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Job description

Position Title:     Coordinator
Project Title:     IFRC Shelter Research Unit
Status: starting up/ ongoing/ finalization  ongoing
Organisation:     BeNeLux RC Societies and IFRC
Location/ Country of assignment:  Luxembourg            Unaccompanied
Time period:     12 months extendable
Starting Date:     9th February 2012
Closing date Applications:   18th November 2012
Interview Date:     7th /11th January 2012 via Skype


Description of the context/ background of the position

A wide range of disasters and conflicts has continued to constitute an important challenge for actors involved in shelter operations. A complex mix of global challenges could threaten even more forced displacement in the future, including new conflict-related emergencies, climate-induced environmental degradation and an increasing number of natural disasters.

Moreover, the vulnerability of populations has continued to increase in many parts of the world over the last decades due to the impact of climate change, growing urbanisation – particularly through informal settlement – and the social and economic marginalisation prevalent in many communities.

Confronted with these challenges and its convenor role in the shelter cluster, the International Federation has taken measures to scale up its sheltering activities in terms of both quality and quantity. Together with the Shelter Department of the Secretariat in Geneva, the BeNeLux Red Cross Societies set up a research centre responsible for the development of innovative shelter solutions – material and technical – as well as the gathering and sharing of existing shelter resources and practices. The Unit is supporting the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements and the wider shelter sector.

The Shelter Research Unit is operational since August 2010 and has set as principal research objectives:
‘Academic curricula’
To establish ‘shelter’ as a field of applied scientific research, at partnering academic institutions and closely related to the practice of humanitarian shelter.
‘Emergency items’
To increase the preciseness, flexibility and diversity of shelter items that can be pre-positioned or easily sourced from the private market to respond to shelter needs from the first weeks after a disaster onwards.
‘Local(ised) solutions’
To improve and innovate context specific shelter responses by conducting field based research, on practiced shelter solutions across times, in collaboration with local universities and humanitarian shelter actors.
‘SRU documentation effort’
To stimulate a conscious and continuous documentation of humanitarian shelter interventions that allows for reflection across times and places.

To this purpose, the IFRC SRU works with and through academic partners, private producers, independent researchers and knowledge centers and other operational humanitarian agencies.
Purpose of the position

The Coordinator will manage the IFRC Shelter Research Unit in Luxemburg in order that the unit reaches its set objectives.

Position in the organisation

The Coordinator will be directed by and will report to IFRC SRU’s Board of Directors. This Board of Directors in turn is appointed by IFRC SRU’s general assembly that has the IFRC, The Netherlands Red Cross, The Luxembourg Red Cross, The Belgian Red Cross – Flanders and The Belgian Red Cross – French as its founding members.

The Coordinator will be supported on a technical level by the Technical Advisory Group which is a body of experts (mainly humanitarian) set up by the Board of Directors of the unit.

The Coordinator will be head of the IFRC SRU management team, including volunteers, researchers and support staff.

Specific duties and accountabilities

This position is responsible for the daily management of the IFRC Shelter Research Unit in order to ensure successful accomplishment of the objectives, activities and results set out in the annual plan and/or other strategic documents of the unit.

