4 Off Hill Cot Road, Freetown
Tel: (232) 76-471-796
Position: Community Officer
Reports to: WGPE Site Manager
Application Deadline: 25th May 2022
Present in Sierra Leone since 1999, IRC supports the Sierra Leonean institutions – Government, Civil Society, Community-Based Organizations and Private Sector – to provide improved social services, decrease youth unemployment and mitigate gender-based violence. This is done through programs and partnerships designed to improve the life of women, youth and children by implementing Health, Education, Youth and Women and Girls’ Protection and Empowerment programming. IRC has a Country Program office in Freetown, and regional Field Offices in Kenema, Kono, Bo and Kailahun.
In Sierra Leone, women face barriers to entering the labour market because of social pressures and restrictive gender norms, resulting in their economic exclusion, limited ability to access capital and financial resources, and limited ability to have decision-making power in the homes. These challenges have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many women especially those in rural areas, who are economically active, participate in micro and small business enterprises. However, women’s current socio-economic status and role in society, and their access to decision making – both within their households and in the public arena – are hindered by the dominance of men which is dictated by social norms, customs, and traditions. Even though women are in control of the day-to-day household spending power in Sierra Leone, they lack financial decision-making power and are behind in terms of financial inclusion. Additionally, women who are involved in micro and small business enterprise do not have the ability to access appropriate finance, either through informal or formal means such as banks.
The Women and Girls Protection and Empowerment (WGPE) sector will be implementing the Kenema Market Recovery 2 project in Kenema City, Kenema District. The aim of this project is to enable female market vendors who have been impacted by COVID-19, to reshape and pivot their business models so that they can continue to earn and grow their income to support their families. Interventions include entrepreneurial skills development, access to financial services and products, as well as providing an enabling and culturally suitable environment for the women.
Working under the supervision of the WGPE Site Manager, the Community Officer will ensure high quality delivery and implementation of project activities with communities. This will involve initiation, training and monitoring of women’s savings and loans associations, gender discussion groups and awareness raising activities on infection prevention and control mechanisms.
- Establish positive relations with the target communities and target groups, facilitating the formation of self-selected women’s Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in each community.
- Assist in conducting initial and periodic information/advocacy sessions with community leaders and local authorities to build awareness, understanding, and support for all program activities.
- Plan, organize, and carry out facilitation activities with each VSLA group, in line with the project’s timeline and implementation model, and as adapted to the needs of each group.
- Conduct regular monitoring, mentoring, and support visits to each community/VSLA group, and collect portfolio data on a regular basis, in line with the implementation plan and timeline.
- Participate in initial TOT trainings and periodic refresher trainings. Utilize training materials and resources provided by the program to improve the quality of VSLA activities as appropriate.
- Together with the community facilitators, co-facilitate the EASE Project’s intra-household ‘discussion series’ activities in each target community with VSLA members and their spouses.
- Attend initial trainings and periodic refresher trainings on the discussion series implementation model and utilize additional materials provided to enhance these activities as relevant.
- Conduct trainings in business skills development and work with the WGPE Site Manager and Senior Program Manager on the distribution of business grants to clients.
- Conduct regular data collection in line with tools provided and give regular reports on activities and other information as required. Attend all EASE team meetings and site meetings as required.
- Prepare individual work plans and review them with supervisor; give and receive regular feedback on community activities and notify supervisor of any problems or issues that arise.
- Handle financial and other resources for specific community activities as required, ensuring that all activities are implemented in line with IRC financial and procurement procedures.
- Attend staff meetings, trainings, and special events as required by IRC management.
- Any other tasks as assigned by the WGPE Site Manager for the smooth running of the project.
- Diploma/Certificate in Development studies + experience or equivalent
- Experience working at a grassroots level with community groups in a variety of settings and contexts, using participatory facilitation approaches.
- Preferred experience working with livelihood and/or economic strengthening activities at the community level including micro-credit, savings mobilization, savings, and loan groups.
- Preferred experience working with services that either specifically target women or address gender differences in access to and management of resources at the community and household level.
- Training and/or practical experience in programs that address gender issues and/or gender-based violence issues.
- Excellent listening, communication, and observation skills; ability to work constructively with a wide range of community groups in various environmental contexts.
- Good training and group facilitation skills, especially using participatory approaches.
- Good mathematical and basic bookkeeping skills and ability to train both literate and non-literate groups in basic numeracy and other related skills to conduct VSLA activities effectively.
- Ability to plan and maintain an organized working style, yet able to handle new events and situations effectively as they arise.
- Must be willing and ready to travel frequently to communities, and work in very basic conditions.
- Must always demonstrate strong integrity, able to honor commitments, and maintain consistency between words and actions.
- Ability to write and speak in English; and to accurately complete records and other documentation.
- Have the ability to ride a motorbike and hold a valid motorbike rider license.
- Committed to the mission and principles of the International Rescue Committee.
- Operational/Financial management – understands IRC policies and systems and applies them effectively, developing sound financial plans and budgets and can effectively obtain, allocate and utilise resources.
- Results driven – ensures goals, objectives and deadlines are met.
- Respectful in the organisation and with external interactions; sensitive to ramifications of decisions.
- Self-Management – Knows own strengths and weaknesses and acts accordingly, copes well with pressure and adapts and learns.
Standards for professional Conduct (IRC Way)
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.