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.
Syria is in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis impacting the entire country as well as a number of neighboring countries. More than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes and the number relying on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. The main thrust of the work of Mercy Corps along with its national and international partners for the foreseeable future will be primarily focused on meeting urgent humanitarian needs across the country while building resilience and social cohesion elements in its programming strategy. The heightened insecurity and continuous acts of violence and war make the humanitarian response not only more challenging, but increasingly complicated. With a large and complex portfolio of work across the country, Mercy Corps has established itself as an analytical, strategic and flexible responder, adapting continually to shifting front lines and operational realities to respond effectively and efficiently through multiple modalities with teams inside Syria and working cross-border from neighboring countries. Mercy Corps Syria country program moved to a structure where teams report into a single managerial architecture to allow transversal consistency among programs and unity of purpose at the strategic level.
The Deputy Country Director (DCD) is a strategic position that has overall responsibility for program design, quality, implementation, and compliance for the Syria mission. The DCD supervises three Area Directors, the Director of Program Performance and Quality, the Grants Management Director, and one program Director. The DCD ensures evidence based and data driven decision making, using existing systems and processes and introducing new ones as needed. The size of the Syria mission requires a robust framework for accountability at different levels of decision making, and targeted support on priority work-streams. Success in the role requires solid management skills and excellent leadership qualities, to provide clear guidance and model behavior conductive for success. Passion for program quality and community inclusion are essential. The DCD is expected to [maintain, ] adapt and expand the scale of portfolio through a forward-looking business development strategy informed by regular engagements with donors, partners, peer organizations and coordination bodies. The DCD works closely with other members of the senior management team, inspiring a focus on delivery and impact for those we serve. The DCD shall be expected to provide cover for the Country Director when the position holder is traveling, on leave, or as delegated. The DCD represents Mercy Corps at the highest level and is able to develop, articulate, deliver, and operationalize a strategic vision in line with context shifts and Mercy Corps’ global strategic direction.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGIC VISION & LEADERSHIP
● Lead on the operationalization of the new strategy and operational plan 2022-2024.
● Develop new and innovative program approaches in line with the Syria strategy and based on the future trajectory of needs in Syria.
● Manage a transition toward more sustainable interventions and refine a system that is agile and responsive to context changes.
● Communicate MC Syria’s strategy externally and advocate for increased impact and funding for Syria.
● Lead on updating progress against the strategy operational plan for program and field teams.
● Maintain deep understanding of the social, political, and economic context in Syria to inform program performance, relevance, and impact.
● Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
● Ensure that Mercy Corps strategy is understood and guides decision-making throughout the response;
● Manage, design, and implement program review systems and processes that ensure the right information is available at the right time and at the right level for effective decision making;
● Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps programming and operations inside Syria;
● Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance inside Syria and to make program strategies and frameworks more consistent across the response;
● Ensure programs meet donor and internal compliance.
● Ensure sound program cycle management and that programs are delivered on scope, time and budget;
● Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and adherence to global and MC standards for program excellence;
FIELD PROGRAM OVERSIGHT
● Supervise three (3) Area Directors, and assist with cross-sectional reporting of Finance, Operations, HR and Security hub leads to the country program. Ensure strong communication and collaboration lines are maintained with Area Directors across programmatic and support function leads.
● In coordination with support teams, help to drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of each field office.
● Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, where possible.
● Ensure that learning from the field contributes to development and implementation of advocacy initiatives.
PROGRAM PERFORMANCE and QUALITY
● Support and guide the Program Performance and Quality Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs and incorporate learning into decision making;
● Ensure that proper Monitoring and Evaluation tools in line with Mercy Corps guidelines and policies are effectively used by the programs teams;
● Ensure that all the programs team members have received training in line with their level of responsibility and receive technical support relevant to their programs;
● Support the design of an Information Management System adapted to the Syria programs needs and provide regular feedback to the IMS team to help improve it. Ensure robust information management systems to measure program progress, quality, design, and learning;
● Contribute to the establishment of the adequate team of technical advisors to provide expert advice and ensure technical consistency across programs.
● Ensure a robust research and learning agenda is in place for the strategy period.
