The Director of Programs will lead the design and the implementation of Mercy Corps’ program strategy, and ensure effective program coordination, mobilization of resources, technical or otherwise to drive the delivery of programs on scope, on budget and on time. The position holder will play a lead role, alongside the Country Director, in identifying new funding opportunities and pre-positioning Mercy Corps for these opportunities. S/he will work with a dynamic programs team (proposal development manager, technical advisors, program managers) to design winning proposals and concept notes.
It will have overall responsibility in ensuring that programs are implemented inline with Mercy Corps’ global program policies and standards. The DoP will provide on-the-ground support to program implementation teams by troubleshooting issues preemptively, mentoring & coaching, providing technical support as needed. S/he will actively participate in relevant thematic coordination platforms on behalf of Mercy Corps and will represent Mercy Corps’ programs to donors, major stakeholders, relevant government authorities and other program partners. The Director of Program is part of the Senior Management Team (SMT) with supervisory and managerial responsibilities of the program team. The DP must be highly motivated, self-driven and efficacious.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & PLANNING
Maintain a central role in operationalizing Mali’s country strategy, ensuring that existing programs contribute to strategic goals, objectives and targets and is relevant to the evolving context in the country.
Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve program and agency objectives.
Conduct analyses to determine humanitarian/development gaps and how Mercy Corps should position itself to best serve the needs of vulnerable populations.
NEW INITIATIVE DEVELOPMENT
Lead on the development of concept notes and funding proposals (including budgets), coordinating the process with all Mali departments under the guidance of the Country Director.
Support and provide overall leadership to relevant Program teams, Grants team, support units, and MEL teams working on the program development process.
Ensure the PaQ team effectively contributes to proposal development processes, ensuring the incorporation of lessons learned and technical excellence to program design.
Work closely with Regional Program Teams in MC Global offices to keep donor, grant and information tracking databases up to date with most current proposals, concept notes, partnership agreements and reports.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT & PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION
Provide strategic and technical leadership in the management of the Mali program portfolio to ensure coordinated implementation, enhanced resource optimization, cross program learning and adaptive management.
Ensure that Mercy Corps’ programs are responsive to community needs and are built and delivered to enhance community resilience.
Promote a culture of program management that actively seeks the inclusion of all constituents of communities (especially those often left behind) and their participation in key decision-making processes.
Ensure that all programs have and regularly update essential program management tools (Detailed Implementation Plan, Budget Forecast, BvA, Procurement Plan, Work Plan, Staffing Plan, etc.)
Ensure regular coordination of program, finance and operations key staff for regular program review meetings (weekly and monthly meetings, program kick-off meetings, 90-day closeout meetings, quarterly review & learning meetings, etc.).
Support Program Directors/Managers to oversee performance of their team, partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors.
Ensure all programs meet Mercy Corps Minimum Standards and donor requirements; guide the team to ensure high quality implementation approaches that are consistent with national and global strategies and acknowledge good practices.
Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
PROGRAM PERFORMANCE & QUALITY
Ensure technical excellence and efficient performance of technical support team, ensuring they have the tools and support needed to lead technical excellence across Water & Food Security, Governance & Peacebuilding, Market Systems Development and Economic Opportunities.
Engage programs leadership in ongoing context analysis that enables programs and teams to adapt to significant context changes and to work together in a collaborative and impactful manner.
Ensure program teams are trained on the community accountability and response mechanism (CARM), that CARM is put in place and operational, and anti-fraud and safeguarding measures are adequately resourced in program design/implementation.
MONITORING, EVALUATION, RESEARCH, LEARNING & COMMUNICATION
Support the management of a country-wide Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation system, supporting managers and their teams to establish real time information that can steer program implementation and maximize Mercy Corps’ ability to analyze and represent impact at a program and portfolio level to donors, government, colleague agencies, and communities themselves.
Ensure effective collaboration between MEL staff, technical advisors, and thematic specialists in the development of sector log frames, indicators, implementation plans, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks and related tools.
Ensure M&E tools and methodologies are harmonized across the portfolio.