1. Manage and expand a research service with the capacity and resources for the development of innovative shelter solutions as well as the gathering and sharing of existing shelter resources and practices.
2. Manage and expand the network of external research partners that collaborate on specific research projects of the IFRC SRU, academic, private, independent and humanitarian, in- and outside of the EC.
3. Manage and develop an IFRC SRU team of competent researchers and reliable support services.
4. Liaise with donors, compile funding applications and ensure proper reporting on the progress of the project activities to the donors.
5. Develop and submit for approval to the Board of Directors annual plans and reports, and semester reports including detailed and accurate budget follow-ups.
6. Ensure that the IFRC SRU remains up to date and pace with the changes in the sheltering sector and continues to work towards any improvements that may be judged beneficial for the qualitative implementation of sheltering responses. Be a driving force for positive change.
7. Manage staff as appropriate, and support, train and develop staff and volunteers.
8. Ensure that those electronic tools are developed to run the internal information flow of the unit as well as to enable exchange of shelter knowledge within IFRC SRU’s research network and publication of IFRC SRU’s research results.
9. Organize the publication and sharing of IFRC SRU’s research results in those forums identified as suitable.
10. Oversee the use of appropriate project procedures and documentation, including project development tools, assessments, regular budget tracking, technical scheme designs and cost plans, tender and contract documentation, project tracking tools, and overall program budgets.
11. Organize the legal work of the IFRC SRU including research agreements to be drafted up and checked, agreements with private partners, academic institutions and donors. Ensure proper contract management.
12. Provide technical feed-back and oversight to the various internal and external researchers of the IFRC SRU or organize that such feed-back is provided by those professionals experienced in that field.
13. Organize one major event per year for the IFRC Shelter Research Unit for the exchange of experiences and practices between shelter practitioners and provide support for trainings, workshops and conferences organized by others in the field.
14. Represent the Shelter Research Unit in shelter related platforms within the IFRC Movement and outside as necessary. Coordinate with the relevant RC Movement partners and liaise with non-government agencies and collaborate as appropriate.
15. Ensure that all shelter activities are developed in collaboration with the founding partners of the unit, and those departments of the founding partners that offer any type of support services to the IFRC SRU. 
16. Organize the meetings of the Board of Directors and perform as secretary in those meetings.
17. Liaise regularly with the Technical Advisory Group, convene one virtual and one physical meeting with them on a yearly basis, and supplementary meetings as necessary. Prepare and report on those meetings.
18. Liaise closely and collaborate with the Shelter and Settlements Department through the identified focal person.
19. Perform other duties according to priorities determined by the IFRC Shelter Research Unit Board of Directors.
20. Ensure that all activities are aligned with the IFRC Global Shelter and Settlements Plan.
21. Ensure that all IFRC SRU’s activities and ways of working are in line with the 7 principles of the Red Cross and support its motto to help the most vulnerable by mobilizing the power of humanity.



Relevant university degree or equivalent qualification in structural/civil engineering, architecture, construction management or related field
Basic Delegates Training Course or equivalent knowledge preferred


Experience with networking in a humanitarian setting, and with private and academic partners
Experience of managing and supporting staff, skills transfer and capacity building
3 years experience minimum implementing and coordinating humanitarian shelter projects
Experience with managing budgets
Project and Team management experience
Understanding of the current standards and guidelines in the Humanitarian shelter sector
Familiarity with current standards and guidelines for humanitarian emergency response – in particular Sphere – strongly preferred 
Acquainted with International Federation policies, procedures and systems, preferred
Red Cross experience preferred


Excellent communication skills
Good political and networking skills
Good analytical skills and solution focused person
Creative in envisioning opportunities and avoiding obstacles
Skills in training and developing staff
Project and team management
Demonstrable accountability
Excellent stress management skills
Self-supporting in computers (Windows, spreadsheets, word-processing, email, etc.)
Valid international driving license (manual gears)


Fluent in English – most communications and reporting to be produced in English
Fluency in French – preferred.
Knowledge of other languages (Dutch, Luxembourgish) would be an asset


Strategic results orientation
Managerial effectiveness
Developing Organisation capabilities
Collaboration and influencing

Please send your English CV + short letter of motivation before 18 November 2011 to the following address

Competition number 73

For more information about the position you can contact:
– For the content:  Mr Eelko Brouwer at + 31 70 44 55 683 .
– For the procedure: Ms Annemiek van Teeffelen at + 31 70 44 55 726.

While we appreciate all responses, only candidates under consideration will be contacted. We kindly ask not to send in duplicate copies of your resume

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Leeghwaterplein 27, Den Haag, Nederland
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