholders. Experience working in the Syria crisis or relevant transferrable skills from other complex multi-country mission contexts is highly preferred.


Program Planning and Development

  • Develop, in cooperation with other staff, short, medium and long-range strategic plans maintaining program focus in areas congruent with RI’s program objectives
  • Maintain effective communications with donors by tracking trends and anticipating the likelihood of funding opportunities
  • Spot and forcefully pursue new opportunities for program growth and start-up which may include conducting full-scale assessments, in coordination with regional and global Programs and Program Development Team members.
  • Assess other implementing organization’s activities using all available means to identify gap areas and overlap
  • Identify and participate in forums and meetings for the NGO sector where a strategic benefit for the organization exists
  • Negotiate contracts and agreements with donors and partners, in coordination with regional and global programs, program development as well as Grants and Contracts teams
  • Maintain effective communications with RI’s regional and global support departments, regarding program development, funding agreements, security, staffing and other operational issues
  • Identify, and where necessary, initiate and maintain program partnerships with external agencies.

Program Management

  • Oversee project implementation, including allocation of resources, ensuring that appropriate controls are maintained at all levels, by working with program managers
  • Ensure that team members are effective and efficient and contribute the necessary work to ensure their programs are a success. Provide feedback to staff to ensure optimal performance.
  • Ensure all programs are completed within time, on budget and achieve their objectives
  • Provide adequate support to each program, including but not limited to strategic vision and technical input and advice
  • Monitor project implementation, communication and report both internally and externally
  • Serve as a link between RI and all project counterparts through sector coordination
  • Ensure overall audit compliance, financial transparency though supervision and direction of financial and administrative staff.
  • Ensure all program team members are trained on the PMF (RI’s program management tool), as well as project budget management

Team Management

  • Provide leadership and management of national and expatriate staff. Ensure timely and quality staff performance management of directly managed staff, making sure all program team follows best practices in this regard

  • Assess international personnel requirements for all projects and programs within Lebanon in conjunction with regional and global support, and program managers

  • Provide onboarding briefings to all incoming expatriate staff covering RI goals and objectives, country and program background, vision and future plans, policies and procedures and security or delegate these topics

  • Ensure that the hiring, promotion, firing and termination of compensation levels of national staff in accordance with local laws and practice

  • Ensure the continued safety of all personnel and establish and implement emergency security evacuation plans as appropriate

  • In collaboration with the HR team, address disciplinary, conflict and abuse issues within the program team

  • In accordance with RI’s HR policy and in-line with RI’s staff care efforts, maintain a healthy work environment, with reasonable workloads and proper leaves. Work with the RHRM to assess and prevent risks of excessive stress and burnout in the workplace


  • Serve as country security focal point or designate someone for that position
  • Make security policy and recommendations based on all available information
  • Ensure security guidelines are up to date and fully implemented
  • Regularly report to GSO regarding safety and security

Reporting and Control

  • Provide program reports and regular situation reports that are timely, meet information requirements and professionally written as needed by RI and as required by donors
  • Evaluate and monitor all country programs to determine the extent to which they are meeting goals and determine action needed to improve achievements
  • Ensure all programs are completed within time, on budget and achieve its objectives

External Representation

  • Maintain a suitable image for RI in Lebanon and protect RI’s interest and assets
  • Assign a deputy in country who can represent in the CD’s absence
  • Effectively liaise with donor governments and other lead agency representatives, as well as national government officials and counterparts within partner organizations, legal counsel, audit firms, etc
  • Represent RI at high level, routine meetings, and sector meetings
  • Initiate RI’s response to disasters and emergencies when appropriate
  • Facilitate donor visits to project sites as appropriate
  • Represent RI in INGOs forums

Financial Management

  • Ensure budget preparation and monitoring at country level
  • Ensure that the national office and sub-offices maintain complete, up-to-date and accurate financial records and that records are adequately reported and stored
  • Ensure equitable allocation of shared national office operating costs to the various projects and donors as per an agreed formula
  • Ensure the timely preparation and accuracy of financial reports by working with financial accounting staff as required by RI and donors
  • Act as a signatory on bank accounts

Safeguarding (select appropriate to the level of the role)

  • Uphold and promote RI’s commitment to ensuring the safeguarding and safety of the vulnerable communities we serve
  • Consistent with RI’s safeguarding and protection policies, contribute to ensuring that all those who come into contact with Relief International staff and the communities we serve can be trusted to work safely with them
  • Support and develop systems that create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of the Code of Conduct and safeguarding policies
  • Work collaboratively with the Global Safeguarding Manager to advocate for the inclusion of safeguarding activities and resources within program.
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge of donor requirements of safeguarding standards and protection from exploitation and abuse.

For all Manager Level and above roles:

Culture and leadership

  • Ensure a positive and productive work environment that is free from harassment and bullying.
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity and understanding of diversity and cultural differences, gender issues and the commitment to equal opportunities.
  • Ability to demonstrate and uphold RI’s values and ethics.


  • Act as the communication link between the regional and global staff and the field. Direct all communications up or down, as appropriate.
  • Maintain organizational consistency through maintenance of strong, positive relations with field teams, Regional Support Office and Global Support Office.
  • Undertake additional activities as required by regional and/or global staff


This position demands a dynamic individual with a demonstrated ability to achieve results in a demanding and fast paced environment.

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field or Bachelor’s degree with commensurate work experience;
  • Minimum of ten years professional experience in lead management implementing emergency response programs in a conflict setting;
  • Ability and willingness to travel as needed;
  • Solid background and knowledge of USAID Rules and Regulations;
  • Solid background and contacts with U.N. Agencies and other international emergency response and development actors;
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, public speaking, and strategic planning skills required;
  • Excellent English-speaking skills are required, Arabic is a plus;
  • Strong English writing skills required;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple priorities, deadlines, tasks efficiently;
  • Excellent time management skills and resourcefulness with strong attention to detail;
  • Excellent and demonstrated skills in team management (structure, conflict, performance management and communication)

RI Values:

We uphold the Humanitarian Principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and operational independence. We affirmatively engage the most vulnerable communities. We value:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Agility and Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability

How to apply

Closing date. Please apply immediately we will be reviewing applicants on a rolling basis, therefore may withdraw the position for the job board closing date.

Please apply by uploading your cover letter and up-to-date CV on our website.

Due to limited resources, only short-listed candidates will be contacted

Relief International is committed to protecting our staff and the communities we work with from abuse and harm including sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.

All staff is expected to abide by our Code of Conduct.

Recruitment to all roles in Relief International includes criminal records self-declaration, references, and other pre-employment checks, which may include police and qualifications checks.