Area Director of Operations - Derek, Syria

Operations and Logistics Derek, Al-Hasakah Governorate


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 is present in North East Syria, focusing its interventions on emergency and early recovery programming. With funding from United States, United Kingdom, European and UN donors, Mercy Corps has been able to work together with communities in North East Syria to respond to displacements of IDPs and refugees, to provide emergency inputs and to support livelihoods.

General Position Summary

The Area Director of Operations (ADO) shall provide leadership in the Procurement, Logistics and Administrative functions of the North East Syria.  The ADO will work closely with the North East Syria leadership (including the Area Director – NES) to ensure an effective, efficient and results-driven operations support team in a highly-dynamic security contextual environment. The ADO shall ensure smooth functioning of all procurement, IT, administration and logistics functions, and shall be able to project-manage new initiatives and programming. The duty station is in Derek, NE Syria, and shall include significant travel within North East Syria.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Set direction by developing and implementing operational strategic action plan for North East Syria, prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to the overall NE Syria strategy and portfolio changes.
  • Develop and organize activities of Operations Department to provide timely and effective support to program to ensure objectives are met.
  • Take lead on departmental risk identification and mitigation actions which align with organizational and regional risk-management initiatives.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.


Team Management

  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.
  • Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.
  • Conduct analysis of organizational staffing structure in coordination with Area Director, Director of Operations and North East Syria management teams.


Program Support Operations

  • Work closely with the Area Director and the North East Syria management teams to ensure all operational departments are working in close collaboration with programs to facilitate smooth, efficient and effective implementation.
  • Ensure weekly/regular coordination meetings between each Program, together with Finance and Operations take place.
  • Work closely with the Director of Operations - Syria, and supervise the NES support team members to ensure that support systems and structures are in place and compliant with relevant internal and external policies and procedures.
  • Assist the program team and departments to understand their roles and responsibilities in terms of interaction with the logistics and procurement departments. These include trainings, regular coordination meetings, problem solving and necessary planning activities to ensure effective and timely program implementation.
  • Play an active role in preparing internal and external audits, ensuring that recommendations related to operations are followed and all necessary measures to address audit findings are taken.
  • Uphold Mercy Corps’ Zero Tolerance policy to corruption and work closely with HR and Finance to mitigate fraud, conflict of interest, and legal ramifications of Mercy Corps activities.


Procurement Management

  • Ensure timely and accurate processing of procurements, and ensure accurate paperwork and a supply chain as described in the Field Procurement Policies and Procedures.
  • Oversee the proper digital and paper file management for procurement and logistics resources documents. Ensure procurement records systems are well managed and maintained.
  • Ensure all Mercy Corps contracts and business transactions/ relationships with suppliers are transparent and in compliance with country laws and Mercy Corps/ donor policies.


Logistics & Administration

  • Guide the fleet management actors to ensure the fluid and safe movement of staff members and goods and services are well-managed with systems in place to track vehicle usage and maintenance schedules..
  • Oversee tracking of all assets to ensure accurate record keeping of Mercy Corps and donor assets, including exceptional items that require registration and movement tracking, in accordance with the Mercy Corps asset and inventory policies.
  • Oversee customs clearing, equipment registration, licensing and insurance, etc.
  • Assist Operations staff in partnering effectively and cooperatively with other units to improve planning and resource utilization. Work with program staff to ensure procurement planning and identification of operational support needs.


Information Technology

  • Ensure optimal functioning of all IT systems, including Internet, hardware and software.
  • Verify that information technology policies and procedures are documented, disseminated and consistently applied across the country program.
  • Ensure that appropriate data management and data security principles are being correctly applied across all field office sites for ensuring business continuity and safe management of staff, beneficiary and program data.


  • 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.


Organizational Learning   

  • 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.


Supervisory Responsibility

Procurement Manager, Senior Procurement Officer, Senior Operations Officer, Logistics Officer, Quality Control Officer, with oversight of all Operations, Logistics, and Administrative positions in North East Syria


Reports Directly To: Area Director – North East Syria

Reports Indirectly To: Director of Operations - Syria

Works Directly With:  Area Director of Programs, Finance Manager, Chief of Party and all Procurement and Logistics staff throughout the offices

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field, masters preferred
  • A minimum of 5-7 field experience setting up and managing Programmatic Support systems with humanitarian NGOs with supervisory responsibilities, particularly in complex environments.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns and appropriate responses with experience in insecure environments.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.
  • Knowledge of donor regulations including USAID, EC, DFID regulations.
  • Excellent negotiation and representation skills.


Success Factors

The successful candidate will possess critical problem-solving skills and the ability to work out methods to deliver successful programs while demonstrating excellent stewardship of donor funds and compliance with Mercy Corps and donor regulations. S/he will maintain strong cooperating relationships with other departments is crucial. The successful candidate will have the ability to interact effectively with international and national personnel both in a managerial as well as training capacity and demonstrate ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and process information in support of changing program activities. S/he will be able to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment and be willing to travel regularly to Mercy Corps field offices and project sites. The successful candidate will have a desire to grow and learn in one of the most interesting and complex crisis of our times.  S/he will face challenges with a smile and light heartedness. S/he will be comfortable in asking colleagues for help as well as stepping out of her/his role to assist others.  The Mercy Corps team is one that emphasis the value of joy and curiosity.  The team enjoys a great sense of humor and appreciates sharing meals amongst colleagues.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Derek, Syria and it requires 40% travel to all program implementation sites, security permitting and as required for coordination and reporting/proposal drafting purposes. Personnel in this location are expected to follow all security protocols. This unaccompanied position will be required to reside in group housing in an austere environment. This position is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks.

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.