Interagency Regional Surge Coordinator for East and Southern Africa, Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) At International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies

Job Title

  • Interagency Regional Surge Coordinator for East and Southern Africa, Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE)

Classification Level

  • D – Coordination and Technical Assistance

Organizational Unit / Duty Station

  • Health and Care Unit, Africa Region – based in South Africa

Immediate Supervisor’s Title

  • Head of Health and Care, IFRC Africa Region

Technical Manager’s Title

  • Senior advisor, Community Engagement and Accountability, IFRC Africa Region

Number of Direct Reports

  • 1 (Interagency IM Senior Officer hosted by IFRC) and indirect reporting lines with 1 UNICEF Social Science Senior officer,

Organizational context (where the job is located in the Organization)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network. IFRC is a membership organisation established by and comprised of its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Along with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the IFRC is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. IFRC’s headquarters is in Geneva, with regional and country offices throughout the world.

COVID-19 is a global health crisis, an information crisis and increasingly a wider socio-economic crisis. One of the major learning of the past decade, from the West Africa Ebola outbreak to natural disasters and complex emergencies, is the critical need to engage communities from the very beginning of a response.

For humanitarian responses to be effective and have long-term positive impacts, humanitarian organizations need to work collectively to ensure a community-centred approach at all levels of a response. This means: facilitating access to life-saving information and essential services; proactively enabling the participation of affected communities in relief efforts; ensuring decisions at all levels within the humanitarian architecture are taken and adapted according to community feedback, concerns and priorities, as well as social insights; and supporting local responders to lead responses whenever possible. Such approaches help build trust with communities and local gatekeepers, increase the uptake of protective and health seeking behaviours, and ultimately ensure sustainability of humanitarian work. Living up to our 2017 IASC commitments on Accountability to Affected Populations as well as core protection and localisation principles is now more critical than ever.

Globally, the interagency coordination of Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) for the COVID-19 response is co-led by WHO, IFRC and UNICEF. In East and Southern Africa the RCCE technical working group (TWG) is co led by IFRC and UNICEF. Thanks to a substantial funding grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the current interagency structure is being scaled up to provide a collective service to improve collaboration among key partners at all levels, support the collection and analysis of multiple sources of data from communities, and provide technical support to a wide-range of actors at regional and country level. This will support the implementation of the RCCE strategy at country level, as well as the Global Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy and the WHO COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan 2021.

The IFRC and UNICEF Africa Regional offices in Nairobi will co-host the RCCE interagency coordination structure for East and Southern Africa, which will include a coordinator (UNICEF), social science (UNICEF), information management (IFRC), and country surge support (IFRC) positions. The inter-agency regional surge coordinator will be expected to work with regional and country level RCCE staff within IFRC, UNICEF and WHO respectively to ensure that strategic plans and activities utilize the strengths of the respective agencies and are designed and delivered collaboratively. Organigrams for RCCE staff within IFRC, WHO and UNICEF within ESAR can be found here.

Job purpose

The RCCE Interagency Regional Surge Coordinator will establish and lead the RCCE collective service’s country level technical support for strengthening coordination and response action in East and Southern Africa, including supporting national RCCE technical working groups. He/she will work to; improve country level RCCE coordination and collaboration between agencies responding to COVID-19 in Eastern and Southern Africa; identify and share common approaches for addressing regional and national RCCE issues and challenges, including developing shared resources and guidance for country level response actions; collate and analyze trends in community feedback and social science research on COVID-19 and the humanitarian response; identify actions to strengthen the response with other technical pillars, country working groups and the national response leadership. The position will help to strengthen RCCE coordination across technical pillars and between the country, regional and global level. The surge coordinator will work within a team composed of a regional coordinator, an information management delegate, and a social science delegate. As the majority of COVID-19 cases are currently in southern Africa, and as South Africa is a priority country for the RCCE Collective Service’s support, this position will be based in Pretoria, South Africa[1]. This will help to facilitate inter-agency coordination on RCCE within South Africa and will also enable travel more easily within southern African countries (according to national travel policies). Whilst the position will be based in South Africa, this remains a regional position and therefore the surge coordinator will still be expected to support countries in east Africa as well.

