Chief of Party, Youth Resilience Activity - Colombia

Programs Bogota, Colombia


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.  Mercy Corps has been present in Colombia since 2005, focusing interventions on IDPs, landmine victims, land conflict mediation, sustainable resource management, child soldiers, youth and emergency response. Our strategic goal is to strengthen the capacity of civil society to address the causes and consequences of the Colombian conflict: the lack of access to land and natural resources, justice, social services and the predominance of poverty. Working mostly in close partnership with local NGOs, CBOs, and civil society networks to build their capacity, our current programming supports over 70 staff and focuses on responding to the Venezuela migration crisis, working with marginalized populations, strengthening civil society capacity, rural economic development, and land mediation.

Program / Department Summary 

Mercy Corps seeks a Chief of Party (COP) to lead implementation of the anticipated five-year USAID-funded Youth Resilience Activity (YRA) in Colombia. The proposed program will build the capacity of vulnerable youth, disengaged child soldiers, and former youth offenders to cope with the effects of crime and violence and reduce the risk of recidivism. In order to do so, YRA will develop peaceful and protective environments, strengthen the relationships among youth, their families, communities, and local authorities and provide alternative education and economic opportunities to at-risk youth. In doing so, YRA will be better positioned to respond to the needs of violence-affected youth and their communities, support the prevention of recidivism by disengaged child soldiers and former youth offenders, and foster greater economic and social stability in Colombia.

General Position Summary 

The Chief of Party will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the USAID Youth Resilience Activity in Colombia, ensuring the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget.  The Chief of Party will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and stakeholders.  

Essential Job Responsibilities 

Strategy & Vision
  • Lead the development of a vision and strategy for the program shared with program team and key stakeholders. 
  • Play an active role in identifying and developing new initiatives that foster and/or improve strategic objectives of the program.

Program Management
  • Oversee program start-up, management and administration. Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building. 
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
  • Ensure program strategies and activities represent global best practice in positive youth development and violence prevention.  

Team Management 
  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

Finance & Compliance Management 
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations. 

Influence & Representation 
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events.  
  • Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.

  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.  

Organizational Learning  
  • 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. 
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.

Supervisory Responsibility

National and international team members working on the program, as well as partnerships with international and national program partners. The number of direct and indirect reports is to be determined.


Reports Directly To: Country Director 

Works Directly With: Program staff, partner organizations, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit

Knowledge and Experience 

  • MA/S or equivalent in international development, education, or other relevant field. 
  • A minimum of 10 years of development experience including 8 years in a senior management position overseeing donor programs of similar size and technical scope. USAID Chief of Party experience strongly preferred.  
  • At least five years of experience implementing large/complex youth-focused programs with a focus on youth violence prevention, youth workforce development, and positive youth development.  
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners. 
  • Extensive experience managing programs in Colombia or similar contexts required. 
  • Effective personnel management, coordination, and decision-making skills, with proven ability to be accountable for all components of the program. 
  • Competent in building networks, strong problem-solving skills, and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques.
  • Strong understanding of USAID rules, regulations, and compliance issues required.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; English and Spanish fluency required. 

Success Factors 

The successful Chief of Party will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships.  S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. 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 Chief of Party will be based in Bogotá, the capital, which is a large and fairly modern city with good access to public services such as well as excellent medical care. Bogotá is considered an accompanied/family post. Housing is provided as individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. All MC Colombia employees are expected to work a 5-day work week with occasional need to work extended hours and on weekends/holidays. There are excellent International schools in Bogotá and professional health services available. This position requires up to 40% time for travel by air and land to project sites in sometimes insecure environments. Mercy Corps Colombia is a member of UNDSS and expects staff to follow security protocols to minimize security risk in the field.

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.