Program Specialist, Khartoum - Sudan

Programs Khartoum, Sudan



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. 


Mercy Corps Europe, formerly known as Mercy Corps Sudan, has been operational in Sudan since 2009 and currently leads humanitarian assistance and longer-term development efforts in conflict-affected South Darfur, South Kordofan, White Nile, Gedaref, and Khartoum States, supporting host communities, IDPs, returnees and refugees. Mercy Corps’ current areas of programming include food security and livelihoods, WASH, health, nutrition, peace building and protection, and Market Systems Development supporting farmers to adopt and utilize the existing and proposed market system facilitation.

The Strengthening Agricultural Markets and Food Security (SAFE) programme, implemented by Mercy Corps in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is a SIDA funded USD 13 million programme that aims to improve food security for 31,000 male and female smallholder farmer households (approximately 186,000 individuals) through enhanced gender-equitable market access and agricultural production. The Strengthening Agricultural Markets and Food Security (SAFE) programme, will strengthen the capacities of key market actors, contributing to improved resilience capacities to shocks and stresses. The programme is guided by a Market Systems Development (MSD) and resilience approaches and will enable smallholder farmers to increase climate resilient yields, sustainable natural resource management practices, market linkages, gender equity and empowerment of women and girls.


The Program Specialist is a facilitative role providing significant strategic and operational support to Consortium directors and program managers for effective program management, reporting, administration, and coordination systems to enable on-time and high-quality program delivery.

The post will work closely with the programme management team, across the consortium, with partners and as well as with finance, operations and human resources focal persons to ensure rapid and scaled implementation, enhance workflow planning, and to secure critical support as needed to ensure the programme meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget.
develop required documents, fast track processes and ensure selection of the right type of private sector partners and other service providers for the program.

The role will involve keeping up to date on the program’s economic operating environment, support private sector partner identification and management. This position also will take part in strengthening the capacity of program staff in managing MSD partnerships, implementation, and mitigation of associated risks. Additionally, the role will provide support to the consortium director and program managers on follow up to ensure program processes.


Strategy & vision

  • Contribute to review and advise on adaptations and adjustments of program strategies, approaches and activities for growth and sustainability
  • Participate in country level business development activities to secure resources for programs, influence stakeholders and create an enabling environment for success.
  • Work with the program management and senior country leadership team for support coordination, planning, writing and timely submission of key strategic documents, such as the annual plans, budgets, reports, and other ad-hoc strategy documents.
  • Support team members secure support resources, including completion of TSU support requests, consultancy requests, procurement of services, and liaising with internal stakeholders to identify additional support resources to advance strategic priorities.
  • Support Knowledge Management System that works across all members of the consortium and allows more seamless collaboration, communication, scheduling and management of Information. 

Technical support - program management

  • Help build, maintain and/or track project management and implementation tools such as work plans, procurement, budget planning, on-line project document filing, quality control and quality assurance (QA/QC) processes, and coordination with support teams.
  • Work with the Country MEL Manager and SAFE management to ensure staff are trained on and adhere to the [email protected], PAQ policies, donor policies and other program management standards and ensure program documentation and filing as recommended.
  • Work with the consortium director to identify and quickly resolve issues and bottlenecks that affect program implementation and quality and ensure appropriate risk management.
  • Support the consortium director in organising and managing consortium, partnership and program-level review meetings and follow up of key action points and communications.
  • Support program managers building the capacity of program implementation and MEL team, especially in MSD, resilience and results-oriented management.
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure program team receives adequate timely support including recruitment, procurement, and that plans are in place and are implemented accordingly.
  • Support to compile activity, quarterly, and annual reports, lessons learnt and program successes and liaise with the Desk for report reviews, submission and dissemination.

Private sector partner and stakeholder management

  • Scan, analyse and monitor the operating environment, identify potential partnership opportunities, and ensure that the partnership pipeline database is up to date.
  • Support the consortium director and program managers in developing private sector partnership and other procurement documents (Expressions of interest, scopes of work, task orders, application templates and tender documents) etc. as required.
  • Lead programmatic aspects of private sector partnership identification, negotiations, formalization, and administration (reporting schedule, reporting requirements etc.).
  • Support program managers in management of private sector partnerships, capacity building of and technical support to private sector partners to ensure deliverables are met for attainment of program objectives.

Representation and Coordination

  • Lead in representing the program to potential and current private sector actors, clearly highlighting the program’s approaches and opportunities to generate and maintain interest and leverage co-investment and business expansion.
  • Participate in external meetings and keep close linkages with associations and forums active in the agriculture and agribusiness space.
  • Represent consortium progress to implementing partners, stakeholders and donors as guided by the program and country leadership team and share learnings with stakeholders


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • 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.
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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.
  • Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.
  • Team members are expected to respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.


Supervisory Responsibility:

  • None

 Reports to:

  • Reports Directly to the Consortium Director, Agricultural Market systems
  • Works Directly With: SAFE program managers, as well as operations and finance teams

Base: Khartoum with frequent travel to the Field (40%)


  • MA/S or equivalent experience in international development, rural development, agriculture economics, development economics or related relevant field.
  • At least 7 years working experience, 4 years at a senior level in a relevant position plus experience in a coordination and/or management support role.
  • Experience in supporting onboarding, formalising and managing partnerships is required and experience in market systems development programs is preferred.
  • Strong skills in conceptual and other frameworks such theories of change, logic models, results chains, resilience, and gender integration. MSD experience will be a strong added advantage
  • Demonstrated ability to work in complex programming and volatile environments and applying market-based approaches in fragile contexts
  • Strong interpersonal, communication, networking, negotiation and teamwork skills and demonstrated organisational skills with ability to track multiple aspects at the same time.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. Fluency or proficiency in Arabic is preferred.
  • Excellent computer skills especially Microsoft and digital workflow management packages
Success Factors 

The successful candidate will be capable of multitasking, holding high-powered win-win negotiations, rapid decision-making, inquisitiveness and creative problem-solving.  S/he has initiative, drive and a lot of energy, as well as high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity strengthening of staff and local partners.  S/he will be known for flexibility and creativity in project planning and building responsive systems, and is able to solicit and understand diverse perspectives, build consensus among a variety of stakeholders, and effectively and clearly communicate decisions.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in Khartoum or Kadugli, Sudan. This position requires extensive travel to field offices in moderately secure environments.

Khartoum is an accompanied location for spouse only but may potentially evolve to include dependents as well. It is moderately secure. Housing is provided in individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff have good access to services, medical, electricity, and water, etc. International schools are available. Khartoum is an R&R but not a hardship location.

Kadugli is a non-accompanied location. Housing is provided in a shared living space with electricity, and water, etc. with moderate freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Services and medical facilities are very basic. Kadugli is both an R&R location and a hardship location.

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. 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.


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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.