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Director of Programs - Iraq

Erbil | Iraq (Iraq)


Mercy Corps is an international relief and development organization working in over 40 countries worldwide helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps has been present in the Middle East since the 1980s and currently has programs in Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. In Iraq, the country program started in 2003, and the current portfolio includes programs focusing on the capacity building and development of Civil Society Organizations; a conflict management program; youth programs and a re-established humanitarian response as of June 2014.

The coming three months will see Mercy Corps in Iraq redefine its response strategy, seeking to ensure our work meets the needs of the most vulnerable in a context of chronic crisis, while strengthening our ability to work with individuals, communities, civil society and governance institutions to build resilience, accountability and dialogue.


The Director of Programs will help shape the strategic direction and management structure of all programs in Iraq. Working closely with the CD, the Director of Programs will ensure that country programs are of the highest quality and standards addressing the needs of communities while taking into consideration the Iraqi political, socio-economics and security context. The Director of Programs will work closely with the Operations Director, Finance Director, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director as well as Security Manager to ensure programs are geared towards positive impact while in line with Mercy Corps internal policies as well as donor regulations.


Strategy and Vision

• Lead the Iraq Programs with a focus on learning and quality impact.

• Work closely with the CD and Senior Leadership Team to ensure good program integration and collaboration, especially between the three program pillars of humanitarian, transitional and development programs.

• Expand and grow the Mercy Corps Iraq portfolio with additional programming opportunities focused on addressing the needs of program participants and communities.

• Expand the Mercy Corps Iraq funding portfolio by identifying funding opportunities and guiding proposal design processes.

Program Management

• Manage all aspects of quality program design and implementation inclusive of oversight of program activities in line with grant agreements.

• Ensure all project and programs adhere to Mercy Corps Project Management minimum standards.

• Ensure all programs are in healthy financial status as well as financial resources being effectively and transparently used in compliance with Mercy Corps internal and donor policies and procedures.

• Work closely with Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director to ensure MEL systems are well set up to provide impact data allowing for immediate program course corrections if needed as well as capture learning for future programming.

• Manage effective communication and information flow to all internal and external parties inclusive of Mercy Corps HQ offices.

• Work with the Senior Leadership Team to identify and quickly resolve bottlenecks and conflicts that affect any aspect of program operations.

Team Management

• Recruit, manage, orient, and motivate an informed, skilled and efficient team; incorporate staff development strategies and Performance Management systems into the team building process.

• Manage the team with an emphasis on excellence and achievement; encourage a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation.


• Represent Mercy Corps Iraq programs to external parties, conducting programmatic briefings as well as new initiative developments and programmatic proposals.

• Establish and maintain positive, professional and constructive relationships with Iraqi authorities and community leaders, as required, and local and international NGOs.

• Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its mission.

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: Team Leaders, Sector and Program Managers



WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Finance Director, Operations Director, MEL Director, Security Manager, Program Managers, HQ Senior Program Staff, Regional Program Director.


• A BA/S or equivalent is required. An advanced degree is preferred.

• 5-7 years of progressive program management experience is required.

• 5+ years' experience in grants management as well as an understanding of donor regulations is required.

• 5 years international experience is required; international NGO field office experience is required.

• Excellent analytical and strategic thinking skills and ability to develop short and long term plans and strategies are required.

• Demonstrated experience and skill with proposal development, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and budgetary development and monitoring.

• History of working effectively and respectfully with host country government, INGO and NGO partners, the UN and the private sector.

• An impeccable professional standard of finance and procurement ethics as well as the willingness and ability to enforce compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies and procedures is essential.

• Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational, and prioritization skills are necessary.

• Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required.

• Excellent English language skills are required. Arabic or Kurdish proficiency is a key preferred asset.


The successful candidate will have an ability to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment with a capacity to lead and inspire the team to implement impact driven programs. S/he will have proven ability to learn quickly, take initiative, and be accountable for the program strategy. The Director of Programs will have the ability to navigate complex situations with diplomacy, manage ambiguity, frustration and stress in self and others, demonstrate confident and decisive leadership, a desire and ability to learn and grow, both personally and professionally and a tireless sense of humor.


Strict adherence to Mercy Corps security policies and procedures will be required as well as respect for local cultural norms and traditions. Flexibility about work assignments in a dynamic and fast-paced work environment is also required. All expatriate staff in Iraq live in group housing. Staff are entitled to R&R and hardship benefits. While based in Erbil, the Director of Programs will travel extensively to other parts of Iraq to supervise and develop programming. At least 40% of the time he/she will be working out of the Baghdad office.

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. Staff 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.

Apply Here:

PI94166257 **

Apply Here:

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: Erbil | Iraq (Iraq)
  • Grade: Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position - Mid/Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Operations and Administrations
  • Closing Date: 2016-06-24

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