Senior Humanitarian Advisor

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States Government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. Responding to President Barack Obama's pledge in his 2013 State of the Union Address to "join with our allies to eradicate extreme poverty in the next two decades," USAID has adopted as its mission statement "to partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing the security and prosperity of the United States." USAID operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.



Position Descriptions/Background

The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is the office within USAID that is responsible for providing emergency non-food humanitarian assistance in response to international crises and disasters. OFDA is part of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and is organized into six divisions.



Following escalated violence in northeastern Nigeria attributed to the Boko Haram militant group, the Government of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in the states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe in March 2013. The conflict has also created issues around the lake region and is affecting both Cameroun and Chad.

As of July 2016, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northeastern Nigeria is approximately 2.1 million people according to a June 2016 report from the International Organization for Migration. Priority needs include food, medical care, nutrition assistance, protection services, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) support. Ongoing violence continues to limit humanitarian access, although large areas of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states have become more accessible since 2015.

Since 2011, more than 6,000 people have died in attacks carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria, according to media sources, and despite losing considerable territory, Boko Haram continues to represent a sustained threat in parts of northeastern Nigeria. Violence in the northeast has significantly impacted on harvests and markets, resulting in high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.. Insecurity may also trigger longer-term consequences in the region, as Nigeria serves as West Africa’s largest supplier of staple cereals. OFDA support interventions include health, livelihoods, and nutrition assistance, as well as psychosocial support, improved water and sanitation services, and relief item distribution for IDPs and other vulnerable populations.

The Senior Humanitarian Advisor (SHA) is OFDA’s principal humanitarian representative in Nigeria and is currently located in Abuja, Nigeria. The SHA is responsible for overseeing the OFDA humanitarian assistance portfolio in Nigeria, which exceeded $12 million during fiscal year 2015.



USAID/OFDA requires the services of a SHA for Nigeria to ensure that OFDA’s objectives for disaster assistance, risk reduction, strategic reporting, interagency coordination, and situational analysis are met in the ongoing response.



