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Senior Manager - Program Performance & Quality


  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Erbil
  • Grade: Senior level - Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2024-06-16

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians working together on the front lines of today’s biggest crises to create a future of possibility, where everyone can prosper. In more than 40+ countries around the world, over 5,400+ team members work side by side with people living through poverty, disaster, violent conflict, and the acute impacts of climate change. We’re committed to creating global change through local impact — 84% of our team members are from the countries where they work.

We bring a comprehensive approach to every challenge, addressing problems from multiple angles. And we go beyond emergency aid, partnering with local governments, forward-thinking corporations, social entrepreneurs, and people living in fragile communities to develop bold solutions that make lasting change possible.

Program / Department Summary

The purpose of the Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) Unit is to support effective, efficient, and equitable program performance through a culture of quality management to achieve results for those that matter most —our program participants. PaQ is organized around three primary categories: (1) Standards—tools that support the implementation and quality assurance of the Program Management Policy; (2) Service—support for complex program management, leadership continuity, and Communities of Practice; and (3) Evidence.

The Senior PaQ Manager will oversee the country’s PaQ Department, which in Mercy Corps Iraq consists of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Unit, the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Unit, and the Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) Unit. The Senior PaQ Manager will also play a critical role in overseeing cross-cutting research and learning initiatives within and beyond its current programming and will have heavy involvement in the drafting of proposals and in new program design.

Mercy Corps believes strong MEL contributes to improved program quality, performance, results, and impact; advances Mercy Corps’ mission; and increases accountability to program stakeholders. In Mercy Corps Iraq, the unit includes both MEL-specific expertise as well as data systems and analysis as well as information management that are cross-cutting across other PaQ units. The Evidence & Learning function at Mercy Corps leads Mercy Corps’ efforts to use data, evidence, and analytics to improve programs, scale what works, and influence others.

Inclusion is at the heart of Mercy Corps’ ten-year strategy, and we strive to center it in our teams, programs, and partnerships to thoughtfully create safe spaces and a culture of belonging for all people. To fulfill our commitment to safe, diverse, and inclusive communities, we have incorporated GESI into our PaQ and Program structures in Mercy Corps Iraq.

CARM was developed as part of Mercy Corps’ global commitment to accountability to affected populations and the prevention of all forms of exploitation and abuse. CARM is a channel for any and all community members to provide feedback, suggestions, complaints, and concerns, in a manner that is safe, confidential, transparent, and accessible, enabling Mercy Corps to respond and make any necessary programmatic or safeguarding adaptations and to ensure the safety, security, and empowerment of program participants.

General Position Summary

The Senior PaQ Manager plays a key role in facilitating country-wide adoption of our evidence-driven commitment and encouraging adaptive management at all levels. Through oversight of the country’s key evidence-generating units—MEL, GESI, and CARM—the Senior PaQ Manager is well-positioned to encourage systematic reflection on learning and community feedback, and adoption of best practices across the portfolio. They will play a leading role in program development, building technical frameworks and ensuring inclusion and accountability principles are considered in the design phase.

In collaboration with Program Leadership, they will lead on ensuring the development of efficient, effective, and equitable program management processes and serve as a nexus between various program teams and portfolios. They will guide the monitoring of compliance with Mercy Corps’ global set of standards around Program Management and support related capacity building within and across teams and partners.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Align PaQ Department strategy and objectives to Country- and Regional-Level Strategies, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and metrics to monitor progress and achievement
  • Facilitate the development and pursuit of thematic, cross-cutting strategic priorities, including but not limited to the finalization, maintenance, updating, and follow-through on the country-level Evidence and Learning Agenda (ELA)
  • Develop and oversee research and evaluation functions that build the evidence base beyond single programs and cut across all MCIQ’s work, establishing MCIQ as a leading voice on evidence-driven programming in our target Outcome Areas
  • Contribute to the global and regional conversation around program performance and quality, PaQ strategies, and global program quality initiatives
  • Build consensus around a common vision of what shared success in Iraq looks like, including development and tracking appropriate indicators.
  • Lead by example and through direct orientation to ensure the full PaQ Departments adoption and understanding of country- and agency-level policies and standards, and support in their continued socialization and contextualization.
  • Serve as a member of the Extended Senior Management Team (E-SMT) to provide input and leadership around country-level policies and processes, including proactive problem solving and cross-department collaboration.
  • As a member of E-SMT, ensure an ambitious, realistic Country Strategy and follow through on the associated Implementation Plan(s).
  • Lead on PaQ elements of proposal development processes, including budgeting, gender- and inclusion mainstreaming, MEL frameworks, accountability systems, and assessing overall quality and coherence of program logic models.


