Country Program Lead - Asia

Programs Asia - Various Locations, Nepal


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 a strong presence in the region, with representation in nine countries, helping communities cope and adapt from various crises. Our overarching goal is to enable communities to determine their future through inclusive and equitable access to economic opportunities, leading to peace and prosperity. We approach our work through a resilience lens to ensure households and communities can manage many shocks and stresses that threaten these outcomes; and wherever possible, we leverage market systems for sustainable recovery and development.  
General Position Summary  
The Mercy Corps Country Program Lead - Asia is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully managing all programming in the country, resulting in lasting improvement in the lives of families and communities. They have held senior decision-making roles in formulating strategy within an international development context. The Country Program Lead has supervisory responsibility for the entire multifaceted country program, and line manages the senior management team. The Country Program Lead is responsible for ensuring continued portfolio development with all major development donors present. They will establish working relationships at the senior leadership level with bi-lateral and multilateral agencies, local organizations and with the private sector. There is a vibrant private sector with whom Mercy Corps already has good relationships, and there are opportunities for more innovative financing arrangements and capital development.  Ultimately, the Country Program Lead is accountable for developing a presence in the country that is commensurate with the complexity and scale of the challenges and Mercy Corps brand. Therefore, they must be interested and able to grow and diversify the portfolio. Mercy Corps places high value on innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships with local actors in tough environments. The country lead is able to provide empowering leadership and must be interested in developing ownership by national staff and local partners. It is critical that they can operate in complex contexts where team members respect each other and place a high value on staff welfare and work together. 
Essential Job Responsibilities  
  • Formulate, plan and communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members and stakeholders that translate into concrete programs and work plans. 
  • Review the country strategy annually 
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve program and agency objectives. 
  • Use technical support teams collaboratively. 
  • Explore, evaluate and present new country and project funding opportunities and grow the portfolio, especially related to economic development and climate action; support and direct related fund-raising activities with both institutional and private donors. 
  • Ensure that there is continued portfolio development and responsible growth for the entire portfolio. 
  • Base this growth on both the country's strategy objectives and on spontaneous opportunities that present themselves. 
  • Explore innovative funding and resource development models and new sources of capital. 
  • Provide empowering leadership, develop the capacity of the team, and lead career development efforts. 
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives. 
  • Manage collaboratively, 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. 
  • Oversee program quality and impact by ensuring programs are based on sound design principles and utilize Mercy Corps and donor required M&E systems. 
  • Ensure effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures. 
  • Oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, if applicable. 
  • Build and maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties between finance and operations. 
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide. 
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards. 
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to programming. 
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget. 
  • Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support field programs. 
  • Work closely with finance and compliance staff to mitigate risk, conflicts of interest and legal liabilities in accordance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures. 
  • Working with Director of Finance & compliance, manage consolidated country program budget within approved spending levels, oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, and ensure adequate funds. 
  • Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, foundations, the private sector, etc.  
  • Contribute to the dialogue on local and international policies that enhance economic development opportunities.  
  • Participate in efforts to shape donor’s views on development. 
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the country's objectives. 
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure. 
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity. 
  • Exhibit awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs. 
  • Work closely with safety and security team to ensure staff, operations, and partners mitigate risk and follow policies and standards.  
  • Liaise with the Safety and Security Advisor, Operations Manager and Director of Programs on safety policy changes. 
  • Liaise with the Regional and Global security team and Regional Director on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and security policy changes. 
  • Accountable for overall safety and security of program operations. 
  • Ensure integrity and risk management systems are fully implemented.  
  • Lead efforts to make Mercy Corps a leader in promoting a safe, accountable, inclusive and diverse culture in all its aspects. 
  • Ensure that Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism is implemented in all Mercy Corps country projects.  
  • Ensure that agency wide safeguarding policies are in place, understood, adhered to and reported on. 
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. 
Reports Directly To: Regional Director 
Supervisory Responsibility: Director of Programs; Director of Finance and Compliance; Senior Human Resources Officer;  Director of Operations, Safety and Security Advisor 
Works Directly With: All relevant Technical Resources and Quality units; Policy, Asia Desk teams, Regional Senior Leadership Team, other programming support teams such as MEL and Research and Learning, regional team, legal, compliance, and other departments and teams as needed. 
Knowledge and Experience  
  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA/S preferred. 
  • 7-10 years of field leadership experience in international relief and development programs, including demonstrable success in managing large and complex development programs. 
  • 5 years of senior-level leadership and management experience at the country level. 
  • Prior management experience working for an international or national organization in Asia and demonstrated ability to understand and navigate the country context required. 
  • Knowledge and ability to simultaneously manage and develop a portfolio that consists of development, peace and recovery projects in a highly fluid environment.  
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and multi-lateral stakeholders in complex environments. 
  • An internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work. 
  • Political and diplomatic acumen, curiosity, and an ability to remain flexible are critical. 
  • Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with bi- and multilateral donors 
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.  
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; working proficiency in a second language is preferred. 
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.  
  • Previous work experience in insecure environments preferred.   
Success Factors  
The successful Country Program Lead will be an individual that combines curiosity with sensitivity, able to take advantage of the opportunities that the country presents, yet able to make sure their team is not left behind. The relevant country is a context that requires political and diplomatic acumen, great sensitivity and patience. Effective leadership will show itself through a continued responsible portfolio growth and an empowered teamThe Country Program Lead needs to be able to demonstrate commitment to creating an organizational culture that is safe, accountable, inclusive and diverse and an interest to lead these efforts.  
They will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to local partnerships and long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level  
They will be able to get the best out of team members by understanding and respecting diverse local cultures. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority. 
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions  
The Country Program Lead is based on location. The location can be accompanied by a spouse/partner but will need to adhere to specific visa limitations. Accommodation is provided. 
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 always and in all in-country venues. 
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ visionMercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment. 
Ongoing Learning 
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 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 participate in 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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.  
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.