About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.
The Mercy Corps Iraq Team
Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003. Mercy Corps Iraq has a whole-of-Iraq approach and operates across nine governorates: Anbar, Basra, Duhok, Baghdad, Erbil, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, and Sulaymaniyah with an experienced team of nearly 250 national and international staff. Through our extensive portfolio, Mercy Corps Iraq has formed strong relations with the communities and local authorities where we operate and has an in-depth understanding of the security and cultural context in the areas where we work. Mercy Corps Iraq is currently implementing seven programs in Ninewa Governorate, with a demonstrated track record of working together with local stakeholders - from government directorates, as well as community leaders, women’s associations, local councils, Municipal Councils, Provincial Councils, Ninewa and Mosul Universities, and local and international NGOs. Mercy Corps has an especially strong background in designing and enacting social cohesion activities and peacebuilding with communities.
General Position Summary
The Deputy Country Director will be responsible for all the programs in Iraq; to ensure they are on time, on scope and on budget and implemented at the highest quality. They will supervise, guide and mentor the Program Leadership Team.
The role will strategically guide the work of Program Development and Grants Management team, to ensure that adequate leadership is applied to the implementation of relevant, innovative and adaptive programs; ensure the existence of a fully functioning and adaptive accountability framework; assist Country Director in maintaining the scale of portfolio through a forward looking business development strategy informed by coordinated engagement with donors, partners, peer organizations and various working groups and task forces.
The Deputy Country Director (DCD) works closely with the Country Director (CD) and the entire Senior Management Team. Providing leadership, strategic direction, management and evaluation of all aspects of the program, the Deputy Country Director also plays a key role in external representation, legal compliance, grant management, program coordination and team leadership. They represent Mercy Corps at the highest level and can develop, articulate and deliver a strategic vision in line with the rapid evolution of the context and the strategic decisions made by the Country Director and organization’s executive leadership.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategic Vision & Leadership
- Work closely with the Iraq Country Director and Senior Members of the Iraq Program to ensure Mercy Corps’ Global Strategy Pathways to Possibility and the Country Office Strategy guides decision-making;
- Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to program leadership team, aligning to Pathways to Possibility, and other team members and stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans;
- Contribute to countrywide strategy development, aligning with Mercy Corps’ Global Strategy Pathways to Possibility. Prioritize and organize actions and resources to achieve objectives and action plans set through those processes;
- Follow analysis of the Iraq socio-political, economic, access, security context ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated in planning for humanitarian, nexus, and longer-term sustainable development and resilience programming;
- Ensure effective communications and collaborations between programs and administrative and technical support teams ensuring effective implementation of activities towards implementation of the MC Iraq programs and strategy;
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment of trust where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Provide oversight and is ultimately responsible to ensure programs meet donor and internal obligations on scope, time and budget, including efficient coordination on common program, operational and funding issues;
- Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps’ programming and operations in Iraq;
- Support the Country Director in building consensus around a common vision of what shared success in Iraq looks like;
- Facilitate sharing and learning across different Mercy Corps portfolios, teams and offices and support teams to incorporate learning in project design and management;
- Engage Iraq program leadership in ongoing context analysis that enables programs and teams to adapt to significant changes in the geopolitical/conflict environment;
- Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and promote creative programming across the programs portfolio;
- Participate in shaping policy positions and advocacy messages relevant for the interests and MC Iraq country strategy;
- Ensures all program staff are familiar with the Mercy Corps’ Minimum Standards, and work in accordance;
- Provide regular programmatic updates and strategic advice to Country Director;
Strategic Business Development
- Lead, in collaboration with the Program Development and Grants Management team, strategic proposal development opportunities;
- Maintain strong donor relationships with current funders, and alongside the Country Director, strategically engage with new donors;
- Track and review call for proposals and identify opportunities that match Mercy Corps’ strategic interests and priorities in Iraq;
- Provide analysis of funding opportunities to Country Director ensuring MC Iraq is well informed and proactive in responding to funding opportunities;
- Coordinate with partner organizations and field program staff on proposal development and design, including gathering information for concepts and proposals;
- Contribute to go/no-go decisions regarding pursuit of Iraq funding opportunities and, in coordination with the Country Director, engage in strong regional-level representation with donors, international and local NGOs and networks;
- Apply the agency’s best practices in proposal development efforts for institutional donors.
