Humanitarian Leadership and Response (HLR) Team Leader - Africa - various locations

Programs Africa - Various Locations, Kenya


 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 works to achieve real and lasting impact in the world’s toughest humanitarian emergencies. We save lives and help people live with dignity in crises of all kinds.  At the same time, we create the conditions to pivot to innovative and transformative recovery quickly and effectively. We work wherever local capacity is overwhelmed, connecting people to the opportunities they need to strengthen their community in recovery. Whether it is a sudden shock or a slowly emerging crisis, no matter how complex the environment, Mercy Corps is committed to bold, rapid, needs-driven assistance. Mercy Corps supports a response that is market-driven and leverages the capacities of both traditional and non-traditional aid partners—and ultimately gives people the ability to make their own decisions and secure their own lives and livelihoods.

The Humanitarian Leadership and Response (HLR) team provides the agency with timely and effective leadership to prepare for and respond to humanitarian emergencies. Our model uses an experienced leadership team supported by a network of response professionals spread across the agency - in country teams and headquarters departments.

General Position Summary

The HLR Team Leader is responsible for working closely with regions and countries before, during, and after a humanitarian crisis, to be better prepared to lead fast, excellent responses. The Team Leader will work with country teams to support or manage a team of professionals to ensure that Mercy Corps is implementing high quality, impactful programming with the necessary management and support structures to sustain those programs.


Essential Job Responsibilities


       Strategy and Vision. The Team Leader will work to move the agency towards our Vision for Humanitarian Response at Mercy Corps.

       Cross-department Engagement. The Team Leader will engage at an HLR team level, working with countries and regions, and supporting global technical and operational teams as they develop approaches, design tools, and improve capacity. This also means working with countries to link resilience, development, and humanitarian programming.



       Leadership. The Team Leader will be responsible for anticipating, tracking, overseeing, or supporting Mercy Corps’ response to humanitarian emergencies, both in complex crises and natural disasters. She/ he/ they will make sure responses fit within country and regional strategies and will set a clear vision for the response, working closely with country and regional leadership.

       Lead and Support Humanitarian Responses: When there is a response, the HLR team leader will work closely with country and regional teams to ensure the response meets PM@MC minimum standards, standards of technical excellence, as well as follow all necessary CARM, MEL, operational, financial, and safety and security policies.

       Internal Relations: Coordinate and develop the necessary relationships to quickly identify and organize for response in coordination with other support and technical units in Mercy Corps.

       Country and Regional Preparedness: The Team Leader will work with RPT, country teams, and the HLR capacity team to support all countries (and regions) with current and updated emergency preparedness plans. As country teams implement their preparedness action plans, the Team Leader will provide technical guidance, where appropriate.

       Extended Support to Longer Humanitarian Programs: In this world of complex and protracted crises, there are many programs which meet basic needs and last for months or years. For these programs, the Team Leader will work with the team to ensure programs are meeting the highest technical standards, have CARM, MEL, and management systems in place that feed into wider-agency systems, and serve to mentor new humanitarian leaders as they take on complex roles.

        Work Beyond the Region: The Team Leader may support other countries/ regions for humanitarian responses and will also provide support to complex programs and global technical teams’ workstreams.



       Increase Humanitarian Response Capacities: Assist in identifying gaps across the Mercy Corps globe where additional capacity in emergencies and country start-ups would strengthen our work. And support peer learning to strengthen capacity and enhance regional humanitarian responses.

       Lead the Community of Practice: Support a consistent standard of excellence in humanitarian response and strengthen best practices at country-level. Coordinate appropriate internal learning and external training opportunities to build a network of humanitarian professionals.



       Donor Relations: The Team Leader will have a role in developing strong relations with donors and partners in their regions of focus and involves deepening the engagement with key emergency donors. This will be done in close coordination with CDs and RDs.

       Key Stakeholder Relations: The Team Leader will emphasize partnerships and encourage information flow with local networks, private sector, institutional, and corporate and foundation partners, and other entities to enhance impact and advance programming, in close coordination with country, regional, and technical leaders.

       Humanitarian Networks: Develop and maintain contacts with relevant practitioner and learning networks to build country and regional visibility and connections and support dialogue on key issues related to humanitarian advocacy with MC’s public advocacy counterparts in the US and/or the United Kingdom. Engage with the Policy and Advocacy team and support local leadership to influence national humanitarian agendas.



       Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.

       Proactively ensure team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.



       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.

        If applicable, support the translation and adaptation documents for the main language of the region.



Supervisory Responsibilities

Will vary with assignment



Reports directly to: Senior Director, Humanitarian Response

Works directly with: Regional Directors and RPT, Country Directors, Technical Support Unit, Global Procurement and Logistics, Strategic Program Operations, Finance, People, Mercy Corps Europe


Accountability to participants and stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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.



Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S required & MA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development preferred.
  • 7+ years field-based emergency and development experience in managing complex environments.
  • Ability to lead teams, handle negotiations and facilitate planning processes, including delicate transitions.
  • Ability to work effectively under tight deadlines and in sparse working environments.
  • Successful track-record in program design & proposal development in a wide variety of sectors & geographic locations.
  • Knowledge and experience in applying SPHERE and other international best practices in emergency situations.
  • Exceptional written and interpersonal communication skills required.
  • Proven ability to work productively with a wide variety of stakeholders to run both participatory process and also meet tight deadlines with an emphasis on producing quality products.
  • Experience with a wide range of donors including institutional donors, such as USAID, DFID, ECHO, and UN agencies.
  • Language skills – fluency spoken and written French and English is required.
  • Certified in Program Management such as PRINCE2 or PMDPro (preferred).
  • Strong representation and relationship-building skills.


Success Factors

The successful team leader must be a self-starter who demonstrates leadership in clear and concise writing and communications, strategy and planning, work-planning and logistics, and resource coordination. S/he is flexible and creative in planning and problem solving, and has a proven ability to learn quickly, take initiative, meet deadlines, and be accountable for results.


It is essential the team leader is able to work closely with a diverse team of individuals in varied cultural, political, and religious environments doing intense and dynamic work within a fluid security environment. S/he will be able to influence and advocate with limited authority and work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders. S/he is proactive in seeking engagement and feedback.


Living and Environmental Conditions

The position is based in one of the Mercy Corps locations in Africa or at a headquarters office in Europe if the selected candidate holds Europe work authorization.

When traveling to country offices, strict adherence to Mercy Corps code of conduct, safeguarding, and security policies will be required. Respect for local cultural norms and traditions is expected.


The Team Leader will be able to deploy on short notice (72 hours) to lead a response team and manage humanitarian response programs and operations. The position will require travel to the field up to 60% time including travel to some locations that may be insecure or austere with significant restrictions to personal movement and some operating risks, for up to two months at a time.


Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed to a country program, on a visit, or on a short-term assignment. Staff are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs, and Mercy Corps policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.


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.