Head of Humanitarian Team

  • Salary up to £59,700 based on skills and experience
  • Competitive pension contribution and other benefits
  • Scope for flexible working, including working from home
  • Opportunity to work for a leading humanitarian charity 

If you’re looking to progress your career in a great working environment, please read on.
Our employees have a wide range of benefits including 33 days holiday (including bank holidays), life insurance, enhanced maternity and adoption pay, and generous employer pension contribution. We also actively support our staff with a variety of flexible working arrangements to help balance work and home life. We are happy to consider part-time working patterns.

Department Global Impact Department
Responsible to Director of Global Impact
Responsible for Humanitarian team, with matrix management accountability for humanitarian technical advisors, humanitarian advocacy manager, and regional humanitarian programme managers
Location London with frequent overseas travel
Key relationships Director of Global Impact, other Directors and Chief Executive, Heads of team and Leadership Group members.
Job purpose The Head of the Humanitarian team will:

  • Lead HelpAge’s response to large and medium scale humanitarian crises when they occur and ensure the delivery of timely, high quality and relevant humanitarian assistance for older people.
  • Lead the work of the Humanitarian team to strengthen capacity across the HelpAge International network to identify and respond to the needs of older men and women in emergencies.
  • Actively contribute to and take forward HelpAge’s engagement with external humanitarian stakeholders to ensure commitments to and accountability for the delivery of ageing inclusive humanitarian policy and practice

Key responsibilities:


  • Providing organisational leadership to HelpAge International’s humanitarian work and establishing clear cross-organisational mechanisms to engage different departments and regional offices in humanitarian response.
  • Leading the development of an organisational humanitarian strategy that will protect the rights and address the needs of older people affected by humanitarian crises across our priority sectors –protection and inclusion, health, nutrition and food security/cash, policy and advocacy.
  • Develop capacity of regional teams, network members and partners to deliver high quality multi-sectoral humanitarian responses in line with the HelpAge emergency framework.
  • Build emergency preparedness capacity in identified high-risk countries to ensure HelpAge country and regional offices are able to maintain high levels of response preparedness in line with ALERT Standards and deliver appropriate responses.

Programme development and implementation

  • Initiate and oversee the implementation of HelpAge’s humanitarian programmes in line with the HelpAge emergency response framework. This will involve developing and monitoring responses to longer-term emergency situations as well as reacting to rapid onset emergencies.
  • Manage the work of the Humanitarian team delivering and supporting humanitarian response, including response planning, logistics, procurement, budget management and communications.
  • In line with the HelpAge emergency response framework, provide overall leadership to large-scale humanitarian operations when required, including remote management of staff and oversight of programmes.
  • Provide strategic oversight for the work of humanitarian technical advisors within HelpAge’s Global Technical Unit (GTU) to ensure that HelpAge field teams and network members are able to benefit from appropriate technical tools, standards and guidelines to support quality humanitarian response for older people.
  • When appropriate, recruit and manage consultants and other short-term staff to support humanitarian interventions.

Network Support and Coordination

  • Build relationships and network with key global institutions to position HelpAge effectively amongst peers, research institutions, think thanks and donors in the UK, Geneva Brussels and beyond.
  • Work with regional directors and heads of network development to develop the HelpAge regional networks to include members who are able to deliver programmes, and those who want to build their capacity in ageing inclusive humanitarian policy and practice.
  • Ensure network members have direct access to information from HelpAge’s humanitarian responses to support their ability to understand the situation and contribute to the response (e.g. through funding or deployment of staff).
  • Support specific network members, regional and country offices to participate in humanitarian coordination and raise funds in their countries for HelpAge International humanitarian projects.

Policy and Advocacy

  • Working with the Humanitarian Advocacy Manager and other relevant HelpAge staff, contribute to the development of HelpAge policy and advocacy positions, and disseminate policy and practice developments to the wider humanitarian community.
  • Represent HelpAge in policy and advocacy forums to contribute to HelpAge’s efforts to ensure older people’s needs are recognised and addressed in humanitarian policy and practice.
  • In conjunction with Humanitarian Advocacy Manager liaise with organisations outside HelpAge in order to present HAI’s strategy and activities.
  • Provide support to regional and country offices to ensure their consistent engagement with humanitarian coordination systems (clusters etc) in support of influencing greater inclusion of older men and women in wider humanitarian response activities.
  • Ensure that HelpAge represents its humanitarian programmes and policy in an effective manner in all external forums.

Capacity Building and learning

  • Establish systems for institutional learning from HelpAge’s humanitarian programmes, and disseminate the results throughout the HelpAge offices and network and externally.
  • Oversee and ensure capacity is built amongst HelpAge staff and partners in emergency preparedness using HelpAge’s ALERT emergency preparedness system.
  • Enable and support the Humanitarian team to build capacity amongst HelpAge staff and partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of humanitarian response programmes.

Resource Development

  • Work with technical, operational and resource development staff to provide leadership to fundraising initiatives in emergency and post-emergency environments, and provide input into the drafting and submission of concept notes and project proposals to donors.
  • Establish relationship with key donors and support international offices in identifying and developing donor relationships in their country, including with the UN coordination mechanisms.

Person Specification
Skills, knowledge and experience required:


  • Substantial experience in initiating and managing humanitarian emergency responses including rapid needs assessment and programme design
  • Experience in strategic planning and implementation
  • In-depth knowledge of preparedness and contingency planning for emergency response
  • Skilled in providing advice and support to programme teams and building staff and partner capacity
  • Able to create and maintain networks and positive, productive working relationships with other organisations and institutions
  • Strong commitment to humanitarian values, law and principles and familiarity with humanitarian standards
  • Ability to promote organisational learning through analysis, research, report writing and dissemination of information
  • Experience of policy development, dissemination and advocacy
  • Excellent understanding of international humanitarian systems, institutions and donors, and of procedures, accountability frameworks and best practices in emergency management
  • Successful experience of engagement with institutional donors (DFID, ECHO, OFDA, UN pooled funds etc)
  • Experience of managing a diverse team of managers and advisory staff including managing staff at a distance.
  • Experience of working with and through partners in emergency response.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including experience of negotiation with a wide range of organisations at different levels and with a high level of cultural sensitivity
  • Excellent command of written English, in order to be able to prepare guidelines, training materials and other resources
  • Able to travel at short notice throughout the year

Apply here