Country Director - Mali

Programs Bamako, Mali


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

As Mercy Corps seeks to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression around the world, we recognize that instances of sudden change within a country or region sometimes occur.  Mali is currently in the midst of a large humanitarian crisis and Mercy Corps is committed to assisting the Malian population affected by the current food security and political/security challenges. Mercy Corps endeavors to support beneficiaries in the immediate term, and to preposition humanitarian aid/design humanitarian activities for eventual relief and recovery support longer term.

In addition to relief and early recovery there will eventually be a need for transition programming in the country. Mercy Corps should present itself as a key and reliable partner with various donors, INGOs, government authorities and civil society actors in the country so as to be part of the process of the change. Mercy Corps with its global experience in working in countries undergoing major transitions will bring a great deal and will be a key contributor in the whole process. Bringing knowledge, expertise and strong management skills from within the Region and beyond will position Mercy Corps as a partner of choice for this change process in Mali. Mercy Corps is positioning support for its Mali program from neighboring Niamey, Niger.

General Position Summary

The Country Director is responsible for overseeing all aspects of day-to-day implementation of Mercy Corps’ program activities in Mali with a primary focus growing up the country portfolio by attracting new donors and properly implement the recently defined Mali 3 year strategy. S/he has supervisory and managerial responsibilities, and ensures appropriate representation of Mercy Corps in the field. S/he works closely with key staff to define and realize a visionary but practical strategy for the Mali program including networking, donor representation and proposal development to expand programming.  The Country Director works directly with the Program Team, and technical support staff to develop and implement initiatives that are effective, innovative, and achieve the greatest possible impact. 

S/he is expected to provide energetic leadership that inspires creativity and excellence in the program team, while at the same time ensuring that team members receive appropriate mentoring and professional development opportunities. 


S/he will supervise the Mercy Corps program team, finance, operations, and human resources/admin staff—and work closely with HQ support teams, when necessary to ensure that program operations receive strong support.   The Country Director will play a critical role in representing Mercy Corps Mali externally and in ensuring that the agency remains accountable to the standards and expectations of donors, government, and communities. The Country Representative acts as Mercy Corps’ senior representative for Mali. 


Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy implementation.
  • Develop and organize activities to secure resources for programs and convince stakeholders to provide support.


  • Start up new initiatives in Mali (with assistance of program teams and HQ support). 
  • Collaborate with other senior staff to develop and secure funding for new program concepts. 
  • Lead proposal and budget development, as needed. 
  • Oversee the transformation of proposed concepts into operational programs. 
  • Help Mercy Corps Mali prepare and position for humanitarian responses.


Program Management
  • Oversee program startup and ongoing program management and administration of teams across various field locations.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Ensure that beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
  • Develop program implementation strategies, including partnership frameworks, beneficiary targeting and distribution process as well as WASH, psychosocial and capacity building of partners.
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.


Team Management
  • Has experience in remote management and feel comfortable in managing teams that are working in field offices.
  • 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
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.


Influence & Representation
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at all donor, partner, and coordination meetings as appropriate. 
  • Develop and maintain internal and external relationships to ensure optimum program success. 
  • Help to develop Mercy Corps’ reputation in Mali as a professional, transparent, effective, and innovative organization.
  • Oversee Director of Programs/ Deputy Country Director and assist him/her with program implementation and representation as needed.  


  • 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

All Mali Team members: 5-7 direct reports, more than 100 indirect reports.


Reports Directly To: Regional Director West, Central and North Africa

Works Directly With: Director of Programs, Heads of field offices (Gao and Tombouctou), Operations manager, HR manager, Finance manager, HQ technical staff, HQ desks, New Initiatives advisor, Compliance teams, HQ finance teams.


Knowledge and Experience

  • At least 7 years of experience administering donor grants for a variety of sectoral areas for both relief and development initiatives.
  • 5 years of management experience, with a demonstrated ability to build staff capacity in cross-cultural settings as well as excellent team-building and interpersonal skills.
  • Proven experience managing complex projects in conflict-affected countries. Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies and appropriate responses.
  • Experience with remote management in Francophone Africa and candidates from the region preferred.
  • Experience with donor requirements of USAID, UN, and private donors and foundations.
  • History of working effectively and respectfully with host country government, INGO and NGO partners.
  • Professional French and English proficiency required with strong oral and written skills.

Success Factors

The successful Country Representative will recognize that Mercy Corps’ ability to function safely and successfully in Mali depends on the ability of staff to understand the context in which programs operate.  S/he will make him/herself a student of the history, culture, and politics of Mali and the Sahel/West Africa region.  The Country Representative will have a natural leadership instinct and will feel energized by working in and building teams.  S/he will have an excellent understanding of development issues and programmatic approaches.  The successful Country Representative will enjoy working with local community members, governmental authorities, NGO partners, and donors and will bring a positive approach to the job, embracing challenges as opportunities to innovate.  The Country Representative will model a strong work ethic, as well as patience and a sense of humor, will write well and communicate in a manner that is confident and clear, yet diplomatic, enabling him/her to forge positive working relationships with donors, partners, and staff.  Finally, the successful Country Representative will work well under pressure in a fluid operating and security environment.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Bamako, Mali and it requires up to 15% travel as security situation allows.

This position will be based in Bamako, Mali. This is an accompanied position. The position is entitled to individual housing and is eligible for R&R and hardship. There is good access to electricity and water, though there are occasional electrical outages. Access to quality health care is limited. There are a number of clinics in town, but serious illnesses will require evacuation. Internet is limited, but available in all Mercy Corps offices. There is reasonable access to most consumer goods in Bamako.

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. Staff are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.