By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Refugee Response Director, Greece & Balkans (220036-927)

Athens | Greece

This is initially three month role with possible extension


As Mercy Corps seeks to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression around the world we recognize that instances of sudden change within a country or region, like the events currently sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, are rare moments of opportunity. Mercy Corps is interested in strengthening presence for early as well as longer term programming for refugees from Syria and beyond. Mercy Corps, with her global experience in working in countries undergoing major transitions, will be a key contributor in the process, bringing knowledge, expertise and strong collaboration and management skills to position the agency as a partner of choice for progressive change. Exodus of refugees from Syria, the Middle East and beyond has brought the humanitarian crisis to the Mediterranean belt, Balkans and Europe. The main thrust of Mercy Corps' work, along with her national and international partners, for the foreseeable future (12 to 14 months) would primarily be focused on meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of refugees as they make their way through Greece and the Balkans. As the complexity of the crisis unfolds the heightened insecurity and international politics is making the humanitarian response highly challenging.


The Refugee Response Director (RRD) is the most senior position for Mercy Corps for the agency's refugee response. S/he is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully managing all programming, resulting in lasting improvement in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing persecution. S/He has held senior roles in formulating strategic direction and representing it successfully within an international development context. The RRD has supervisory responsibility for the team under his/her management and manages a diverse portfolio, team and protection protocols spanning three (or more) countries. The RRD develops innovative, collaborative, multi-sector programming, responsive to the changing needs of the moving population; building on civic, private and public resources available in the countries of passage. The RRD is accountable to beneficiaries and donors, placing a high value on innovative solutions and creative partnerships in tough environments.


Strategy and Vision

  • Recognize opportunities for innovative and collaborative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to response-wide strategy development.
  • Collaborate with MC leadership in refugee countries of origin (e.g., Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan) on strategy development and Thought Leadership.
  • Develop and organize activities to secure resources for programs and convince stakeholders to provide support.
  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members and stakeholders that translates into concrete programs and work plans;
  • Lead the annual response planning process and provide strategic updates;
  • Use technical support teams collaboratively;

Personal Leadership

  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity
  • Demonstrate awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs
  • Demonstrate a high level of diplomacy and have highly developed negotiation skills
  • Lead by example
  • Respectfully and effectively work across multiple ethnic groups and linguistic barriers

Representation & Influence

  • Maintain a high degree of sophistication and excellence when negotiating with various ethnic factions and groups
  • Respect and understand cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and navigate through them.
  • Anticipate needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor's views on response objectives
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local governments, foundations, the private sector, institutional donors, sub-grantees, local governments and other stakeholders
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the objectives of the Response.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall program targets and donor obligations are met
  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and to the beneficiaries

Program Management

  • Oversee program start-up and ongoing program management and administration of teams across various locations.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to beneficiary and partner needs and consistent with Mercy Corps' relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Ensure that beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
  • Develop and oversee program implementation strategies, including partnership frameworks, beneficiary targeting, Protection, distribution process, Food and NFI, IT support, cash and economic recovery and capacity building of partners as needed.
  • Integrate culture-sensitive approaches, protection, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.

Operations Management

  • Apply Mercy Corps' Design M&E principles and framework to programs and ensure the country's overall strategy includes effective, timely reporting systems for all donors;
  • Ensure effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures;
  • Oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, if applicable;
  • Build and maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties between finance and operations;

Team Management

  • Create a sustainable work environment of mutual respect that attracts motivated, skilled and effective team members and enables them individually and collectively to strive to achieve excellence;
  • Supervise, provide leadership to, and build vision and team spirit in a diverse team of direct and indirect reports in offices spanning borders;
  • Contribute to response team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes;


  • Manage security protocols and ensure a system that effectively prepares for deals with crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and timely security policy changes.

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 Beneficiaries: Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Response teams in Balkans and Greece



WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: TSU, SPO, RPD, MC Europe, Global Security Advisor, SERG Director, RFO, Internal Audit, HR, Recruiting team and PALM team, Close Coordination with Turkey Refugee Response Team


  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA/S preferred.
  • 7-10 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including demonstrable success in managing large, complex, humanitarian and transitional programs;
  • Proven representation and influence skills resulting in resource generation, value-added partnerships and action on pressing issues
  • 5 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with country governments, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
  • Proven skills in project delivery and grants management; prior experience with USG, UKAid, ECHO, and other leading humanitarian donors.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; a second language highly preferred.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Preference for those with work authorization for Europe.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work with formal and informal government structures and representatives.
  • Previous work experience in Middle East and in insecure environments is preferred.


The successful candidate will be able to work collaboratively with key stakeholders internally and externally to further the strategy to focus the response into dynamic and innovative programs, be focused on team-building and capacity-building of team, have good information management skills and maintain a sense of humor. S/he will be a strategic thinker, able to bring ideas to implementation in growing program operations. S/he will have exceptional vision, representation skills and 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 the region.


The position is based in Athens, Greece. The location is unaccompanied and is not eligible for Hardship or R&R. This position requires (50% of time) of travel to field offices in Greece, Serbia and Montenegro. Housing will be individual and with access to services consistent with European capital.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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.

Please follow this link to apply:

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.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Athens | Greece
  • Grade: Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position - Mid/Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Refugee rights and well-being
    • Nutrition
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Refugee rights and well-being
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2016-01-24

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

Similar Jobs


Secours Islamique

East Africa Regional Director


Protection Program Manager - Jordan

Mercy Corps


Secours Islamique