Director of Programs Support (Strategy, Access and Quality) - Amman, Jordan
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
Syria is in the midst a major humanitarian crisis impacting the entire country as well as a number of neighboring countries. More than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes and the number relying on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. The main thrust of the work of Mercy Corps along with its national and international partners for the foreseeable future will be focused on meeting urgent humanitarian needs across the country building resilient and socially cohesive communities through our Peace and Conflict pillar, and supporting market system strengthening and economic development for vulnerable and conflict affected populations. The heightened insecurity and continuous acts of violence and war make the humanitarian response not only more challenging, but increasingly complicated. With a large and complex portfolio of work across the country, Mercy Corps has established itself as one of the largest humanitarian actors providing life-saving and early recovery interventions through analytical, strategic and flexible response mechanisms. Having worked in Syria since 2008, Mercy Corps has been adapting continually to shifting front lines and operational realities to respond effectively and efficiently through multiple modalities with teams inside Syria and working cross-border from neighboring countries. Mercy Corps Syria country program is a unified managerial architecture to allow transversal consistency among programs and unity of purpose at the strategic level.
General Position Summary
Mercy Corps is seeking a strategic, innovative, and problem-solving Director of Program Support (DPS) to drive program quality and a coherent program approach for the Syria Response. The DPS will lead programmatic functions that enhance and improve our ability to deliver quality programs at scale and provide in-depth real time analysis to the program teams and the wider response community. The DPS will oversee various departments, including:
(a) The Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) Team responsible for the design and implementation of Mercy Corps Syria program strategy; impact measurement, knowledge management, research, learning and analysis throughout the program cycle. PaQ leads on establishing and maintaining a fully-functioning and adaptive accountability framework providing real-time qualitative and quantitative measurements of Mercy Corps’ programs and process the streams of feedback collected from the communities;
(b) The Grants Management Team responsible for maintaining the scale of portfolio through a forward looking business development strategy informed by regular engagements with donors, partners, peer organizations and coordination bodies. The Grants management team will be responsible for high quality program design, proposal development and reporting throughout the grant management cycle.
(c) The Humanitarian Access Team (HAT), A crisis analysis team, with a significant field infrastructure of researchers and analysts that are responsible for informing programs, and the wider response community, including NGOs, Donors, Policy Makers, Think Tanks and research partners through real time context, humanitarian and geo-political analysis, as well thematic research projects on topics that influence humanitarian access, and informs humanitarian agencies, donors and policy makers on appropriate strategies.
(d) A Technical Advisory Team, including thematic technical advisors in Peace & Conflict; Shelter/WASH; Food Security & Livelihoods; and Gender, Protection & Inclusion. The Technical Advisory Team is responsible for: (i) supporting quality program interventions through engaging with the field implementation teams on programmatic approaches, strategies and modalities in-line with best practice and appropriate minimum standards; (ii) work with the Grants Management team to support technically sound program designs, proposal development, reporting, and representing the technical elements of the country program to donors and external stakeholders; (iii) provide the PaQ team with thematic expertise to measure and analyze program impact, set targets, develop sound logic models that guide program implementation, and; (iv) provide technical expertise to thematic research to inform Mercy Corps programs, the wider response community as well as policy makers and donors.
As a member of the Syria Senior Management Team (SMT), the DPS works closely with the Country Director (CD), The Director of Field Program Implementation and other senior members of the country program, and creates a dynamic and stimulating relationships with all the technical and analytical resources available internally and externally relevant to the Syrian context. The DPS represents Mercy Corps at the highest level and is able to develop, articulate and deliver a strategic vision in line with the rapid evolution of the context and the strategic decisions made by the organization’s executive leadership.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & PLANNING
- Provide leadership, strategic vision, coherence and direction to the country program as a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT)
- Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to internal and external stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans and results
- Work closely with the Syria Country Director and other Senior Members of the Syria Program to ensure that Mercy Corps strategy is understood and guides decision-making throughout the response;
- Coordinate input for the development and review of Strategies across departments and geographical hubs
- Facilitate the development and pursuit of thematic, cross-cutting strategic priorities.
