International Rescue Committee Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Technical Advisor in New York, New York
Job Title: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Technical Advisor
Employment Category: Fixed Term
Employment Type: Full-Time
Open to Expatriates: No
Location: New York, NY HQ USA
This is an opportunity that can be based in any IRC office across the globe.
The IRC’s vision is to lead the humanitarian field by implementing high-impact, cost-effective programs for people affected by crisis and by using our learning and experience to shape policy and practice. To achieve that vision, the IRC’s Program Quality Unit (PQU) provides technical assistance to IRC’s country program staff and shares what we learn to influence policy and practice.
The Program Quality Unit has three central objectives that we work towards:
1) Guide program design to achieve outcomes by incorporating the best available evidence
2) Build technical capacity of country program staff to implement, measure and continuously improve programs
3) Influence the IRC, peer agencies and donors to use proven interventions and generate new evidence to achieve change in peoples’ lives
The Program Quality Unit is comprised of seven technical Units, all of which have deep expertise in their respective sectors: Education, Economic Wellbeing, Gender Equality, Governance, Health, Violence Prevention and Response, and Research Evaluation and Learning (REL).
The health technical unit is organized in four sectors; primary health, reproductive health, environmental health and nutrition. The structure emphasizes a clear division of roles between technical assistance core and important functions versus other specialized support/thought leadership functions to best meet the needs of country programs and regions. The health technical unit supports programming in 6 regions and 27 countries. Within the primary health care team, MHPSS aims to integrate into health systems and community-based care specifically in 12 country programs.
The MHPSS Technical advisor will be part of primary health care team. The MHPSS Technical Advisor will spend at least 80% of their time delivering technical assistance in-person and remotely to country program colleagues, and coordinating mental health and psychosocial support within the health unit and in collaboration with other units such as the violence prevention and response unit, education and research and learning. This is a primarily field facing position with the central responsibility focused on program quality. The remaining 20% of their time is spent on influence, advocacy, research, internal initiatives, at the discretion of their supervisors. The Technical Advisors’ specific responsibilities are as follows:
Engaging in business development and program design:
• Support country program staff to design programs and projects, ensuring that they are:
o Aligned with the IRC’s strategy, which includes supporting country program staff with contextualizing outcomes and the theories of change, and selecting interventions based on the best available evidence and the local context;
o Responsive to client needs and preferences
o Based on sound context and gender analysis
• Support selection of indicators for country programs
• Review technical quality of proposals, including review of technical MHPSS strategies, interventions and activities and ensuring alignment to IRC’s outcomes
• Input into go / no go decisions on proposals
• When necessary, write technical narratives of proposals
• Provide input on budgets required for project delivery
• Engage with donors and do outreach in support of country programs
Building technical capacity of country program staff to ensure ongoing program quality and innovation:
• Assist in hiring, mentoring, and technical support to MHPSS country program
• Establish and/or strengthen with country programs MHPSS capacity building plans and MHPSS monitoring and evaluation standards
• Conduct technical MHPSS training and ongoing technical coaching for country program staff, including on IRC outcomes, theories of change, evidence and indicators
• Share cross-context learning with country program staff across regions, for example through community of practice efforts
• Support senior country program staff recruitment and onboarding
Project delivery support:
• Work with country program colleagues and the Primary Health technical advisors to help analyze data to inform course correction as-needed
• Review and share program-specific tools/resources/curricula and work with technical unit specialists to contextualize and adapt global and country-specific materials
• Help define approach to teaming/partnering with other organizations
Management and Coordination:
• Coordinate and plan with country coordinators and primary health care technical advisors the technical assistance country programs receive.
• Provide necessary management support to any direct report.
• Coordination with TAs across the Health Unit
• Coordinate with MHPSS TA’s within health and VPRU units for joint MHPSS initiatives
• Coordinate with other unit TA’s as per country programs needs and requests
• Manage and mentor MHPSS consultants and interns where applicable.
• Represent the Health Technical Unit and the IRC in academic fora, donor meetings, inter-agency working groups, and various global/regional fora as assigned by the supervisor.
• Participate in and advise on strategic initiatives, and participate in joint initiatives with other IRC technical units as agreed upon by the supervisor (e.g., outcomes and evidence, measurement, context adaptability, best use of resources, emergency preparedness, client voice and choice and research and development).
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Technical Advisor for Primary Health Care located in New York
Position directly supervises: This position could potentially supervise mental health staff or interns.
Other Internal and/or external contacts:
Internal: Regular communication with education, violence prevention and response, health, economic recovery & development, governance, research, evaluation and learning, and gender equality technical unit teams. Close relationships with regional and country program teams. Interacts with IRC internal departments, including business development, external relations and advocacy departments, to keep them informed of program activities.
External: Serve as IRC program representative in outside regional meetings and global meetings and academic forums with donors, other non-governmental organizations, inter-agency groups and foundations.
Education: Psychologist/Psychiatrist with Masters of Public Health.
Work Experience:A minimum of 5 years of international field experience, of which at least 3 in managerial/coordination positions with Non-Governmental Organizations in humanitarian or post-conflict settings. Experience in technical tools and materials development and monitoring and evaluation is highly desired. Experience in strategy development and working across sectors or disciplines is highly desired.
Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:Demonstrated expertise in working with donors, project design, proposal development, and monitoring and evaluation, with the ability to turn concepts and strategy into measurable action. Able to work with remote, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams. Strong interpersonal verbal and written communication skills and ability to facilitate collaboration. Outstanding capacity to understand the country context, portfolio, and overall programmatic needs, and pull and coordinate the relevant technical assistance from within and outside the health unit. Ability to transfer technical knowledge and skills. Demonstrated commitment to renewing and maintaining currency with best practices.
Language Skills:Fluency in English required; proficiency in French and Arabic is desired/an advantage.
Working Environment:Up to 30% travel may be required.