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Humanitarian Research Consultant

Department: Humanitarian Partnerships, Policy & Practice
Location: Remote, RM


With the continued exponential growth in humanitarian needs, the number of humanitarian field workers has more than doubled from 210,000 in 2010 to 570,000 today. However, humanitarian aid is not only delivered by aid workers employed by bilateral, multilateral or intergovernmental organizations, but also actors such as the affected people themselves. In many contexts, refugees are engaged by UNHCR and partners as volunteers, incentive workers and para-professionals and, in whichever capacity, are an integral part of the provision of assistance and services to the forcibly displaced, both in camp and out of camp settings.   

Organizationally, HIAS is guided by its Refugee Rights Framework. This rights-based approach, based on international human rights and humanitarian and refugee law and practice, provides a programming framework for HIAS’ focus on refugee protection. To date, any form of refugees taking part in the provision of assistance and services to their communities has been based on the premise that refugees are empowered by actively engaging in efforts to support their communities. With the dearth of coherent standards or guidance at the global level regarding recruitment, conditions of engagement, Duty of Care, ethical conduct for refugee workers or levels of compensation, there is a lack of clarity with regard to the articulated rights and obligations of humanitarian agencies and refugee workers as they pertain to the working relationship.   

As part of advancing the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), HIAS pledged to work with relevant stakeholders such as UNHCR, refugee communities, national and international NGOs, and host governments to develop global guidelines on the engagement of refugee volunteers and incentive workers in the provision of assistance and services. The pledge is intended to bring increased standardization and harmonization across regions and agencies on the engagement of refugees in the provision of assistance and services. This endeavor requires a sound (and rare) combination of specialized skills and competencies in the domains of the delivery of assistance and services in theory and in practice, the refugee rights framework, and the humanitarian architecture, to include HR and Finance policies and practices of humanitarian assistance NGOs. 

HIAS is seeking an individual consultant to conduct research and collect materials on existing policies and procedures on refugee volunteers and incentive workers across sectors and regions, to include UNHCR and implementing partner policies, practices and perspectives. The consultant’s initial desk review and collection of materials will lead to the development of a plan of action and timeline for the scoping exercise and the development and rolling out of the global guidelines to be drafted in the second phase of the project.   


  • Coordinates the standing up of HIAS’ Incentive Worker Pledge Steering Committee. 

  • Conducts research, to include an in-depth desk review and specialized comparative analysis of available resources/materials and existing policies and procedures on refugee volunteers and incentive workers across sectors and regions; and mixed-methods information collection from relevant HIAS staff and other stakeholders (incentive workers, other humanitarian aid organizations, host country government officials, civil society organization staff, and UNHCR staff). 

  • Identifies 2-3 operations for a future scoping exercise that would assess the application of existing policies and procedures as they pertain to refugee volunteers and incentive workers. 

  • Provides continuous technical expertise and advisory to the Steering Group on the broader policy and coordination issues related to refugee volunteers and incentive workers. 

  • Develops a plan of action and timeline for the scoping exercise and the development and rolling out of the guidelines to be drafted in the second phase of the project.  

  • Identifies and secures potential pledge partners. 

  • Presents the findings of the research, the recommendations for the scoping exercise and the plan of action to the Steering Committee. 

  • Reflects the findings, recommendations and plan of action in a high-quality report that will address the needs and gaps and which should also include key assumptions and critical risks that could impede the realization of the pledge. 


  • Graduate degree in international relations, international law, social sciences or other related field. 

  • English fluency required, with excellent presentation and written skills. 

  • At least 7 years of progressive experience working in a humanitarian or protection-focused NGO, in multiple contexts preferred. 

  • Desired experience working with refugee volunteers and incentive workers. 

  • Extensive conceptual and practical knowledge of UNHCR and partner relations, to include knowledge of HR practices. 

  • Highly organized and detail-oriented; ability to work under pressure and meet multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment. 

  • Effective communication and networking skills, and the ability to collaborate with and collect information from a wide range of actors, including through structured interviews, questionnaires, surveys or focus groups, are required. 

  • Demonstrated ability to produce technical analysis and actionable recommendations relevant to refugee volunteers and incentive workers. 

  • Commitment to HIAS’ mission and values, and refugee protection. 


We are committed to a fair and respectful hiring process, and we do our absolute best to respond to every applicant. We prioritize communication and transparency with all candidates, even those who are not moving forward. Here’s a snapshot of our hiring process for consultancies: 

Step 1: Submit your application! 

Step 2: Video interview with the hiring manager. 

Step 3: Offer, consultancy agreement and background check. 

Step 4: Start your professional journey with HIAS! 

Note: Some of our hiring processes may vary, and not all candidates will advance to each step. 


Over one hundred years ago, the Jewish community founded HIAS (originally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) in New York City, the immigrant gateway to America. Supporting Jews fleeing persecution and poverty in Eastern Europe, our founders were guided by the traditions, texts, and history of the Jewish people – a history of oppression, displacement, and diaspora. HIAS has since helped generations of Jews facing violence because of who they were, and HIAS remains committed to helping Jewish refugees anywhere in the world. Today, our clients at HIAS come from diverse faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, as do our staff. We bring our experience, history, and values to our work across five continents, ensuring that refugees today receive the vital services and opportunities they need to thrive.  

HIAS is a learning community, committed to diversity and inclusion. We do our work with integrity, accountability, transparency, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards. We seek employees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences to join our teams located in the United States and across the globe. People who identify as BIPOC, people with disabilities, people from the LGBTQ+ community, and people with lived experiences of forced displacement or immigration are all encouraged to apply. We are committed to building a diverse workforce that reflects our vision, mission, and values. 


HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and opportunity. 


Drawing on our Jewish values and history, HIAS provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world and advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives. 


Welcome • Acogimiento • Hospitalité • Hachnasat Orchim

We Welcome the Stranger 

Justice • Justicia • Justice • Tzedek

We Pursue Justice 

Empathy • Empatía • Empathie • Chesed

We Approach our Clients with Empathy 

Partnership • Compañerismo • Coopération • Chevruta

We Believe in Changing the World through Partnership 

Courage • Coraje • Courage • Ometz

We Act with Courage to Build a Better World 

Resilience • Resiliencia • Résilience • Ruach

We Adapt and Thrive, Continuously Demonstrating our Resilience 


HIAS is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. As an equal opportunity employer, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnic background, ancestry, citizenship status, religious creed, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, registered domestic partner or civil union status, familial status, pregnancy, childbirth, military status, protected veteran status, political orientation, or other legally protected status. 

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