Country Director - South Sudan

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Apply by 10 April 2018
Senior-level , Field assignment
Posted on 11 March 2018

Job Description

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 present in South Sudan since 1995, and acts on behalf of people who have become displaced and disenfranchised by the ongoing conflict. With funding from a multitude of donors including the United Nations (UN), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UK Department for International Development (DFID), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), and Private Foundations, Mercy Corps has been able to empower people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. In 2016, Mercy Corps had an impact on approximately 250,125 beneficiaries in South Sudan through our work focusing on the delivery of timely humanitarian interventions, improving food security and livelihood options, increasing equitable access to safe water and sanitation services, and providing access to safe and protective learning spaces. With emphasis on conflict-affected youth, women, as well as IDPs and host communities, we champion and lead state-of-the art relief and recovery approaches through gender mainstreaming, identification of root causes, adaptive management and resilience approaches.

General Position Summary

Mercy Corps seeks a passionate, resourceful, visionary leader to manage the growing complexity of programs in South Sudan. The Mercy Corps South Sudan Country Director is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully developing and managing all operations and programs in South Sudan. The Mercy Corps South Sudan Country Director (CD) role is an exciting opportunity to influence key outcomes and make a lasting difference in the lives of millions of Southern Sudanese. Mercy Corps’ approach, within South Sudan, addresses the immediate needs of critically vulnerable populations through emergency education, water and sanitation interventions while positioning for stronger relief to recovery programs that promote layering and sequencing of humanitarian and development activities. S/he will harness the expertise, experience and ideas of Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams, including members of the Policy & Advocacy, median and communication, technical support unit, leadership and organizational effectiveness, and procurement and logistics teams and channel them into impactful partnerships with country programs. S/he will work with the country team to ensure that the team learns from experience, applies research and analyzes context to develop high impact strategies that address both the current crises as well longer-term recovery solutions. Placing a high value on innovative solutions to humanitarian issues and creative partnerships, s/he pursues funding opportunities that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio. With a total annual budget of approximately $7 million, the Country Director has full supervisory responsibility for the country team. The Country Director must be comfortable representing at high-level forums to influence and secure ongoing investment that will respond to an environment that is in rapid change. This is an exciting opportunity to influence key outcomes and make a lasting difference in the lives of Southern Sudanese.

Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy, Vision & culture
  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members and stakeholders that translates into concrete programs and work plans.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy development.
  • Lead the annual country planning process and provide strategic updates.
  • Utilize headquarter and regional technical support teams collaboratively.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome. Remain current with development thinking, including adaptive management, systems thinking, complexity, social impact, value for money, etc.
  • Foster a culture of learning and adaptation where program and support actions evolve to become increasingly fit for purpose.
  • Strengthen and establish strong network with various stakeholders to gain humanitarian access.

Team Management
  • Oversee and strengthen a senior management team to share in the leadership and management of MC South Sudan.
  • Develop the capacity of the senior management team and foster their leadership in developing wider team capacity, towards rewarding career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
  • Promote accountability and learning, 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 and trust where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • 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.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary. Ensure that staff onboarding is timely, comprehensive and consistent.

  • Apply Mercy Corps’ Monitoring, Evaluating & Learning principles and framework to programs to ensure the country’s overall strategy includes effective reporting systems.
  • Ensure effective and transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures.
  • Assure sound budgetary management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors.
  • Build and maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties between finance and operations.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guidance.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps policies and procedures - Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, Sphere standards, beneficiary accountability standards, ect.
  • Support a culture of adaptive management, high-quality program performance, and learning through improved data collection and analysis.

Finance & Compliance Management
  • Coordinate overall country budget; manage budget within approved spending levels and establish an annual cash flow plan to ensure a steady and adequate supply of funds for program activities.
  • Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support field programs.
  • Build and maintain an environment of collaboration among program, finance, operations and human resource team members resulting in optimal support for program activities.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to programming.
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.
  • Work with auditors to facilitate their work and then work with the country team to make changes based on their findings and recommendations.
Influence & Representation
  • Sustain and increase Mercy Corps presence in the highest level decision making and strategic forums at the country level.
  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate.
  • Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local governments, foundations, the private sector, etc.
  • Anticipate needs, understand donor strategies and contribute to shaping donor and partner’s views on development.
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the objectives for the country as a whole.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.

  • Liaise with the VP of Operations, Regional Program Director, and Africa Security Advisor on crucial events, high-risk periods, and incident reporting and security policy changes.
  • Manage security and safety of the entire country team and Mercy Corps assets according to best practices, MC operating standards and field realities.
  • Ensure the safety and security of staff members through regular review and adaptation of security protocols and procedures including the regularly updated country security plan.
  • Maintain, strengthen and explore networks to find reliable real-time information to guide operations and programs, ensuring security and safety of teams and assets.

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.

Reports Directly To: Regional Program Director

Works Directly With: HQ-based Program Operations, Finance and Technical Support Unit, Desk, as well as advocacy, mar/comms, finance, operations, and administration staff.

Knowledge and Experience
  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA/S preferred.
  • 6-8 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including demonstrable success in managing (large, complex, transitional) humanitarian and development programs.
  • 4 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.
  • Demonstrated success managing and bringing together a multi-cultural team with team members in multiple offices.
  • Successful and proven representation, negotiation, communication and organization skills.
  • Demonstrated experience multi-tasking and success in securing funding for country programs.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
  • Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with USAID/OFDA, DFID, UN and ECHO grant management.
  • Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with (donor and/or government) grant management.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Previous work experience in countries where travel to insecure areas is required, and management of programs in insecure locations.
  • Capacity to respond to emergency and disaster situations as they occur
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Previous work experience in East Africa in insecure environments preferred.

Success Factors

The successful Country Director will apply strong program implementation and team management skills while maintaining a high level of communication and coordination with a large variety of stakeholders, including donor representatives, local government officials, clan/tribal and religious leaders, and partner organizations. S/he will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level.

The role is a hands-on position and success will be determined by the level of direct engagement in program development, oversight of projects, fundraising for new projects and representing the agency to stakeholders. The successful CD will welcome multi-tasking and take an active role in program design and overarching strategy.

Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in complex and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority. The ability to facilitate dialogue among a diverse group of individuals with various skill sets and working styles is essential. The successful Country Director will be an inspirational leader, committed to advancing the organization’s strategy and empowering national staff and senior leaders.

S/he will have built internal capacity, restructured and partnered so that we are measurably impactful, influential and innovative in complex crises. Known as the preeminent organization working in the world’s most challenging environment, the Country Director will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The CD is based in the capital city – Juba. The location is unaccompanied and insecure given the nature of the ongoing conflict and economic collapse. Although infrastructure within Juba is acceptable, the conditions in most field sites are very basic with the most rudimentary requiring tented compounds. Medical facilities are basic, and tropical diseases including malaria are endemic. Housing for all staff in Juba is good with each expatriate staff assigned with a self-contained apartment and is reinforced with additional security provisions following July 2016. All expatriates receive their own apartment in a Mercy Corps provided apartment block. Although limited, there is freedom of movement beyond the house/office provided security precautions are adhered to and curfew is followed in the evenings. This position requires 40% travel mostly by to field offices in both secure and insecure 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.


About the Organization

Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over $575 million in assistance to 73 nations. The agency's programs currently reach 5 million people in more than 25 countries, including the United States. Mercy Corps is a nonprofit organization with headquarters offices in Portland (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Washington, DC, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Known for its quick-response, high-impact programs, over 95 percent of the agency's resources are allocated directly to programs that help those in need.

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