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Northern Triangle Senior Protection Specialist

Deadline: Until filled

Location: El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras

Organization: The International Rescue Committee (IRC)


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities which support them, as well as those who remain within their homes and communities . 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 recent years the region known as the Northern Triangle, comprising El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, has seen a dramatic escalation in violence by organized criminal groups. Homicide rates are among the highest ever recorded in the region and are as deadly as many contemporary armed conflicts such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Disappearances, forced recruitment into gangs, and the sexual exploitation of women and girls also form part of the pattern of violence.  The overwhelming majority of survivors of sexual violence are between the ages of 10 and 19 years. The scale and severity of the epidemic of violence has caused people to flee their homes and seek international protection in record numbers.  According to UNHCR roughly 164,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been forced out of the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) with reports of over 700,000 internally displaced as of 2015.

IRC intends to conduct an assessment to ascertain where best to assist displaced persons in the Northern Triangle.  The Emergency Unit will deploy a small team of experts, to identify gaps in the areas of protection & partnership development.  The IRC envisages a humanitarian program in the region targeting refugees, IDPs and other affected populations, with interventions designed to relieve humanitarian suffering.   The IRC anticipates delivering humanitarian programs directly and in partnership with local civil society organizations. 

Scope of work

The Protection Specialist will serve as the lead on all Protection related issues facing populations of concern during assessment phase, and as appropriate, articulate and launch protection response. In collaboration with the Regional Team Leader, the Protection Specialist will first assess the capability/capacity of local organizations, government agencies, and local communities to effectively meet the needs of affected populations
Based on needs identified during assessment phase, the Protection Specialist will participate in program strategy definition and specific identification of protection gaps that IRC can address, and as appropriate, lead start-up of a protection program, interfacing with relevant colleagues in HQ. The Protection Specialist will support initial fundraising efforts to support this strategy; and if active, participate in protection actor coordination meetings.

The Protection Specialist will report to the Regional Team Leader.



•    With guidance from the Regional Team Leader, reThe International Rescue Committee (IRC)sponsible for developing an understanding of the protection environment, communicating this throughout the team, and highlighting key protection concerns for all vulnerable groups, in particular:
1.    Women, Girls, & Unaccompanied and Separated Children
2.    IDP’s & Deportees
•    During assessment phase, support execution of multi-sectoral assessment, coordinating as needed with remote technical staff on issues related to other sectors.


•    Identify and participate in coordination mechanisms at the national, and, if existing, at the sub-national, level.
o    As much as possible, participate in general protection, child protection and GBV coordination mechanisms or task forces that exist.

STEP Project Selection and Rapid Project Execution

  • Liaise with  the IRC’s Violence Protection and Response Unit to ensure that concerns related to child protection, women’s protection and broader protection issues are:
    • Surfaced during the assessment phase by adapting and using integrated protection assessment tools and guidance;
    • Communicated effectively to the Regional Team Leader, and Emergency Unit and VPRU colleagues so that, as needed, additional response resources can be brought in.
    • Ensure that protection concerns for all vulnerable groups that are surfaced during the assessment phase are communicated to on-the-ground colleagues in all sectors, such that appropriate protection and GBV mainstreaming can be applied in the design of all projects and program strategies.
  • In accordance with the Emergency Accountability Framework (EAF) and following assessment phase, select and launch a rapid response to identified protection concerns – using, where possible and appropriate, STEP Projects, and working with the Violence Prevention and Response Unit to identify appropriate specialized technical support (remote or otherwise) and resources, as needed.

Articulation of broader Violence Prevention and Response Strategy

  • Based on assessment findings and experience / evidence gained during early stages of STEP Project implementation and working with relevant Violence Prevention and Response technical advisors, articulate a broader, cohesive strategy with a 6-12 month time horizon.

Violence Prevention and Response Program Implementation

  • Oversee the implementation of emergency violence prevention and response programming
  • Support expansion of activities as new funding becomes available.
  • Liaise with child protection, women’s protection, and protection/rule of law technical advisors to identify opportunities for collaboration.

Partner Identification

  • Beyond information gathered during assessments, conduct a mapping of potential partner organizations with an aim to support local organizations in providing critical services instead of direct service delivery, if feasible and appropriate.
  • Supporting local partners in service delivery should be prioritized over direct service delivery and where that is not immediately possible, strategy should include near-term transition to local partners with IRC playing a technical support role.

Fundraising against Program Strategy

  • Aggressively pursue funding opportunities with support of Regional Team Leader to deliver on the initial program strategy  


  • During initial phase support team by drafting weekly Sit Reps for the assessment team for review and submission by Regional Team Leader

Ad hoc support to Regional Team Leader

  • As needed, support team lead for occasional tasks that may arise that are not detailed above.


  • Advanced degree preferred; in social work, psychology, human rights, international law, social science or related field.
  • Five plus years of experience implementing child protection, women’s protection and/or protection programming in an emergency or complex emergency context and demonstrable understanding of the relevance of international humanitarian law and human rights law to humanitarian action; Professional experience in the Northern Triangle region is required.
  • Solid knowledge and understanding of international child protection and women’s protection standards and best practice
  • Strong program and budget management skills including planning and reporting across multiple grants;
  • Fluency in Spanish and English.



How to apply:

Visit IRC website to apply

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