Deputy Country Director - Yemen

Programming Sana'a, Yemen


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 seeks to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression around the world and has worked in the Middle East since the 1980s. Yemen is in the midst a major humanitarian crisis impacting the entire country. In response to acute and increasing humanitarian needs in Yemen, Mercy Corps opened its office in Yemen in 2010. More than 22 million people are need and reliance on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. The main thrust of the work of Mercy Corps along with its national and international partners is to meet urgent humanitarian needs across the country while building resilience and social cohesion. Strategies to enhance the resilience of communities to the harsh environmental and social conditions in the country cut across the portfolio.

General Position Summary

The Deputy Country Director (DCD) is directly responsible for all the programs in Yemen. The DCD supervises the program team providing leadership to the design and quality implementation of relevant, innovative and impactful programs; ensuring a fully-functioning and adaptive feedback and accountability framework;  providing real-time qualitative and quantitative measurements of Mercy Corps’ programs; and maintaining or growing the scale of portfolio through a forward-looking business development strategy informed by regular engagements with donors, partners, peer organizations, and coordination bodies. The DCD works closely with senior members of the country team to dynamically engage relevant technical and analytical resources internally and externally. The DCD 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

Strategic Vision & Leadership
  • Contribute to countrywide strategy development and prioritize and organize actions and resources to achieve objectives set through those processes;
  • Follow analysis of the Yemen crisis and the impact of policy, political, and military changes on the context, ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated in planning for both short-term humanitarian and longer-term recovery and resilience programming;
  • Ensure that analytical and technical support teams are collaborating with program and other internal stakeholders effectively, adding value to the program and maintaining strategic focus;
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed and considered;
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps strategy is understood throughout the team and guides decision-making.

Program Performance & Quality
  • Communicate a clear vision of program goals and strategies to program team members and stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans;
  • Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps programming and operations in Yemen;
  • Facilitate sharing and learning across offices and teams, incorporating local, regional, and global learning into program design and management;
  • Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance and implement consistent program strategies and frameworks across the response;
  • Build consensus around a common vision of what shared success looks like, including developing and tracking appropriate indicators;
  • Ensure programs are able to meet donor and internal obligations on scope, time, and budget, including efficient coordination of program, operational, and financial issues;
  • Engage program leadership in ongoing context analysis that enables programs and teams to adapt to significant changes in the geopolitical/conflict environment;
  • 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 portfolio;
  • Oversee the establishment of systems, policies, and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs.
  • Ensure that all the program staff have received training in line with their level of responsibility and receive technical support relevant to their programs.
  • Contribute to the design of an Information Management System adapted to the Yemen programs’ needs and provide regular feedback to the IMS team to help improve it.
  • Provide oversight, training, and accountability to ensure that all programs meet Mercy Corps’ program management, resource transfer, record retention, and other relevant standards.

Strategic Business Development
  • Track and review new program development opportunities and identify opportunities that match Mercy Corps’ strategic interests in Yemen.
  • Coordinate with partner organizations and field program staff on proposal development and design, including gathering information for concepts and proposals and serving as primary drafter/editor of proposals and needs assessments.
  • Apply the agency’s best practices in donor cultivation, pre-positioning, and proposal development efforts for institutional donors.
  • Take go/no-go decisions regarding the pursuit of funding opportunities and, in coordination with CD and other senior leadership, engage in strong regional-level representation with donors, international and local NGOs and networks;

Team Management
  • 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;
  • Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary;
  • 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.

Finance & Compliance Management
  • Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny in Yemen programming and ensure continuing effective, transparent and responsive compliance mechanisms are in place;
  • Maintain oversight of overall program budgets ensuring appropriate allocation of resources to meet program objectives;
  • Ensure adequate technical, analytical and administrative support for programs;
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.

Influence & Representation
  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate;
  • Work with formal and informal governance 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, 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 Yemen;
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps maintains a high degree of risk awareness and impartiality;
  • Respect and understand cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and have the ability to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved;
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.
  • Participate in shaping policy positions and advocacy messages pertaining to the overall humanitarian situation in Yemen.

  • Maintain oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach participants;
  • Coordinate with the CD 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.

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 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 communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility: Program Directors, MEL Manager, Grants & Reporting Specialist


Reports Directly To: Yemen Country Director

Works Directly With: Senior Leadership Team, Regional Program and Technical Team, Headquarters Technical Support Unit, additional headquarters-based teams as needed.

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;
  • 7 to 9 years of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs including humanitarian operations, previous work experience in the Middle East and insecure environments preferred;
  • Substantial knowledge of the international humanitarian system, institutions and donors, and of compliance requirements, accountability frameworks and best practices; prior experience with funding from USG, DFID, ECHO and other leading donors;
  • Robust experience in developing, operationalizing, and implementing program strategies;
  • Demonstrated expertise in representation and negotiation resulting in securing significant new opportunities for the organization;
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments;
  • Experience leveraging data systems within humanitarian programs to evaluate program outcomes;
  • Experience in managing strategic transitions from humanitarian to early recovery, social cohesion programs in a post- conflict transition phase;
  • Proven record in guiding the formulation of sectoral strategies in a rapidly evolving humanitarian context;
  • Highly-developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Solid project management skills related to international, cross-functional teams;
  • Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success;
  • Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Arabic preferred.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is a fast thinking, experienced leader. S/he has a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. S/he is an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. S/he is able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. S/he is a confident representative in public settings, able to speak up when needed to influence key stakeholders internally and externally to further and expand MC Yemen’s goals in the response. S/he is able to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team-building and capacity-building of national staff. S/he has excellent information management skills and is a strategic thinker. S/he has 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 Yemen.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Deputy Country Director position is an unaccompanied position based in Sana’a, Yemen, with travel to other offices, as security allows. When traveling within Yemen, strict adherence to Mercy Corps security policies and procedures will be required as will respect for local cultural norms and traditions. The position will require travel to the field sites in Mercy Corps Yemen’s operational areas up to 50% time including travel to some locations that may be insecure or austere. Frequent travel to project sites in Sana’a, Taiz, and Aden or other areas will be required if security allows.  Security conditions in the country are variable, with a range of violence and insecurity, requiring close monitoring and vigilance. Conflict and corruption have also badly damaged the country’s infrastructure. Candidates must be able to work in an environment with energy, transportation and communication challenges.

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.