Director of Programs - DR Congo

  • Added Date: Friday, 07 February 2020
  • Deadline Date: Sunday, 08 March 2020

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 has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of approximately 450 people working in Eastern DRC. Mercy Corps' national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps' key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC's humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo with multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH support to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps is also currently responding the unfolding Ebola epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. The current annual budget includes resources from DFID, USAID, ECHO, UN-donors, Government of Netherlands, OFDA, FFP, SDC and others. Currently, the DRC program represents one of Mercy Corps' largest country programs world-wide.

General Position Summary

The Director of Programs (DOP) role is an exciting opportunity to shape and lead our programs in country. The DOP is a proven leader that is directly responsible for overseeing the programs portfolio in DRC. The role will ensure that adequate leadership is applied to the implementation of relevant, innovative and adaptive programs. He/she will work closely with the Country Director (CD) to lead new program development and strategy, and ensure effective program coordination and technical support, program quality and accountability in close collaboration with the operations, finance and internal control teams. The position will be based in Goma with frequent travel to Kinshasa and field offices. S/he will help represent Mercy Corps DRC at the highest level to donors, major stakeholders (including those from the private sector), relevant government authorities and is able to articulate and deliver strategic vision in the complex environment of Eastern Congo. The DOP is able to lead complex program implementation in a country program that operationally spans 9 field offices, and works in complex, insecure and unpredictable environments. The role will develop, articulate and deliver a strategic operational vision in line with the rapid evolution of the context and the strategic decisions made by the organization's executive leadership.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to program teams and stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans;
  • Lead countrywide program strategy development and prioritize and organize actions and resources to achieve objectives set through those processes;
  • Follow analysis of the DRC socio-political, economic, access, security context ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated in planning for both short-term humanitarian and longer-term development programming;
  • Ensure that analytical, program quality and technical support teams are collaborating with program and other internal stakeholders effectively, adding value to the program and maintaining strategic focus;
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed

Program Development

  • In coordination with the Country Director, Regional Program Director, Program and PAQ Directors, Program Managers, Technical Advisors and other relevant personnel and counterparts, lead the identification of new initiatives and program opportunities that respond to identified needs and the country strategy;
  • Provide overall leadership to Program teams and PAQ teams working on the program development process.
  • Support Country Director to cultivate strategic partnerships or relationships with new/existing donors to further strategic development opportunities.

program leadership and coordination

  • Ensure effective cross-team coordination, collaboration, communication and alignment of Mercy Corps' programming and operations;
  • Ensure regular coordination of program directors/managers, finance managers and operations focal points to review BVAs, operation plans and ensure regular communication;
  • Facilitate sharing and learning across programs portfolios, teams, offices and support teams to incorporate learning in program design and management;
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic roadmap and country strategy;
  • Provide leadership and oversight to ensure program adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations;
  • Support Program Directors/Managers to oversee performance of partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors;
  • Ensure that programs are implemented on time, on scope and on budget.
  • Promote a culture of gender-sensitive, and where appropriate, gender-transformative programming.

program performance and quality

  • Support PAQ Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure tools and systems are in place for effective program monitoring, evaluation and learning.
  • Support the PAQ Director to put in place effective program quality tools and measures in place and to regularly monitor and improve quality control;
  • Ensure that programs and PAQ team members are actively linked to those at HQ to ensure that global indicators and practices are considered and adhered to where necessary;
  • Ensure all program teams have received training on program quality and minimum standards;
  • Ensure program documentation and program minimal standards are consistently adhered to;
  • Ensure that a comprehensive reporting schedule is maintained and adhered to according to requirements;
  • Ensure program teams are trained on community response mechanism (CRM), CRMs are put into place and operational, and anti-fraud and safeguarding measures considered in program design/implementation.

Team Management

  • Ensure appropriate staffing for program leadership positions.
  • Develop the capacity of the team, ensure program team members have a clear and deep understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Manage performance of program leaders including establishment of clear and measurable objectives, ongoing feedback, periodic reviews and regular check-ins.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Hire, orient and provide mentorship and capacity building to team members as necessary.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to all programs.
  • Serve as overall budget holder for programming; manage and support budget holders for individual programs and awards and ensure project expenditure is in line with work plans and commitments to donors.

Influence & Representation

  • Establish close and productive relationships with donors, national/regional/local government authorities, private sector actors, and local/international organizations in DRC, in close coordination with the Country Director, Heads of Offices, and Program Directors;
  • Represent Mercy Corps at all relevant coordination meetings in Goma/Kinshasa (Clusters, INGO Forum; Humanitarian Advocacy; Ebola coordination), and increasingly play a lead role in other advocacy and coordination bodies;
  • Coordinate with other NGOs in the DRC to consolidate Mercy Corps' strategic niche and comparative advantages, while identifying strategic partnerships;
  • Periodically ensure interim coverage as requested in Country Director's absence.


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

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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Program Directors (4 Directors), PAQ Director, Program . Functional line with one additional Complex Program Director for program quality/coordination.


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Department Heads, DRC country program, finance, internal control and safeguarding, operational staff; HQ Regional Program Team; Technical Support Units and PAQ teams

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field. MA/S preferred.
  • Five to seven years of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs.
  • Experience managing humanitarian relief and/or transitional programs in areas affected by conflict and insecurity.
  • Prior experience with funding from USG, DFID, ECHO, and other leading donors.
  • Previous experience working in francophone Africa.
  • Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills required, including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Strong management skills with good understanding of managing international, cross-cultural teams;
  • Proven track record in proposal writing and business development.
  • Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including Water and Sanitation, Food Security, Economic Recovery or Market Development, Cash programming, and/or Conflict/Governance.
  • Strong understanding of gender and protection mainstreaming would be a key advantage;
  • Strong analytic skills and ability to develop solutions to complex issues required;
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Fluent written and oral communication in French and English required.
  • Solid knowledge of security protocols and ability to work effectively in an insecure environment.

Success Factors

The successful DOP will have senior level experience in coordinating and managing programs in complex areas affected by conflict and insecurity. S/he will have exceptional program development skills and an outstanding ability to manage and lead complex/diverse program teams. S/he will have proven experience with cross-cultural teams, with strong leadership, communication, coordination and mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and 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. Patience, tenacity, diplomacy and a sense of humor will contribute to success.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This is an unaccompanied post based in Goma, DRC.

Goma is a provincial capital of around 1 million inhabitants, with travel Bukavu, Kinshasa and field locations. Living in Goma is comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.

While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There's reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.

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.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps' vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Mercy Corps Diversity Statement

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.


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This vacancy is archived.

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