COUNTRY DIRECTOR – CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Mercy Corps is 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.
To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.
Mercy Corps has been present in Central African Republic (CAR) since 2007, focusing its interventions on leading humanitarian response and recovery for crisis-affected populations through cash assistance, water and sanitation, and protection of vulnerable populations, especially survivors of gender based violence (GBV). At the same time, we are working to build resilience and lay the foundations for a more prosperous future, by promoting peace and reconciliation between communities, supporting economic development and access to employment, building access to markets and financial services, and strengthening governance outcomes. The situation in the Central African Republic remains volatile and difficult to predict. However, Mercy Corps is committed to meeting the immediate needs of people affected by conflict, while addressing the causes of poverty and injustice by promoting peace, good governance and economic development. With funding from USAID, AFD, the European Commission, United Nations and other private donors and foundations, Mercy Corps works together with communities in CAR to respond to these needs and support long term relief, recovery, and resilience outcomes.
The Mercy Corps CAR Country Director (CD) is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully managing all programming in CAR. S/He has held senior roles within complex humanitarian and security contexts and has demonstrated experience leading country strategy development and developing sustainable, multi-sector programming along the relief to recovery spectrum, placing a high value on innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships in tough environments. The CD has supervisory responsibility for approximately 100 team members and a budget of approximately $6 million per year. The CD also leads representation of Mercy Corps within the humanitarian community and ensures implementation of all security protocols in this highly volatile context. The CD places a high value on building high-performing teams, investing in staff development and cohesiveness, and accountability to beneficiaries and donors.
STRATEGY AND VISION
● Formulate, plan and 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.
● Lead the annual country planning process and provide strategic updates.
● Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve program and agency objectives.
● Engage the agency’s technical support teams collaboratively to ensure high impact programming that aligns with Mercy Corps’ key technical areas.
● Identify and secure new country and project funding opportunities that build on Mercy Corps’ existing expertise and integrate new technical areas to multiply impact; lead and support fund-raising activities targeted at both institutional and private donors.
● Work with other INGOs, national and global CSO partners and government when possible to develop new solutions to address immediate humanitarian crises in country and lay the foundations for sustainable change.
● Build a cohesive team where team members work together effectively across departments.
● 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.
PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
● Oversee program quality and impact by ensuring programs are based on sound design principles and utilize Mercy Corps and donor required M&E systems.
● Ensure effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures.
● Oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, if applicable.
● 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 guide.
● Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
● Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to all programming, including emergency programming.
● Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support field programs.
● Work closely with the compliance team in-country and at global HQ to ensure systems and monitoring are in place to safeguard Mercy Corps resources and ensure compliance with donor regulations.
INFLUENCE AND REPRESENTATION
● Build and maintain relationships with key actors in the humanitarian community and ensure that Mercy Corps’ humanitarian voice features prominently within key discussions and decisions.
● Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as donor partners, local government, foundations, the private sector, etc.
● Anticipate needs, understand donor priorities and contribute to shaping donors’ views on priority humanitarian and development needs.
● Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media.
● Participate actively in regional and agency level discussions to ensure that CAR priorities are reflected in strategic decision-making.
● Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
● Maintain high ethical standards and treat all people with respect and dignity.
● Exhibit awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs.
● Oversee security management in CAR and ensure that strong security management systems and protocols are in place and followed at all times.
● Ensure that regional and headquarters teams are kept up to date on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and security policy changes.
● Show strong leadership in potentially unstable, high risk environments to ensure full safety of staff and beneficiaries.
Direct Reports: Department heads of Mercy Corps CAR including the Director of Programs, Operations Manager, Finance Manager, Compliance Manager, HR Manager, Heads of Office; Indirect Reports: All Mercy Corps CAR staff
Reports Directly To: Deputy Regional Director – Africa
Works Directly With: CAR country team, Regional support teams, HQ-based program operations team, finance and technical support unit
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
● BA/S or equivalent in a relevant field required; MA/S preferred.
● 7-10 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including demonstrable success in managing (large, complex, transitional) development programs.
● 5 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.
● 2-5 years’ experience in and capacity to respond to emergency and disaster response as appropriate. Demonstrated ability to work across and link humanitarian, development and peacebuilding sectors to promote sustainable outcomes.
● Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
● Demonstrated experience and leadership within humanitarian coordination structures.
● Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
● Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with USAID, EU or other donor grant management.
● Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.
● Excellent oral and written English and French skills required
● Ability to work effectively with a diverse team in a sensitive environment.
● Previous work experience in CAR and in insecure environments highly preferred.
The successful CAR CD will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team. S/he will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with team building and capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The CD is based in Bangui, CAR. The location is unaccompanied. Housing for the CD is individual, but within a shared compound with other team members, with freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff will have access to electricity, water, and internet, though they should expect occasional outages. Access to health care is limited. This position requires 25% of time traveling to field offices, some of which are in insecure environments. As an unaccompanied position, this role qualifies for hardship allowance.
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 elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.