Mercy Corps’ operations in The Americas are focused in the countries of Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and in the US, specifically the Northwest and Puerto Rico. These are a disparate collection of contexts with many different challenges and opportunities that are all undergoing dramatic transitions that have the potential to create significant opportunity for development and change. These transitions are fraught with difficulties and their outcomes will not be clear for years to come. Mercy Corps is well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting forces for positive change in these countries. Our path to being relevant and having significant impact will be through the clear identification of high leverage strategies and related resource mobilization, learning about what works in the current context and from our significant experience in the region, recruiting and developing exceptional regional team members to lead our programs.
The Americas program desk provides essential headquarters support to Mercy Corps programs in the region. The desk is the key point of HQ contact for field management including Regional Director (RD), Country Directors, Program Managers and other Expatriate and National staff. The desk links the country programs to a range of U.S. and international-based resources and represents the region to potential and current funders and other organizations and institutions in the US and Canada. This full time PO position is a key member of the program desk team.
The Program Officer (PO) supports strategic, impactful, high-quality programming in The Americas. They support Country Directors in aspects of their country program and grant administration, playing a key role in connecting the field to HQ resources and represents the country/regional interests internally with various HQ teams as well as with external stakeholders. The PO works with the Senior Program Officer (SPO) for The Americas and the Regional Director (RD) to provide support to the field (ultimate point of responsibility) in adhering to internal and external policies and regulations.
Essential Job Responsibilities
PROGRAM & GRANT ADMINISTRATION
- Serve as HQ point of responsibility for overall monitoring on grants/programs for both external/donor requirements as well as Mercy Corps’ internal policies and requirements.
- Provide ongoing monitoring of the status of programs and complete regular check-ins on grant requirements (such as co-financing/match, BVA, data aggregation, etc.).
- Support country team’s adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and Program Management minimum standards. As identified, support adherence to Mercy Corps’ Complex Programs management standards.
- Provide support to Mercy Corps’ Humanitarian Leadership and Response team and other key stakeholders during US domestic emergency response work.
- Lead HQ coordination for proposals (unless designated otherwise). Throughout the proposal process, monitor the timeline, status of proposal and communicate to the relevant parties as appropriate.
- Review final draft for coherence and manage submission to the donor. He/she may be appointed a different role in the design process and travel to the field if needed.
PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT & MANAGEMENT
- With guidance from the SPO, coordinate partnership negotiation & development, ensuring the necessary teams are engaged, to help further program, country and regional interests.
- With guidance from the SPO, represent regional interests and programs with external stakeholders, in concert with the field teams.
STRATEGY, PLANNING & LEARNING
- With guidance from the SPO, support country teams with strategy development and planning.
- Facilitate learning across country portfolios and regions and share lessons learned and knowledge of agency resources/tools/best practices/etc.
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
- Serve as the Americas Desk’s primary point for internal communications, and facilitate use of Mercy Corps’ web-based information systems to draft and update program material (e.g. country fact sheets, country pages on web, dollar handles, etc).
- Maintain up to date country and grant information in Mercy Corps’ online data and knowledge management tools, e.g., GAIT, DL, HUB for the Americas Desk.
- May be asked to do preliminary research on a country or sector to support senior level decision making.
- With guidance from the SPO provide relevant security documents to travelers and provide security orientations/briefings in preparation of travel.
- 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 PARTICIPANTS
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
- Reports Directly To: SPO for The Americas
- Works Directly With: Regional Director, Country Directors, Program Managers, and other National and Expat team members. Also works closely with other HQ Program units and other departments, including Resource Development, International Finance, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, Legal, Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps Counterparts at MC HQ offices in Europe; MC donors and partners
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S in relevant field required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.
- 2 – 4 years of field-based experience in international relief and development — ideally in the region; demonstrated knowledge of relevant sectoral and/or operational areas.
- 2- 4 years of experience managing the development, implementation, administration and compliance (especially of US Government-funded grants); general program management experience preferred.
- Experience with proposal development including support and writing with various donors, particularly US Government, private foundations and corporations.
- Experience with monitoring and evaluation and other learning efforts.
- Experience representing the organization and its interests to a diverse range of local and international government officials, local civil society organizations, other international organizations, the media and the public – preferred.
- Proficiency with MS Office software required (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
- Preference given to candidates with prior work experience in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Spanish fluency required and French a plus.
The successful candidate is a proactive problem solver, who is adept in successfully dealing with issues of complexity and multi-tasking to ensure that Field/HQ requests and deadlines are addressed in a timely manner. They are a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with staff, partners and donors. They will coordinate with his/her supervisor, and be effective at building working relationships with stakeholders. They will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams, including members of the TSU, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness and Social Innovations teams to support impactful partnerships with country programs and the region at large. The Program Officer is part of a team that works with country teams to ensure that we learn from experience, thoroughly research and analyze context and develop high impact strategies. They will be a skilled writer and synthesizer of diverse and complex information, helping teams generate new insights into their work, the needs of their countries and the region, and how program impact can be scaled. A robust sense of humor is greatly appreciated.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Portland, Oregon and is expected to travel up to 35% of the time – sometimes on short notice – to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit or short term assignment 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.