Protection Specialist – MHPSS

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Danish Refugee Council


The Danish Refugee Council assists refugees and internally displaced persons across the globe: we provide emergency aid, fight for their rights, and strengthen their opportunity for a brighter future. We work in conflict-affected areas, along the displacement routes, and in the countries where refugees settle. In cooperation with local communities, we strive for responsible and sustainable solutions. We work toward successful integration and – whenever possible – for the fulfillment of the wish to return home.

The Danish Refugee Council was founded in Denmark in 1956 and has since grown to become an international humanitarian organization with more than 7,000 staff and 8,000 volunteers. Our vision is a dignified life for all displaced.

All of our efforts are based on our value compass: humanity, respect, independence and neutrality, participation, and honesty and transparency.

About the Role

DRC is looking for a highly qualified MHPSS specialist who can support with the design, set up and initial roll out of DRC’s MHPSS program in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Under the line management of the Emergency and Operations Manager and the technical supervision of the Regional Protection Coordinator and oPt Protection Coordinator, the MHPSS specialist will lead on the design of both emergency interventions that can provide immediate emotional support (such as stress management, decompression, PFA) to DRC’s and DRC’s partners frontline workers operating in Gaza as well as MHPSS interventions that can be scaled- up at a later phase to support the longer term recovery needs of affected populations in a post conflict scenario. The MHPSS specialist is expected to develop technical guidance material (such as Standard Operating Procedures, training packages responding to these different objectives), develop a gradual scale-up plan for the program and identify feasible and safe implementation modalities that are grounded in an understanding of the evolving operational context in Gaza. The MHPSS specialist will also be involved in providing technical direction and support to DRC’s MHPSS partner and in identifying other potential opportunities for local partnerships to further expand MHPSS service delivery in Gaza. Finally, the MHPSS specialist will be involved in identifying a staffing structure for the effective implementation of the designed program and support initial HR recruitment. The position will be based in Amman, availability to travel to Gaza will be considered an advantage.

Duties and Responsibilities:

MHPSS Programme Strategy, Development and Rollout:

  • In consultation with the Regional Protection Coordinator and oPt Protection Coordinator, support in developing a programmatic strategy and operational approach for the rollout and gradual scale-up of DRC’s MHPSS programme in Gaza. This will include identifying activities/interventions that should be prioritized during the acute emergency phase, followed by relevant longer-term interventions for the post-conflict phase of the emergency; identifying safe and appropriate implementation modalities, operational risks and mitigation measures and initial workplan.
  • Support the Regional/oPt Protection Coordinators in identifying an adequate staffing structure to implement DRC’s MHPSS program. Support with HR processes for hiring a Gaza-based PSS team, including developing job-descriptions, tests and sitting in interview panels.
  • Contribute to the development of project proposals, including budgets, for MHPSS interventions.
  • Stay abreast of the operational context and MHPSS needs in Gaza through consultations with partners or members of the clusters/working groups. Use this information to inform continued adjustments to the tools and strategic direction for DRC’s MHPSS program.

Development of technical guidance and training materials:

  • ***PSS support to frontline staff curriculum.***Frontline aid workers inside Gaza are operating under tremendous stress and pressure, being themselves directly affected by the consequences of the conflict such as multiple displacements, witnessing death, violence and threats to their own lives. As a first priority, the MHPSS specialist will be in charge of developing a scalable package of interventions to help first responders manage the operational stressors they experience and that can be adapted to the evolving phases of the conflict. Specific tasks will include but not limited to:
    • Review of existing materials relating to PSS support to frontline staff in Gaza, through consultations with the MHPSS Working Group and GBV Sub-Sector, working on similar initiatives, and in consultation with DRC MHPSS partner developing a decompression model for Gaza.
    • Development of context appropriate and scalable PSS materials to support frontline staff throughout the different phases of the emergency and post-emergency (including technical guidance, training packages, toolkits). Proposed techniques should initially envision initial short-term crisis-focused psychological interventions aimed at managing stress and emotional decompression, interventions aimed at encouraging individuals to make sense of their thoughts and feelings – that can be applied immediately during an acute conflict phase. Second phase techniques, in a post-conflict scenario may focus more on resilience building and peer-to-peer support. Materials developed should be easy to use and easy to understand for non-PSS, lay professionals and translated into Arabic.
  • Psychological first aid (PFA) materials. Develop psychological first aid package and toolkit adapted for the Gaza context including technical guidance, messages and Training of Trainers package that can be used by staff during routine activities/interactions with affected communities, community focal points or community groups.
  • Develop practical/easy to use guidance and tools to enable non-specialised staff to identify acute distress symptoms among staff or people in the affected communities and any ‘red flag’ behaviours that would require specialized follow up and referral. Identify practical ways to integrate such tools into existing data collection tools, follow-up guides used by the different teams.
  • Identify and develop guidance materials as well as training packages for appropriate and relevant MHPSS interventions that can be rolled out in a post-conflict phase of the emergency. These might include community-based MH/PSS interventions for trauma processing or aimed at strengthening community support groups/ peer-support structures; the delivery of specialized group or individual MHPSS counselling or other support to war-affected populations.
  • Identify opportunities to integrate MHPSS interventions within other DRC sectors including Emergency Victim Assistance, GBV programming as relevant.
  • Support the development of PSS toolkits (i.e. forms, data tracker tools, assessment and evaluation tools) with appropriate guidelines for the provision of scalable and non-scalable interventions for women and girls, men and boys, elderly community members and persons with special needs.

