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About Mercy Corps
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.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been working in Afghanistan since 1986, seeking to assist Afghans in building equitable and sustainable livelihoods in strong communities. Historically, our work has focused on creating and strengthening economic opportunities, water security and humanitarian response in 10 provinces. More than a year after the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in August 2021, Mercy Corps is growing its portfolio with cash-based humanitarian programming in 2 provinces while continuing to navigate operational adaptations to its existing WaSH and livelihoods programming.
Current Response strategy as of February 2023
Mercy Corps is committed to continuing to serve the people of Afghanistan, working to assure peaceful and resilient communities. At time of writing, Mercy Corps Afghanistan (MCA) has suspended all program operations in country and is working to adapt its programs given recent decrees by the IEA. It is anticipated that this process of suspension could conclude in mid-2023 with humanitarian access negotiations.
Even though program operations in country are fully suspended, Mercy Corps will maintain the intent to restart humanitarian programs inside Afghanistan through 2023, and will continue active advocacy efforts to resolve the situation in a manner that enables all MCA team members to operate with a degree of safety. These efforts will be complemented by a crisis analysis facility, enabling Mercy Corps to maintain insight into dynamics, actors and events related to the world’s gravest complex humanitarian crisis.
General Position Summary
The Country Director (CD) is the top management position for Mercy Corps in Afghanistan with supervisory and managerial responsibility over all personnel, programs and policies. The CD is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction for programming in cooperation with Mercy Corps’ senior management team and local and international partners. S/he will ensure we learn from experience, thorough research and contextual analysis to develop high impact strategies that address both the current crises as well as longer-term solutions. S/He is also responsible for developing and implementing systems, policies and procedures for Mercy Corps’ operations in Afghanistan. The CD is responsible for financial oversight, staff security, human resource management and representation. S/he is a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with team members, partners and donors. S/he will coordinate with his/her supervisor and be skilled at building highly effective working relationships with HQ. S/he will harness the expertise, experience and ideas of Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams to channel them into impactful partnerships with country programs. S/he will work with the senior management team prioritizing their professional development and growth.
The Country Director (CD) acts for Mercy Corps on all matters related to the situation in Afghanistan. S/he will lead on advocacy and humanitarian access efforts (with bi- and multi-lateral partners as well as directly with the IEA where appropriate and necessary), act as a spokesperson, participate in policy briefings and meetings, and, alongside the Humanitarian Leadership and Response team and Regional Security Adviser, prepare briefings, reports and insights for internal and external thought leadership on the humanitarian emergency.
Although it is anticipated that this position will be based in Kabul, it will include some travel to, and presence in, other provinces and/or the wider region, dependent on security and context.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & VISION
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
Afghanistan SMT, including Director of Programs, Director of Operations, Security Safety and Access Lead, HR Lead, and Finance Lead
Reports Directly To: Regional Director
Works Directly With: Asia Regional Program Team, the Regional Performance and Quality team, Regional Security and other teams in the region and at Headquarters as needed.
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
The successful CD will be a gracious, personable leader who has an energizing effect on our team and key external partners. A politically savvy, balanced, and astute individual who has the persona to successfully convene and partner with relevant stakeholders in the ever shifting and complex crisis ecosystem of Afghanistan. Calm and emotionally intelligent, personifying grace under fire, especially in leading through the management of urgent security situations. They will have the vision to see possibilities for positive change where others see deprivation; be able to articulate compelling insights into the Afghanistan crisis; and be able to lead the design and implementation of bold solutions as and when opportunities to re-establish program operations allow. They will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The CD is based in Kabul but will likely be expected to travel 40% within Afghanistan and the wider region should the situation dictate and conditions allow. In Afghanistan, conditions may be testing and include lack of dependable access to utilities for a period, as well as requiring constant monitoring of the security situation at organizational and personal levels.
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. 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.