Job duties and responsibilitiesCoordination:**

  • Support the convening, facilitation and coordination of the national RCCE Technical Working Group (TWGs) in east and southern Africa, including strengthening linkages with the global and regional RCCE coordination forums. As per the terms of reference, the RCCE TWG activities include:
  • Regularly update and adapt national RCCE interagency strategies and workplans based on the evolution of the pandemic and behavioural insights
  • Bring together all actors working on RCCE at the country level, including traditional and non-traditional actors, to improve collaboration and coordination of activities and map coordination capacities and roles and responsibilities of the main partners involved
  • Identify key RCCE challenges impacting the effectiveness of the COVID-19 response and discuss common approaches to address them
  • Promoting the use and adaptation of existing tools and guidance (or development of new ones) for the regional and country-level implementation of coordinated community engagement approaches (including needs assessments, perceptions surveys, partners mapping, community feedback approaches etc)
  • Discuss and agree actions based on trends and priorities identified in community feedback
  • Coordinate the identification of topics for social science research on COVID-19 including primary research, when necessary, in partnership with the social science officer.
  • Engage with the media to encourage responsible reporting, sharing of key health information and tackling the spread of rumours and misinformation.
  • Mapping resource mobilization sources and opportunities for engagement with donors to advocate for RCCE funding at country and regional level.
  • Developing and reporting on common RCCE indicators as part of the COVID-19 response monitoring framework.
  • Support the community feedback sub-working group efforts at regional and country level to collect, analyse and agree recommendations based on the trends in community feedback across agencies. Help to track actions taken and provide support to follow up where needed.
  • Coordinate WG-related performance monitoring and recommend corrective action where and when needed.
  • Support and ensure alignment with other regional and national coordinators in the strategic approach and ensure wide dissemination and exchange of tools and best practice.
    Advisory and technical support:
  • Facilitate the regional and national RCCE WGs to undertake rapid needs assessments and agree on specific technical support to be provided, with focus on priority countries (to be defined on a needs/demand basis appropriate to the region).
  • Support priority countries to update/adapt RCCE interagency plans, according to the evolution of the pandemic.
  • Support country level RCCE coordination working groups, clusters, pillars and other relevant responders (on demand) with RCCE expertise and ensure support to country coordination approaches, promoting engagement of national/local organizations that represent the social, cultural, gender, age, and religious distribution of the communities (i.e faith-based organizations, youth organizations, CSO networks, private sectors and other influencers).
  • Provide RCCE technical advice and support to the other national TWGs (Case Management, IPC, MHPSS and Continuity of Services & Surveillance, Lab and Point of Entry) including supporting them to address key recommendations arising from community feedback data and social science research.
  • Work with RCCE partners, to develop demand-driven guidance/tools based on assessment of gaps and support needs from other national TWGs and country level coordination groups.
  • Capture and document examples of RCCE best practices, including community-driven approaches to COVID-19 prevention and management, for example physical distancing, hand washing, isolation etc
  • Develop and manage a repository of existing RCCE materials and resources including strategies, guidance notes, country level key messages and tools for reference in a diversity of accessible and applicable formats and common languages across the region by ensuring physical or online libraries are established.
  • Coordinate joint remote and in-person capacity building exercises to address specific gaps identified.
  • Working with the Information Management Officer and RCCE Working Group members, ensure the compilation of, and regularly updated 4Ws (Who does What, Where and When) mapping at regional and country levels.


  • Advocate for action on RCCE priorities across the response, including community feedback and social science research, with the response leadership at country level in order to improve overall effectiveness and accountability of the COVID-19 response in East and Southern Africa.
  • Ensure strong representation of the RCCE WG, and community engagement needs and priorities in relevant multi-sector coordination forums and ensuring RCCE recommendations are integrated and reflected in the main pillars of the response.
  • Advocate, educate, and forge consensus among all those involved in the emergency response, on the tools and approaches for establishing effective community engagement.
  • Engage donors to provide updates on current issues and community concerns, including plans to improve overall response-wide RCCE.
  • Contribute to the regional reporting to BMGF on progress against the agreed log frame and proposal

Duties applicable to all staff

  1. Actively work towards the achievement of the Federation Secretariat’s goals
  2. Abide by and work in accordance with the Red Cross and Red Crescent principles
  3. Perform any other work related duties and responsibilities that may be assigned by the line manager

Position Requirements


  • Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent degree) in political science, behavioural/social sciences, international studies or a related field is required.


  • Experience in and knowledge of project management (Required)
  • Demonstrable technical experience (7 year+) in risk communications, social and behaviour change communication and community engagement in epidemics, working at a regional and country level. (Required)
  • Experience of coordinating interagency working groups to achieve common goals in health or other emergencies. (Required)
  • Experience of setting up and leading community feedback systems, particularly using qualitative feedback tools, including presenting and advocating for action based on findings. (Required)
  • Experience working with WHO, UNICEF, IFRC and/or other partner organizations. (Required)
  • Experience in building consensus and brokering partnerships. (Required)
  • Experience of leading and supporting multi-disciplinary and geographically remote teams. (Required)
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a team in a challenging and highly fluid environment, handle constant change and stay flexible. (Required)
  • A good understanding of information management (including data flows, protection and analysis), as well as qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. (Required)
  • Red Cross Red Crescent experience is an asset. (Required)

Knowledge and Skills

  • Advanced analytical and problem-solving skills, able to identify key challenges and humanitarian needs and bring partners together to address these and design a coordinated and effective response. (Required)
  • Good coordination and negotiation skills, with the capacity to build partnerships across organisations and bring people together to collaborate on RCCE approaches and activities. (Required)
  • Sound knowledge of institutional coordination structures, mandates, policies and guidelines pertaining to humanitarian affairs and public health emergency response, and knowledge of the institutions of the UN system and key partners. (Required)
  • Excellent project management skills, able to work under pressure and manage multiple projects simultaneously, to a high standard and to deadline. (Required)
  • Highly motivated, self-starter and team player able to lead a process, engage others and create ownership, across multiple countries and cultures, both in person and remotely. (Required)
  • Clear and engaging written and verbal communication skills. (Required)


  • Fluently spoken and written English (Required)
  • Good command of another IFRC official language (French, Spanish or Arabic) (Preferred)

Competencies (to be filled in by HR)

  • Values: Respect for diversity; Integrity; Professionalism; Accountability**
  • Core competencies: Communication; Collaboration and teamwork; Judgement and decision making; National society and customer relations; Creativity and innovation; Building trust**

How to apply

Job Description – IFRC

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September 2023