Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Coordinator - Ninewa Safe Return Project, Iraq

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Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Coordinator - Ninewa Safe Return Project, Iraq

Description Organizational Background:

Heartland Alliance International (HAI) is the global arm of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, a family of organizations that has been leading anti-poverty and social justice work in Chicago for more than 125 years. HAI’s offices in nearly a dozen countries implement programs on a range of global human rights issues, as well as the Chicago-based Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, which serves individuals from more than 50 countries. HAI has significant expertise in the fields of trauma-informed mental health care and access to justice for survivors of rights abuses. It is also an industry leader in access to high-quality and stigma-free health care. Across all of its programs, HAI promotes progressive, innovative approaches to human rights protections and gender equality.

HAI has been working in Iraq since 2004, helping victims of human rights abuses heal and access justice, and providing training and resources to help Iraqi human rights activists build capacity and strengthen local organizations. HAI is active in torture prevention and treatment, gender-based violence and suicide prevention, addressing the impacts of human trafficking, juvenile justice reform, LGBTI rights, mental health, refugee protection, and religious and ethnic minority rights. HAI’s team in Iraq is based in Iraqi Kurdistan, but is active throughout Iraq.

The Project:

This 30 month Heartland Alliance International (HAI) Ninewa Safe Return pilot project will reintegrate internally displaced persons (IDPs) from minority communities in the Ninewa Plains who are survivors of severe human rights abuses. This project will test the following theory of change: Successful return and reintegration of victims of severe human rights violations, combined with rapid reporting and response to current violations, and majority/minority participation in investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by ISIL, will reduce fear of violence and accelerate IDP return. This project anticipates that approximately 800 survivors of severe human rights abuses and 4000 family members and dependents will be primary beneficiaries of services. Direct services will include medical, mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS), livelihoods assistance, and legal support. This research and pilot project is intended to address barriers to return that are based on fear of communal or individual violence. IDPs consistently rank fear as the greatest barrier to return. IDPs define objective and subjective risk in a complicated threat environment differently. Most IDPs experience concern regarding possible ISIL resurgence, or human rights violations by other armed actors. Many IDP religious minorities express a generalized fear that their communities are “no longer safe,” as well as specific localized fears. In some cases, IDPs know specific individuals who committed crimes against them or their communities. This project seeks to combine research on the fears and security expectations of IDP communities, information flow between individuals who return and those who remain displaced, and the impact of successfully reintegrated survivors on decisions to return for remaining IDPs who are not victims of severe human rights abuses.

Overview The Ninewa Safe Return MHPSS Coordinator will support the Ninewa Safe Return Project Team through high-quality MHPSS programming for the project implementation in Qaraqosh, Bashiqa, and Sinjar. Primary responsibilities include designing, developing, and overseeing MHPSS systems and events; training and building the capacity of partner staff in MHPSS; providing clinical supervision to mental health workers, and promoting programmatic MHPSS learning processes both internally and externally. The position will ensure that MHPSS systems and capacity building are established and implemented to advance and embody HAI’s mission and human rights principles. The Ninewa Safe Return MHPSS Coordinator will be responsible for providing timely, regular, high-quality MHPSS technical support to the Ninewa Safe Return Project Team.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Guides the implementation of MHPSS programming and the methods of follow-up, with a focus on technical aspects and quality assurance through close monitoring and supervision Ensures that MHPSS project components are implemented according to approved work plan to achieve project deliverables. Through strong planning and monitoring, identifies potential obstacles to programmatic success in a timely fashion, and implements corrective actions as needed Ensures technical oversight and field-monitoring of the program staff in close coordination with project manager, notably to ensure quality control and adequate implementation of the planned tools and frameworks Provides capacity building training and supervision to national MHPSS staff providing services in the centers in Qaraqosh, Ba’ashiqa and Sinjar Provides supplemental training and clinical oversight for social workers, psychologists and case managers at the Mosul Torture Treatment Center Ensures effective referral, coordination and co-training for torture treatment center staff along with social workers and MHPSS workers at the three Ninewa Plains centers. Provides regular comprehensive program updates to supervisor as to program status, current and emerging issues Contributes to the development of implementation plans and project narrative reporting Vets and oversees the recruitment of MHPSS field staff of partner agencies As possible, attends relevant coordination groups Develops scopes of work, project deliverables, and monitoring and evaluation indicators and targets together with the Project team for grant and service delivery partners, as required. As needed, in collaboration with MHPSS Technical Coordinator and HQ MH Technical Advisor, contributes to the development of curricula, case studies of successes and lessons learned, and other publications related to the project to highlight HAI’s niche areas of expertise and value added As possible, represents HAI and its projects in professional and public settings, and makes presentations at professional meetings and conferences.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or competency required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience:

Master’s degree in clinical social work or counseling, or a PsyD or PhD in psychology, counseling, or social work with a minimum of 4 years’ experience and either licensed or license application in process

Experience working in low resource emergency contexts

At least two years’ experience working with multi-ethnic communities and refugees, particularly from the Middle East

Technical Skills:

Experience with MHPSS needs of survivors of violence and human rights abuses, including torture Knowledge of gender-based violence and child protection guidelines and best practices Knowledge of case management practices and team approach to services Experience in program management preferred Demonstrated ability to train staff and implementing partners on MHPSS Ability to provide clinical supervision and mentoring for paraprofessionals Experience in development of output and outcome level performance measurement indicators and targets related to MHPSS

Other Competencies:

Time Management – Ability to prioritize tasks, manage time and complete projects in a fast-paced, changing environment with minimal supervision.

Quality Management - Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness

Analytical - Synthesizes complex or diverse information; Collects and researches data

Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively;

Adaptability - Adapts to changes in the work environment; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events

Cultural Sensitivity – Respects cultural environment in which person is working and does not act in a manner that is outwardly offensive to the local community.

Language Skills:

Excellent oral and written English language communication skills required

Proficiency in oral and written Arabic and/or Kurdish and/or Assyrian is preferred

Demonstrated competency in public speaking preferred

Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange, Windows operating systems Proficiency in Excel, SPSS, or another statistical analysis software Other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit; use hands to handle or feel and reach with hands and arms.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.

The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

The employee may be required to remain on Organization premises during breaks and/or meal periods and may be required to stay on Organization premises until their replacement arrives.

This position requires being posted in Iraqi Kurdistan, with occasional trips to Mosul, Qaraqosh, Sinjar, and Ba’ashiqa, consistent with HAI security policies.

The employee is required to follow and cooperate with HAI security guidelines, including possible mandatory evacuation if required.

The employee is required to travel regularly to often insecure and limited-resource environments.

To Apply:

Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Employee Services Office at +1 (312) 660-1431.