Emergency Protection in Outbreaks Specialist
New York City (United States of America)
The global community is seeing protection-related impacts play out in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which began in December 2019. Vulnerable populations face compounding risks that will place them at higher risk of violence, abuse, neglect and hinder their access to safe coping strategies and recovery. Previous health outbreaks, as well as COVID-19, have demonstrated repeatedly that disease does not impact all populations equally. The characteristics of certain pathogens, the physical environment, the sociocultural context, or some combination thereof means that women and children, in particular, are often more vulnerable to infection, have more limited access to information and services, and therefore face greater risk of negative outcomes. When not addressed, the long-term impacts of disease outbreak also lead to increased risk of exploitation and abuse, and setbacks in children’s development, women’s economic empowerment, and violence prevention efforts.
Deliberately designed, evidence-based integrated health and protection outbreak responses are more impactful than stand-alone health interventions, as they mitigate barriers and risks during response and prevention of the disease and sociocultural impacts in concert. However, there exists a palpable gap in detailed and clear guidance for outbreak responders to design integrated health and protection programming that address both health and protection needs and considerations simultaneously. As such, this project aims to equip frontline protection and health service providers with tools and guidance on how to best serve women, children and other marginalized groups during an outbreak. To address this, the IRC will lead the co-design and validation of an Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit.
One component of this Toolkit that this role is responsible for is the Protection in Outbreak Response Resource Package which aims to address the major gap in existing humanitarian guidance and action that would assist health and protection specialists to design integrated programming and community engagement strategies during an outbreak, as this resource will address three different types of outbreaks. The project’s approach to this gap is to develop and thoughtfully promote a series of cross-sectoral methods and resources, based on analysis of past outbreak responses, learning from peer agencies, and an after-action review of the IRC’s North Kivu Ebola response, where both health and protection teams have been responding to the Ebola outbreak since 2018 and any relevant learning from the COVID-19 response efforts.
This project will be carried out in consultation with multiple stakeholders and peer organizations to ensure that diverse lessons learned, and perspectives and experiences inform the Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit. The co-design and interagency validation process will help ensure that multiple agencies and coordination bodies are engaged with the final resources. The Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit will increase outbreak responders’ access to easy-to-use, adaptable, and comprehensive tools to integrate health and protection programming and plan community engagement strategies, as well as their confidence in their ability to carry out such programming.
The Emergency Protection in Outbreaks Specialist will coordinate input from multiple stakeholders on the Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit and lead on content development and organization for the Protection in Outbreak Response Resource Package specifically.
Technical (estimated 70% of time):
• Facilitate a remote after-action review and peer consultations through interviews and desk reviews to evaluate existing guidance on emergency protection, health, and outbreak responses and lessons learned briefings from current COVID-19 response and previous outbreak responses by IRC staff and peer organizations.
• Organize and facilitate a two-day co-design workshop,during which stakeholders will agree upon objectives, learning outcomes for the Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit, and common terminology.
• Support two field visits with field practitioners to review and validate specific components of the Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit.Provide either in-person field visits or support to alternative staff member conducting field-based activities. This will depend on COVID travel restrictions and other pandemic-related constraints.
• Develop tools and guidance for at least three modes of transmission with outbreak potential and disease-specific tools/guidance sign-posted throughout addressing critical protection concerns, demonstrating adaptations of traditional protection packages to best meet needs of women, children, older people, and other marginalized groups vulnerable to infection, and separation, stigma, and violence.
• Develop cross-sectoral guidance on increasing access to essential services, scaling IPC measures, and building trust and two-way dialogue with communities during outbreak. The guidance, drawing on existing materials developed through READY and other RCCE initiatives, will provide outbreak responders tools to understand power dynamics, social cultural structures, influence, needs, coping mechanisms and risks and capacities.
• Work with designer to finalize a user-friendly Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit.
• Organize and deliver a Preparedness Workshop which will train and orient at least 20 frontline responders from leading health and protection agencies on the Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit in outbreak response.
• Host a series of webinars, targeting at least 10 peer organizations, with invitations to members of the global Health Cluster, the GBV and Child Protection Areas of Responsibility, the MHPSS Reference Group, and other global consortia to socialize and launch this new resource and promote multi-sector coordination in outbreaks.
Coordination (estimated 20% of time):
• Coordinate key protection and health response actors as an advisory group throughout the duration of the project. Including scheduling, preparing, chairing and documenting meetings and action points.
• Facilitate the work of the IRC protection and health teams, including development of clear deliverables and work plans, thereby ensuring cohesion across the health and protection components of the Integrated Health and Protection Toolkit.
• Learn from implementation of existing outbreak response resource packages and documented learning, including resources and guidance on risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) through READY and other global coordination forums and RCCE initiatives.
• Support advocacy efforts and promote dialogue amongst key donors and decision makers around the importance of integrated protection and health programming in outbreaks.
• Coordinate and collaborate with relevant IRC sectors, especially the health and violence prevention and response units (child protection, women’s protection in empowerment and protection) in emergencies.
Grant Management/Reporting & Business Development (estimated 10% of time):
• Lead implementation and ensure adherence to grant work plans, spending plans and monitoring and evaluation plans.
• Work closely and coordinate with IRC operations, finance and grant staff to ensure timely and compliant program activities and expenditures.
• Ensure high-quality IRC and donor reports on activities, indicators and achievements