Chief of Party, New Civil Society Activity, Kyrgyzstan

Programs Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Position is contingent on funding.

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.

Program / Department Summary
Working to meet the needs of Kyrgyz citizens since 1994, last year Mercy Corps reached over 250,000 people across the country. Our programming focuses on improving child nutrition, increasing access to hygiene and sanitation, and driving agriculture development. Historically, we have worked with Kyrgyz communities to build peace and improve local governance. Mercy Corps strategy for 2024-27 in Kyrgyzstan aims at enhancing access to food, water, and natural resources, while improving governance and conflict management capacity in vulnerable rural areas for resilient and inclusive communities.

Mercy Corps is seeking a Chief of Party (COP) to lead an anticipated five-year USAID-funded New Civil Society Activity. The activity is anticipated to focus on increasing citizen engagement and civil society resilience in Kyrgyzstan on citizen prioritized initiatives. 

The Position 

The COP will provide overall leadership, management, and strategic vision for the implementation of the anticipated Activity, ensuring the program meets its targets and deliverables on time and within budget. They will supervise all program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies as well as all donor rules and regulations. The COP will be the primary representative for the program with stakeholders including USAID, government entities, and all other partners.
Essential Responsibilities  
  • Provide overall technical and administrative leadership and expertise. 
  • Responsible for administering and managing the implementation of the activity and has the overall responsibility for assuring that all assistance provided is technically sound and appropriate to meet activity objectives. 
  • Lead the development of a shared vision and strategy for the program with the program team and key stakeholders.
  • Play an active role in identifying and developing new initiatives that foster and/or improve strategic objectives of the program and the country office.
  • Integrate and embrace all voices into shared strategies for inclusive, peaceful, and responsive governance.
  • Oversee program management and administration for the duration of the program. 
  • Develop a culture of adaptive management based on evidence and learning. 
  • Ensure implementation is on time, target, and budget, using effective monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems to assess impact.
  • 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.
  • Develop equitable partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee capacity building for partners.
  • Integrate locally-driven priorities and approaches, gender sensitivity, and capacity building into all activities, as appropriate. Certify that all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and program participant accountability standards.
  • Ensure program strategies and activities represent global good practice for systems thinking, resilience, peacebuilding, and governance approaches.
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
  • Oversee recruitment and onboarding of program staff and consultants.
  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of staff roles, and assist with career development.
  • Provide team members with information, tools, and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
  • Promote staff accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-one meetings and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Support Mercy Corps global and regional initiatives for human resources, including safeguarding and diversity, and talent development.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO, and other relevant forums in close coordination with the Country Director.
  • Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, government and other implementers as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
  • Serve as an active contributor and collaborator with regional and global counterparts to promote best practices.
  • Maintain close working relationships with counterparts in other organizations and local CSO networks in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Ensure compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps’ regulations.
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor, and Mercy Corps’ needs.
  • Ensure sound financial management, including programmatic budgeting, spending projections, and monitoring of payments in compliance with USAID standards.
  • Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events.
  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
  • Ensure that activities are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.
Supervisory Responsibility
Supervise the New Civil Society Activity Team. The number of direct and indirect reports will be determined at a later stage.
Reports Directly To: Country Director, Kyrgyzstan
Works Directly With: Activity Team, Regional Directors, Country Director, Director of Programs, MEL Manager, HR, finance and operations teams, HQ and Regional Programs Team, and HQ Technical Support Unit
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging program participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
  • Minimum of 10 years relevant experience, including proven expertise in one or more of the following program areas: civic engagement, good governance,youth development, civil society strengthening, and/or peacebuilding. 
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in a senior management position, preferably for medium ($15+ million) and complex USAID-funded activities; previous experience in similar roles (Chief of Party, Deputy Chief of Party, or Program Director) preferred.
  • Experience managing diverse multi-lingual teams located in different geographic locations, with experience in Central Asia preferred. 
  • Familiarity with USAID rules, regulations, and requirements. 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, and a proven ability to network and maintain effective working relationships with diverse actors including CSOs, civic groups, community-based organizations, media, academia, political parties, government, the private sector, and USAID and other donors.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Kyrgyzstan/Central Asia and similar complex political, governance, and conflict dynamics preferred.
  • Experience working with youth groups and emerging social movements preferred.  
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English and ability to speak Russian and/or Kyrgyz preferred. 
Success Factors
A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with diverse team members and other stakeholders of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. This position requires an ability to think creatively about civic engagement to strengthen inclusive, peaceful, and responsive governance. They will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position will be based in Bishkek. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with complete freedom of movement in Bishkek and other locations in the country for which no travel restrictions exist. There are several international schools in Bishkek. Staff have access to reasonable quality healthcare services in Bishkek and access to reliable water services. Access to electricity during the hot season can be less reliable, with the occasional power cuts. This position requires at least 35% travel by plane and vehicle to field offices in environments that for the most part are secure. This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits
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 Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
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. 
Ongoing 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.
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.