FUNDING OUR PROGRAMS
● Prioritize proactive and evidence based, participatory program design to ensure MC Syria is needs and design driven, influencing donors to adopt the same thinking;
● Ensure go-no-go decisions remain in line with country office priorities and the strategy;
● Develop strategic donor relationships toward funding the strategy and impact MC wants to achieve in Syria;
● Provide leadership and quality assurance on program design processes;
● Apply the agency’s best practices in proposal development efforts for institutional donors;
● Lead on a funding strategy to operationalize the country office strategy 2022-2024.
● Foster a creative and solutions oriented team culture with ownership and accountability at relevant levels of decision making;
● Model a dynamic and reflective leadership approach that drives diversity, debate, respect, and results;
● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
● Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews;
● Supervise, hire and orient new team members;
● Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives;
● Foster inter-department collaboration toward common objectives and a clear vision.
● Lead on the roll-out of the gender equality, diversity, and social inclusion (GEDSI) strategy and gender, diversity and inclusion (GDI) diagnostic process.
FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
● Review hub and program department inputs to the quarterly master budget before final submission to finance;
● Ensure new budgets correspond with approved structures and human resource plans;
● Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny imposed on Syrian programming and ensure continuing effective, transparent and responsive compliance mechanisms are in place;
● Maintain a system for monthly system for budget oversight, analysis, decision making, and proactive adaptation;
● Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.
● Active and voting member on the Mercy Corps Syria Risk Management Committee.
INFLUENCE AND REPRESENTATION
● Participate in shaping policy positions and advocacy messages pertaining to the overall humanitarian situation inside Syria;
● Connect analysis and evidence from the field with advocacy efforts;
● Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate;
● Coach Area Director in relationship management with authorities in their areas of operation;
● Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs, civil society organizations, and academic institutions;
● Ensure that Mercy Corps maintain a high degree of risk awareness and impartiality;
● Respect and understand differing cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and have the ability to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved;
● Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.
● Maintain oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach participants;
● Regularly review the Humanitarian Access Team and other Advisors’ analysis of security and its outlook in Syria;
● Coordinate with the Syria Country Director on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and any security policy changes;
● Support the Security Manager in ensuring field teams are compliant with security procedures and 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 AFFECTED POPULATIONS
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our program participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging program participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Supervisory Responsibility: NES Area Director, NWS Area Director, PSP Director, ISHA Director, Director of Grant Management, Director of Program Performance and Quality.
Reports Directly To: Syria Country Director
Works Directly With: Country Senior Leadership Team, Regional Program and Technical Team, Headquarters Technical Support Unit, additional headquarters-based support departments as needed.
Knowledge and Experience
● BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;
Seven years of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs including humanitarian ,resilience, recovery, and development operations;
● Previous experience working on Syria and more than two years in the Middle East;
● Substantial knowledge of the international humanitarian system, institutions and donors, and of compliance requirements, accountability frameworks and best practices; prior experience with funding from USG, DFID, ECHO and other leading donors;
● Robust experience in developing, operationalizing, and implementing program strategies;
● Demonstrated expertise in representation and negotiation resulting in securing significant new opportunities for the organization;
● Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGOs, NNGOs and other stakeholders in complex environments;
● Experience leveraging Information Management Systems within humanitarian programs to evaluate program outcomes;
● Experience in managing strategic transitions from humanitarian to early recovery, social cohesion programs in a post- conflict transition phase;
● Proven record in guiding the formulation of sectoral strategies in a rapidly evolving humanitarian context;
● Highly-developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
● Solid project management skills related to international, cross-functional teams;
● Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success;
● Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
● Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Arabic an asset..
The successful candidate is a decisive, critical, and collegial professional with solid management and leadership skills. S/he has a thorough understanding of what is takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. S/he is an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. S/he is able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation, creativity, ownership and accountability. S/he is a confident representative in public settings, able to speak up when needed to and influence key stakeholders internally and externally to further and expand MC Syria’s goals in the response. S/he is able to work effectively with a diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team-building and capacity-building of national team members. S/he has excellent information management skills and is able to translate strategy into action. S/he has an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Syria.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The Deputy Country Director position is based in Amman, Jordan. This location is currently an accompanied position. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are International schools in Amman. Team Members will have access to medical, electricity, water, etc. This position requires (50% of time) of travel to field offices, some in insecure environments.
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.