Website MERCY CORPS
Position: Director of Programs
Employment Type: Full-time
Salary Grade: D
Job Location: Kathmandu, Nepal with at least 35% travel across Nepal depending on COVID restrictions, Nepal
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
Mercy Corps began operations in Nepal in 2005, and since then has implemented projects in the sectors of agriculture, food security and nutrition, financial services, youth engagement, and disaster risk reduction/ climate change adaptation. To date, this programming has reached over 900,000 people in 23 districts. Mercy Corps Nepal works to build the absorptive, adaptive and transformative potential of vulnerable individuals and communities across Nepal. The goal is attained through a systems based approach to market development, financial services, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, emergency response and youth engagement.
Currently, there are 10 programs in the Nepal portfolio; five will be closing out by the end of March 2021, and therefore will need close attention to program quality in the final stages, but also effective, efficient and responsible close-out. One program will be in the start-up phase, three programs will be on-going and will need normal attention to program quality, and one large USAID-funded complex program will be well into its first year of implementation. The USAID program has its own Chief of Party, but the DoP will have discreet support roles for the program going forward. Business development will be a key priority with the short-term emphasis will be on complementary, transformative funding opportunities while the long-term goals will be to maintain a similar level of effort, influence and implementation across the country. At any time, the country of Nepal could experience significant natural disaster, and this position would be expected to have a key leadership role in Mercy Corps Nepal’s emergency response efforts.
General Position Summary
Nepal is a complex operating environment that is characterized by high levels of competition for available funding opportunities, logistical challenges due to the country’s topography, and additional management considerations related to the country’s geographic and ethnic/ caste diversity. In the last year, the country office has been undergoing significant transition- closing out several cornerstone programs while starting up new ones, and revamping policies, practices and staffing roles across the team. Mercy Corps has also made significant progress in assuming a leadership position in the disaster risk reduction, emergency, education and protection sectors.
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 $31.7 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 Nepal programs and is responsible for coordinating with the larger S/he will directly supervise a 4-6 person program management team. As the deputy to the Country Director, the DoP also serves as a key advisor for major strategic decisions related to overall operations and management of the entire country office, and serves as acting Country Director in the absence of the CD. The successful candidate will be a progressive, strategic thinker, someone able to work outside the lines and inject new ideas and critical thinking skills into our work. The next DoP for our team will be a strong leader, committed to gender and social diversity, and will serve as a model for strong leadership not only to Mercy Corps’ project managers, but also support staff, partners, and other stakeholders.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision – 10%
• Work with the Country Director, the senior management team (SMT), and other team members to maintain country program strategies and priorities, and to communicate this strategy to constituencies.
• Where appropriate, support the Country Director to conduct country office monitoring and reporting against the strategy.
• Work with the Country Director and Finance & Compliance 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, especially for on- going programs.
• Serve as a member of the Senior Management Team, helping to formulate fair and affordable human resource and operations management policies and strategies.
Business Development – 30%
• Prioritize, and contribute to the preparation of, concept papers, proposals, and other funding opportunities for new projects/ programs. This could include working as the lead writer on such efforts.
• Drive a business development strategy to ensure the portfolio remains fully funded and aligned with country 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
• Ensure that knowledge management of key program documents, publications, evidence and other resources is well organized, and materials are packaged for external distribution, published on the website (where relevant) and available to be used as marketing materials
Program Management – 55%
• Serve as the main accountability manager for grants in the country office portfolio, ensuring programs remain on time, on scope, on budget and that program managers are skilled, resourced and empowered to make adjustments and manage these processes as well.
• Lead project planning processes, ensuring that all projects/ programs have a clear and achievable design, integrating innovations where appropriate; and, fully comply with PM@MC and Gender Minimum standards.
• Supervise Project Managers/ Program Managers, ensuring that projects: follow sound planning processes; have high performing teams, with good performance management processes; focus on detail, quality, and results; have strong monitoring & evaluation frameworks; deploy cutting-edge technical approaches;
and, that good participatory methods and stakeholder management approaches are used.
