Director of Programs

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United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)


Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program / Department / Team

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 400 people working in Eastern DRC, with the overall country goal being to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri and Kasai. Mercy Corps DRC’s key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development; 4) Support peacebuilding and local governance. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo.
Mercy Corps DRC’s portfolio is one of the largest (implementing 50M USD annually in programming) and most complex across the agency, Mercy Corps DRC is recognized as a leader in humanitarian and development programming in Eastern Congo, with large-scale impact in communities. We champion and lead innovative solutions in a complex operating environment and are well positioned to influence stakeholders (donors, peer organizations, private sector and government) to implement solutions that will have a lasting impact and bring out real change at the community level.

The Position

The Director of Programs (DOP) role is an exciting opportunity to shape and lead our programs in country. The DOP is a proven leader that is directly responsible for overseeing the programs portfolio in DRC. The role will ensure that adequate leadership is applied to the implementation of relevant, innovative and adaptive programs. S/he will work closely with the Country Director (CD) to lead the country strategy delivery and new program development, and ensure effective program coordination and technical support, program quality and accountability in close collaboration with all support departments (operations, finance, ethics and safeguarding, admin and RH, Crisis Analysis Team and Program Performance and Quality). The position will be based in Goma with frequent travel to Kinshasa and field offices. S/he will help represent Mercy Corps DRC at the highest level to donors, major stakeholders (including those from the private sector), relevant government authorities and is able to articulate and deliver strategic vision in the complex environment of Eastern Congo. The DoP is able to lead complex program implementation in a country program that operationally spans 10 field offices, and works in complex, insecure and unpredictable environments. The role will develop, articulate and deliver a strategic programmatic and operational vision in line with the rapid evolution of the context and the strategic decisions made by the organization’s executive leadership.

Essential Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision
  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to program teams and stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans;
  • Lead countrywide program strategy implementation and prioritize and organize actions and resources to achieve objectives set through those processes;
  • With support from the Crisis Analysis Team, follow analysis of the DRC socio-political, economic, access, security context ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated in planning for both short-term humanitarian and longer-term development programming;
  • Working closely with the Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) and Technical Support Unit (TSU) teams across programs, ensure that learning, research findings and technical support is furthering program adaptation and quality, adding value to the program and maintaining strategic focus;
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed
Program Development
  • In coordination with the Country Director, Program and PAQ Directors, Technical Advisors and other relevant personnel and counterparts, lead the identification of new initiatives and program opportunities that respond to identified needs and the country strategy as well as new potential donors or funding streams;
  • Provide overall leadership to Program teams working on the program development process.
  • Support Country Director to cultivate strategic partnerships or relationships with new/existing donors and private sector actors to further strategic development opportunities.
Program Leadership and Coordination
  • Ensure effective cross-program and cross-department teams coordination, collaboration, communication and alignment of Mercy Corps’ programming and operations;
  • Ensure regular coordination of program directors/managers with support department heads and focal points to ensure program adherence to grant agreements, PM@MC standards, and Mercy Corps policies and procedures;
  • Working closely with the PaQ department, facilitate sharing and learning across programs portfolios, teams, offices and support teams to incorporate learning in program design and management;
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic roadmap and country strategy;
  • Support Program Directors to oversee performance of partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors;
  • Ensure quality programs implementation, on time, on scope and on budget.
  • Support the implementation of the Gender Equality, Diversity and Social Inclusion strategy, promoting a culture of gender-sensitive, and where appropriate, gender-transformative programming.
Program performance and quality
  • Support the PAQ Director in establishing, reviewing and adapting systems, policies, structures and approaches necessary to ensure tools and systems are in place for effective program performance and quality;
  • Support the PAQ Director to put in place effective program quality tools and measures in place and to regularly monitor and improve quality control;
  • Ensure that programs and PAQ team members are actively linked to those at HQ to ensure that global indicators and practices are considered and adhered to where necessary;
  • Ensure all program leadership are enrolled and supporting their teams along the Program Management Learning Pathway;
  • Support and ensure the realization of the PaQ department strategy and annual plans, focusing on Gender Equality, Diversity and Social Inclusion, Communications & Advocacy, Community Accountability Reporting Mechanisms (CARM) and MEL and T4D;
  • Establish a concrete link between the program and PaQ teams, ensuring that program leadership integrates program quality, gender and social inclusion, communication, accountability, and MEL adequately and efficiently into individual programs.
Team Management
  • Ensure appropriate structure and staffing for program leadership positions.
  • Develop the capacity of the team, ensure program team members have a clear and deep understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Manage performance of program leaders including establishment of clear and measurable objectives, ongoing feedback, periodic reviews and regular check-ins.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Hire, orient and provide mentorship and capacity building to team members as necessary.
Finance & Compliance Management
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to all programs.
  • Serve as overall budget holder for programming; manage and support budget holders for individual programs and awards and ensure project expenditure is in line with work plans and commitments to donors.
Influence & Representation
  • Establish close and productive relationships with new/existing donors, national/regional/local government authorities, private sector actors, and local/international organizations in DRC, in close coordination with the Country Director, Heads of Offices, and Program Directors;
  • In coordination with Program Directors and where relevant, represent Mercy Corps at coordination meetings and increasingly play a lead role in other advocacy and coordination bodies;
  • Coordinate with other NGOs in the DRC to consolidate Mercy Corps’ strategic niche and comparative advantages, while identifying strategic partnerships;
  • Periodically ensure interim coverage as requested in Country Director’s absence.
  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

SWASSA, GAINS and P-DEC programs Chiefs of Party, Emergency Program Director, Program Performance and Quality Director (PaQ), SAFER Consortium Director and Grant Management Specialist.


Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: Department Heads – HR/Admin, Operations, Finance, Security, Ethics and Safeguarding, Crisis Analysis Team, DRC country program teams, HQ Regional Program Team, Technical Support Units and PAQ teams

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field. MA/S preferred.
  • Five to seven years of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs.
  • Experience managing humanitarian relief and/or transitional programs and/or development programs in areas affected by conflict and insecurity.
  • Prior experience with funding from USG, FCDO, ECHO, and other leading donors.
  • Previous experience working in francophone Africa.
  • Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills required, including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Strong management skills with good understanding of managing international, cross-cultural teams;
  • Proven track record in proposal writing and business development.
  • Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including Water and Sanitation, Food Security, Economic Recovery or Market Development, Cash programming, and/or Conflict/Governance.
  • Strong understanding of gender and protection mainstreaming would be a key advantage;
  • Strong analytic skills and ability to develop solutions to complex issues required;
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Fluent written and oral communication in French and English required.
  • Solid knowledge of security protocols and ability to work effectively in an insecure environment.

Success Factors

The successful DoP will have senior level experience in coordinating and managing programs in complex areas affected by conflict and insecurity. S/he will have exceptional program development skills and an outstanding ability to manage and lead complex/diverse program teams. S/he will have proven experience with cross-cultural teams, with strong leadership, communication, coordination and mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations. Patience, tenacity, diplomacy and a sense of humor will contribute to success.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The DoP is based in Goma in the main MC DRC field office, however the accompanied position allows the DoP to live in Gisenyi, Rwanda with family members. Gisenyi, Rwanda is an accompanied and secure location. Housing is in individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house in Rwanda. There are schools in Rwanda. Staff have full access to medical facilities, electricity, water, internet and standard amenities in Gisenyi, Rwanda.
The security conditions in Eastern DRC remain volatile, including in Goma. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. lnternet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues,

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

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