Deputy Country Director, Programs - DRC

Programming Goma, Congo, Democratic Republic Of (Was Zaire)


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 has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of approximately 400 people working in Eastern DRC. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo with multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH support to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps is also currently responding the unfolding Ebola epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. The current annual budget includes resources from DFID, USAID, ECHO, UN-donors, Government of Netherlands, OFDA, FFP, SDC and others.

General Position Summary

The Deputy Country Director of Programs (DCD-P) role is an exciting opportunity to shape and lead our programs in country.  The DCD-P  is a proven leader that is directly responsible for overseeing the programs team in DRC.  He/she will work closely with the Country Director (CD) and the program teams to lead new program development and strategy, and ensure effective program coordination and technical support, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance and accountability in close collaboration with the operations, finance and internal control teams. The position will be based in Goma with frequent travel to Kinshasa and field teams. S/he will help represent Mercy Corps DRC at the highest level to donors, major stakeholders (including those from the private sector), relevant government authorities and is able to articulate and deliver strategic vision in the complex environment of Eastern Congo.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to program teams and stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans;
  • Contribute to countrywide strategy development and prioritize and organize actions and resources to achieve objectives set through those processes;
  • Follow analysis of the DRC socio-political, economic, access, security context ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated in planning for both short-term humanitarian and longer-term development 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

Program Development

  • In coordination with the Country Director, Regional Program Director, Program Directors, Program Managers, Technical Advisors and other relevant personnel and counterparts, lead the identification of new initiatives and opportunities that respond to identified needs and the country strategy;
  • Coordinate with partner organizations and field program staff on proposal development and design, including gathering information for concepts and proposals and serving as primary lead or coordinator of proposals and needs assessments
  • Support Country Director to cultivate strategic partnerships or relationships with new/existing donors to further strategic development opportunities.

Program Leadership & Coordination

  • Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and alignment of Mercy Corps’ programming and operations;
  • Facilitate sharing and learning across programs portfolios, teams, offices and support teams to incorporate learning in program design and management;
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic roadmap and country strategy;
  • Provide leadership and oversight to ensure program adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations;
  • Support Program Directors/Managers to oversee performance of partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors;
  • Conduct field visits to programs for monitoring, quality control and program staff mentoring and coaching.

Program Performance & Quality

  • Support DMEL Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure tools and systems are in place for effective program monitoring and evaluation.
  • Support the Program Quality and Development Manager to put in place effective program quality tools and measures in place and to regularly monitor quality control;
  • Ensure that the DMEL and QAC teams in DRC are actively linked to those at HQ to ensure that global indicators and practices are considered and adhered to where necessary;
  • Ensure all program teams have received training on program quality and minimum standards;
  • Ensure program documentation and program minimal standards are consistently adhered to and that comprehensive dashboards are provided;
  • Ensure that a comprehensive reporting schedule is maintained and adhered to according to requirements;
  • Ensure program teams are trained on community response mechanism (CRM), CRMs are put into place and operational, and anti-fraud measures considered in program design/implementation.

Team Management

  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

Influence & Representation

  • Establish close and productive relationships with donors, national government authorities, private sector actors, and cluster members (UN and NGO) in DRC, in close coordination with the Country Director, Heads of Offices, and Program Directors;
  • Represent Mercy Corps at all relevant coordination meetings in Goma/Kinshasa (Head of Mission, Clusters, Humanitarian Advocacy; Ebola coordination), and increasingly play a lead role in other advocacy and coordination bodies;
  • Coordinate with other NGOs in the DRC to consolidate Mercy Corps’ strategic niche and comparative advantages, while identifying strategic partnerships;
  • Share Country Director’s Interims with the Operations Director during the Country Director’s absence.


  • 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

Program Directors/Manager (4 Directors; 1 Manager), DMEL Director, Program Quality and Development Manager, Communications Officer. Functional line with one additional Complex Program Director for program quality/coordination.


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Department Heads, DRC country program, finance, internal control, operational staff; HQ Regional Program Team; Technical Support Unit

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field. MA/S preferred.
  • five to seven years of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs.  
  • Experience managing humanitarian relief and/or transitional programs in areas affected by conflict and insecurity.
  • Prior experience with funding from USG, DFID, ECHO, and other leading donors.
  • Previous experience working in francophone Africa.
  • Proven track record in proposal writing and business development.
  • Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including Water and Sanitation, Food Security, Economic Recovery or Market Development, Cash programming, and/or Conflict/Governance. Strong understanding of gender and protection mainstreaming would be a key advantage;
  • Strong analytic skills and ability to develop solutions to complex issues required;
  • Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills required, including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Strong management skills with good understanding of managing international, cross-cultural teams;
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Fluent written and oral communication in French and English is critical and required.
  • Solid knowledge of security protocols and ability to work effectively in an insecure environment.

Success Factors

The successful DCD – P will have senior level experience in coordinating and managing programs in complex areas affected by conflict and insecurity.  S/he will have exceptional program development and proposal writing skills, and 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 the region. S/he will have proven experience with cross-cultural teams, with strong leadership, communication and 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. Patience, tenacity, diplomacy and a sense of humor will contribute to success.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This is an unaccompanied post based in Goma, DRC. The position is entitled to individual housing and is eligible for R&R.

Goma is a provincial capital of around 1 million inhabitants, with travel Bukavu, Kinshasa and field locations. Living in Goma is comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.

While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other.  Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available.  Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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.