- Ensure that analytical, technical support, grants and PaQ teams are collaborating with the program implementation team and other internal stakeholders effectively, adding value to the program and maintaining strategic focus;
- Position MC as the leading organization for Humanitarian and Crisis Analysis, and specific technical and programmatic priorities (i.e. peace and conflict, Social Cohesion, Market System Strengthening, Shelter/WASH and first line emergency response)
- Lead the development/updating of the Country Strategies by conducting contextual analysis, and program participant trend monitoring ensuring participation and buy-in from all relevant staff, partners and other stakeholders as necessary
- Support development of cross-team coordination mechanisms to ensure effective collaboration and integration across key program areas and functions.
VISION AND LEADERSHIP
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Ensure Country Office complies with the MCs Quality Framework, Relevant technical standards and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS)
- Interface with headquarters effectively to execute strategy and build effective donor relationships
- Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps programming and operations inside Syria;
- Build consensus around a common vision of what shared success inside Syria looks like, including development and tracking appropriate indicators;
- Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance inside Syria and to make program strategies and frameworks more consistent across the response;
- Facilitate sharing and learning across different Mercy Corps Syria offices and support teams to incorporate learning from the response, and other regions, in project design and management;
- Engage Syria program leadership in ongoing context analysis that enables programs and teams to adapt to significant changes in the geopolitical/conflict environment and program participant trends
- Create and maintain systems to ensure efficient and transparent capture of program data for management decision-making and timely and informative internal and external reporting;
- Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and promote creative programming across the programs portfolio;
- Take go/no-go decisions regarding pursuit of inside-Syria funding opportunities and, in coordination with Syria Country Director and other senior leadership, engage in strong regional-level representation with donors, international and local NGOs and networks;
PROGRAM PERFORMANCE & QUALITY
- Support and guide the Program Performance and Quality Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs.
- Ensure that proper Monitoring and Evaluation tools in line with Mercy Corps guidelines and policies are effectively used by the programs teams.
- Support the design of a Performance & Information Management System adapted to the Syria programs needs and provide regular feedback to the IMS team to help improve it.
- Oversee the development of a monitoring system that provides timely and accurate project results by embedding MEL across program implementation
- Ensure high quality evaluations are conducted to demonstrate outcomes and impact and accountability mechanisms are in place for all projects with a focus on knowledge management
- Ensure regular data collection and meaningful analyses, establishment of accountability and learning mechanisms, with regular dissemination of strategic information to SMT and other relevant staff to drive learning and improve program quality
- 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
- Develop key research questions with technical experts and ensure evidence generation in programs with a focus on learning and recommendations from those programs
- Support capacity development of MEL staff, maximizing their role as trainers and facilitators of quality standards in project design, monitoring and evaluation for the country office and hold team accountable for development and use of quality benchmarks
- Participate in project kick-offs for significant grants to ensure effective strategic direction and project close-outs to gather learning and share results
TECHNICAL ADVISORY TEAM
- Monitor and advance technical and operational quality of field programs across all themes and accountable for results and sustainability of program outcomes
- Ensure effective working relationships with MCs global Technical Support Unit to support program and advocacy efforts
- Ensure relevant technical support is provided promptly, at scale and in line with humanitarian principles and standards during emergencies.
- Ensure the development of regular thematic working groups, and facilitate cross-thematic learning
- Support capacity development of thematic advisors, maximizing their role as technical support providers to field teams and local project partners
- Ensure that Technical Specialists engage in larger communities of practice to link with the most relevant and evidence-based approaches
HUMANITARIAN ACCESS & CRISIS ANALYSIS
- Support the HAT Director set the strategic direction for a team of analysts, and support functions officers, in producing regular, ongoing, high-level analytical products, including monthly and situational reports, area assessments and thematic products.
- Ensure alignment of the HAT with program needs.
- Support the HAT in building an external network, and engage in independent thematic research initiatives
- Help build the HAT brand as a global leader in crisis analysis for humanitarian actors, donors and policy makers.
STRATEGIC BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & GRANTS MANAGEMENT
- Track and review calls for proposals and identify opportunities that match Mercy Corps’ strategic interests in Syria.
