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Deputy Director, Violence Prevention and Response Unit (VPRU) CDI

Countries: Senegal, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Organization: International Rescue Committee
Closing date: 22 Apr 2024

Background/IRC Summary:

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive, recover and gain control of their future.

We aim to make our programs a model for the highest global standards and to cultivate power and lasting change not just for our clients but for all people affected by humanitarian crises. To achieve that vision, the IRC’s Technical Excellence (TE) group, located within the Crisis Response, Recovery and Development (CRRD) Department, provides technical assistance to IRC’s country program staff and shares what we learn to influence is comprised of policy and practice.

IRC’s Technical Excellence team five teams or sector “Units” which have deep expertise in their respective fields: Education, Economic Wellbeing, Governance, Health, and Violence Prevention and Response, as well as three enabling teams which provide measurement, program quality improvement, and finance/grant management support. Technical teams are also matrixed with a team that focuses on the quality and content of cross-sectoral programming in emergency responses.

IRC’s Technical Excellence teams offer five core services to IRC country programs and the wider organization:

  1. Program Design: We support country and regional teams to design state of the art programming, incorporating the best available evidence, cost data, and expertise of what has worked elsewhere, with the knowledge that country teams, partner organizations and our clients bring to the table.
  2. Quality Assurance: We partner with our measurement teams to design and drive the use of indicators to measure progress towards outcomes; we partner with regional and country teams to review program delivery progress and help address implementation challenges and adapt interventions to changed circumstances.
  3. Business Development: We partner within and outside the IRC to design winning bids and identify winning consortia; we deploy technical expertise in public events and private meetings to position IRC as a partner of choice.
  4. Research & Learning: We partner with our research lab to design cutting edge research to fill evidence gaps, and with country teams to learn from implementation such that we continuously improve our future design and delivery.
  5. External Influence: We showcase the IRC’s programs, technical insights and learning in order to influence and improve the humanitarian sector’s policy and practice.

Violence Prevention and Response Technical Unit (VPRU)

The Violence Prevention and Response Unit (VPRU) is one of IRC’s five Technical Units alongside Health, Education, Economy Recovery and Development and Governance. Technical Units provide support to our country programs in the design, delivery, quality assurance and continuous learning for programs advancing the outcomes areas the IRC supports and driving thought leadership around those areas of work.

Programming addressing violence, abuse and exclusion n crisis situations represents the organisation second largest programmatic portfolio.

The VPRU brings together the disciplines of Child Protection, Women’s Protection and Empowerment, and Protection- Rule of Law. We seek to reduce people’s vulnerability to violence and support them to recover from the consequences of violence through programs tailored to individual needs and contexts, as well as strategies addressing systemic gaps which contribute o the perpetuation and exacerbation of violence in crisis and conflict environments. Our prevention work focuses on programs that shift power dynamics, promote human rights, and empower people affected by violence and inequality to transform their future. Our response work focuses on ensuring lifesaving and survivor-centered services for people affected by violence and inequality in all their diversity. We work with the persons most at risk and seek to address the needs of populations of all ages and backgrounds through an context-relevant, client-centered, intersectional approach.

We also know from evidence and experience that in most contexts women and children are disproportionally impacted by unequal power, and therefore those at greatest risk of violence. For this reason, we are committed to specialized approaches for these populations.

To advance IRC’s delivery of Violence Prevention and Response programming across over 45 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, we rely on team of more than 70 professionals committed to provide best-of-class expertise, evidence-based insights based on cotiued attention to sectoral developments and learning from cross-regional programming insights in order to realize our ambitions for safer, more inclusive lives for our clients. They are supported in this by an intentional and strategic use of research and evidence, a commitment to the highest quality standards and continued engagement in industry-wide development including coordination mechanism, policy to promote innovation and high-impact, cost-efficient interventions. We partner with IRC country program teams and local actors to create and capture innovations in protection programming which can be used by humanitarian actors to improve the protection and empowerment of women and girls, children and adolescents, people with disabilities, with diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) and other people at risk .

