Program Performance & Quality Director - Erbil, Iraq
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 worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of internally displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq’s goal is to work with new and existing civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate and long-term needs by strengthening communities’ ability to rebuild amidst increasing crisis. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) a relief-to-resilience pathway to meet the needs of conflict-affected communities leveraging agency expertise in conflict management and civil society development (2) a humanitarian response that empowers conflict-affected populations to meet their own needs (3) partnering with conflict-affected adolescents to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society.
General Position Summary
The Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) Director oversees the PaQ unit, whose role is to ensure the development of efficient and effective program management processes, serving as a nexus between various programs and teams. This includes: the development of effective monitoring, learning and evaluation processes; community accountability reporting mechanism (CARM) development and rollout, and supporting the creation and/or strengthening of mechanisms and techniques for ensuring program quality and impact.
The PaQ Director plays a key role in helping build an environment of evidence-based programming and adaptive management at all levels, while at the same time ensuring capacity building for program staff on program management techniques, and providing support to create a culture of training, coaching and integrating effective tools and techniques to improve program quality. The PaQ Director must be highly motivated, self-driven and able to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s portfolio of livelihood, WASH, cash, education and PSS programming with limited daily support and direction.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Support to overall strategic and annual planning for MC Iraq with evidence-based contributions.
- Provide oversight of the Performance and Quality (PAQ) team’s strategy with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
- Provide supervision to the PAQ team members, ensure their work is aligned and contributing effectively to the strategy and that they have access to MC resources
- Support the development of sector strategies and lead in developing corresponding MEL frameworks in accordance to the overall country strategy and with relevant team members
- Lead the development of processes to support programs team in integrating cross-program learning and ensure that lessons learned are used to inform adaptation of activities and future program design
- Provide support to program teams at key moments including program start-up, kick-off meetings, inception meeting check-ins, quality audits and spot checks, and end of program transition meetings
- Contribute to the global and regional conversation around program performance and quality, PaQ strategies, and global program quality initiatives; PM@MC, gender minimum standards, adaptive management, TOLA etc.
- Work with MEL staff to ensure MEL strategy exists and is implemented
- Ensure programs use the necessary MEL systems and tools, to inform and improve each individual program, as well as feed into the broader country-level MEL system and country strategy
- Ensure the development and/or consolidation of MEL systems and tools across the Iraq program to leverage existing resources and provide comparable data.
- Support field teams with program deliverables – such as baseline studies or mid-term and final evaluations, gender assessment, market assessments, etc.
- Oversee the maintenance (or creation) of appropriate country-level trackers, such as beneficiaries trackers, and explore the use of online tools as needed
- Support the creation of an evidence-based learning culture through consistent analysis of lessons learned and best practices to encourage adaptive management.
- Conduct internal DQAs to ensure data is collected with attention to accuracy and consistency
- Lead in the development and country-wide rollout of an appropriate beneficiary accountability mechanisms
- Support MEL Managers and program teams in implementing the CARM system.
- Support programs team in integrating Do No Harm approach throughout project life cycle
- Serve as a focal point for any temporary or short-term Technical Advisors and Consultants
PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT, REPORTING, AND COMMUNICATION
- Support the design of cost-effective, innovative and high quality programs, ensuring relevance to stakeholders and agency strategy
- Ensure the PaQ team effectively contributes to proposal development processes, following agency best practices and donor compliance, in coordination with MC Iraq technical, finance and operational staff, as well as HQ and regional teams.
- Support proposal development processes – including development of MEL plans.
- Along with MEL Managers, consolidate program data for reporting for all MC Iraq programs.
- Support Grants Manager in taking responsibility for compilation and timely submission of all donor and internal reports.
- Ensure the PaQ unit carries out effective reviews of program reports, makes sure these are consistent with data from MC Iraq information management systems, and include well documented success stories and infographics to highlight program impact, and include information on lessons learned to inform on required adaptation of activities and future program design.
- Ensure the PaQ unit provides adequate support to program teams on communications and visibility and assist in the development of program communication plans.
- Contribute to the dissemination of written products.
- Lead the roll-out of gender integration as a priority area for MC Iraq programs.
- Ensure all MC Iraq programs comply with MC’s Gender Minimum Standards.
- Provide training and other resources to raise awareness of gender across MC Iraq country office.
- Create a culture of gender-sensitive, and where appropriate, gender-transformative programming.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.
- Hire, orient and supervise new team members as necessary.
- Provide supervision to the PaQ team members, ensure their work is aligned and contributing effectively to the PaQ team’s strategy, that they have access to training and support and that effective workflows and coordination are set up between the different unit members
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Work with program teams to ensure the adoption of efficient and effective program management (including MEL) processes and workflows, identify strategies and build or strengthen systems to facilitate greater efficiency.
REPRESENTATION AND COORDINATION
- Participate and/or organize internal meetings to inform the development of improvements in Mercy Corps Iraq working practices.
- Lead efforts in sharing best practices with other NGOs working in Iraq.
- Represent Mercy Corps in external coordination and donor meetings, as required.
- Participate in the complex program board calls, if needed.
- 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.
- As part of MC’s commitment to organizational learning and in support of MC understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, MC expects all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO BENEFICIARIES
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward 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.
Supervises a team of international and national staff.
Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: Deputy Country Director, Department Heads and Head Offices, Program Managers, Ethics and Assurance Manager, as well as Regional and Global PaQ team.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree required. Masters or equivalent in a field related to Humanitarian or International Development or relevant fields is preferred.
- 6 years experience providing coordination or management support to program implementation
- Experience working in the Middle East region and high risk context preferred.
- Proven ability to work cooperatively with internal and external stakeholders, and to play a leadership role in convening groups. Astute skills in relationship building and coordination.
- Extensive experience with monitoring and evaluation, information management, and other learning efforts.
- Excellent writing and communications skills required.
- Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
- Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in Arabic or Kurdish is a plus.
The successful PaQ Director should have good communication and diplomatic skills. They should be able to facilitate complex team dynamics and achieve aims, have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, good organizational skills and ability to work independently, with a strong commitment to advancing learning in international development through monitoring and evaluation. They should be active within the M&E and learning community and have strong relationship-building skills and commitment to working collaboratively.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Erbil, Iraq and requires up to 50% travel to other locations in Iraq. The role is unaccompanied, and housing is in shared apartments. The team member must follow all security protocols at all times. This position is eligible for R&R breaks and hardship.
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.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.