Capacity building:

  • Deliver training to partner staff as well as DRC staff in Gaza on all of the materials developed, including first-responders toolkit, PFA, community-based PSS etc.
  • Deliver capacity building to DRC and partner staff on how to handle and conduct safe referrals to MHPSS providers active in Gaza or providing remote support.
  • Ensure regular coaching/ mentoring to staff and technical support to staff and partners throughout the assignment.

External Coordination and Partnerships:

  • Actively participate in the MHPSS Working Group (WG) including discussions, regular information sharing and providing inputs to joint exercises. When needed, participate in ad hoc task forces or relevant sub-sector coordination meetings.
  • Participate in joint data collection exercises led by the MHPSS WG
  • When relevant, deliver presentations on DRC MHPSS tools/ implementation approach and services to the WG members.
  • Help to map and establish relations with mental health agencies in Gaza to develop and strengthen referral pathways and procedures for cases requiring specialized mental health care, psychiatric services and/or hospitalization and psychosocial support services.

Act as the main technical focal point with DRC MHPSS partners and provide support and guidance on a day to day as needed.


  • Advanced degree in Clinical or Counselling Psychology, Mental Health, Social work or related field.
  • Minimum of 3 years of progressively responsible professional experience in a similar capacity, including experience in setting up MHPSS programmes in emergency or post-conflict settings.
  • Proven hands-on practical experience in unstructured/structured PSS intervention packages in humanitarian settings.
  • Proven capacity to train, supervise, and coach staff in PSS technical skills and coordination, based on evidence-based approaches and intervention packages.
  • Sound knowledge of IASC MHPSS guidelines, MH Action plan, IASC MHPSS M&E Framework, human rights, and protection in humanitarian contexts.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work within different cultural environments.
  • Excellent English and Arabic written and verbal communication and reporting skills.
  • Flexibility, creativeness, tolerance and maturity.
  • Computer literacy (Windows – Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.).


  • Experience working with IDPs, refugees and vulnerable communities from diverse cultures and nationalities.
  • Certified training and practical experience in the provision of evidence-based, low-intensity psychological interventions (ex. PM+, SH+, IPT etc.)
  • Willingness to travel to Gaza to conduct in person trainings


  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Arabic language (desirable)

In this position, you are expected to demonstrate DRC’s five core competencies:

  • Striving for excellence: You focus on reaching results while ensuring an efficient process.
  • Collaborating: You involve relevant parties and encourage feedback.
  • Taking the lead: You take ownership and initiative while aiming for innovation.
  • Communicating: You listen and speak effectively and honestly.
  • Demonstrating integrity: Upholding and promoting the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct in relation to DRC’s values and Code of Conduct, including safeguarding against sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.


  • University degree in psychology

We offer

Contract length: 4 months with possibility of extension depending on funding.

Position Band: This position will be placed at Non-Management (G2) band

Preferable Start date: August 2024

Duty station: Amman, with possible travel to Gaza

Salary and conditions will be in accordance with Danish Refugee Council’s Terms of Employment for nationals or expatriates.

For questions regarding the vacancy please contact [email protected]

How to apply

Application process

Interested to apply? All applicants must upload a cover letter and an updated CV (no longer than four pages) in English. Applications sent by email will not be considered.

Closing date for applications: July 12, 2024

For further information about the Danish Refugee Council, please consult our website

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