Program Performance and Quality
- Collaborate with Program Performance and Quality (PAQ) Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs;
- Assist the PAQ team to enhancing established Monitoring and Evaluation tools in line with Mercy Corps guidelines and policies are effectively used by the programs teams;
- Closely collaborate with PAQ Director and other designated PAQ team members when developing and drafting concept notes, proposals and draft budgets;
- Ensure that all the program staff have received trainings in line with their level of responsibility and receive technical support relevant to their programs;
- Contribute to the establishment of the adequate team of technical advisors to provide expert advice and ensure technical consistency across programs.
- Propose ideas for improvement of productivity, efficiency and internal organization of program team to Country Director;
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews;
- Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary;
- Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives;
- Contribute to country team-building efforts, cross departmental cooperation, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
- Review and propose enhancement of internal communications, and decision-making processes within the MC Iraq to Country Director;
Finance & Compliance Management
- Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny in Iraq programming and ensure effective, transparent and responsive compliance mechanisms are in place;
- Maintain oversight of overall program budgets ensuring appropriate yet prudent allocation of resources to meet program objectives;
- Ensure MC Iraq proposes competitive and efficient program budgets;
- Ensure adequate technical, analytical and administrative support for programs;
- Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.
Influence & Representation
- Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities in coordination and consultations with the Country Director;
- Work with formal and informal government structures and representatives, maintain and develop relevant and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders;
- Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs and civil society organizations and academic institutions;
- Anticipate program needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor views on the evolving context and its impact on civilians in Iraq;
- Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support program objectives;
- Ensure appropriate levels of coordination and information sharing about representation and influence is taking place;
- Ensure that Mercy Corps maintain a high degree of risk awareness;
- Respect and understand differing cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and have the ability to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved;
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.
- Provide support in oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach beneficiaries;
- Coordinate with the Iraq Country Director on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and any security policy changes;
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies;
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
Supervisory Responsibility: Programmatic Leads
Reports Directly To: Iraq Country Director
Works Directly With: Country Senior Leadership Team, Regional Program and Technical Team, Headquarters Technical Support Unit, additional headquarters-based support departments as needed.
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;
- At least five to seven years of senior-level leadership (CoP, DCD) and management experience in large and complex programs including humanitarian operations, previous work experience in the Middle East and insecure environments preferred;
- Knowledge and experience in implementing Market System Development concept and programs;
- Substantial knowledge and experience about concepts of the sustainable development, durable solutions, peace and good governance and humanitarian system, institutions and donors, and of compliance requirements, accountability frameworks and best practices; prior experience with funding from USG, French, German and other leading donors;
- Robust experience in developing, operationalizing, and implementing program strategies;
- Demonstrated expertise in representation and negotiation resulting in securing significant new opportunities for the organization;
- Experience in writing project proposals, concept notes, policy papers;
- Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments;
- Experience leveraging Information Management Systems within development or humanitarian programs to evaluate program outcomes;
- Experience in managing strategic transitions from humanitarian to development, social cohesion programs in a post- conflict transition phase;
- Proven record in guiding the formulation of sectoral strategies in a rapidly evolving contexts;
- Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
- Excellent project management skills related to international, cross-functional teams;
- Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success;
- Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
- Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Arabic preferred.
The successful candidate is an experienced senior program manager with strategic vision and fast thinking with a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. They are excellent communicators that clearly communicate expectations towards a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. They have excellent coordination skills to deliver on key milestones across all departments and are always solution and action-oriented using highly developed interpersonal skills. They can work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team building and capacity-building of national staff. They are familiar with remote programming approaches and modalities and excel at optimizing time spent with team members, whether in person or remotely. They have excellent information management skills, are well-versed with humanitarian architectures and processes, especially in complex environments. They have an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Yemen.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Erbil, Iraq. This is an unaccompanied position with travel to other offices (up to 50%) as security allows, and housing is in group housing. When traveling around the country strict adherence to Mercy Corps security policies and procedures will be required as will respect for local cultural norms and traditions.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.
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.