Chief of Party, Regional Civil Society Strengthening - Kazakhstan

Programming Almaty, Kazakhstan


***Position is contingent on funding***

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 prepositioning for the anticipated USAID RFA Regional Civil Society Program in Central Asia. Mercy Corps has been working in the region since 1994, implementing programs in food security, nutrition, conflict mitigation, maternal and child health, disaster risk reduction, agricultural training, infrastructure, microfinance, and community & economic development.

In the area of civil society and governance, Mercy Corps has successfully implemented 317 programs for a total of $634 million in funding over the past ten years globally. Guided by our Vision for Change Mercy Corps has partnered with and strengthened civil society at local, provincial and national levels to foster local ownership, participation and voice.

Mercy Corps is seeking a Chief of Party (COP) for the upcoming five-year USAID-funded program in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to strengthen civil society’s role in promoting greater public accountability through citizen advocacy bolstered by research and information access, mechanisms for interchange between CSOs and government, and a conducive enabling environment.

General Position Summary

The Chief of Party will provide leadership, management and strategic vision to the USAID Regional Civil Society Program in Central Asia. Ensuring an integrated vision among objectives, partners, and geographic locations, the COP will be the primary representative to USAID, government entities, other implementers, and stakeholders. The COP will be responsible for quality control and the responsiveness of technical assistance provided under the award. The COP will apply strong research and policy analysis skills to identify issues and risks related to implementation, and suggest appropriate adjustments

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy development.
  • Develop and organize activities to secure resources for programs and convince stakeholders to provide support.

 Program Management

  • Oversee program start-up, management and administration. Ensure implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic workplans, and ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems and adaptive management principles to reach desired impacts.
  • Provide managerial and programmatic oversight to partners and sub-grantee(s).
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.

Team Management

  • Hire, orient, and develop the capacity of the team to meet outcomes, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and regularly provide constructive feedback.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with USAID, create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor and Mercy Corps’ needs.

Influence & Representation

  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country
  • 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

Directly supervises DCOP, Senior Advisors, grants administration; acts as Almaty head of office.


Reports Directly To: Regional Director

Works Directly With: Program team, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit and partner organizations.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Advanced educational background and knowledge relevant for similar projects in developing countries; strong leadership, administrative, management, reporting, and communication skills and the ability to implement projects with diverse subject matter.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience, including five years managing complex programs in civil society strengthening, governance, CSO capacity building, coalition building.
  • Experience working in Central Asia; knowledge of civil society context highly preferred.
  • Successful experience managing small-grants programs (including oversight of all financial aspects); design and management of flexible and needs-based grants programs.
  • Advanced capacity for research, advocacy and policy analysis, preferably in former Soviet Union, and strategic ability to turn strategic imperatives into actions and outcomes.
  • Ability to coordinate with USG and other donor programs on civil society and seek synergies and complementarities to maximize results.
  • Fluency in both English and Russian required. Other regional languages preferred.

Success Factors

The successful COP 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. 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 based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and requires at least 25% travel (both within Kazakhstan and to program countries Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan) by plane and vehicle to field offices in environments that for the most part are secure. This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with complete freedom of movement in Almaty and other locations in the country for which no travel restrictions exist. Staff have access to good quality healthcare services in Almaty and access to reliable water and electricity services.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY 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.

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.