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  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: London
  • Grade: Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Public Policy and Administration
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2015-10-25

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Project Director - Empowerment and Accountability Research

London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)


Flexible - expected to be London, but open to negotiation


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is one of the world's leading humanitarian relief and development organisations. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people survive, recover and rebuild their lives. The IRC delivers emergency aid, protects children, provides health care, prevents and responds to violence against women and girls, safeguards human rights and helps to kick-start economic recovery. Working in more than 40 countries, the IRC has restored hope and opportunity to many millions of people.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

The IRC's global headquarters are in New York. Our European headquarters were established in London in 1997 to support the organisation's global activities and particularly to diversify its donor base and be able to better advocate with European policy-makers on behalf of the people we serve. Since 1997, IRC-UK has grown rapidly with income rising from £30,000 to £109 million in 2014. The IRC also has European offices in Brussels and Geneva.


IRC-UK comprises approximately 65 staff across five departments: Policy and Practice (comprising the Programme Quality Unit: Women's Protection & Empowerment, Children & Youth Protection & Development, Governance & Rights, Economic Recovery & Development, Emergency Preparedness & Response, and Research, Evaluation & Learning; as well as Policy & Advocacy and Communications ); the International Programmes Team, Fundraising; and Finance and Administration.


The IRC's Empowerment and Accountability (E&A) efforts support people to have greater control over their lives and seek to strengthen accountability relationships among domestic stakeholders. Our empowerment programs support people to exercise free and informed choice over where to live and which individual and household decisions to make, and to influence how they are governed. We also support the emergence of strong accountability relationships between duty bearers (those with responsibility for ensuring protection, providing access to roads and markets, ensuring quality education, health, police and justice services, and providing livelihoods opportunities) and the individuals and groups who have a right to these services and opportunities. Through our E&A programmes, we invest in understanding the specific capacities, incentives and opportunities that support and constrain greater empowerment and stronger accountability relationships in different contexts in order to identify effective E&A strategies. The IRC also ensures that programming is accompanied by quality monitoring and learning, including efforts to rigorously assess the impact of our E&A programmes. These investments are seen as critical to tackling corruption, promoting more effective service delivery, ensuring that resources are used more efficiently, and ultimately improving wellbeing and development outcomes.

Additionally, IRC has a dedicated Research, Evaluation and Learning Technical Unit, dedicated to the generation and analysis of evidence relating to humanitarian and development practice. As part of its 2020 strategy, IRC has launched an ambitious programme of monitoring, evaluation and research aimed at ensuring that all IRC's programming is either evidence based or evidence generating. This includes the establishment of a Research and Development Laboratory designed to rigorously test new approaches to humanitarian practice. IRC is a global leader in Impact Evaluation of programming in Fragile and Conflict Affected contexts. IRC also runs a number of stand-alone research programmes, including the DFID funded What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls, and Community Protection and Safe Spaces (COMPASS) programmes.

IRC is applying for funding through a commercial contract from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to lead and manage a five year research project on Empowerment and Accountability. The programme will cover a number of countries and will be delivered both by IRC and by a number of partner organisations, including major commercial and academic organisations. The project falls under DFID's Research and Evidence Division and has a budget of up to £6.5 million.

Based in IRC's UK office in London (location negotiable), the Director will be responsible for ensuring that the project is implemented in accordance with DFID regulations, IRC policies, and international standards of research. The Director will be the primary representational link with DFID staff, as well as with the other members of the consortium who will work under this project, ensuring regular updates, communications and joint planning and implementation. This position will report to the Senior Director of IRC's Governance and Rights Technical Unit and will interact frequently with key members of the Research Evaluation and Learning Unit, International Programmes Division and the Awards Management Unit.

The Director will represent the project to all key stakeholders, government officials and donors at coordination fora and other related seminars and meetings. This position is contingent on the IRC being awarded funding and is anticipated to begin in late 2015.


The objective of this project is to produce rigorous, operationally relevant, research and evidence on what factors affect communities' ability to become empowered and hold power holders to account. This project will produce products that are accessible to decision-makers influencing strategic investment, policy and programming, at the national and international level. This will include partners developing policy, as well as bilateral agencies, national governments, civil society organisations, DFID country staff and advisers, the research community and media.


Leadership and Supervision

  • Provide leadership and direction, def ine and implement activities and manage the project to achieve the greatest coverage and impact
  • Manage the overall project by planning, monitoring and evaluating project activities in accordance with the project agreement
  • In coordination with G&R Technical Unit Director and Project Coordinator, review progress, establish workplans, set performance targets and identify challenges to achieve project aims
  • Support project staff by creating and maintaining a work environment that promotes teamwork, trust, mutual respect, and empowers staff to take responsibility, thus enabling an environment for high performance
  • Oversee and monitor the financial management of the project.

Collaboration with the G&R and REL Technical Teams

  • Work with all key staff to identify technical assistance needs and arrange for the provision of assistance
  • Work closely with the Research Design Team Leader (or equivalent) to design and plan research activities
  • Review and contribute to the terms of reference for IRC technical staff, researchers and consultants, ensuring project objectives and outcomes are met and that project staff performance is evaluated.

Consortium and Donor Coordination

  • Manage relations with consortium partners
  • Represent the IRC and the consortium at top level liaison with DFID
  • Manage a solid cooperation with consortium partners; partner organizations and government officials;
  • Manage external relations by representing the project and the organization in the public and ensuring the distribution of information about project achievements and lesson learned
  • Ensure timely, accurate and good quality reporting to the donor and others
  • Ensure IRC meets DFID contractual project, legal and financial requirements.

Essential qualifications, skills and experience

  • Proven ability to lead diverse staff and teams, manage performance, foster a positive working environment and manage issues sensitively and diplomatically
  • Proven ability to manage complex projects of comparable size, delivered by more than one organisation
  • Proven ability to develop and manage relationships with partners, including planning and supervising work and negotiating and managing contracts
  • Masters level education in a relevant subject
  • Substantial experience in Governance, Accountability, Access to Rights/Justice, Civil Society engagement or a related field
  • Excellent understanding of research design and methodology and an ability to connect to research and innovation networks
  • Experience of managing donor funded contracts
  • Proven ability to represent an organisation at a senior level and to build strong relationships at the local, national and international levels
  • Excellent IT skills (Word, Outlook, Excel)
  • Ability to manage a large and varied workload, work under pressure and meet deadlines

Desirable qualifications, skills and experience

  • Experience working on DFID on commercial contract management.
  • Strong spoken and written French

Please follow this link to apply:

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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