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Director of Programs - Timor-Leste

Dili (Timor-Leste)

  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Dili (Timor-Leste)
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-04

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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.

Program/Department Summary

Timor-Leste is the newest country in Asia, having gained independence in 2002 after decades of conflict. Timor-Leste is working to build its new democracy with still-nascent institutions, limited human capital, and significant economic, food security, and health challenges. Since establishing operations in Timor-Leste in 2007, Mercy Corps has earned a reputation for innovative and high quality programming with our community-led, market-based approach. 2019 saw over 650 local businesses, associations and CSOs benefit from our critical support igniting Timor-Leste’s engine for inclusive growth and prosperity. Our Timor-Leste team is headquartered in Dili, the capital, with partners and offices strategically located throughout the country, and portfolio valued at around $17 million dollars. Partnering with a diverse funding base that includes United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), European Commission (EC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and several large companies, foundations and NGOs, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. We stand with Timor-Leste to find and access opportunities, and to be part of lasting and meaningful transformation in the country.

General Position Summary

The Director of Programs (DoP) is a key leadership and management position for Mercy Corps and works closely with the Country Director to set the overall strategic direction of the program portfolio. With oversight of a diverse $17 million portfolio, The DoP is responsible for management oversight of all programs, building and sustaining motivated and creative cross-cultural teams, ensuring technical quality and cross-program synergies and fundraising strategically. S/he builds and maintains strong relationships with all agency stakeholders, and ensures a productive and thoughtful work environment between the Programs and Support teams. S/he plays integral roles in program development, evidence building and use, as well as communications, influence, accountability, and overall quality assurance. S/he represents Mercy Corps Timor-Leste programs and is responsible for coordinating with the larger S/he will directly supervise an eight-person program management team.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Work with the Country Director, the Senior Management Team, and other team members to formulate and revise country program strategies and priorities, and to communicate this strategy to constituencies.
  • Support the Country Director in country level strategic planning and in the development, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and administration of humanitarian relief and development projects in line with the country program strategy. Ensure that evidence-based results are clearly documented and communicated, and that annual planning documents adequately reflect an evidence-based, iterative strategic path.
  • Work with the Country Director and Finance Manager on country program consolidated budgets for the current and upcoming fiscal years, and to use this budget as a management tool to maximize resources and ensure sound fiscal management.
  • Creatively imagine new business opportunities and play an important role in the preparation of concept papers, proposals, and other funding opportunities for new initiatives and programs. This will often include working as the lead writer on such efforts.


  • Provide overall strategic leadership to the Program team, and ensuring team fully understands and can operationalize both program agreements and the overall country strategy.
  • Ensure all teams understand and can operationalize Mercy Corps’ community-led, market-driven approach, and that gender equality is mainstreamed into all program strategies, programs, and projects.
  • Supervise and mentor both Program Managers and Cluster Managers ensuring that both programs and projects follow sound planning, implementation, monitoring, learning and adaptation processes; have high performing teams; receive appropriate technical input and support, utilize good performance management processes; focus on quality, accountability, and results; deploy cutting-edge technical approaches; and, that good participatory methods and stakeholder engagement approaches are used.
  • Ensure the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) team and all program teams understand, appreciate and utilize our project design, monitoring, learning, accountability, and documentation tools and system
  • Ensure that projects and programs receive necessary technical support by: identifying, organizing, and when appropriate delivering trainings, cross-learning exchanges, and information sharing; encouraging and supporting self-directed learning;
  • Ensure regular field monitoring visits and provide feedback in ways that improve both project and program level progress, impact, influence, and innovation.
  • Lead programming meetings on a monthly basis to ensure team learning and cross collaboration
  • Work with Operations, Finance, HR teams and to make sure that adequate operational support is in place for project success
  • Participate in the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of key program staff, and other staff as requested by the Country Director.
  • Promote learning and knowledge management through documentation and knowledge sharing around best practices and lessons learned

Business development

  • Drive a resource development strategy to ensure the portfolio remains funded and aligned with strategy
  • Pro-actively identify new business opportunities and translate these into concepts
  • Maintain a business development tracking system that captures priorities of key in country donors
  • Lead / write new proposal development to ensure a fully funded portfolio

Team Management

  • Participate in recruitment and selection, orientation and training of key personnel
  • 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 performance reviews.
  • 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.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Supervise and regularly coordinate with project staff and support departments to ensure smooth planning, preparation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of program activities;
  • Provide coaching and mentoring to team members with an eye to building national staff leadership with the intent of ultimately nationalizing positions.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Collaborate with program, finance and administrative staff to ensure systems are in compliance with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Support Program Managers to appropriately manage their budgets through regular budget vs actual reviews and follow up action items
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

Influence & Representation

  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Ensure that all programs produce professional quality reports and communications materials; that publishable results are disseminated strategically and effectively; and that Mercy Corps is a ‘thought leader’ in its strategic technical areas.
  • Ensure effective, consistent and timely communication with donors and project partners
  • Maintain excellent relationships with donors, the host country government and local leaders, partner agencies, and other key stakeholders;
  • Document and disseminate lessons learned and best practices to internal and external stakeholders, including at international conferences and similar forums.
  • Ensure visibility of Timor-Leste programs, both internally and externally


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

Program Mangers, Cluster Managers, MERL Director (8 direct reports)


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: HR, Operations, Finance departments; donors, peer INGO agencies, government line ministries; HQ Desk and support units

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S degree in international development, economics, agriculture, conflict mitigation, social sciences or other relevant fields.
  • At least four years of field experience, with at least three years in program management positions
  • Practical knowledge and experience in successfully leading and managing a thematically diverse portfolio of projects, as well as national and international staff
  • Demonstrated technical understanding of a market-based, systems, and/or private sector approach, as well as at least some of the following sectors: agriculture, food security & nutrition, microfinance, disaster management, and social development.
  • Demonstrated experience bringing in new business and working with market actors (e.g., private sector, foundations, etc.); including innovative design and leading the proposal development process
  • Strong written and verbal cross-cultural communication skills, presentation and representation
  • Strong facilitation and consensus-building skills.
  • Knowledge of key Mercy Corps approaches and systems a plus
  • Prior work experience in South East Asia is a plus

Success Factors

The successful DoP will combine strong leadership and management skills while building diverse programs and managing donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an ability to think creatively about improving the quality and impact of programs. The DoP will have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. S/he will be able to bring diverse views and programs together for a common vision. Prioritizing, problem solving and the capacity to balance attention to detail and maintaining strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in Dili, Timor-Leste. Approximately 30% travel will be required to field locations. Dili provides a relatively secure living environment with minimal essential services and limited options. This is an accompanied family post, with very basic health care and international education facilities.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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.

Ongoing Learning

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

Apply here.

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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