Operations Manager - Stabilization in Urban Neighborhoods

Programming Kabul, Afghanistan


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 been working in Afghanistan continuously since 1986.  Presently, Mercy Corps is working in ten provinces in Afghanistan with a portfolio of programs aimed at promoting improved prosperity for Afghan citizens through agri-business, natural resources management, youth vocational skills and deployment of renewable energy.  These four strategic pillars support livelihoods, increasing food security, access to financial services and strengthening private sector, civil society and government institutions.  Donors include BPRM and OFDA from the US Government, UNODC, GIZ KfW, the European Delegation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the British Council.

The SUN (Stabilization in Urban Neighborhoods) program is a 24-month initiative with the goal to stabilize urban neighborhoods in Kabul through implementation of a participatory, community-led approach to community development in 7 districts. The program will work to increase social cohesion in Kabul, specifically through targeting the participation of young people in decision-making and through supporting community-driven socio-economic development. Forming Local Action Groups, local volunteer committees in collaboration with community members will identify local development priorities and support implementation of local projects such as renovation of community spaces, supporting local business which benefit the community, as well as basic services infrastructure in line with existing governmental plans. Making use of a new tech platform, SUN will be a fast moving, high-impact program reaching youth in Kabul in new and innovative ways working on peaceful social development and opening up future prospects for youth of the country.

Essential Job Functions

Team Management

  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • 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.

Operations Management

  • Responsible for the operations component of the SUN program in compliance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Work closely with SUN’s Program management team to facilitate operations aspects of program planning, and upcoming operations resources needs, especially procurements.
  • Work closely with country and headquarter Finance, Operations and Grant & Compliance teams to ensure the program’s stewardship of donor funds is in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor regulations.
  • In coordination with country Human Resources and Logistics, manage the program’s administrative functions. This would include hiring program staff, managing program logistics.
  • With Mercy Corps approved contract templates prepare construction contracts and administer contract performance in collaboration with program technical team and finance.
  • Ensure program IT and digital platforms are functional and interface with country and headquarter IT support as needed.
  • Ensure that all Mercy Corps contracts and business transactions/relationships are transparent and in compliance with Afghan law and Mercy Corps/donor policies. 

Influence & Representation

  • Interface with stakeholders responsible for coordinating all supply shipments via the appropriate approval processes.
  • Communicate with local partners (name), as well as (name any sub-grantees), to verify their systems and that they understand and follow all appropriate procedures and archiving.
  • Maintain productive relationships with all stakeholders, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • Consistently demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure, even under difficult circumstances.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs.



  • 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.


Supervisory Responsibility:  Operations support staff

Reports Directly To:  Program Director

Works Directly With:  Program team, Finance Director and Operations Director

Collaborates With: All Mercy Corps logistics and operations team members as required


Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field, masters preferred
  • A minimum of 5-7 field experience setting up and managing administration, procurement, logistics, and human resource systems with humanitarian NGOs with supervisory responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns and appropriate responses
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.
  • Knowledge of Mercy Corps systems and procedures (esp. procurement systems) desirable;
  • Knowledge of donor regulations including USAID, EC, DFID regulations.
  • Excellent negotiation and representation skills.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, organizational, prioritization and Microsoft Office applications.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; local language (Dari) is a plus.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.


Success Factors

Critical problem solving skills while demonstrating excellent stewardship of donor funds and compliance with Mercy Corps and donor regulations. Maintaining strong relationships with other departments is crucial. A successful candidate will have the ability to interact effectively with international and national personnel both in a managerial as well as training capacity and demonstrate ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and process information in support of changing program activities. S/he will be able to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment and be willing to visit regularly the program’s project sites.


Living Conditions/Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Kabul, Afghanistan and is unaccompanied.  The security situation is volatile and may spike into acute periods of insecurity.  S/he is expected to follow all security protocols including limited movement when necessary.  A certain international standard of medical care is available in Kabul, however for serious cases, evacuation is required, and staff must be able to be 24 hours away from medical care.  All offices have internet connectivity and communication is reliable.  Accommodation is shared housing, equipped with generators and heating, with cooks and cleaners provided by MC. This location is eligible for hardship and R&R breaks.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit 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.  It will be important for the successful candidate to show an ability to work in an austere environment where personal liberties may be restricted from time to time, based on ambiguous information.  A cordial demeanor is required so as to not impose on the peace of mind of colleagues.