Contribute to the understanding and application of new M&E approaches to emerging themes like resilience, systems thinking, and complex humanitarian crises.
Support systems to ensure collection of impact stories and evidence from Mercy Corps’ country teams on a regular basis.
GRANTS MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING
Develop a thorough understanding of relevant Mercy Corps internal and donor policies, regulations, and procedures and train teams accordingly.
Lead in summarizing the compliance requirements of grants issued under each donor and communicating these requirements to the program teams.
Work closely with the finance and operations departments to develop grants compliance checklists and share, and follow-up, with program staff for implementation
Lead in keeping track of grant start and end dates and ensure all donor reporting deadlines are met and reports are of high quality.
Create an environment for open dialogues among program colleagues and peers in order to discuss relevant issues, unpack key topics, solve problems and learn together for the purpose of successfully achieving the main outcomes and impacts of our programs.
Oversee staffing plans for the Programs team; support recruitment, onboarding, and restructuring as necessary.
Continually assess the training and development needs of the Programs team and oversee capacity building and career development processes.
Manage performance of program leaders including establishment of clear and measurable objectives, ongoing feedback, periodic reviews, and regular check-ins.
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.
FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations on all programs.
Serve as overall budget holder for programs; manage and support budget holders for individual programs and awards and ensure project expenditure is in line with work plans and commitments to donors.
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
Support the Country Director to cultivate strategic partnerships or relationships with new/existing donors and potential consortium partners to further strategic development opportunities.
Build productive relationships with donors, national/regional/local government authorities, private sector actors, and local/international organizations in Mali, in close coordination with the Country Director.
Represent Mercy Corps at all relevant coordination meetings and increasingly play a lead role in other advocacy and coordination bodies.
Coordinate with other NGOs in Mali to consolidate Mercy Corps’ strategic niche and comparative advantages, while identifying strategic partnerships.
Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.
Program Directors/Managers/Leads, Technical Leads/Advisors, Heads of Offices
Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: Finance, HR and operations teams, Program Development and Quality team, HQ/Regional Program Team, HQ/Regional PaQ/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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills
BA/S or MA/S or equivalent in conflict & crisis, social sciences, engineering, finance, international development, or other relevant fields.
Solid background in one or more of the following technical areas: Monitoring & Evaluation, Governance & Peacebuilding, Food Security & Market Systems, is a plus.
Over 8 years of experience in program management in the aid sector.
Demonstrated experience in developing programs and writing successful proposals is essential.
Certification in Project DPro, Program DPro, Prince II, PMC is advantageous.
Demonstrated experience of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs.
Strong understanding of conflict sensitive program mainstreaming, and gender or protection mainstreaming would be an advantage.
Strong M&E skills with extensive field experience in developing practical, useful, and timely monitoring systems, both at the program and country level, which promote the use of data for adaptive management and learning.
Demonstrated experience in managing country programs in fragile contexts.
Experience managing programs along the Humanitarian, Development & Peace continuum is a plus.
Prior experience with funding from USG, GAC, FCDO, European, and other leading donors.
Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills required, including influencing, negotiation and coaching.
Strong management skills with good understanding of managing international, cross-cultural teams.
Strong analytic skills and ability to develop solutions to complex issues required.
Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
Fluency in French is a must, good English writing skills are highly appreciated.
Advanced skills in using Microsoft Office suite are required. Appetite for using new technologies is appreciated.
The successful Director of Programs will combine exceptional 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. S/he will be willing to contribute directly and have an understanding of when delegating is appropriate. 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 position is accompanied for spouse alone and based in Bamako with at least 30% travel to program areas, security permitting. The position is eligible for individual housing and R&R. in some public places underscore the fluidity of the situation and may require expatriate staff to adhere to security policies, such as restrictions on movement. Bamako is served by an international airport with daily flights to European and African destinations. Restaurants and shopping options are available all over the town, with reasonable access to most consumer goods. Health care services exist and are developing rapidly. However, for more serious conditions, medevac to Dakar, Senegal or Europe may be required. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/STA 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 always and in all in-country venues.
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 and have signed on to theInteragency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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 toMercy 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.