Head of Mission

Job Type

Full Time


Details: TBD



Application Deadline:



Cox's Bazar
Chittagong Division


Job Description

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. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh. Communities in Cox’s Bazar have rapidly and generously responded, along with local, national and international non-government organizations. While these organizations are highly skilled and experienced, the scale of the influx is overwhelming, and the complexities of this emergency are unlike those previously known in Bangladesh. 

Recognizing the need for urgent technical advisory support the IRC has deployed a team of ERT specialists to reinforce actors delivering lifesaving responses. These specialists are currently supporting international and local NGO partners and the wider humanitarian community in pursuit of a coordinated, integrated response. 


The Head of Mission will represent the IRC to external stakeholders at all levels;  develop strategic relationships and engage in the national dialogue concerning the plight of the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh; identify and cultivate partnerships/funding opportunities in coordination with IRC teams across the organization; engage in appropriate and coordinated advocacy and communications on relevant issues; and  explore and develop IRC’s longer-term presence in Bangladesh.

The Head of Mission is responsible for overall leadership and supervisory management of IRC operations in Bangladesh, including stewardship of resources, staff safety, security and risk management within a complex operating environment, program quality and accountability, and performance management. The Head of Mission is the IRC’s representative to the Government of Bangladesh, donors, international organizations, and other NGOs/civil society. S/He will provide overall oversight and guidance for IRC’s presence and implementation of programming in Bangladesh, and will be expected to work effectively across the organization to deliver high-quality programs, advocacy and strategic engagement.

Success in this position requires an individual with strong initiative and a demonstrated ability to lead teams and work effectively with colleagues/functions based in different locations, and represent the IRC and our work to a range of internal and external audiences (including media relations). Additionally, the Head of Mission will be expected to have exceptional communications and risk management skills and proven experience in developing networks and building partnerships.

The Head of Mission will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the program, providing supervision and coaching for line reports, leading teams to deliver responsive, high-quality technical support to the efforts of actors working with displacement within the country including civil society, government, and NGOs, ensuring efficient management of funds for results, compliance and high-quality, timely reporting, and oversight of financial management systems.

Based in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, the Head of Mission will report to the Deputy Director of Response within the Emergency Unit in New York, until the Emergency Unit hands this response over to the Asia Regional Team, at which time the supervision of this role will become the Regional Director. The post will receive support from headquarters/regional staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, and operations management.

The Head of Mission will have a small core team under his/her direct supervision during the initial phase of the operations in Bangladesh, including securing registration. 


Leadership and Representation

  • Establish and lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully;
  • Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial and authentic partnerships with organizations in Bangladesh;
  • Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Bangladesh, as well as the lives and needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve;
  • Play a leadership role in efforts to improve coordination around the Rohingya Response in Cox’s Bazaar. 

Strategic Direction, Program Quality, Partnerships and Growth:

  • Set the strategic vision and direction of the program to develop the highest quality technical assistance that is adapted to the Bangladesh context;
  • Align programming to the IRC’s mission and strategy, sectoral expertise and technical standards;
  • Develop program strategies in accordance with IRC’s strategy 2020, mission and program framework; ensure the collection of and the use of data is infused in project designs and monitoring activities.
  • Remain current on national, regional and international issues impacting the program and partners, and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC’s mission can be carried out appropriately in rapidly changing contexts;
  • Ensure program alignment with and involvement in meeting regional and global objectives;
  • Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs following the pilot period of operations in country, supported by the acquisition and investment of human resources;
  • Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities, country plans and planned funding initiatives;
  • Maintain and expand participation with key donors, host government, local stakeholders and relevant policy and coordinating bodies.
  • Lead coordination and liaison of handover between the Emergency Unit and the Asia region with a goal of handing over a sustainable IRC presence at the end of 3 months. 

Fundraising and Budget Management

  • Ensure submission of appropriate, timely high quality proposals and lead required donor negotiations;
  • Monitor and identify appropriate sources for match fund requirements and coverage of funding gaps;
  • Provide timely and effective oversight of the financial position of the country program including identification and implementation of required changes to match funding levels;
  • Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds. 

Security and Operational Management

  • In coordination with the ERT Security Coordinator, ensure that the security management plan for the country program is updated and that there is consistent monitoring and analysis of the security environment, along with adherence by all staff to the IRC security protocols and procedures;
  • Oversee the opening of the IRC office in Dhaka, coordinating all operational aspects with support from HQ/Regional departments;
  • Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of IRC’s Global policies including financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements;
  • Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews;
  • Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct”;
  • Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations;
  • Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff. 

Human Resource Management, Staff Development & Retention

  • Develop a positive work environment for all staff supported by a professional level human resource management function;
  • Support and hold management staff accountable for providing staff development opportunities and planning;
  • Work with regional or HQ HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.


  • University degree in related field or equivalent experience.
  • 6-8 years’ experience leading complex emergency response projects and/or programs requiring extensive judgment and interpretation.
  • Strong initiative skills.
  • Proven abilities in all aspects of project design and implementation including start-up phases
  • Demonstrated ability to support coordination of peer agencies, local government and community leaders to work effectively towards a common and agreed upon result.
  • Demonstrable experience in capacity building of partners (civil society, public and/or private sectors);
  • Demonstrated ability to evaluate and implement best practices and processes affecting multiple technical specialties to achieve rapid, consistent and high quality outcomes.
  • Experience developing, resourcing and leading on multi-donor budgets, and complex projects spanning multiple technical specialties.
  • Strong management experience.
  • Fluency in English required


Work environment:

  • This position is based in Cox’s Bazaar with some travel within the country and region.
  • The security phase for Bangladesh is Yellow, and all employees are required to abide by any security directives put in place.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply