Program Coordinator - SAFE, Democratic Republic of the Congo

BACKGROUND: Since 1989, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) has advocated vigorously for laws, policies and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and displaced women, children and young people—bringing about lasting, measurable change. The Women’s Refugee Commission is legally a part of the IRC, and this temporary, full-time WRC staff position will be based in the IRC’s offices in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). IRC is one of the largest providers of relief and development assistance in DRC with an annual budget of approximately US$ 80 million and over 900 staff. In seven of DRC’s provinces, IRC implements programs in the sectors of health, governance & community development, women’s protection & empowerment, education, and emergency response through a network of nine field offices and a range of institutional and community partnerships.

ABOUT WRC’s FUEL & FIREWOOD INITIATIVE: The food distributed in humanitarian settings—typically dried beans, flour and oil—must be cooked in order to be eaten. However, the humanitarian system rarely provides the fuel required to cook that food, and these populations rarely have enough money to purchase fuel—particularly clean-burning or environmentally-sustainable fuels. Therefore, crisis-affected women and girls often have no choice but to venture into unsafe territory to collect firewood or to produce charcoal. The negative consequences associated with dependence on firewood and charcoal are numerous: physical and sexual attack of women and girls collecting wood, environmental degradation caused by unsustainable firewood harvesting and charcoal manufacture, deadly respiratory infections and more. Moreover, the burning of wood, charcoal and other solid fuels is the primary releaser of black carbon into the atmosphere and a key contributor to climate change. In few places are all of these intersecting concerns as clearly apparent as in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

The current project will work to address all of these concerns in a holistic manner in eastern DRC and Uganda. Its overall purpose is to stem the threats to both women and the environment that are caused by over-reliance on unsustainable cooking fuels such as firewood and charcoal. Moreover, it will demonstrate—for regional and global adaption—how a coordinated and multi-sectoral “SAFE strategy”1 will improve physical protection of women and girls and reduce reliance on the unsustainable cooking fuels that cause environmental degradation.

SCOPE OF WORK: Reporting to the New York-based Senior Program Officer, Fuel & Firewood Initiative and working with a national counterpart, the primary role of the SAFE focal point will be to develop, coordinate and implement a cooking fuel strategy based on the SAFE guidance framework in the Kivus and Ituri, DRC and in Nakivale, Uganda. The focal point will also document lessons learned as a means of informing future regional scale-up and may be asked to undertake research assessments in neighboring countries.


Research and Programming:

  • Conduct desk and field research and undertake assessments on household energy-related programming in and applicable to the region (eastern DRC and western Uganda; with the possibility of additional assessments elsewhere in the region), using WRC-WFP’s 2009 Uganda and 2011 DRC SAFE assessments as a guide. Key research themes to include existing programming and lessons learned; key needs and challenges; and will involve interviews and focus groups with beneficiaries and key stakeholders.
  • Develop a cooking fuel strategy based on the SAFE guidance for implementation on a pilot basis in the Kivus, Ituri and Nakivale, in collaboration with the Senior Program Officer, Fuel & Firewood Initiative, national staff counterpart and identified partners in the region, and based on research and assessments.
  • Begin implementation of SAFE pilot programming in collaboration with key regional partners and national staff counterpart, under the supervision of the Senior Program Officer, Fuel & Firewood Initiative.
  • Design and implement an M&E framework for the project, including collaboration on a broader global initiative to monitor the impact of energy programming on GBV risk reduction.


  • Draft reports on findings; monitoring and for project donors as required.

Management and Administration:

  • Oversee the project’s roughly $225,000 annual budget, with support from the WRC Finance team and the Senior Program Officer, Fuel & Firewood Initiative.
  • Identify potential donors and draft concept notes/proposals for project implementation support, with the support from the Senior Program Officer, Fuel & Firewood Initiative. Goal will be to raise a minimum of $250,000.
  • Recruit and manage skilled national staff counterpart.


  • Fluency in both French and English required; spoken Lingala, Kiswahili and/or Kinyarwanda a plus
  • Master’s degree in international relations, international development or similar field; or significant equivalent work experience
  • Minimum 5-7 years of relevant, progressive experience in humanitarian programming and at least one year of field-based experience required; direct project management and supervisory experience strongly preferred. Background in environment and/or household energy programming a strong plus. Passing the SAFE e-learning course will be required prior to interviews for this position.
  • Detailed knowledge of and progressive experience in working with and across UN humanitarian agencies, INGOs and local NGOs and community-based organizations and a detailed understanding of humanitarian architecture and coordination mechanisms
  • Demonstrated background in monitoring and evaluation and proven field research/assessment skills, including conducting participatory assessments/focus groups
  • Ability to work and collaborate with international and local partners from diverse cultures, sometimes in harsh conditions, and willingness to travel frequently both within and outside of DRC
  • Strong communication and coordination skills; demonstrated capacity to communicate with HQ-based colleagues and to receive guidance remotely


The candidate will be based in IRC’s offices in Bukavu, South Kivu, DRC. While the security situation in the city is generally calm, civil conflict is ongoing elsewhere in the Kivu provinces, and the area is considered unstable at times. Shared housing as appropriate and comfortable as the context allows will be provided.

LOCATION: Bukavu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo


DURATION: 12 months

SALARY BAND: Practicing Professional B4

To apply for this position, visit


  • WRC spearheaded the creation of and co-chaired the InterAgency Standing Committee Task Force on Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy (SAFE) in humanitarian settings from 2007-2009. The inter-agency members of Task Force SAFE developed a policy framework for the humanitarian system that focuses on eight response sectors which must be coordinated to ensure that vulnerable populations have safe access to appropriate and environmentally-sustainable cooking fuel. Additional information on Task Force SAFE and the guidance it produced is available at