  • This position requires an individual to manage and represent the humanitarian portfolio for Nigeria.
  • The incumbent will serve as the primary contact and liaison for OFDA's ongoing humanitarian assistance activities in Nigeria, as well as for disaster risk reduction programs.
  • The incumbent will work closely with USAID/Nigeria Mission staff, the US Embassy, other U.S. Agencies as appropriate, international organizations (IOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the United Nations (UN), to respond to humanitarian needs and sudden onset disasters. The SHA will be responsible for program analysis; strategy development; and coordination with relief agencies, other donors, and USG interagency partners, as well as reporting to OFDA Western and North Africa Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal and OFDA Washington, and collaborating with USAID/Nigeria and U.S. Embassy/Nigeria staff, as required.
  • This position requires substantial coordination with representatives from other USAID offices, the US Embassy, other U.S. Government (USG) agencies, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, U.S. military representatives, as well as with relevant donor representatives and United Nations (UN) and NGO agencies, therefore requiring a highly collaborative work style.
  • The SHA must be prepared to function effectively in a challenging and restrictive work environment and be willing to strictly adhere to U.S. Embassy security guidelines.
  • Working directly under the guidance and supervision of the OFDA Senior Regional Advisor (SRA) for South, West, and North Africa, with regular interaction with the designated RA covering Nigeria and in consultation with USAID/Nigeria, the incumbent will:
  • Contextual Specialty:
  • Develop and maintain knowledge of the key humanitarian and disaster risk reduction issues within Nigeria.
  • Maintain an in-depth understanding of political, humanitarian, organizational, and stakeholder interests specific to Nigeria.
  • Monitor incipient disasters, international disaster response plans and efforts, and major humanitarian issues and challenges in the area of responsibility through a wide range of USG and international sources;
  • Identify humanitarian issues, priorities, lessons learned, and opportunities within and relevant to Nigeria and apply those to program strategy development and implementation. Prepare and/or provide substantive assistance in the preparation of, regular strategic and analytical reports on current or anticipated emergencies, as well as comprehensive preparedness documentation on assigned countries.
  • Portfolio Management:
  • Lead efforts to identify and assess humanitarian new assistance requirements, target beneficiary groups, and locations, oversee the general direction of existing relief and transition-oriented programs, and broadly recommend the types of interventions and budget levels required in Nigeria.
  • Closely collaborate with Mission colleagues on program coordination to share information, avoid overlap, and explore opportunities for synergies and transition efforts. Maintain ongoing dialogue with the SWAN Regional Office and OFDA/Washington on these efforts.
  • Monitor ongoing humanitarian assistance efforts in the Northeast of Nigeria. Liaise with partners and other donors, coordinate with OFDA/SWAN Regional Office on issues of mutual interest, and provide coordinated field feedback to the partners.
  • Coordinate collection of information and provide updates and recommendations through written reports on issues related to the humanitarian situation, including the following:
  • Capacity and ability of UN, IOs, NGOs, and local institutions to carry out programs;
  • Capacity of the logistics infrastructure to support programs;
  • Security situation of beneficiaries, personnel, convoys, and relief operations in general;
  • Role of in-country UN leadership and the UN Mission in Nigeria in facilitating humanitarian assistance;
  • Contributions by other donors, problems arising from implementation of relief and reintegration programs, and any other issues that require the attention of OFDA; and
  • Humanitarian coordination issues and any recommendations for change.
  • Provide guidance to organizations that are developing proposals for OFDA, based on OFDA’s Guidelines for Unsolicited Proposals and Reporting; Review of concept papers and proposals and provide timely recommendations/comments to OFDA/Washington and OFDA/SWAN Regional Office.
  • Ensure reporting on a timely basis to OFDA/Washington and OFDA/SWAN Regional Office on the quality of grantees’ work, noting deficiencies, attributes, and evolving operational conditions.
  • Maintain regular, close coordination and communication with the OFDA/SWAN Regional Office and OFDA/Washington.
  • Independently plans, designs and carries out programs, projects, studies or other work.
  • Representation:
  • Represent OFDA in-country at senior levels within the USG and humanitarian stakeholders to humanitarian concerns and priorities from the OFDA perspective through oral and written briefings, as well as coordination and policy development meeting to include the following:
  • Meetings with individual and groups of implementing partners discussing programmatic priorities, objectives, progress, results, and challenges;
  • Discussions, meetings, and papers informing USG foreign policy in areas with humanitarian concerns or impacts;
  • Donor and implementing partner coordination forums.
  • Serve as the principal point of contact in-country for OFDA/Nigeria for humanitarian issues, and serve as a liaison on program issues among USAID mission staff, the U.S. Embassy and other U.S Agencies, military representatives, OFDA/Washington and the overall humanitarian community.
  • Present OFDA perspectives to NGOs, IOs, and UN agencies relating to humanitarian assistance strategies and priorities, including OFDA’s approach to sustainable, resilience oriented humanitarian programs. Work closely with the RA and OFDA’s technical advisors to discuss and understand sectoral priorities.
  • Represent USG humanitarian interests at national and international meetings and conferences, and facilitate, as requested, travel and briefings for official USG visitors interested in humanitarian issues.
  • Maintain regular liaison with UN, NGOs, IOs, regional groups, and other organizations regarding humanitarian activities.
  • Engage as the humanitarian specialist in U.S. Embassy policy conversations, remaining available to provide timely reporting and clearances in response to high-level USG queries originating in the region or from Washington, DC.
  • Leadership:
  • Provide recommendations on current and future directions of OFDA’s Nigeria portfolio to include programmatic, budgetary, and human resource requirements.
  • Serve in a leadership role within USAID/Nigeria, in coordination with Mission senior leadership, to incorporate humanitarian concerns into Mission activities and identify opportunities to leverage USAID interventions.
  • General Duties
  • Serve in leadership, planning, or program positions on response teams, assessment teams within and outside the region.
  • Education/Experience Required for this Position 
  • (Determines basic eligibility for the position. Applicants who do not meet all of the education and experience factors are considered NOT qualified for the position.)




  • Bachelor’s degree with study in, or pertinent to, the specialized field of, but not limited to, International Relations, Economics, Food Policy, West African Studies, or a related field or country; and nine (9) years of progressively demonstrated experience in emergency relief, disaster risk reduction and/or disaster preparedness programming and management, including but not limited to four (4) years of overseas field experience as demonstrated by short-term deployments or assignments in emergency situations. Substantial overseas field experience is highly preferred.


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United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Job Level

Experienced (Non-Manager)




NGO/Community Services & Dev

Job Type


Minimum Qualification


Preferred Years of Experience

7 - 10 years