Associate Director, Humanitarian Response and Preparedness

Location: US - DC - DC Home Office
Division.: Policy and Humanitarian Response



Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future.  We respond to natural and complex humanitarian crises throughout the world.  As part of a commitment to working with children in times of crisis, Save the Children supports programs in both sudden onset emergencies and chronic humanitarian situations.  In 2015 Save the Children responded to 99 humanitarian crises in 59 countries, directly reaching 13.8 million people, including 7.1 million children.

The Associate Director, Humanitarian Response and Preparedness , will report to the Director, Humanitarian Response in the Department of Humanitarian Response (DHR) and serve as a key humanitarian subject matter expert and practitioner; creating, refining and managing systems to enable Save the Children to be ready to respond to emergencies globally.  As a key member in the department, this position will provide strategic and operational support to Save the Children international and domestic responses and will help ensure that SCUS is prepared to respond to both domestic and international emergencies. Key responsibilities of the position will focus on managing the humanitarian surge team scheme and proving backstopping to both international and domestic responses. Additionally, the Associate Director will lead response readiness  initiatives for headquarter and field based staff, and strengthen relations within the Save the Children movement by providing leadership on key working groups to ensure SCUS preparedness and response efforts are aligned with those of the Save the Children membership and to provide guidance and expertise into alliance wide initiatives.  This position may require up to 25% travel time.

Essential Duties, Responsibilities, and Impact

Humanitarian Surge Team Management (30%)

  • Provide management support to the Humanitarian Surge Team (HST) scheme, including the line management of the Humanitarian Response Manager and Humanitarian Response Associate
  • Provide regular financial and performance reports on the HST scheme to Humanitarian Director and Humanitarian Senior Management Team based on agreed upon key performance indicators
  • Lead on continuous improvements to the HST scheme and to headquarter based international and domestic deployment processes and guidelines
  • Provide technical line management to several operationally focused HST members, proving technical support while they are on deployments and supporting in the identification of new deployment opportunities
  • In coordination with the Director, provide leadership to SCUS’ engagement on the Save the Children Humanitarian Surge Working Group (HSWG) to coordinate and align SCUS surge capacity with global supply and demand; lead on specific HSWG work streams championed by SCUS.
  • Management and continuous improvement support to ensure the Global Humanitarian Register/ International Response Team for SCUS is regularly updated, analyzed and shared with relevant stakeholders within SCUS and Save the Children International (SCI)
  • Lead on the planning, roll-out and scale-up of the deployment innovation application


International and Domestic Response Coordination and Support (30%)


  • As requested by the Director of Emergency Response provide backstopping/ coordination to key priority responses, serving as the point of contact with SCI and the  Humanitarian Business Team, escalating key issues as appropriate to the Director
  • Provide strategic and operational analysis and input into SC priority responses as requested
  • Ensure that response related gifts in kind (GIK) are appropriately and effectively deployed. Support the system for GIK and provision of supplies, including the prepositioning of supplies, acting as liaison between the Response Team and Resource Development for GIK offers and movement
  • Represent and prove leadership at relevant InterAction fora, particularly working groups established for high priority humanitarian responses and relevant cross-thematic areas.



  • As needed, act as domestic response backstop providing additional capacity to the Team Leader to ensure response delivery.  When requested, may act as domestic response Team Leader.
  • Quality control - Ensure review and quality control of key response documents, adherence to agreed processes, implementation of agreed decisions, and provides advice to Team Leader for discussion of actions and decisions
  • Coordination – Ensure effective liaison between and brokerage of operational support, support services, and technical assistance, and efficient information dissemination and management; acts as focal point for information


Response Preparedness (20%)

  • Represent SCUS on the Save the Children Humanitarian Capacity Building Working Group (HCBWG); lead on specific HCBWG work streams championed by SCUS.
  • Represent SCUS interests in the negotiation, design, and roll-out of humanitarian capacity building tools, training, and guidelines.
  • Facilitate or identify humanitarian trainings for SCUS staff, members, and volunteers that add to the overall responder pool for SCUS, including the Emergency Foundations Course
  • Develop and execute a capacity building strategy
  • Ensure that internal Emergency Preparedness Plans (EPP) plans are updated and disseminated.
  • Strategically engage with the resource development (RD) department to identify corporate partners for capacity building and preparedness funding opportunities. 
  • As appropriate, identify and allocate funding for strategic SCUS and SCI capacity building opportunities that will help achieve our humanitarian priorities as laid out in the current strategy
  • Support SC country and regional offices and other members to facilitate and/or coordinate and develop priority trainings with resources within SCUS and the SC membership


Humanitarian Response Deployment (2-3 months per year) (20%)

  • Serve on SC’s Global Humanitarian Register; deploy on international and domestic responses as requested.
  • Travel to SCI Country Offices, Regional Offices and other Member offices for strategic humanitarian support assignments in a management/leadership role as appropriate.


Required Background and Experience, Skills and Behaviors


  • At least 5-7 years of operations and program management experience in humanitarian and international development, including at least 2-3 years of direct field management experience.
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Demonstrated experience working at all levels of operational preparedness and response including country office, regional, and headquarters
  • Understanding of humanitarian capacity building framework and experience in developing and facilitating trainings.
  • Excellent analytical, organization, communication and management skills. Must have attention to detail and ability to multi-task.
  • Excellent written English and computer skills, advanced proficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint 
  • Ability to travel up to 25% of time as required, typically to places facing a humanitarian crisis.



  • Master’s Degree in field related to development, humanitarian work or social sciences
  • Ability to speak a second, relevant language.

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