Head of Mission in Damascus At Première Urgence Internationale

Starting Date : June 2021

Duration of Mission : 12 months

Localisation : Syria in Damascus

Première Urgence Internationale (PUI) is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-political and non-religious international aid organization. Our teams are committed to supporting civilians’ victims of marginalization and exclusion, or hit by natural disasters, wars and economic collapses, by answering their fundamental needs. Our aim is to provide emergency relief to uprooted people in order to help them recover their dignity and regain self-sufficiency. The association leads in average 190 projects by year in the following sectors of intervention: food security, health, nutrition, construction and rehabilitation of infrastructures, water, sanitation, hygiene and economic recovery. PUI is providing assistance to around 5 million people in 20 countries – in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe and France

Find out about our history and values.

Humanitarian situation and needs

As the crisis and armed conflict within the Syrian Arab Republic entered into its seventh year, an economic recession has emerged along with international economic sanctions – all further exacerbated by the level of destruction across the country. The global situation of the country is alarming:

  • 13.5 Million of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, 43% of them are children;
  • 85% of the population of Syria is living under the poverty level;
  • Unemployment rate reached 53%;
  • Households spend up to 25% of their income to meet minimum daily water requirements;
  • 4.3 Million are in need of shelter;
  • Over 13.8 Million people require early recovery and livelihood support;
  • 1/3 of school age children are not in schools and 1/3 of schools are out of service;
  • 2.7 Million youth are in need of assistance.

Our actions in the field

For 2016-2022, PUI has developed a strategy aimed at ensuring a context based integrated response, considering the necessary interaction between sectors and the evolution of needs during implementation. The core of this strategy is the Population of Syria and has been designed based on an analysis of the most probable scenario for the medium-term future.

The implications of this scenario on the needs of the population can be summarized as:

Areas of Conflict: Need for continued emergency response, focused on basic, lifesaving interventions.

Areas of relative stability: Need to establish the ground for early and medium term recovery interventions. To do this, PUI proposes an integrated strategy, focusing on:

  • Rehabilitating community infrastructures (ie. shelters, water and sanitation networks, health facilities, schools);
  • Increasing accessibility to education for school-aged children including drop out children;
  • Raising awareness about Child Protection issues, understanding of Children’s Rights and accessibility to protection services;
  • Re-establishing previous forms of livelihoods to reduce household’s reliance on humanitarian intervention;
  • Capacity building for adolescents and young adults in livelihoods activities;
  • Integration of livelihoods beneficiaries into the private sector with development of linkages between beneficiaries and PUIs activities;
  • Raising awareness about Psycho-social Support and building techniques and methodologies to enable educators to better respond to children’s needs.

Find out more about our response to the crisis.

As part of our actions in Syria, we are looking for a Head of Mission in Damascus.

Overall Objective

The Head of Mission is responsible for the smooth functioning of the mission, the protection of PUI beneficiaries interest and Institutionnal interests.

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Safety & Security: S/he is responsible for the safety & security of the mission.
  • Programmes: S/he coordinates the teams and ensures that the programmes implemented on the mission are properly carried out. S/he also monitors needs and suggests new operations and development tracks for the mission.
  • Human Resources: S/he ensures that the mission is adequately staffed and supervises the teams (defining objectives, follow-up).
  • Logistical, administrative and financial monitoring: S/he ensures that logistical and administrative practices in place respect PUI procedures and formats and are in compliance with donors’ rules and regulations.
  • Medical and technical monitoring: S/he ensures that medical and technical practices respect PUI’s procedures and formats and are in compliance with PUI’s operational framework and policy.
  • Representation: S/he represents the association in its relations with partners, donors, the media and different authorities.

Focus on 3 priority activities relating to the context of the mission

  • Ensure the continuity of the PUI Syria mission in terms of: representation and strategy implementation.
  • Provide the necessary support to the team and its link with HQ.
  • Ensure a proper context follow-up to orientate decision making at all levels

Team Management

Number of people to manage and their position:

  • Direct management: 4 (Deputy head of mission for programs / deputy head of mission for accountability / Head of Access Negotiation, Development and Strategy / head of mission assistant)
  • Indirect management: 140

Training and Experiences


  • Relevant academic education in social / scientific sciences.
  • Bachelor or Master’s degree related to a major field in strategic/program management.
  • Project management – Education in Agriculture/WASH /Public Health/Other – Financial Management – Human Resource Management – Logistics and Security


  • 3 years of humanitarian experience in project co-ordination.
  • Successful experience in expatriate team management and multi-sector programmes.
  • Previous experience as Head of Mission in an NGO or OSI desirable.

Software: Pack Office

Required Personal Characteristics (fitting into the team, suitability for the job and assignment):

  • Autonomy
  • Patience
  • Strong listening and negotiation skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to remain calm and level-headed
  • General ability to resist stress and particularly in unstable circumstances
  • Leadership skills and the ability to make decisions
  • Trustworthiness and a sense of responsibility
  • Charisma and the ability to awake enthusiasm
  • Ability to use authority, when necessary
  • Analysis and synthesis abilities (discernment, pragmatism)
  • Ability to adapt
  • Organizational skills, ability to be thorough and respect due dates


  • French
  • English
  • Arabic

Proposed Terms

  • Employed with a Fixed-term Contract
  • Starting Date: June 2021
  • Monthly Gross Income: from 3 190 up to 3 520 Euros depending on the experience in International Solidarity + 50 Euros per semester seniority with PUI
  • Cost Covered: Round-trip transportation to and from home / mission, visas, vaccines…
  • Insurance including medical coverage and complementary healthcare, 24/24 assistance and repatriation
  • Housing in individual accommodation
  • Daily Living Expenses (« Per diem »)
  • Break Policy: 5 working days at 2, 4 and 8, 10 months + break allowance
  • Paid Leaves Policy: 5 weeks of paid leaves per year + return ticket every 6 months

To know more about our job offer, look at the complete job description on our website!

How to apply

If you wish to apply, follow this link and fill in the form on our website.

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September 2023