- Coordinate with partner organizations and field program staff on proposal development and design, including gathering information for concepts and proposals and serving as the final accountable quality assurance for proposals, reports, needs assessments and other external products
- Apply the agency’s best practices in proposal development efforts for institutional donors
- Ensure that the country office has high quality, cost-effective and evidence based multi-sector programs reflecting MC’s global and Syria specific strategy and theory of change
- Ensure that relevant technical and other teams such as Advocacy and Communications receive regular timely and quality program inputs to help guide their strategies and promote effective cross-thematic collaboration
- Ensure discussion on innovation, policy making and bringing in external stakeholders to foster innovation
- Lead on and drive fundraising strategies in the CO.
ADVOCACY & COMMUNICATION
- Represent Mercy Corps and network with government authorities, donors, partners and other stakeholders to promote MC objectives and build relationships to facilitate success of our projects
- Support advocacy initiatives that promote civil society, protection of civilians, the pursuit of impartial and conflict sensitive access and work to influence policy and legislation in the best interests of vulnerable and conflict affected groups
- Ensure that learning from the field contributes to development and implementation of advocacy initiatives.
- Participate in shaping policy positions and advocacy messages pertaining to the overall humanitarian situation inside Syria.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews;
- Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives;
- Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
- Ensure appropriate staffing within your purview, and ensure all staff understand and are able to perform their role
- Work with HR in the recruitment, training, and professional development for your staff. Incorporate staff development strategies and Performance Management Systems into team building process.
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
- Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate;
- Ability to work with formal and informal government structures and representatives, maintain and develop relevant and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders;
- Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs and civil society organizations and academic institutions;
- Anticipate program needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor views on the evolving context and its impact on civilians in Syria;
- Ensure that Mercy Corps maintain a high degree of risk awareness and impartiality;
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.
- Regularly review the Security Team, the Humanitarian Access Team and other Advisors’ analysis of security and its outlook in Syria and the region;
- Coordinate with external counterparts on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and any security policy changes;
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies;
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
- 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 PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our program participants 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.
Director of Program Performance and Quality (PaQ), Grants Management Director, Humanitarian Access Team (HAT) Director, Technical Advisor-Peace & Conflict, Technical Advisor-Food Security & Livelihoods, Technical Advisor-Shelter/WASH, Technical Advisor-Gender, Inclusion & Protection
Reports Directly to: Syria Country Director
Works Directly with:
- SMT: Country Director, Director of Field Implementation, Director of Operations, HR Director, Finance Director, Security Director
- Extended SMT: North East Syria Area Director, North West Syria Program Director, Partnership Support Program Director, ISHA Program Director, Sub-Awards and Compliance Director, Ethics & Assurance Manager, Policy and Advocacy Advisor
Knowledge and Experience
- Post graduate qualifications or equivalent in relevant social science, human rights, development studies, NGO management or equivalent field
- A minimum of seven years of progressive senior management and/ or development experience in a corporate or an NGO environment, including experience directing and implementing programs
- Experience in more than one of Mercy Corps thematic sectors or areas of responsibility: Crisis Analysis, Protection, Food Security & Livelihoods, Governance and Social Cohesion, Shelter/WASH, Emergency Response
- Knowledge of New Business Development, donors and their environments and a basic understanding of advocacy, policy, and human rights
- Experience of lobbying, influencing and representing an organisation at all levels and across diverse sectors
- Experience working with high level government agencies and academics on relevant humanitarian
- Strong skills and proven experience in new program development, project design, and donor proposal design with corporates, foundations and institutional donors
- Strong skills and proven experience in leading strategic planning, change management and program management processes; also from the knowledge and learning perspective
- Experience of conducting research, drafting and presenting reports to varied audiences.
- Knowledge of Arabic language is desired
The successful candidate is an opinionated, fast thinking, experienced leader. They have a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. They are an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. They are able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. They are a confident representative in public settings, able to speak up when needed to defend Mercy Corps’ positions and influence key stakeholders internally and externally to further and expand MC Syria’s goals in the response. They are able to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team-building and capacity-building of national staff. They demonstrate excellent information management skills, is a strategic thinker. They possess an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Syria.
The position will be based in Amman, Jordan. This role is accompanied and requires up to 40% travel to other field locations. Housing is in individual housing in Amman.
Personnel in this location are expected to follow all Mercy Corps security protocols, which may change from time to time, relevant to the prevailing risk environment. Good medical services and educational institutions are available in Amman. City electricity is available in Amman and running water is reliable also. Internet connectivity and communication is reliable in most locations.
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.