Across VPRU’s work, we promote feminist and anti-racist principles, the inclusion of diverse clients, accountability to clients and client responsiveness, and partnership with local actors, with a focus on women-led and women’s rights organizations.

Position Overview

The Deputy Director, VPRU, will play a critical role in the VPRU Senior Management Team (SMT). Primary areas of responsibility include:

  • Lead: Thought partner to the Senior Director (SD) and engaged member of SMT, cultivating a kind, supportive team culture that reduces bureaucracy and anchors strategic decisions in evidence and good practice.
  • Manage: of a team of highly skilled regional leaders to ensure the delivery of high-quality VPR programming across IRC country programs.
  • Oversee: the development and implementation of IRC processes and policies across the VPRU e.g. budget allocation, strategic workforce planning, wider people and culture goals and policies.
  • Champion: and support the implementation of the VPR Unit’s strategic plan. Providing strategic leadership to the design of programs that are evidence-based and evidence-generating, supporting focused advocacy efforts in close collaboration with the Senior Director, and Global Practice Leads, as well as with key stakeholders within and outside of the VPR Unit.
  • Resolve: operational problems to ensure program challenges are promptly addressed and staff are supported.
  • Promote: cross-functional collaboration and a ‘One IRC’ way of working both within the VPR Unit and between the Technical Excellence, CRRD and the wider organization.
  • Advise the Senior Director on strategic matters in support of sectoral and institutional priorities and contributing to increased positioning, performance and influence.

Management of technical support functions: The Deputy Director will ensure that high quality, effective technical assistance is delivered to IRC’s Country and Regional programs by translating technical norms and standards to practice and elevating examples of good practice as accelerators of quality, scale and impact.

They will do this by:

  • Providing excellent line management to VPRU Regional Leads in close collaboration with the Deputy Regional Director for each region, to enable colleagues succeed, feel supported and work well in a regionally aligned structure.
  • Creating strong connections and communication between the Regional Leads and the Technical Unit, as well as across each other.
  • Cultivating a strong and inclusive culture of performance, accountability, and collaboration, and ensuring high quality of technical support is provided by the team to IRC’s country programs.
  • Ensuring Technical Assistance is fit for purpose and innovative, as a key bridge between regions and countries and global practice and technical leaders and amplifying the voices of our clients and frontline staff.
  • Providing strategic leadership to the design of programs that are evidence-based where possible and evidence-generating where necessary, in close collaboration with the Senior Director, as well as with key stakeholders within and outside of the VPR Unit.
  • Representing the Senior Director as required.

Technical Unit strategy and operations: The Deputy Director, in close collaboration with the Senior Director, will foster operational and strategic excellence by cultivating a culture of data-driven decision making and leading on the operationalization and delivery of both the strategy of the Technical Unit and the application of IRC’s overall strategy (“Strategy 100”) to VPRU programming.

They will do this by:

  • Overseeing the implementation of IRC strategic processes and policies across the VPR Technical Unit e.g. budget allocation, Strategic Workforce planning, wider people issues and policies.
  • Taking forward strategic initiatives and change management processes as appropriate, contributing to the implementation of the IRC Safety strategy, unit-wide ways of working, setting direction and workplans, as well as performance and knowledge management.
  • Ensure the responsible management of the VPR Unit funds, partnering with technical and finance colleagues to harmonize planning, budgeting, and reporting. Driving improvements in ways of working across the TU.
  • Providing strategic oversight and quality assurance of portfolio, including quality and performance of programs, staff capability and management of delivery risks.
  • Building a strong network and collaborative relationships with other TUs, Regional and Country Leadership, Finance, People and Culture and other central teams to support the delivery of VPR Technical Unit objectives.

