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Officer, Surge Capacity


  • Organization: IFRC - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Location: Porto-Novo
  • Grade: Junior level - National Staff - Junior Level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Emergency Aid and Response
  • Closing Date: Closed

Organizational Context

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with a network of 192-member National Societies. The overall aim of the IFRC is “to inspire, encourage, facilitate, and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world.”  The IFRC works to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people before, during and after disasters, health emergencies and other crises.

IFRC is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement), together with its member National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The work of the IFRC is guided by the following fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

IFRC is led by its Secretary General, and has its Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Headquarters are organized into three main Divisions: (i) National Society Development and Operations Coordination; (ii) Global Relations, Humanitarian Diplomacy and Digitalization; and (iii) Management Policy, Strategy and Corporate Services.

IFRC has five regional offices in Africa, Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, Europe, and the Americas.  IFRC also has country cluster delegation and country delegations throughout the world. Together, the Geneva Headquarters and the field structure (regional, cluster and country) comprise the IFRC Secretariat.

The Preparedness & Response Unit is one of the 4 units under the HDCC department. The role of the unit is to ensure support to National Societies to undertake high quality and effective preparedness and response through its auxiliary status in humanitarian crisis. The unit is also responsible for coordinating and facilitating the support provided by the membership to Africa National Societies, setting common thematic and operational goals. In order to achieve this, there are several areas of expertise that work together towards this endeavour: disaster management and operations coordination (including Surge and DREF teams), disaster law, preparedness for effective response (PER/Red Ready), NSD in Emergencies, Civil-Military relations and Shelter Coordination (given the global lead role of the IFRC).

Since 2018, the IFRC Secretariat supported the roll out of 297 emergency operations (57 Emergency Appeals and 240 DREFs), with an average of 70 operations each year. Nevertheless, the frequency and scale of these disasters continue to increase, with 2023 being the year with the highest number of disasters and emergency responses in recent history for the IFRC Africa Region (92)

The first responders to these emergencies are staff and volunteers from National Societies across the continent. Consequently, regional disaster response capacity and expertise – especially for National and Regional response teams – is critical to deliver quality and timely humanitarian services to affected populations. As Africa Rapid Response demand has continued to increase alongside the increase in operations, the region has seen a steady rise in the number of rapid response deployments, i.e., 59, 84, 96 from year 2021, to 2023 (to date), and representing 33% of all global IFRC deployments

Job Purpose

Working under the overall strategic guidance from the Manager, Preparedness and Response, and supervision of the Surge Capacity Senior Officer, the Surge Roster Officer will ensure the Rapid Response system of the IFRC Africa Region is upgraded, maintained, and expanded to ensure availability and readiness of Rapid Response personnel to the different deployment alerts launched by the IFRC. This will be done by maintaining close contact with National Societies, ensuring awareness about and ownership of the Regional Rapid Response System, and creating pathways for National Response Teams to become regional responders in operations, technical and corporates services profiles.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Ensure National Societies are aware of the Africa Region Surge Roadmap, and take ownership of the objectives therein, specifically in respect to peer-to-peer support between National Societies.
  • Support the update of the surge Africa database, by reaching out to National Societies, their current and past members on the registry, verify their profiles, certifications and experience.
  • Collect, compile, and verify profiles and competencies for each Rapid Responder.
  • Roll out and maintain safeguarding checks for all roster members.
  • Adopt and update RRMS guidance document for Africa.
  • Liaise with PNSs regarding trainings facilitated by them and add certified trainees in the Africa Rapid Response Roster.
  • Collaborate with technical and support service unit’s focal points to identify competency levels for surge members for each technical sector.
  • Assist National Societies to collect National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) members and consolidate the data in a single repository.
  • In connection with the National Societies heads of departments, propose a path for NDRTs to connect with the IFRC Rapid Response System and build a base of experienced national responders.
  • Open and manage applications for the different training opportunities within the region and globally.
  • Propose and implement new solutions for improving data and information processes in Africa Surge.
  • Engage and motivate rapid response members and their National Societies through sub-regional communities of practice, regular newsletters, etc.
  • Assist with the development and annual update of Surge capacity standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and toolkit.
  • Work closely with country offices to ensure regional Roster supports national rapid response teams are supported by and integrated with central roster.
  • Prepare an annual progress report on all rapid response operations in conjunction with other team members.
  • Ensure compliance of global rapid response guidelines within the region SOP and activities.
  • Support on the skills and training development of roster members to ensure an effective Rapid Response team on standby.



  • University degree in relevant area


  • Basic Delegates Training Course or IMPACT. FACT, ERU, RDRT training or equivalent experience and technical competencies 



  • Aleast 4 years professional experience
  • Proven experience directing project management activities
  • Work experience with RC/RC


  • Experience working with governmental and international non-governmental organizations, authorities, agencies
  • Good knowledge and relevant work experience in the regional context

Knowledge, Skills and Languages


  • Fluently spoken and written English and French
  • Self-supporting in computers (Windows, spread sheets, etc.)
  • Ability to adapt to and facilitate change
  • Skills in training and developing staff
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to think analytically and to solve complex problems
  • Ability to work well in a multicultural team
  • Excellent stress management skills
  • Demonstrated accountability


  • Good command of another IFRC official language (Spanish or Arabic)

Competencies, Values and Comments

  • Values: Respect for diversity; Integrity; Professionalism; Accountability
  • Core competencies: Communication; Collaboration and teamwork; Judgement and decision making; National society and customer relations; Creativity and innovation; Building trust
This vacancy is now closed.
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