WASH Program Manager - Syria / Temporary - 6 months

Programs Hasakeh City, Hasakeh City


 About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.


The 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, are rare moments of opportunity. Mercy Corps is interested in strengthening presence for early as well as longer term programming for Syrians, including those who have been displaced. It is imperative that Mercy Corps present itself as a key and reliable partner with various donors, INGOs, government authorities and civil society actors, to be part of the process of positive change. Mercy Corps, with its global experience in working in countries undergoing major transitions, will be a key contributor in the process, bringing knowledge, expertise and strong management skills to position the agency as a partner of choice for progressive change in Syria.


Mercy Corps has been operating cross-border programming in Northeast Syria (NES) since 2014. Current programs in NES respond to a range of humanitarian assistance and recovery needs, from distribution of food and non-food items (in-kind or cash-based), and livelihood support and development. The aim of the Mercy Corps response is to meet basic humanitarian needs of the vulnerable displaced and host population, reduce the negative coping strategies, and strengthen livelihoods of targeted populations. Assistance is being provided both directly and through partnerships with local relief associations.


The Position

The WASH Program Manager works under the supervision of the Area Director of Programs for Northeast Syria. S/he will be responsible for ensuring the delivery of high quality WASH (including infrastructural) interventions in NES and developing strategies for the continuation of water supply, water networks maintenance, sanitation infrastructure, hygiene promotion, and support to the NES response to COVID-19. An important part of this position will be building the program management capacity of senior national staff on the WASH team, with an aim to nationalize this position in 2021.


Essential Responsibilities


        Contribute to the development of WASH sectoral strategy based on a strong contextual understanding of Northeast Syria and in line with Mercy Corps values

        Ensure inclusion of national technical staff and other key stakeholders into the strategy process

        Promote the development of a holistic strategy by creating linkages with other sector strategies (NFI, Food Security and Livelihoods)

        Proactively identify project development opportunities, new thematic areas of technical intervention and strategic partnerships that would promote the expansion of the WASH portfolio



        Contribute to the design of new proposals based on sectoral and contextual knowledge, in close coordination with the NES WASH working group

        Integrate the use of community approaches in the design, implementation, and maintenance of projects

        In conjunction with M&E Manager, designing and supervising baseline and endline surveys (including KAP, PIM, PDM) for WASH activities

        Collaborate with finance to develop program budgets for WASH

        Ensure the mainstreaming of core protection principles through design and planning of sector interventions



        Provide technical oversight to the field teams and oversee the implementation of WASH activities, including rehabilitation/renovation of water systems, solid waste management, hygiene promotion, and sanitation infrastructure

        Complete budget pipeline planning, monitoring and monthly follow-up in communication with the Area Director of Programs

        Prepare procurement plan based on project cycle for WASH intervention work

        Develop and update realistic weekly work plans for each grant in conjunction with the program team and Area Director of Programs

        Timely preparation of monthly, quarterly, interim, and final donor reports for relevant activities

        Ensure appropriate and timely resource mobilization for the successful implementation of WASH projects

        Ensure the adoption of appropriate WASH designs and technologies, taking into account cost effectiveness, cultural awareness and protection of the environment

        Ensure provision of program quality in all aspects of design, planning, and implementation of WASH infrastructure interventions; ensure third-party monitoring of projects in hard-to-reach areas is compliant with donor and MC standards

        Stay informed of incidents as they arise through the field and are raised through the feedback/complaint mechanism

        Work with the Program team and Area Director of Programs to overcome implementation challenges based on practical solutions

        Ensure documentation and filing of project activities in compliance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures

        Ensure that implementation of all WASH activities are compliant with the grant requirements, in coordination with the NES Grants Manager

        Represent MC at WASH coordination forums and working groups in NES



        Provide supervision and support to technical staff, including on-the-job training and coaching of senior national staff, regular performance reviews, and following up on individual professional development planning for the WASH team

        Support the Extended Senior Leadership Team in NES to carry out team-wide capacity building and strategic initiatives



        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


Supervisory Responsibility

Directly supervise two Senior WASH Program Officers and one WASH Officer; indirectly supervise 15 WASH team members



Reports Directly To: Area Director of Programs – Northeast Syria

Works Directly With: Program Teams (Emergency, Livelihoods, Peace & Conflict), M&E Team, Operations Team, Finance Team, Grants Manager, WASH & Shelter Technical Advisor


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.

Minimum Qualifications

        Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s preferred) in Civil Engineering, Public Health, or related field

        Minimum 5 years experience in an emergency/ post-conflict setting managing WASH projects/programs

        Strong experience of mentoring/capacity building a national team and identifying talent

        Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management (PMD Pro/ ProjectD Pro) or a commitment to obtain the qualification within 6 months

        Knowledge of humanitarian standards and codes, including SPHERE

        Knowledge of participatory approaches and community sensitization and mobilization

        Demonstrated ability to manage and communicate effectively with a diverse team in a sensitive environment

        Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem-solving

        Experience with the development, implementation and compliance with donors including USAID (OFDA), ECHO, DFID, and SIDA

        Ability to effectively represent Mercy Corps and its interests to key stakeholders including host governments, and national and international NGOs

        Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic is a plus

Success Factors

The successful Manager will combine exceptional technical skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have previous experience in working in large-scale emergency programs in insecure and conflict contexts. S/he will have an outstanding ability to design and provide technical oversight of innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the area. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The successful candidate will be able to provide technical oversight to large relief programs in an austere environment; be focused on capacity building of national staff; have strong program support skills, good information management skills and maintain a sense of humor.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This unaccompanied position will be based in Al-Hasakeh, Syria with frequent travel across NES. Due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, the WASH PM will be required to work from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) intermittently, including periods of quarantine before and after traveling in NES. This position will be required to reside in group housing in an austere environment. The team member must follow all security protocols at all times. This position is eligible for R&R breaks and hardship allowance. 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.


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 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.