Country Director

  • Contract
  • Ukraine
  • TBD USD / Year
  • Salary: TBD
  • Closing date: 19 Apr 2023


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.

In Ukraine, months of escalating Russian hostility have culminated in a concerted invasion of the country and the launch of military attacks across multiple cities in Ukraine. IRC’s approach in this crisis pre-dates the beginning of the conflict, having been carefully monitoring the context since late 2021. Knowing the likely impact of large-scale crisis on civilians, EHAU deployed a scoping mission to Poland in February of this year and on February 24, when Russia launched airstrikes, IRC quickly pivoted to a response stance, delivering aid immediately through donations to Ukranian and Polish partners.

In Ukraine, the IRC has launched a country program through the emergency response team. The IRC currently has offices in Lviv, Ukraine and Rzesow, Poland to support programming inside Ukraine, and is looking to expand in programme scale, scope and geographic support over the coming months.

Given this is a fluid and rapidly changing context, the Country Director will initially be based in Lviv, with possibility of relocation as context demands and security allows. This position should expect frequent travel to operational support bases in Rzesow, Poland, other areas of operation within Ukraine as security permits, and within the region to coordinate all IRC activities supporting the response within Ukraine. This position will be unaccompanied, with the possibility of review at the end of the first year. Housing will initially be in shared, IRC accommodation.


The Country Director for Ukraine is responsible for overall leadership and management of IRC operations in the country, including stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, program quality and accountability, and performance management. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative to the government of Ukraine, donors, international organizations, other NGOs and the media. The Country Director is expected to respond effectively to a constantly changing environment with effective humanitarian and eventual recovery programs, implemented directly and alongside partner organizations. The Country Director will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in Emergency Response Strategy, bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results.

Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and diversify program resources. Given the operating environment, the Country Director is expected to be attentive to risk management. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior staff; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems. The successful candidate will have prior experience with program and systems start-up in complex insecure environments, and who has proven skills leading strategy development.

The Country Director oversees all IRC operations in Ukraine. Reporting to the Senior Director for Delivery in Emergencies, this position receives support from regional and headquarters staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, operations management, and external affairs. The Country Director is additionally expected to actively participate in defining the IRC’s public advocacy positions.

The overall security situation in Ukraine is dynamic, and varies from one IRC operating area to another. Security is volatile in IRC areas of operation, and this role requires someone with strong context analysis and security and access experience.


Leadership and Representation

· Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.

· Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with: Ukraine Government authorities at various levels; donors (including instituational, non-institutional and private), European Union; UN and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as INGO coordination mechanisms and appropriate working groups.

· Ensure that the IRC becomes a leading agency for quality programming within the response.

· Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial and authentic partnerships with Ukranian organizations.

· Seek out and pursue respectful and safe opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Ukraine, as well as the lives and the needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve.

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

· Set the strategic vision and direction of the country program to serve more people with the most responsive and highest quality programming possible, and secure the resources necessary to do so.

· Ensure the strategic vision and direction of the country program is aligned with IRC’s Strategy 100.

· Align programming to the country program strategy, sectoral expertise and technical standards.

· Develop a deep understnating of the geopolitical landscape and remain current on context analysis and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC mission can be carried out appropriately in case of contextual changes.

· Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs.

Safety and Security Management

· Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.

· Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.

· Create and maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program, including trainings and briefings that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response.

· Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.

· Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Advisor on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.

Staff Performance Management and Development

· Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.

· Provide constructive feedback and counsel on appropriate career paths and professional development for IRC staff.

· Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a cadre of skilled, committed and motivated personnel.

· Pursue nationalization of senior management positions, especially as the country programme moves to stabilisation.

· Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff.

· Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.

· Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.

· Undertake regular reviews of labor and salary markets in Ukraine for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for national staff.

Stewardship and Operational Management

· Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.

· Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.

· Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance and supply chain.

· Provide timely and effective oversight of the Ukraine country program’s financial position.

· Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.


· Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Ukraine country program.

· Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.

· Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.

Supervisory Responsibilities:Direct reports include the Deputy Director for Programs, Deputy Director for Finance, the Deputy Director for Operations, and other support leadership positions.

Key Working Relationships

Internal: Senior Director for Delivery in Emergencies; Regional Emergency Director for Europe, Vice President for Emergencies.

External: Partner organizations, host country government officials, public and private donor agencies, international and national NGOs, UN agencies

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.


· At least ten years of progressively responsible international work experience, including at least three years in a leadership role at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment

· Experience working on programme and country office start up

· Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural setting, including active mentoring and coaching

· Proven experience delivering appropriate levels oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects

· Experience of managing security in a fluid environment;

· Ability to work, live and thrive in a complex environment;

· Skilled at building trusting effective relationships with government officials, donor representatives, staff, NGO partners, community leaders and clients;

· Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities

· Established capacity to deal with ambiguity in stressful situations

· Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes

· Previous experience working in region and/or with IRC preferred

· Fluency in English required. Fluency in Ukranian, Russian or Polish are an asset.

IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 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.

How to apply