Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq’s goal is to work with civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate needs and reduce longer-term vulnerabilities of communities within Iraq. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) providing humanitarian assistance to conflict affected populations to meet basic needs, maintain human dignity and facilitate self-empowerment; (2) supporting income-generating opportunities that transition individuals and households from financial dependency towards financial independence while facilitating market-system approaches; (3) working with young females and young males to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society, as well as access to education, psychosocial support, and economic opportunities; and (4) promoting reconciliation and foster trust across community divisions by strengthening conflict management and prevention mechanisms and enhancing social cohesion.
Pending funding, Mercy Corps Iraq is exploring on expanding its existing social cohesion and conflict management/peacebuilding programming to particularly contribute to Mercy Corps Iraq’s Strategy Plan under Objective 3: Stronger and more cohesive communities that are able to manage or prevent conflict.
Specifically, this objective aims to:
- Improved linkages and enhanced communication between civil society and local and national government
- Increased integration and acceptance of diverse populations across Iraqi communities
- Greater participation of women and youth in conflict management and civic engagement
Mercy Corps Iraq is currently implementing two conflict management/social cohesion programs in northern Iraq with local government and community leaders to build their capacity to manage and prevent conflict and disputes, while promoting reconciliation within communities. Building off the success of the past and current programs, Mercy Corps Iraq will explore options of expanding its conflict management and social cohesion portfolio to new areas specifically focusing on 1) strengthening the capacity of local partners on conflict resolution; 2) increasing the influence of women, youth and minorities; 3) and, bridging the gap between civil society and government policies.
The Head of Conflict Management will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the conflict management and social cohesion programs in Iraq, working with staff to ensure that the each program meets its targets and deliverables on time and within the budget.
The Head of Conflict Management works closely with the regional adviser, Deputy Country Director, Area Operation Manager and the program team to design, plan, and help field program staff to implement program activities. The Head of Conflict Management will also help develop and coordinate the program’s efforts to measure impact through performance management/monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and provide timely information to the donor and HQ, such as formal reports, informal updates, and human interest stories. He/She will also contribute in the proposal development for any future funding calls specifically related to the peacebuilding/conflict management sector.
ESSENTIAL JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
Strategy and Vision
- Recognize opportunities to evolve the future social cohesion/conflict management program into a more effective program addressing the changing needs of conflict affected populations.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives and contribute to country and regional-wide strategy development.
- Contribute to the technical and operational advocacy strategies of the mission, region and HQ.
- Identify opportunities for the design and development of concept notes and proposals for further programming and portfolio expansion.
Strategy and Planning
- Conduct and lead strategic planning sessions with the MC teams.
- Supervise the creation and implementation of quarterly work plans in accordance with donor’s overall objectives and specific targets and goals.
- Develop strategic methodologies for conflict management programming and develop appropriate training materials
- Provide technical assistance on the conflict management consultative process, including community mobilization, project identification/prioritization (through participatory processes); project proposal and budget writing, revision, and implementation.
- Working with the team to incorporate gender requirements in program design and implementation.
Representation and Coordination
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships, sub-grantees, local authorities and other stakeholders.
- Communicate effectively with Mercy Corps Iraq departments to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
- Represent the organization in social cohesion and peace building working group, clusters and forum at governorate level.
- Represent the organization in official meetings and/or events with donors
- Oversee ongoing program management and administration of the teams across the various field locations;
- Develop program implementation plans (work plans), including partnership/stakeholder frameworks, beneficiary targeting, communication plans as well as strategies to cooperate with local governments in the program’s area of operations.
- Lead the activities in strengthening the staff including set-up all systems and procedures and strengthening the administrative structure.
- Continuously evaluate current methodologies, used by the project and field staff, determine their effectiveness and provide guidance on ways to improve these methodologies to ensure program success.
- Establish with the M&E Officer and maintain effective program reporting, monitoring and evaluation systems for both internal and external use.
- Document lessons learned and best practices for dissemination within Mercy Corps, to donors and interested parties.
- Adhere to all MC area of security, operations and transport/ logistics information related to programming.
- 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.
- Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
- Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
- Identify any gaps or capacity needs within the team and ensure training and capacity building is incorporated into program planning.
Finance & Compliance Management
- Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to program management.
- Ensure that the project budget has been reviewed and advise on BVA expenditure and forecast;
- 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.
Reports Directly To: Deputy Country Director
Works Directly With: MEL Team, Grant Manager, Procurement Manager, Finance Manager and other Head of Department. Coordinates with Regional Advisors and HQ Regional Program Team.
Knowledge and Experience
- Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.
- Bachelor’s degree, preferably in social science, management, international development. Master’s Degree preferred.
- Minimum 4 years work experience in project implementation and supervision with consultative or community project based programs
- Proven management and training skills with development programs
- Team-building, mentoring and conflict resolution skills
- Knowledge of international NGO policies and procedures
- Direct experience with community projects processing including required documentation, systems, approvals and technical oversight
- Previous demonstrated experience in creating and maintaining work relationships with local government authorities
- Previous experience working with local partners
- Knowledge of interest-based negotiation methodology preferred
- Previous experience working with social cohesion /peace building or conflict management portfolio
- Advanced knowledge of MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint Creative and „out-of-the-box‟ thinking.
- Analytical and report writing skills are necessary.
- Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
Successful candidates should meet the education and experience requirements in the position descriptions for the vacant positions and should have a strong and demonstrated knowledge of safety and security management, good written and spoken English, computer Skills and local languages. S/he must be self- motivated, creative, tolerant, and able to work in difficult, stressful environments and follow procedures. S/he must respect diversity and gender equality at the workplace. Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability and transparency to its beneficiaries and to International standards guiding relief and development work.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position will be based in Baghdad and is unaccompanied. This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Travel within Iraq is required to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s offices and programs. This will include the Iraqi Kurdish Region, Center and South Iraq. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ 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.