Deputy Country Director - Syria

Programs Amman, Jordan


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

Syria is in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis impacting the entire country as well as a number of neighboring countries. More than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes and the number relying on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. The main thrust of the work of Mercy Corps along with its national and international partners for the foreseeable future will be primarily focused on meeting urgent humanitarian needs across the country while building resilience and social cohesion elements in its programming strategy. The heightened insecurity and continuous acts of violence and war make the humanitarian response not only more challenging, but increasingly complicated.  With a large and complex portfolio of work across the country, Mercy Corps has established itself as an analytical, strategic and flexible responder, adapting continually to shifting front lines and operational realities to respond effectively and efficiently through multiple modalities with teams inside Syria and working cross-border from neighboring countries.

Position Summary

The Deputy Country Director (DCD) is a strategic position that has overall responsibility for program design, quality, implementation, and compliance for the Syria mission. The DCD supervises two Area Directors, the Director of Program Performance and Quality, the Grants Management Director, and the Partnerships Director. The DCD ensures evidence based and data driven decision making, using existing systems and processes and introducing new ones as needed. The DCD also oversees program operations and implementation, and needs to understand and work with those functions that report into the Country Director, including Finance, HR, and Operations. The size of the Syria mission requires a robust framework for accountability at different levels of decision making, and targeted support on priority work-streams. Success in the role requires solid management skills and excellent leadership qualities, to provide clear guidance and model behaviour conducive for success. Passion for program quality and community inclusion are essential. The DCD is expected to support the momentum and adaptation of the portfolio through a forward-looking business development strategy and conduct regular engagements with donors, partners, peer organizations and coordination bodies.

The DCD works closely with other members of the senior management team, inspiring a focus on delivery and impact for those we serve. The DCD shall be expected to provide cover for the Country Director when the position holder is traveling, on leave, or as delegated. The DCD represents Mercy Corps at the highest level and is able to develop, articulate, deliver, and operationalise a strategic vision in line with context shifts and Mercy Corps’ global strategic direction.
Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Lead on the operationalization of the updated country strategy for 2023-2026.
  • Develop new and innovative program approaches in line with the Syria strategy and based on the future trajectory of needs in Syria.
  • Manage a transition toward more sustainable, climate smart interventions and refine a system that is evidence-based, agile and responsive to context changes.
  • Communicate MC Syria’s strategy externally and advocate for increased impact and funding for Syria.
  • Maintain a deep understanding of the social, political, and economic context in Syria to inform program performance, relevance, and impact.
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps strategy is understood by staff and stakeholders and guides decision-making throughout the response;
  • Manage, design, and implement program review systems and processes that ensure the right information is available at the right time and at the right level for effective decision making;
  • Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps programming and operations inside Syria;
  • Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance inside Syria and to make program strategies and frameworks more consistent across the response;
  • Ensure programs meet donor and internal compliance.
  • Ensure sound program cycle management and that programs are delivered on scope, time and budget;
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and adherence to global and MC standards for program excellence;
  • Supervise two (2) Area Directors, and assist with cross-sectional reporting of Finance, Operations, HR and Security hub leads to the country program. Ensure strong communication and collaboration lines are maintained with Area Directors across programmatic and support function leads.
  • In coordination with support teams, help to drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of each field office.
  • Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, where possible.
  • Ensure that learning from the field contributes to development and implementation of advocacy initiatives and links with Crisis Analytics and country and regional research and learning endeavors.

  • Support and guide the Program Performance and Quality Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs and incorporate learning into decision making;
  • Ensure that proper Monitoring and Evaluation tools in line with Mercy Corps guidelines and policies are effectively used by the programs teams;
  • Ensure robust information management systems to measure program progress, quality, design, and learning;
  • Ensure technical consistency across programs.
  • Ensure a robust research and learning agenda is in place for the strategy period.
  • Prioritise proactive and evidence based, participatory program design to ensure MC Syria is needs and design driven, influencing donors to adopt the same thinking;
  • Ensure go-no-go decisions remain in line with country office priorities and the strategy;
  • Develop strategic donor relationships toward funding the strategy and impact MC wants to achieve in Syria;
  • Provide leadership and quality assurance on program design processes;
  • Apply the agency’s best practices in proposal development efforts for institutional donors;
  • Lead on a funding strategy to operationalise the country office strategy.
  • Foster a creative and solutions oriented team culture with ownership and accountability at relevant levels of decision making;
  • Model a dynamic and reflective leadership approach that drives diversity, debate, respect, and results;
  • 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;
  • Foster inter-department collaboration toward common objectives and a clear vision.
  • Review hub and program department inputs to the quarterly master budget before final submission to finance;
  • Ensure new budgets correspond with approved structures and human resource plans;
  • Maintain a system for monthly system for budget oversight, analysis, decision making, and proactive adaptation;
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.
  • Active and voting member on the Mercy Corps Syria Risk Management Committee.
  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate;
  • Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs, civil society organizations, and academic institutions;
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.
  • Maintain oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach participants;
  • Regularly review the Crisis Analysis Syria Team and other Advisors’ analysis of security and its outlook in Syria;
  • Coordinate with the Syria Country Director and Area Directors on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and any security policy changes;
  • Support the Security Manager in ensuring field teams are compliant with security procedures and policies;
Supervisory Responsibility: NES Area Director, NWS Area Director, Partnerships Director, Director of Grant Management, Director of Program Performance and Quality.

Reports Directly To: Syria Country Director
Works Directly With: Country Senior Leadership Team, Regional Program and Technical Team, Headquarters Technical Support Unit, additional headquarters-based support departments as needed.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills 
  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;
  • 7+ of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs including humanitarian ,resilience, recovery, and development operations;
  • Previous experience working on Syria and more than two years in the Middle East preferred;
  • Substantial knowledge of the international humanitarian system, institutions and donors, and of compliance requirements, accountability frameworks and best practices; prior experience with funding from USG, DFID, ECHO and other leading donors;
  • Robust experience in developing, operationalizing, and implementing program strategies;
  • Demonstrated expertise in representation and negotiation resulting in securing significant new opportunities for the organization;
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGOs, NNGOs and other stakeholders in complex environments;
  • Experience leveraging Information Management Systems within humanitarian programs to evaluate program outcomes;
  • Experience in managing strategic transitions from humanitarian to early recovery, social cohesion programs in a post- conflict transition phase;
  • Proven record in guiding the formulation of sectoral strategies in a rapidly evolving humanitarian context;
  • Highly-developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Solid project management skills related to international, cross-functional teams;
  • Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success;
  • Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Arabic an asset
Success Factors

The successful candidate is a decisive, critical, and collegial professional with solid management and leadership skills. S/he has a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. S/he is an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. S/he is able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation, creativity, ownership and accountability. S/he is a confident representative in public settings, able to speak up when needed to and influence key stakeholders internally and externally to further and expand MC Syria’s goals in the response. S/he is able to work effectively with a diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team-building and capacity-building of national team members. S/he has excellent information management skills and is able to translate strategy into action. S/he has an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Syria.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Deputy Country Director position is based in Amman, Jordan. This location is currently an accompanied position. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are International schools in Amman. Team Members will have access to medical, electricity, water, etc.  This position requires approximately 50% of time for travel to field offices, some in insecure environments.
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 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.