Program Performance & Quality (PaQ) Manager- Afghanistan

Programs Kabul, Afghanistan Herat, Afghanistan


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.

The Program

Mercy Corps Afghanistan works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build a more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by Afghanistan, since 1986 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the country and of those communities where we work.

Presently, we work in three provinces, with a portfolio of programs aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods, combating natural resource degradation, expanding access to vocational training, providing access to water and sanitation facilities, promoting Hygiene and providing emergency response MCPA and winterization.

The Position

The Program Performance & Quality (PaQ) Manager will provide technical guidance and support for program management and coordination across the country programs’ portfolio of multiple grants, while supervising Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team member; Technical Advisors; grants officer and coordinating with the Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) function.

S/he will have oversight of the Mercy Corps Program Management Minimum Standards ([email protected]) function by helping Program Managers to assess program performance against minimum standards and to provide implementation support as necessary, in line with both [email protected] standards and donor requirements. S/he will have oversight of the development of effective program filing and archiving systems, standardization and capacity building of program teams on the process for program deliverable quality assurance checks and making cross-department processes more efficient (as required). The PaQ Manager will lead and support on new business development and specifically assist in securing new programs by ensuring that learning and strong process management feeds into proposal development. The PaQ Manager is highly motivated, s/he is an effective communicator, self-driven and able to move forward complex projects with limited daily support and direction; s/he is able to work remotely with internal and external stakeholders to achieve common objectives

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Lead and support new Business Development including needs assessments and feasibility studies.
  • Provide strategic guidance and vision on Mercy Corps Program Management ([email protected]) approaches to Afghanistan’s program team.
  • In coordination with management, set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to country-wide strategy development. This includes supporting development of any sector-specific strategies, and assigning technical advisors as needed to meet objectives.
  • Support cross-program learning, including operation of sector-specific Technical Working Groups.
  • Work with Afghanistan’s MEL Manager to ensure that Afghanistan has well-structured program and portfolio learning processes (Including program and country learning plans or agendas, and appropriate resourcing) in place, and that these events utilize program and context data to drive continuous improvement.
  • Working with the Program Management Reporting system (PMR) and other country-specific tools, assess program adherence to [email protected] minimum standards and provide support as needed to address gaps or areas of improvement.
  • Provide technical oversight to Program Managers and Grants Officers to develop program filing and archiving systems and to ensure programs’ documentation is filed, in compliance with [email protected], and donors’ regulations and good practice.
  • Provide technical guidance to Program Managers and Grants Officers to set up effective internal and external program-coordination structures and review meetings, and to use on time-on scope-on budget and other quality measures to assess progress and inform continuous improvement.
  • Work with Programs to refine processes for program deliverable quality assurance checks for commonly recurring program activity areas, including SOP development, checklist development, monitoring and spot check procedures.
  • Provide direct program start-up and planning support to strategically important programs, as directed by the Director of Programs.
  • Supervise and coordinate the inputs of technical advisors throughout program life cycle. This includes supporting the technical advisors in ensuring technical quality in implementation, planning and deliverables and in quality assurance processes.
  • Together with the technical advisors develop processes and practices to consistently and meaningfully contribute to program technical quality and inclusion.
  • Work closely with the CARM Manager (Community Response Mechanism) to ensure community feedback and lessons leart are integrated into future design.
  • Maintain effective communications with regional and headquarters PaQ and Technical Support Unit teammates and program teams on program quality and grants tracking issues, and information requests from internal/external sources.
  • Supervise the MEL Manager, ensuring strong performance as well as strong coordination between portfolio-level MEL and program-level team members.
  • Support the MEL Manager in planning MEL events.
  • Support the MEL Manager in ensuring the implementation of, and if possible going beyond, MEL minimum standards within programs. Ensure that Program Managers/ Directors are supporting program-level MEL team members to use common processes and prioritize strong MEL and data-driven decision-making, working with portfolio-level MEL as an integrated team.
  • Work with the MEL Manager to standardize and ensure the effectiveness of program and portfolio-level learning and adaptive management events and processes.
  • Support the MEL Manager in integrating MEL technologies into program data lifecycle management and building team member skills to use these technologies.
  • Liaise with the Programs, Finance and Operations teams, and when necessary external partners, to ensure that proposals and proposal budgets integrate program quality and MEL needs and considerations.
  • Build capacity of program teams with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives, and review programmatic tools (implementation and follow-up of QA/QC processes, development and/or revision of SOPs, etc.).
  • Organize workshops, trainings (for Mercy Corps Afghanistan’s staff and partners) as needed to answer the programs’ needs (including the Program Standards Learning Pathway and specifically [email protected] trainings)
  • Provide support to the Programs to represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international counterparts, donors, partners and participate in coordination forums and clusters as required.
  • Provide support to Program teams in the organization of donors’ visits.
  • Support the development of strategic, cross-program communication materials, such as sector profiles, impact reports, program briefings, leadership and positioning pieces, key messages, talking points, and other relevant pieces.
  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.

Supervisory Responsibility

MEL Manager, Grants Officer, CASH Advisor , WASH Advisor Gender and Protection Advisor


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

Works Directly With: Director of Programs, Program Managers, CARM team members, Regional PAQ team

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders 

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • BA/S or equivalent in international studies, economics or other relevant field; MA/S preferred.
  • 4-6 years of experience with European and US institutional donors, including grants management, and proposal development.
  • Field experience in both emergency and development environments preferred.
  • Experience with the reporting & compliance with a variety of donors, such as ECHO, BHA, USAID, FCDO or private foundations
  • Experience in supporting teams to ensure quality of their M&E systems.
  • Ability to work across diverse teams and get buy-in from a variety of stakeholders is essential.
  • Demonstrated ability in proposal development and program design required.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Ability to deliver high quality deliverables within short deadlines.
  • Ability to multi-task and juggle several tasks and relationships at one time.
  • Previous experience building staff capacity/training and providing technical guidance required.
  • Excellent communication skills, experience in representing an organization.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with the MS Office software (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is required.
  • Proven ability to work effectively in multi-cultural teams and with technical and administrative staff and consultants.

Success Factors

The successful PaQ Manager will combine exceptional writing skills and experience in providing technical support across program teams. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and will possess high level of adaptability and be able to adjust to the constantly changing working environment. S/he will have previous experience working on a variety of different programs/sectors in emergency and development settings. Prioritizing, problem solving, ability to seize opportunities, attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff 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 

The position will be based in Kabul or Herat. 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. Some remote working may be needed. A certain international standard of medical care is available in Kabul, however for serious cases, evacuation is required, and therefore 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.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/short term assignment 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. 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.

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 eLearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.