Mercy Corps is seeking a Deputy Project Director (DPD) for the Rural Water Research and Learning Activity (CW – Research 2 (Rural Water and WRM)). The purpose of the Rural Water Research and Learning Activity is to build the evidence base across three areas: rural water supply services, water quality monitoring and water resources management. Research findings will be used to inform rural water policy and programming in collaboration with partners, to increase the availability and sustainable management of safe drinking water for the undeserved and most vulnerable. The Activity’s approach includes 1). Implementation research; 2). Use of Evidence in Decision-Making; and 3). Coordination and Collaboration with other USAID research and learning programs.
The Deputy Project Director will provide overall management of the research agenda and facilitate stakeholder, including government, uptake and use of findings. S/he will manage staff, resources and partnerships to ensure that the research is completed on time and within budget, and is implemented in alignment with democratic and good governance values based on respect and equity. The Deputy Project Director will supervise project and partner research staff and consultants to ensure that research projects are conducted in a gender inclusive manner and include diverse viewpoints. S/he will serve as a main focal point for country level stakeholders.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
- Play an active role in the development of a vision and strategy for the program shared with consortia partners, program team and key stakeholders.
- Assist in refining the comprehensive research and learning agenda, in partnership with country and partner stakeholders, that achieves the shared consortium vision and identifies and develops new water research initiatives that foster and/or improve strategic objectives of the program and USAID HQ and USAID mission priorities.
- Coordinate the development of a comprehensive plan to translate evidence into practice. The plan should outline critical steps within the research design and implementation process that are critical learning and reflection moments, key stakeholders that should be involved and how, and specific decisions or adaptations that might be made as a result of the research
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Manage relationships and inputs from consortium partners and ensure a consistent overall programmatic direction.
- Provide technical oversight and institutional review board coordination with global and country-level boards.
- Serve as primary liaison for activity Principal Investigators, communicating on a regular basis with partner and other stakeholders.
- Provide coverage for Project Director when needed.
- Coordinate and collaborate with other USAID implementing partners including USAID’s Communications and Knowledge Management Activity.
- Ensure program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
- Ensure activities consider diversity and inclusion during all stages of the research design, implementation, and dissemination including creating diverse research teams
- Develop partnership frameworks 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 rural water service delivery.
- Supervise and/or review the work of program staff, consortia partners and consultants.
- Supervise procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support research activities.
- Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
- As needed, develop the capacity of Mercy Corps project 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.
- 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 with USAID Missions, Country Governments, and local stakeholders.
- Coordinate research activities across consortium partners, sub grantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other USAID programs.
- Present research findings at key external donor and technical forums including country level fora.
- Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.
- 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.
- Rural Water Research and Learning team
Reports Directly To: Project Director
Works Directly With: HQ Regional Program Team members, Technical Support Unit, Research and Learning team, Communications and Advocacy teams, and partner staff.
Knowledge and Experience
- Master’s degree or higher in engineering, public health, business, behavioral science or other related field
- A minimum of seven (7) years of experience in research and management of water-related programming including demonstrated experience leading USAID-funded programs. Substantial country level experience in a combination of the following technical areas: community participation, rural WASH, social and behavior change, governance, institutional strengthening, and private sector engagement.
- A minimum of two (2) years of demonstrated excellence in a management and leadership position.
- Demonstrated ability to work with a wide range of government and civil society counterparts and donor partners.
- Experience leading implementation research, particularly related to rural water service delivery, water quality monitoring, water resources management, social behavior change, private sector engagement, or community organizing.
- Experience in designing and implementing monitoring and evaluation systems for water-related programming.
- 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.
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
- Persuasive written and oral communication in English, including technical writing/documentation of water-related programming and research.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
The successful Deputy Project Director will combine exceptional research and 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 Deputy Program Director is open to be based out of any project country location. This position anticipates at least 50% travel especially during the first two years. 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.
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.
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 E-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.