About Mercy Corps
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.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps’ programs in Africa are undergoing both momentous humanitarian crises and significant development challenges that offer the opportunity to empower people to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Moreover, Africa is also characterized by a high rate of urbanization and a massive youth population. Against this backdrop Mercy Corps’ focus in Africa has been on responding to ongoing humanitarian needs, while promoting good governance and conflict resolution, enhancing resilience, strengthening market systems, enhancing access to finance and economic opportunities, and promoting youth employment and empowerment. Mercy Corps continues to position itself as a key and credible partner with the many donors, government authorities and civil society actors, enhancing our ability to contribute to the process of positive change across the continent. Mercy Corps looks to actively engage and partner with an ever growing and innovative African private sector to achieve greater and sustained impact. We are also keenly aware that executing our current and future programs on scope, on budget, on time and to a high level of technical quality across our portfolio is critical, while we continue to develop new approaches and leverage innovations to accelerate our impact and influence in the region. Mercy Corps requires an astute navigator able to steer our team and efforts toward ever-improving results for what represents one of the agency’s largest and most complex portfolios. Powered by the belief that a better world is possible, Mercy Corps seeks an inspiring, creative and focused leader to further the impact, influence, and innovation of Mercy Corps’ humanitarian and development efforts in the region.
General Position Summary
The Director of Program Performance and Quality for Africa is a senior leader providing significant programmatic direction and quality support to Mercy Corps 15+ country programs and complex programs across the continent. The director works closely with the Regional Director (RD), Deputy Regional Directors (DRDs) and Director of Technical Support, Africa to ensure transformational change occurs through the combination of: programmatic impact in our communities; the ability to influence change makers at local and global levels; and a restlessness to innovate in search of better solutions. The Director will collaborate with the RD to build and sustain a cohesive regional management team ensuring the Africa portfolio is positioned for excellence in all programmatic functions across country teams. The Director coordinates with program departments at the country, regional and headquarters levels to ensure that our program portfolio is of the highest quality and standards and that programs receive the support that they need. The Director will champion Mercy Corps’ Program Management Policy and its associated minimum standards and the agency’s quality standards to ensure that the teams are driving transformational impact in the region through executing programs that are of the highest quality, with the latest program designs and generating documented evidence, learning and adaptive management.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & PLANNING
- Work with the Regional Senior Leadership Team to articulate an ambitious and compelling regional strategy for Mercy Corps in Africa aligned with Mercy Corps’ global strategy. Lead key strategic objectives of the regional strategy in coordination with regional teams.
- Act as key partner for the RD and DRDs to achieve an effective regional management team that delivers programmatic excellence and significant impact and influence in the region.
- Work with regional and HQ-based teams to develop regional research and learning priorities that are connected to regional and global strategic priorities.
- Serve as a member of “PaQPlus,” or the group of regional program performance and quality counterparts who work with the PaQ Unit at HQ to design and advance shared program quality processes and systems.
- Supervise the Regional Program Quality teams and provide operational support to Country teams.
- Ensure that members of this team have a deep understanding of their roles, coordinate closely in their work, are connected to relevant stakeholders across the agency to inform and promote agency strategies and best practices related to performance and program quality.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on one meetings and performance reviews.
- Ensure sound performance management and staff access to high quality learning opportunities, with a special emphasis on national team member development.
- Ensure dynamic engagement mechanisms across the region and globally to ensure every voice matters.
- Participate in the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of key Mercy Corps staff in the region.
- Encourage a climate of idea generation, open discourse, and honest communication, creating a trusting, inclusive team.
- Design and oversee coherent mechanisms to reach, train, collaborate, and build consensus with key program quality counterparts in programs and portfolios in the Africa region - for example Program Managers/ Chiefs of Party, Directors of Programs, MEL Leads, CARM Leads or Focal Point, Infrastructure Leads, and generalist PaQ Leads where these exist.
- Working with regional leadership and PaQ HQ, advise portfolio and program teams on optimal performance and quality position definitions and staffing structures, ensuring consistency to help advance a shared understanding of these roles and their purposes.
- Devise and oversee effective onboarding mechanisms for team members joining in performance and quality roles at the program or portfolio levels throughout the region.
COMPLEX PROGRAM SUPPORT
- Ensure Complex Programs in the region are supported by the regional/global PAQ team, including engaging directly on program boards and providing start-up or course-correction support as needed to promote quality and deliver impact.
