Country Director - South Sudan

Programs Juba, South Sudan





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 present in South Sudan since 1995 and acts on behalf of people who have become displaced and disenfranchised by the ongoing conflict. With funding from a multitude of donors including the United Nations (UN), Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs (BHA / USAID), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), French Development Agency (AFD) and Private Foundations, Mercy Corps has been able to empower people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. In 2020, Mercy Corps had an impact on approximately 350,000 beneficiaries in South Sudan through our work focusing on the delivery of timely humanitarian interventions, improving food security and livelihood options, increasing equitable access to safe water and sanitation services, and providing access to safe and protective learning spaces. With emphasis on conflict-affected youth, women, as well as IDPs and host communities, we champion and lead state-of-the art relief and recovery approaches through gender mainstreaming, identification of root causes, adaptive management, and resilience approaches.

Mercy Corps South Sudan is a country where there is considerable strategic interest for the agency and high growth potential. We are recognized as leaders in cash programming, market systems development and livelihoods work in protracted and complex crises, rural financial services, sustainable and scalable water and sanitation, and education in emergencies. We champion and lead innovative development approaches, specifically adaptive management, and resilience programming, and are strongly positioned to influence donors, development actors and government to adopt such ideas.

General Position Summary

The Mercy Corps South Sudan Country Director is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully developing and managing all operations and programs in South Sudan. Looking to grow our interventions that have directly resulted in lasting improvement in the lives of more than 350,000 South Sudanese, the CD will continue to develop sustainable, multi-sector programming that is accountable to the South Sudan Government, participants and donors. A bold and visionary leader who values innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships, the CD identifies and pursues funding opportunities that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio, guided by a long-term strategy. With a total annual budget of approximately $8 million, the Country Director has full supervisory responsibility for the country team. The Country Director must be comfortable leading a team of high performers; be able to confidently represent at high-level forums to influence and secure ongoing investment; nurture a culture of shared excellence based on learning and trust; and take considered risks in innovating and negotiating within a society that is in rapid change. This is an exciting opportunity to influence key outcomes and make a lasting difference in the lives of South Sudanese.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

        Formulate and plan, in consultation with key stakeholders, a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies which can be clearly communicated to team members, local beneficiaries, international partners, governmental counterparts, and donors.

        Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome, heard and acted upon.

        Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve goals and objectives.

        Explore, evaluate and present new project funding opportunities that leverage impact and integrate initiatives and activities, support and direct related fundraising activities with both institutional and private donors.

        Evaluate country specific program priorities and contribute to regional and global strategy development and prioritization.

Leadership & Culture

        Commit to preserving an organizational culture of trust, transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion across the team and global organization.

        Uphold a culture of integrity through ethical decision-making, safeguarding and compliance with the Code of Conduct. 

        Lead by role modeling self awareness to foster an environment of mutual respect, diversity and inclusion so that all team members are included, supported and can thrive.

        Create a culture of accountability for highly effective communication systems and relationships to ensure every voice matters.

Team Management

        Recruit, manage, motivate, and onboard an informed, skilled and efficient team with an emphasis on high quality impact, inclusion and achievement.

        Encourage a team culture of growth, learning, creativity and innovation by incorporating a culture of continuous feedback, development and performance management.

        Establish credibility within the team by demonstrating personal accountability, flexibility, resilience and dedication to quality programming by creating positive relationships and having composure in complex situations.

        Ensure people focused human resource systems are in place and consistent with Mercy Corps global policies, including position descriptions, team member onboarding, performance management, professional development plans and reporting mechanisms.


Program impact, monitoring and evaluation and learning

        Oversee program quality and impact by ensuring programs are based on sound design principles and utilize Mercy Corps and donor required M&E systems.

        Gather evidence of program impact through robust agency standard procedures for data gathering, reporting, and evaluating program outputs and outcomes

        Lead country team to strive for impact at country and regional level leading to sustained change based on solid systems and incorporation of learnings into programs.

        Fulfill Mercy Corps Program Management Minimum Standards.

        Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and program participant accountability standards, including an effective Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism and safeguarding mechanisms across all programs.


Influence & Representation

        Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, national government, foundations, the private sector, etc.

        Maintain productive relationships with the international community inclusive of the United Nations, International NGOs, Think Tanks, Research Institutes and Foreign Governments.

        Anticipate needs, understand the donor pool and contribute to shaping donors’ views on humanitarian and development strategies.

        Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media.


program operations and compliance

        Coordinate overall country budget; manage budget within approved spending levels and establish an annual cash flow plan to ensure a steady and adequate supply of funds for program activities.

        Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support field programs.

        Build and maintain an environment of collaboration among program, finance, operations and human resource team members resulting in optimal support for program activities.

        Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.

        Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.

        Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations, policies and procedures, and the implementation of appropriate risk mitigation measures to reduce Mercy Corps exposure to potential risk.



        Manage security and safety of the entire country team and Mercy Corps assets according to best practices, MC operating standards and field realities.

        Liaise with the Regional Director and Africa Regional Security Advisor on crucial events, high risk periods, incident reporting or security policy changes.


Accountability to Beneficiaries

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 participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility: Director of Programs, Finance Director, Operations Director, HR Manager


Reports Directly To: Regional Director

Works Directly With: HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Regional Program Team, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit


Knowledge and Experience

        BA/S or equivalent in the relevant field required; MA/S preferred.

        7-10 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including

demonstrable success in managing large, complex, transitional development programs.

        5 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.

        Demonstrated success managing and bringing together a multi cultural team with team members

in multiple offices.

        Successful and proven representation, negotiation, communication and organization skills.

        Demonstrated experience multi-tasking and success in securing funding for country programs from a broad spectrum of donors.

        Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government,

private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.

        Proven skills in financial and grants management.

        Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to

obtain the qualification in the early months of work.

        Excellent oral and written English skills required.

        Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.

        Previous work experience in countries where travel to insecure areas is required, and

management of programs in insecure locations.

        Capacity to respond to emergency and disaster situations as appropriate.


Success Factors

The successful South Sudan CD will set a bold, transformative vision for Mercy Corps’ programing in South Sudan and skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team. The CD will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. The role is a hands-on position and success will be determined by the level of direct engagement in program development, oversight of projects, fundraising for new projects and representing the agency to stakeholders. The successful CD should welcome multitasking and taking an active role in program design and overarching strategy. 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 CD is based in the capital city – Juba.  The location is unaccompanied and insecure given the nature of the ongoing conflict and economy. Although infrastructure within Juba is acceptable, the conditions in most field sites are very basic with the most rudimentary requiring tented compounds.  Medical facilities are basic, and tropical diseases including malaria are endemic. Housing for all staff in Juba is good with each international staff assigned with a self-contained apartment and has been reinforced with additional security provisions following the July 2016 security incident. All international team members receive their own apartment in a Mercy Corps provided apartment block. Although limited, there is freedom of movement beyond the house/office provided security precautions are adhered to and curfew is followed in the evenings. This position requires 40% travel mostly by to field offices in both secure and 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. 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.