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OFDA principal regional advisor

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

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The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is the office within USAID that is responsible for providing emergency non-food humanitarian assistance in response to international crises and disasters. OFDA is part of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and is organized into three divisions. The Disaster Response and Mitigation Division (DRM) is responsible for the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance through a grants mechanism to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations including the United Nations agencies, and to other partners to ensure the implementation and delivery of this assistance. This division also oversees OFDA's non-response efforts in disaster risk reduction. DRM also coordinates with other organizations for the provision of relief supplies and assistance. DRM devises, coordinates, and implements program strategies for a variety of natural and man-made disaster situations. It encompasses a group of technical sector specialists who provide expert capability in assessing the quality of disaster response and disaster risk reduction activities. The Program Support Division (PS) provides programmatic and administrative support including budget/financial services, procurement planning and guidance, contracts and grants administration, and communication support for OFDA’s Washington and field offices. The Operations Division (OPS) develops and manages logistical and operational support for disaster responses and administrative support to all offices and operations. OPS maintains readiness to respond to emergencies through several mechanisms, including managing Search and Rescue Teams (SAR), coordinating and supporting Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs), and the Washington-based Response Management Teams (RMTs) as needed.


To fulfill its mandate to effectively respond to disasters worldwide, OFDA has established six permanent regional offices. The regional offices are located in San Jose, Costa Rica; Bangkok, Thailand; Dakar, Senegal; Nairobi, Kenya; Pretoria, South Africa, and Budapest, Hungary.

The regional offices are headed by Principal Regional Advisors (PRAs). PRAs serve as the regional team leaders in disaster response, preparedness and disaster risk reduction activities. They are principally responsible for managing the regional offices, monitoring all grants on humanitarian assistance program implementation, overseeing the sub-regional office, as applicable, supervising the office staff, and developing, in consultation with their respective Regional Coordinators and the OFDA Disaster Response Team Leader in Washington, the multi-year strategies for their respective regions. In coordination with OFDA/Washington, PRAs manage disaster response activities, identify and formulate disaster preparedness, mitigation and training programs for their respective regions.

The West and North Africa Regional Office (WNARO) in Dakar, Senegal, covers 24 countries in West and North Africa. The region is largely comprised of poor, food insecure nations, and politically unstable and failing states with diverse cultures, languages, topographies, and disaster vulnerabilities.


OFDA requires the services of a Principal Regional Advisor (PRA) for its regional office in Dakar, Senegal.

Core functional areas of responsibility:

The PRA will actively develop and coordinate disaster responses as well as ongoing preparedness, mitigation and training programs to increase the capability of host governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations to respond and prepare for disasters in affected regions. Frequent travel throughout North and West Africa will be required.

The Principal Regional Advisor’s responsibilities will include the following:

1) Disaster Response - Working directly under the guidance and supervision of the Disaster Response Team Leader in OFDA/Washington (OFDA/W), the PRA will:

- Serve as the DCHA/OFDA lead representative and the primary point of contact on OFDA-related matters in the assigned region.
- Manage the Regional Office in Dakar, supervise all office staff; and ensure all staff receive appropriate OFDA training.
- Travel to disaster locations and/or areas of potential disasters and conduct initial assessments of damages and needs; provide representational backstopping support to the DART team leaders.
- Recommend appropriate relief assistance and emergency interventions in consultation with USAID/W; provide timely reporting cables and other written analysis of all disaster, humanitarian, and emergency events.
- Coordinate and maintain close liaison with representatives of host government, donor governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, U.S. embassies and USAID missions to ensure efficient and coordinated disaster response activities.
- Monitor OFDA-funded activities, to ensure objectives are being met and beneficiaries are being served.
- Coordinate the requests, receipt, distribution, tracking, and accounting of relief supplies provided by OFDA.
- Facilitate and coordinate the arrival and departure of DARTs and assessment teams with the U.S. Mission and, as required, serve on DARTs or assessment teams when appropriate; may serve as the Team Leader, as necessary.
- Maintain communications, while on travel, with their respective regional/sub-regional offices and OFDA/W, as necessary.
- Under the guidance and supervision of the Disaster Response Team Leader, coordinate with OFDA/W and other OFDA relevant regional offices, and prepare information requirements and reports.
- Become certified and serve as an Agreement Officer’s Technical Representative (AOTR) or Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) for grants, cooperative agreements and contracts under portfolio of responsibility.

2) Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation - Working closely with OFDA/W and drawing on the skills and technical expertise within the office and available through inter- and intra-agency agreements, the PRA will assist representatives of host government organizations, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations in the development of strong emergency and disaster preparedness/mitigation programs.

Specifically, the PRA, in collaboration with colleagues in OFDA/W regional teams, and under the guidance and supervision of the Disaster Response Team Leader in OFDA/W, will:

- Prepare or supervise the preparation of regular strategic and analytical reports on current or anticipated emergencies, as well as comprehensive preparedness documentation on assigned countries.
- Assist with the design, development, and implementation of strategies and integrated disaster assistance for OFDA, USAID, local governments, and other donors/organizations, as appropriate.
- Advise regional officials, including host country authorities and other USAID officials on disaster response, mitigation and risk reduction efforts, including the review of sector disaster response and DRM and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plans.
- Provide support, as required, for other DRM and DRR initiatives in the assigned region. Support may include assessment visits, project design/evaluation exercises and hazards/vulnerability/risk analysis.
- In the area of mitigation, work with other agencies/organizations to identify critical disaster concerns affecting the region and countries, and develop projects/activities for addressing these.
- Work with local and regional institutions and private/public sector organizations to incorporate mitigation into appropriate programs.

Supervisory relationship:
The Principal Regional Advisor works under the supervision of, and reports directly to, the Disaster Response Team Leader in OFDA/W.

Education and Experience:

- Bachelor’s degree with significant study in, or pertinent to, the specialized field of, but not limited to, international relations, economics, food policy or a related field or country, and nine (9) years of progressively responsible experience in emergency relief and humanitarian assistance, five (5) years of which were obtained overseas.
- Master’s degree with significant study in, or pertinent to, the specialized field of, but not limited to, international relations, economics, food policy or a related field or country, and seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in emergency relief and humanitarian assistance, three (3) years of which were obtained overseas.


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