- Working with the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) in PaQ HQ, support the roll-out of the revised Complex Program standards with country teams across the region.
- Oversee information sharing and learning mechanisms among Complex Programs, using information gathered through these processes to improve Mercy Corps’ Complex Program design and performance in the region.
PROMOTING QUALITY, PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY (PaQ, MEL, CARM, GDI)
- Develop systems to ensure that all programs in the region receive support and have the necessary resources to achieve the highest possible impact and are in line with overall regional and global strategies.
- Work closely with headquarters support units to ensure continuous quality improvement of field programs, and that teams are working towards achieving excellence, especially during rapid growth.
- Lead efforts to build the culture of adaptive management, evidence and learning in each country in the region.
- Support all countries in the region to adopt and adhere to Mercy Corps’ program accountability and CARM policies.
- Coordinate with PaQ, MEL and TSU to ensure that countries access relevant technical support and effectively share lessons learned from programming across the region.
- Support countries with the implementation of PM Policy procedures and standards (inclusive of PM, CARM, MEL, GESI in Program Management, CTP/ GDP, and Infrastructure), overseeing efforts to conduct gap analysis, develop action plans, contextualize implementation, continuously improve implementation, and coordinate and track participation in associated global or regional training programs. Serve as a key stakeholder in working with PaQ HQ to adapt and improve these policies over time.
- Use data sources to assess PM Policy adherence and guide training and support plans accordingly across the region.
- Oversee efforts to ensure that all programs in the region adopt and use recommended program filing structures to improve record retention, documentation management, standards adherence, and information sharing; contribute to elaborating associated regional and global policies over time.
- Lead efforts with country leadership to adopt global Gender, Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) policies within country programs and teams.
- Support and facilitate key objectives of the Safe, Diverse and Accountable workplan and help countries in integrating gender and social inclusion considerations throughout programs, operations and teams with an emphasis on supporting increased representation of marginalized groups.
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
- Develop and nurture strong external relationships and networks to support program success.
- Identify and pursue areas for thought leadership, including building connections with donors, private sector partners, and other actors, promoting the Africa region’s capabilities, expertise, innovation, strategic vision and values.
- Act as a key liaison between headquarters, the regional team and country teams to effectively promote program performance and quality and inform adaptations to global standards as necessary.
- Help to ensure timely and targeted communication and information flow that highlight Mercy Corps’ regional and global impact.
- Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater program performance, quality and impact.
Regional Program Advisors (PaQ, MEL, CARM). Work closely with Chiefs of Party and country leaders
- Reports Directly To: Regional Director, Africa
- Works Directly With: Country Directors, Senior Management Teams, Regional Program Team (RPT), and supplemental support teams based at HQ in locations such as Portland, OR, Washington DC and/or Edinburgh, Scotland
- 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.
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S in international development, social science, business administration or other relevant fields required, MA/S or equivalent years of experience strongly preferred;
- 8+ years of experience in senior management roles, involving team management, program execution, monitoring and evaluation, engagement with multiple actors internally and externally;
- Confident communication skills applicable to donor relations, media outreach, and inter-agency coordination;
- Demonstrated ability to think strategically, and solve complex problems at an organizational level;
- Significant experience in strategy development, program design/development and planning;
- Demonstrated experience with private sector is essential;
- Successful and proven negotiation and communication skills;
- Demonstrated understanding of the critical humanitarian and development issues in Africa and significant experience with the challenges of operating in the region;
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
- Fluent in French and English required.
The successful Director will apply a strong combination of program management, leadership, team management, coordination, and relationship-building skills with an outstanding ability to support innovative, impactful programs. With a high capacity to deliver results under tight deadlines with multiple priorities, the Director will have the ability to think ahead and decide on a course of action, ensuring that the required resources to implement are available to achieve high-quality outcomes. Commitment, flexibility and openness to new practices, concepts, ideas and change for continuous improvement will serve the position and team well. Public relations skills are integral success factors in this position. Excellent negotiation and communication skills will foster the development of country team, donor and partner relationships. The role also requires a deep understanding of the region, its recent history, current trends and political environment. Being a team player, a positive attitude and a sense of humor are a must, along with strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and a commitment to the values and mission of Mercy Corps.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Dakar, Senegal (or other country in the Sahel region) and it requires up to 40% travel to support country programs, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited.
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 elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.