Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Ukraine response

Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium

Requisition ID: req28196

Job Title: Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Ukraine response

Employment Category:Permanent

Employment Type: Full-Time


Location: Brussels, Belgium



Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. The IRC is on the ground in some 40 countries providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable. Europe is one of the fastest growing regions for the IRC and currently consists of offices in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. IRC’s Resettlement, Asylum and Integration team manages a number of country programmes in Europe including the UK, Germany, Greece and Italy.

The IRC launched an emergency response to the crisis in Ukraine in February 2022 and has been working directly and with local partners to reach those most in need. At present we are in Poland, Ukraine and Moldova, delivering vital services such as cash assistance, mental health support, and safe healing and learning spaces for children. We have also expanded our support in Greece, Germany, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the UK.


The European Policy and Advocacy Team, headed by the Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy, consists of 15 staff based across the UK, Belgium and Germany. The core purpose of the Policy and Advocacy Department is to increase the IRC’s influence and profile, developing the IRC as a thought leader in Europe that can drive transformational policy change in the humanitarian sector. We aim to improve outcomes for people living in, and displaced by, conflict and crisis. The team works closely with IRC’s global team of policy analysts and advocates based in Washington DC, New York and Geneva as well as programmes teams in countries and regions around the world.

Purpose of the role

This position will conduct detailed policy monitoring and analysis, produce policy briefings and other products, and work closely with advocacy colleagues on strategies to influence EU institutions and key European countries in their approach to both the immediate and long term needs of refugees fleeing Ukraine. Building new relationships with target policymakers, advisers and officials in relevant European capitals will be crucial to success, as will increasing IRC’s profile and influence through our digital channels.

Part of IRC’s European policy and advocacy team, this position will work closely with policy leads on resettlement, asylum and integration in Brussels, across Europe and in IRC’s global team. It will collaborate closely with IRC’s Emergency teams and Resettlement, Asylum and Integration programmes department, as well as colleagues in IRC’s External Relations Department. It will build new partnerships with NGOs, think-tanks and other organisations to bring maximum influence to bear on those making crucial decisions regarding the protection of people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Strategy development and implementation, including relationship-building and advocacy (50%)

  • Work with IRC colleagues in relevant programme teams to identify key needs and develop recommendations to overcome barriers to programming or gaps in Europe’s response 
  • Develop and lead on clear and deliverable change objectives to improve Europe’s response to the protection, reception and integration of refugees fleeing Ukraine in Europe
  • Implementation of a strategy to achieve these objectives, in close coordination with policy and advocacy colleagues across Europe and beyond, including strengthening existing relationships and building new connections with senior stakeholders and advocacy targets in the EU institutions and other appropriate bodies – and providing clear evidence of influencing their positioning.
  • Plan and oversee events as part of the above, including with think-tanks, other NGOs and partners.
  • Keep track of relevant developments at EU and capital level and ensure that these are communicated to colleagues across the organisation as appropriate.
  • Produce public-facing policy products targeting influential stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with IRC colleagues globally to build upon IRC policy positions from our experience and learning on the ground with refugee integration work and bring these lessons to bear with policymakers in relevant European capitals.
  • Work with media and communications colleagues to ensure that this work has the greatest possible public influencing impact
  • Work with colleagues globally to contribute to new IRC policy positions and to ensure they are kept informed of up-to-date EU policy messages and advocacy asks.

Coalition building, networking and profile-raising

  • Identify, create and act upon opportunities to build new networks and coalitions of NGOs, think-tanks and others with a shared interest in refugee resettlement, protection and integration, and develop shared projects as appropriate
  • Raise IRC’s profile as a European thought leader and practitioner on the Ukraine response
  • Provide support to institutional donor liaison and private fundraising colleagues, for example by making presentations and attending key meetings internally and externally where relevant.

Person specification

Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications:

  • Understanding of current major humanitarian and displacement emergencies, particularly the Ukraine crisis, but also other crises in the European neighbourhood.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the EU, wider European and global policy landscape
  • Knowledge and understanding of the global policy environment related to conflict and refugee emergences, including: key UN, Red Cross and INGO actors; response coordination architecture; and processes governing the humanitarian and diplomatic responses to major emergencies.
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English, and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives.
  • Networking and presentation skills
  • Excellent time management skills and strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to handle pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • The capacity to work independently.
  • Commitment to team work.
  • Flexible approach to work, supporting team as required and adapting to changes.


  • Experience in research and drafting for documents for external audiences.
  • Some experience of quantitative data analysis and data interrogation tools e.g. pivot tables.
  • Experience working on humanitarian emergency, refugee, conflict or development issues in academic or professional setting.


  • Experience of working with other NGOs in the humanitarian/ development/ refugee sectors
  • Ability to speak Ukrainian or Polish, as well as other major European languages, e.g. French, an advantage.

Candidates must have the right to work in the Belgium.

The closing date for applications is 21 June at 11pm (CET).

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