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North Syria Director (220152-927)

Gaziantep | Ankara (Turkey)


As the war in Syria enters its fifth year with more than 7.6 million people displaced and front-lines ever more complex with bombing and shelling affecting civilians on a daily basis Mercy Corps' commitment to maintain life-sustaining assistance to IDPs and the most vulnerable is ever more critical. In addition, since early 2015 the number of beneficiaries who rely completely on our food assistance has increased every month, especially in partially besieged and front-line communities. For those extremely vulnerable communities regular food deliveries determine whether they can remain in Syria or must join the increasing flow of refugees arriving in Turkey and on ward to Europe. Mercy Corps, with their substantial experience of working in countries undergoing major transitions, are a key contributor in the process, bringing knowledge, expertise and strong management skills to position the agency as the partner of choice for conflict response in North Syria. Mercy Corps has established itself as a specialist responder, adapting constantly to the shifting conflict and developing operational, programmatic and access modalities designed to maintain the safest possible response while incorporating a high level of flexibility of response. In addition Mercy Corps has built a strong contingency response capacity from Turkey and cross-border operations that allow for maximum scale-up in response to sudden shocks and population movements.


The North Syria Director (NSD) is the most senior position for Mercy Corps in that location. S/he is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully managing all programming, resulting in lasting improvement in the lives of millions of Syrians in his/her area of operations. S/He has held senior roles in formulating strategic direction within an international development context. The NSD has supervisory responsibility for the team under his/her management and administers a diverse portfolio of over USD 80 million. The staff is comprised of nearly 400 members including international, Syrian and Turkish individuals working at multiple locations. A substantial team operates remotely in North Syria. The NSD is responsible for ensuring the development and implementation of multi-sector programming and is accountable to more than 2 million beneficiaries and multiple donors, placing a high value on innovative solutions to problems and the establishment of creative partnerships in one of the world's most dangerous environments.


Strategy and Vision

  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members and stakeholders that translate into concrete programs and work plans;
  • Follow the development of the Syrian conflict and the impact of political and military changes on the humanitarian situation, ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated into Mercy Corps planning;
  • Lead the annual country planning process and provide strategic updates;
  • Use technical support teams collaboratively;
  • Monitor changes in policy by all key players, especially United Nations agencies, and critically analyze how Mercy Corps should respond to such developments.

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;
  • Being able to lead by example;
  • Ability to work across multiple ethnic groups and linguistic barriers;

Representation & Influence

  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate;
  • Ability to work with formal and informal government structures and representatives, Maintain and develop relevant and productive relationships with Turkish government institutions and key officials at national and local level;
  • Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs and civil society organizations and academic institutions;
  • Anticipate programmatic needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor's views on development and on the impact of conflict on our beneficiaries;
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support Mercy Corps response objectives;
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps maintain a high degree of risk awareness and impartiality when negotiating with combatant forces and relevant ethnic factions and groups
  • Respecting and understanding differing cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and being able to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved;

Team Management

  • Create and maintain 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 Mercy Corps objectives;
  • Supervise and provide leadership to a diverse team of direct and indirect reports in Syria and Turkey;
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes;
  • Foster strong partnership between Syrian and Turkish staff and recognize and encourage strong performers within the team and offer opportunities for advancement within the organization
  • Understand the pressures that the conflict places especially on Syrian staff and ensure that Mercy Corps does its best to minimize the impact on staff and their families through maintaining a supportive and cohesive team;

Operational Management

  • Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny imposed on Syrian programming and ensure continuing effective, transparent and responsive compliance mechanisms that meet and, where possible, exceed Mercy Corps and donor minimum standards;
  • Oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors; maintain a high degree of oversight on all financial structures;
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps maintains and continues to build on and improve operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties between finance and operations;

Security & Access

  • Work closely with the Access and Security Advisor and his/her team to maintain the maximum protection for Mercy Corps staff working in Syria and Turkey and to ensure that scalable security mechanisms are in place in order to respond rapidly to sudden emergencies and threats. Maintain oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps' continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach beneficiaries. Regularly review the Advisors' analysis of security in Syria and Turkey and ensure that our planning is relevant. Coordinate with the Regional Program Director (RPD) on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and security policy chang

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

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

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Heads of Finance, Programs, Operations, Safety & Security



WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Regional Program Director, Senior Program Officer, Technical Support Unit, Mercy Corps Europe, Global Security Advisor, SRGE Director, Regional Finance Officer, Internal Audit, People and Strategy team and PALM team, Policy and Advocacy, Communications


  • 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.
  • 5 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, 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.
  • Capacity to respond to emergency and disaster response as appropriate.
  • Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in emergency response preferred donors.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic is preferred.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • 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 expand the North Syria presence into dynamic and innovative programs, be focused on team-building and capacity-building of national staff, 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 proposal development 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 Gaziantep, Turkey or Ankara, Turkey. This position requires up to 50% of time of travel to field offices and partner agencies in less secure environments.

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.

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  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Gaziantep | Ankara (Turkey)
  • Grade: Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position - Mid/Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Operations and Administrations
  • Closing Date: 2016-03-06

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