Program Director - Educate Somali Children Consortium, Somalia

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South Sudan
Apply by 11 August 2018
Senior-level , Field assignment
Posted on 12 July 2018

Job Description

Somali language fluency is required for this position

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

The Program Director will lead the Wax Bar Carurrta Somaaliyeed (Educate Somali Children) Consortium which is focused on increased access to quality and equitable primary education for over 100,000 Somali Out-of-School-Children (OOSC). The program will work in all three educational zones in Somalia, including Somaliland, Puntland and South-Central Somalia, ensuring that educational interventions to reach OOSC will engage school children to alleviate poverty and unemployment and will minimize social, economic and demographic challenges to meet the needs of the learners, families and the government at large. This program will also work with the various Ministries of Education in each region to identify the high-level barriers for primary education for OOSC and to develop appropriate strategies and capacities to address them. Using the zonal Education Sector Coordination (ESC) Platform, the Consortium will share the key objectives, geographical coverage and plans with other education implementation agencies in order to avoid duplication and overlaps and to build synergy.

General Position Summary

The Program Director will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the program, to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. The Program Director will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and stakeholders. The Program Director will be the lead of the program and will be in charge of coordination, management, reporting and quality assurance of the project. He/she will be the overall head of the project and will report to the Country Director of Mercy Corps Somalia (South and Central Regions, Puntland and Somaliland).

Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
  • Lead the development of a vision and strategy for the program shared with program team and key stakeholders.
  • Play an active role in identifying and developing new initiatives that foster and/or improve strategic objectives of the program and the country office.

Program Management

  • Oversee program start-up, management and administration. Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Confirm beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to transparent criteria.
  • Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
  • Ensure program strategies and activities represent global good practice in education
  • Supervise and/or review the work of program consultants.
  • Supervise procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.

Team Management

  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • 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 lead team members as necessary.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations, experience with private donors/ foundations preferred.
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor and Mercy Corps’ needs.
Influence & Representation
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Country Director.
  • Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other implementers e.g te ESC, education clusters and donors, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.


  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.

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 Team – Project Managers from consortium members, MC Education Specialist/Manager, M&E Manager.


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Other program managers in-country, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S or equivalent in education, social science, management, international development or other relevant field
  • A minimum of 5 to 7 years of overseas experience including 3 years in a senior management position.
  • Strong skills and a track record in strategic visioning, leadership, and inspiring teams.
  • Effective personnel management, coordination, and decision-making skills, with proven ability to be accountable for all components of the program.
  • Competent in building networks, strong problem-solving skills, and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques.
  • Strong understanding of donor compliance issues.
  • 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.
  • Somali language skills preferred.
  • Persuasive written and oral communication in English, including report writing.
  • Demonstrated technical expertise in education
  • Experience in the geo-political context of Somalia (South and Central Regions, Puntland and Somaliland) preferable.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.

Success Factors

The successful Program Director combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong 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.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Program Director is based in Somalia. The location is unaccompanied and /insecure. Housing is group accommodation with limited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff have limited access to medical services. This position requires 25% of time of travel by air and/or road to field offices in sometimes insecure environments. This position is eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits. The position sometimes requires exceptional work schedules (e.g. evenings and weekend) to meet work schedules and deadlines.

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.


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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