Key Working Relationships

  • Position Reports to: Senior Director, VPRU, CRRD Technical Excellence
  • Direct Reports: Overall responsible for leading a team of 30+ technical regional & country teams
  • Direct manages a regional leadership team across 6 CRRD regions

Key Internal Relationships:

  • VPRU Leadership Team
  • VPRU Global Practice functions
  • CRRD Senior Management Team and Leadership Group; Regional Leadership Teams
  • Global leaders in the areas of Health, Education, ERD, Governance
  • Global HQ, Awards Management and External Relations teams
  • Key External Relationships: INGO counterparts; United Nations Agencies, Foundations and Donors

Professional Profile

Success in this position requires an individual with outstanding leadership abilities and deep expertise in designing, operationalizing, and delivering high-quality VPR programming across geographies and contexts. Extensive lived experience and deep understanding of cultural, societal, and political context in at least one of the regions where IRC operates is desired. A people-centered leadership style, driving performance enablement culture, engagement, and wellbeing.

Work experience desired:

  • 12+ years of relevant experience, including providing strategic direction, programmatic leadership in the social sectors planning, delivery and management, humanitarian/ development NGOs and/or international organizations
  • Experience and familiarity with protection donors, peer agencies and national contexts required, preferably in humanitarian and transitional, post-crisis contexts, with familiarity with development programming strategies.
  • Leadership and management experience in complex global organizations at regional/global levels.
  • Experience and expertise raising funds from bilateral, multilateral, and private donors, and leading teams to design winning bids.
  • Demonstrated experience of collaboration with other humanitarian sectors and capacity to leverage best practices in this regard
  • Experience undertaking strategic planning and leading teams through change.

Demonstrated skills and competencies:

  • Demonstrated expertise in violence, prevention, response, and protection programming and hands-on experience of program design , implementation (preferably in 1 or more of the VPR unit’s sub-sectors or equivalent sectors)
  • Track-record of innovative approaches for enhanced support to sector-wide analysis, planning, implementation, and accountability, with a clear focus on feasibility
  • Demonstrated experience in promoting, disseminating and supporting the scaling of proven programming methodologies across geographies and delivery models
  • Experience leading the development/establishment of unit goals, objectives, strategies, and results-based planning
  • Demonstrated track record in enhancing protection sector internal and cross-sectoral collaborations
  • Understanding of the humanitarian/development sectors and effective practices used by aid organizations to design, implement and measure the progress of interventions.
  • Experience and comfort in approaching, using, assessing the relevance of empirical evidence to identify high impact, cost efficient strategies in service of program outcomes.
  • Excellent analytical skills and a demonstrated ability and comfort in effectively managing and using data and evidence to inform program design, adaptation and monitoring and learning.
  • Demonstrated leadership and management proficiencies including the ability to build a diverse team, foster an inclusive team culture, encourage confidence and trust and lead team in a unified vision and strategy.
  • Commitment to creating a learning culture and supporting internal learning within and beyond the team.
  • Communicates effectively with IRC program leadership, technical peers, and colleagues in fundraising, communications, and advocacy.
  • Demonstrated ability to navigate a large multi-national organization.
  • An established and collaborative professional network in humanitarian and development communities.
  • Excellent public speaking and writing skills essential.


Masters’ degree in a relevant social science field (Social Work/ Science, Law, International Development, Human Rights, Sociology or equivalent ) or an equivalent professional experience of background is required.

Sound training on the use of data and research evidence for programmatic decision making and rigorous analytic skills are an advantage.

Language Skills: Excellent spoken and written English essential. Proficiency in French or additional IRC relevant languages (Arabic, Spanish) strongly preferred.

Working Environment: Travel up to 30% of time. Preferably based in one of our international hubs in London, Nairobi, Geneva or New York. Other IRC locations may be possible.


Posted pay ranges apply to UK and US-based candidates. Ranges are based on various factors including the labor market, job type, internal equity, and budget. Exact offers are calibrated by work location, individual candidate experience and skills relative to the defined job requirements.

How to apply

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  • date de publication:
  • Date d'expiration: 28 décembre 2023
  • Emplacement: Dakar, Sénégal
  • Titre d'emploi: Deputy Director, Violence Prevention and Response Unit (VPRU)

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