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’ programs in Africa are undergoing both momentous humanitarian crises and significant development challenges that offer the opportunity to empower people to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Moreover, Africa can also be characterized by a high rate of urbanization and a massive youth population. Against this backdrop Mercy Corps’ focus in Africa has been in promoting good governance and conflict resolution, enhancing resilience, facilitating market systems, access to finance and economic opportunities, as well as youth employment and empowerment. It is imperative that Mercy Corps presents itself as a key and credible partner with the many donors, government authorities and civil society actors in order to contribute to the process of positive change across the continent. Mercy Corps looks to actively engage and partner with an ever growing and innovative African private sector to achieve greater and sustained impact. It is also critical that we are executing our current and future programs on scope, on budget and on time across the continent, while looking at new approaches and opportunities and leveraging innovations for the greatest impact and influence in the region. Mercy Corps requires an astute navigator able to steer our team and efforts toward ever-improving results for what represents one of the agency’s largest and most complex portfolios. Powered by the belief that a better world is possible, Mercy Corps seeks an inspiring, creative and focused leader to further the impact, influence, and breadth of Mercy Corps’ humanitarian and development efforts in the region.
General Position Summary
The Deputy Regional Director (DRD) for Africa is a senior leader providing significant strategic direction and support to Mercy Corps 4+ country programs and initiatives under her/his supervision. S/he works closely with the Regional Director (RD) to ensure transformational change occurs through the combination of: programmatic impact in our communities; the ability to influence change makers at local and global levels; and a restlessness to innovate in search of better solutions. S/he will collaborate with the RD to build and sustain a cohesive regional management team ensuring the Africa portfolio is geared towards excellence with heightened accountability measurements. S/he is directly responsible for enabling excellence in all operations functions across country teams. The DRD coordinates with managers and directors predominantly within the operations and finance departments to ensure support functions are of the highest quality and standards. The Deputy Regional Director will champion the Mercy Corps’ Cornerstones of Leadership to ensure that the teams are driving transformational impact in the region through groundbreaking innovations and influence in active strategies that position Mercy Corps as the leader of change in the region and beyond.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & PLANNING
- Assist in articulating a regional strategy for Mercy Corps in Africa;
- Contribute to the development of compelling country level strategies that integrate with a coherent regional strategy, and are aligned with Mercy Corps’ global Strategic Compass.
- Act as key partner for the RD to achieve an effective regional management team that delivers programmatic excellence and significant impact and influence in the region.
SUPERVISING OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT
- Provide support to RD and country teams on matters pertaining to strategy, planning, budgeting, programming and management.
- Assist in the administration of country strategies work plans and budgets throughout the fiscal year.
- Ensure effective human, material, financial and operational field support for all country programs, in cooperation with senior staff, prioritizing resource allocation as necessary.
- Engage in regular and timely communication with finance directors/managers and operations directors/managers, including travel to country offices as needed.
- Support country leadership in adhering to Mercy Corps and donor policies and procedures, including rollout of new initiatives and standards.
- Assist with the identification, location, set up and transition of Mercy Corps offices as necessary.
- Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development, and empower team towards excellence.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
- Create a work environment of respect where team members strive to achieve excellence and team culture is positive, transparent and focused on staff well being.
- Participate in the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of key Mercy Corps team members.
- Assist with the on-boarding of senior team members, ensuring they are set up for success and familiar with agency systems, procedures, and protocols.
- Ensure sound performance management and staff access to high quality learning opportunities, with a special emphasis on national team member development.
- Fill in as needed for Regional Director and for field leadership during transition.
ENSURING QUALITY AND INTEGRITY
- Ensure all programs in the region are achieving the highest possible impact and are in line with overall regional and global strategies.
- Ensure the integrity of Mercy Corps’ operations and program implementation through adherence to Mercy Corps and global best practices, policies and procedures.
- Encourage a culture of learning and innovation among all Mercy Corps staff in the region.
- Work closely with headquarters support units to ensure continuous quality improvement of field programs, and that teams are working towards achieving excellence, especially during rapid growth.
DEVELOPING PROGRAM AND PORTFOLIO GROWTH
- Provide direct support to new programming initiatives that build on country/regional strategies, and position Mercy Corps for complex programs and/or multi-country funding opportunities.
- Coordinate and prioritize the development of concept notes, proposals and other funding requests ensuring quality submissions that maximize chances for success.
- In the event of a major disaster or emergency in the region, work directly with Mercy Corps global team to coordinate an appropriate and timely response.
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL REPRESENTATION
- Ensure program coordination and information sharing within and between countries.
- Support regional knowledge networks to enhance strategies, learning agendas, collaborative action and common programmatic approaches to fostering greater regional coherence.
- Act as a key liaison between headquarters, regional management and country teams to effectively publicize program innovations and successes with RD.
- Help to ensure timely and targeted communication and information flow that highlight Mercy Corps’ regional and global impact.
- Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater impact.
- Build strong constituencies among international and local civil society leaders, government officials, embassies, media and the general public.
- Develop and maintain strong relationships with global and regional donors and partners that contribute to regional portfolio development, influence and impact.
- Represent Mercy Corps at external events to build voice, brand and influence.
- 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.
- 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 Country Directors, Regional management team members
Reports Directly To: Regional Director, Africa
Works Directly With: Country Directors, Operations Managers/ Directors, Finance Managers/ Directors, Senior Management Teams as required inclusive of program teams. and supplemental support teams based at HQ in locations such as Portland, OR and/or Edinburgh, Scotland
Knowledge and Experience
- BA or equivalent in international development, political or social science, public administration, business management, required and MA preferred;
- At least 8-10 years field experience in senior management related to support functions and/or, direct program development and implementation;
- Demonstrated ability to think strategically, and to solve complex problems at an organizational level;
- Detailed understanding of the finance, operations and administration mechanisms that support a grant/project implementation life cycle;
- Direct experience managing and supervising large teams, as well as mentoring and development;
- Confident communication skills applicable to donor relations, media outreach, and inter-agency coordination;
- Ability to handle multiple issues at one time, especially in emergency situations, and to organize and prioritize accordingly;
- Demonstrated proficiency and experience with US, UK, EU, UN and other public and private donors, government grant and financial management requirements;
- Demonstrated understanding of the critical humanitarian and development issues in the Africa, and significant experience with the challenges of operating in the region;
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
- Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response preferred.
- Fluent in English and French
The successful candidate will apply a strong combination of strategy development, leadership, management, coordination, and relationship-building skills with an outstanding ability to support innovative, impactful programs. With a high capacity to deliver results under tight deadlines with multiple priorities, the Deputy Regional Director will have the ability to think ahead and decide on course of action, ensuring that the required resources to implement are available to achieve high-quality outcomes. Commitment, flexibility and openness to new practices, concepts, ideas and change for continuous improvement will serve the position and team well. Public relations skills are integral success factors in this position. Excellent negotiation and communication skills will foster the development of donor and partner relationships. The role also requires a deep understanding of the region, its recent history, current trends and political environment. Being a team player, a positive attitude and a sense of humor are definite pluses, along with strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and a commitment to the values and mission of Mercy Corps.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Kampala, Uganda or Niamey, Niger or another accompanied Mercy Corps location in Africa. Housing is in individual housing and staff will have access to good medical services and the living situation is of a high standard. Water and electricity are present with occasional cuts. Up to 40% travel to the field to support Mercy Corps programs as requested.
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.