  • Lead in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs
  • Lead the maintenance, technical orientation, rollout, socialization, and sustainability planning for MCIQ’s Learning Center, a newly established platform for archiving, indexing, cross-referencing, and searching lessons learned for ease of reference during program design and other critical decision gates.
  • Support program leaders to monitor compliance with Mercy Corps’ Program Management minimum standards across the portfolio, and lead on the coordination of program- or country-level trainings / reorientations as necessary
  • Ensure the accessibility of program data, evidence, and aggregated progress toward indicator targets and overall outcomes not only to MEL/PaQ colleagues, but to broader Program Teams, Senior Management, and other relevant stakeholders to inform decision making
  • Leads and oversees the production of information and learning that is genuinely useful for the teams in informing their strategic and operational decisions; sees the value in quantitative data, but is also enthusiastic about conducting qualitative research to deepen understanding
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and promote creative programming across the programs portfolio.
  • Support country inputs into / use of global program performance and quality systems, including the Minimum Standards Reporting (MSR) mechanism, TolaData, and others, and facilitate the use of results from these mechanisms to inform corrective action, training / support needs, and control quality as needed.
  • Coordinate agency-level reporting requirements (such as the Annual Participant Count, CARM Quality Assurance Processes, etc.) relevant to Iraq.
  • Facilitate collaboration between PaQ and Program colleagues and technical advisors at the regional and global levels, working together to build local team expertise as well as logframes, indicator plans, GESI frameworks, accountability systems, and the like that incorporate agency-wide learnings and are contextualized to the realities of MCIQ.
  • Support Program and PaQ colleagues overseeing research/learning consultants and evaluation processes to ensure recommendations are concrete, usable, and rooted in evidence.
  • Participate in program kick-offs to ensure effective strategic direction, clear orientation on management requirements, and learning plans; Participate in program reflections or close-outs to gather learning and share results.
  • Support the Country MEL Manager to ensure MEL minimum standards are met for each MCIQ Program, and overall compliance with Mercy Corps’ Global MEL Policy
  • Support the Country Inclusion & Accountability Manager in working towards gender transformative program design and implementation, ensuring GESI considerations are incorporated into new programs and standardized into reflection processes and decision gates throughout implementation.
  • Support the Country Inclusion & Accountability Manager to ensure that an appropriate Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) is in place, contextualized, and functioning effectively for all programs, and that results are utilized for implementation improvements and overall learning.
  • Maintain oversight of program-specific PaQ budget lines—including activities and staffing tied to MEL, GESI, CARM, and other research, ensuring accurate projections and effective planning.


  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence independently and as a team
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews, check-ins, and real-time reflection.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
  • Lead the recruitment, hiring, orient and supervise new team members as necessary, including gap-filling within the PaQ Department as needed.
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts; support team members to identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
  • Ensure appropriate staffing within a PaQ purview, and ensure all staff understand and are able to perform their role; engage in in-country and/or regional/global advocacy as needed to ensure human resource needs are met in the Department.
  • Incorporate staff development strategies and Performance Management Systems into team building processes; provide guidance to senior team members on how to manage their teams, provide consistent, clear feedback, and conduct performance reviews.
  • Provide supervision to the PaQ team members, ensure their work is aligned and contributing effectively to the PaQ team’s strategy, that they have access to training, systems and support and that effective workflows and coordination are set up between the different team members and components.

Supervisory Responsibility

Country MEL Manager, Country Inclusion & Accountability Manager


Reports To: Deputy Country Director

Works Directly With: MCIQ PaQ Team, Program Leadership, Regional PaQ/MEL/CARM/GESI Focal Points, Extended Senior Management Team (E-SMT), Research/Evaluation Consultants

Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Masters or equivalent in a field related to International Development, Social Sciences, or Research Methodologies preferred.
  • Minimum 5 years working experience required, preferably in program monitoring and/or implementation, providing coordination and technical oversight, or the broader development sector
  • Extensive experience with program quality, monitoring and evaluation, information management, research implementation or oversight, and other learning efforts strongly preferred.
  • Knowledge of inclusion principles and best practices related to community accountability required; experience leading gender and/or inclusion analyses an advantage.
  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office and Google Suite required; Experience with data collection softwares (Ona, Kobo, CommCare, or similar) required; experience with quantitative and qualitative analysis softwares strongly preferred.
  • Experience with a range of institutional donors such as AFD, EU/ECHO, GAC, GIZ, USAID/BHA, PRM, SIDA and FCDO is an advantage.
  • Advanced fluency in written and spoken English is required, Arabic and/or Kurdish are an asset.
  • Excellent English writing skills required; previous experience in developing donor assessments, research, proposals, and program reports is strongly preferred
  • Demonstrated attention to details, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, prioritize activities and work independently and cooperatively with team members are required.
  • Experience working in the Middle East region and/or complex security contexts preferred; experience in Iraq is an advantage.
  • Proven ability to work cooperatively with internal and external stakeholders, and to play a leadership role in convening groups. Astute skills in relationship building and coordination.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps program sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Excellent listening, inter-personal, communication and networking skills; and the ability to work with diversified populations.
  • Skilled at delivering and facilitating training and capacity building interventions, e.g. coaching, mentorship.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is an opinionated, fast-thinking, experienced leader. They have a thorough understanding of what is takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments, and how to conduct quality management of these programs. They are an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams toward achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. They are able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. They should have good communication and diplomatic skills. They should be able to facilitate complex team dynamics and achieve aims, have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, good organizational skills and ability to work independently, with a strong commitment to advancing learning in international development through monitoring and evaluation. they should be active within the MEL community and have strong relationship-building skills and commitment to working collaboratively. They have an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that use strong program management practices and respond to current needs in Iraq.

Organizational Learning

As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Accountability to Participants

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects

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.

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.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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