• Ensure that projects/ programs receive adequate technical inputs by: keeping projects/ programs technically focused and iterative, yet responsive to emerging opportunities and trends; identifying and organizing trainings and exposure visits; encouraging self-directed learning; and, facilitating cross-learning and information sharing. Strive to create a project/ program environment in which ‘business as usual’ is not acceptable, and in which project/ program teams are constantly looking for approaches to maximize impact.
• Ensure that key cross-cutting themes, such as community participation, partner capacity building, good M&E, coordination, consultation with government, public/ private/ civic sector partnerships, inclusion of women, and inclusion of disadvantaged groups are emphasized and integrated into all projects/programs.
• Strive to create and use standardized tools and practices, where appropriate, across projects/ programs.
• Carry out systematized project/ program monitoring visits and provide structured feedback in a way that can improve project/ program progress and impact
• Working with the DM&E team, ensure that all projects/ programs produce professional quality reports and communications materials, that publishable results are disseminated, that Mercy Corp.
• Nepal is a ‘thought leader’ in its technical areas, and that monitoring and evaluation results are used to improve implementation
• Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
Team Management – (% Integrated with Above Program Management)
• Support Project/ Program Managers in their efforts to manage strong project/ program teams.
• Supervise and monitor Project/Program Manager performance, taking corrective action as required.
• Work with operations team members, the Country Director, and the Finance & Compliance Manager to make sure that adequate operational support is in place for project/ program success, while at the same time minimizing overheads and maintaining a ‘projectized’ (or composite) structure that facilities project/
• Participate in the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of key project/ program staff, and other staff as requested by the Country Director.
• Help to facilitate team coordination and capacity building opportunities and events as required.
Finance & Compliance Management – (% Integrated with Above Program 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 – 5%
• 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
• Facilitate learning and collaboration internally with other Mercy Corps teams beyond the Nepal country office
• 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 Nepal 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.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
• 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.
Project Managers/ Program Managers; Technical Advisors who fall outside of project/ program management structures, if these positions exist; temporarily supervise consultants deployed to the country program to provide technical or project design support.
Reports Directly to: Country Director
Works Directly with: Country Director, Project/Program Managers, Finance & Compliance Director, Human Resources, Head of Operations, Chief of Party for Bhakari program, peer Directors of Programs in other Mercy Corps’ countries and with peer agencies within Nepal.
Knowledge and Experience
• MA/S or equivalent in international development, economics, agriculture, disaster management, political or social science, management or other relevant field.
• At least five (5) years of field experience in project/program management positions is preferred.
• Prior experience in South Asia is a plus, but not a requirement.
• Excellent spoken and written English and Nepali language skills and ability to interact effectively with international and national staff.
• Demonstrated technical understanding of at least some of the following sectors: agriculture, food security and nutrition, market systems development, disaster management, humanitarian response, gender equality and social inclusion, and social development.
• Demonstrated understanding of sound project management practices and protocols.
• Proven track record of bringing in new business, including innovative design and leading the proposal development process
• Excellent program conceptualization and development capacities, including the ability to convey these ideas convincingly in writing.
• A high level of personal efficiency, and the ability to balance multiple urgent or important tasks without undue stress.
• Good oral communication and representation skills.
• Strong representation and presentation skills.
• An impatience for ‘business-as-usual’, including the ability to clearly communicate a vision of success and help people to “operationalize” this vision and reach for improved results.
• A tolerance for ambiguity, and proven inter-personal and inter-cultural skills.
• Ability to maintain a consistent field orientation and performance orientation.
The successful DoP will combine exceptional management skills and experience in building diverse
programs/projects and maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an ability to think creatively
about improving 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. Multi- tasking, prioritizing,
problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail as well as 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 Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu is a culturally dynamic capitol city that can provide a comfortable, safe living environment with access to amenities, although a sense of patience with routine (and extended) power cuts, water shortages, air/ noise pollution, and traffic is required. Approximately 35% travel may
be required to field locations, depending on COVID restrictions, some of which are easily accessible but others of which are quite remote and require hiking, so the incumbent should be in decent physical shape so as to access all project sites. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when
deployed in a field posting or on a visit/short-term assignment 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.
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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.