Area Director - North West Syria
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps (MC) 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. We recognize that instances of sudden change within a country or region are rare moments to enact significant, lasting change. Mercy Corps, with its global experience working in countries undergoing major transitions, brings knowledge, expertise and strong management skills to position the agency as a partner of choice for progressive change in Syria. Mercy Corps has been operational in Syria since 2012 and is looking to expand its scope and impact by promoting governance through its work with local civil society actors and community based organizations. We empower and engage citizens by informing and mobilizing communities, and promoting civic engagement. By elevating the voices of vulnerable communities and increasing their inclusion in decision-making, we ensure governance processes are more equitable and effective, empowering communities to tackle the underlying causes of the world’s toughest challenges, working collaboratively to build secure, productive and just communities.
General Position Summary
The AD leads MC’s response in North West Syria from Amman with programs across Idlib and Aleppo governorates. This is a challenging, rewarding, and dynamic post that builds on a successful expansion by the outgoing AD. The AD is responsible for all aspects of program representation, leadership, management, security, and implementation in NWS, mobilizing internal and external resources to ensure quality, timely and effective programs are implemented in support of the most vulnerable and conflict affected populations. The AD will lead Mercy Corps Syria’s transition into a new strategy focused on a longer term vision of resilience, recovery, and development, alongside humanitarian aid. Mercy Corps implements it’s program both directly and through partners, requiring travel up to 50% to Gaziantep and within the region for coordination meetings. NWS operates within a Whole of Syria (WoS) structure for strategic coherence across Mercy Corps Syria’s work, and to leverage efficiencies from centralised structures.
The Area Director works closely with the Country Office Senior Management in areas of Operations, Finance, HR, Security, Advocacy, Sub-Awards and Compliance departments to ensure that all the aspects of the program implementation under their responsibility are compliant with Mercy Corps and sectoral best practices, internal approaches, donors standards, rules and regulations. They ensure that the team working in North West Syria is supported to deliver at scale and achieve excellence. The AD leads the development and implementation of sustainable, multi-sector programming in the areas of WASH, Shelter, Food Security and Livelihoods, Social Cohesion, Emergency Response, and Protection, and is accountable to beneficiaries, donors and local stakeholders.
They are innovative and visionary leaders responsible for resourcefully directing, strategizing and planning all programming, resulting in lasting improvement in the lives of millions of Syrians in Mercy Corps areas of operation. The position will support the strategic positioning of Mercy Corps and ensure that all Mercy Corps work is planned and executed with quality, accountability and measurable impact.
The AD is a critical member of the extended senior management team and will need to combine aptitude in programs, operations, security, and compliance. The role manages several departments directly and works closely with other ESMT directors where functions are centralised. This requires skill in matrix management and a collegial approach to achieving results.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & VISION
- Own the NWS Operational Plan and communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to North Syria program team members 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 Syrian crisis, with an emphasis on North Syria regions 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.
- Provide quality control on program design and proposals to ensure they align with the strategy and NWS operational plan.
- Work closely with the Syria Country Director, Deputy Country Director and other senior members of the Syria program to ensure that the MC strategy is understood and guides decision-making throughout the response;
- Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps programming and operations inside North Syria;
- Build consensus around a common vision of what shared success inside Syria looks like, including development and tracking of appropriate indicators;
- Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance inside North Syria and to make program strategies and frameworks more consistent across the response;
- Oversight to ensure programs are able to meet donor and internal obligations on scope, time and budget, including efficient coordination on common program, operational and funding issues;
- Facilitate sharing and learning across different Mercy Corps North 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;
- 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.
- In coordination with Syria Country Director, Deputy Country Director and other senior leadership, engage in strong regional-level representation with donors, international and local NGOs and networks;
- Participate in shaping policy positions and advocacy messages pertaining to the overall humanitarian situation inside North Syria.
- Ensure all programs align with MC standards and WoS systems.
- Lead a positive culture that promotes debate, creativity, accountability, ownership, and teamwork.
- Promote high performance and excellence within a health work/life dynamic.
- Ensure all staff have clear performance objectives that align with wider priorities for NWS.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews;
- Sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
- Lead on ensuring training and development is available and planned for staff to fulfill their potential.
- Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options.
FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
- Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny imposed on Syrian 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;
- Lead on monthly and quarterly financial analysis and forecasting for NWS.
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
- Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate;
- Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media 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 North Syria;
- Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support program objectives;
- Ensure that Mercy Corps maintain a high degree of risk awareness and impartiality;
- Respect and understand differing 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.
- Own the NWS society management plan and ensure implementation at all levels of operations.
- Maintain oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach beneficiaries;
- Regularly review the Humanitarian Access Team and other Advisors’ analysis of security and its outlook in Syria and Turkey and ensure that planning is relevant to that;
- Coordinate with the Syria Country Director and Deputy Country Director 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;
Director of Program NWS (Amman), Support Services Director NWS (Amman), Security Coordinator NWS (Amman), Coordination Advisor (Gaziantep), Security Advisor (Gaziantep).
Reports Directly To: Deputy Country Director
Works Directly With: Syria Country Director, Syria Leadership Team, Regional Director, Technical Support Unit, Mercy Corps Europe, Global Security Advisor, SRGE Director, Regional Finance Officer, Internal Audit, People and Strategy team and PALM team, Policy and Advocacy, Communications. HAT.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Knowledge And Experience
- BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;
- At least 7 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;
- 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.
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 excellent communicators 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 role 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 have excellent information management skills and are strategic thinkers. They have 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.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Amman, Jordan. This location is currently an accompanied position. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are International schools in Amman. Team Members will have access to medical, electricity, water, etc. This position requires (50% of time) of travel to field offices, some in insecure environments.
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.