Country Director - Yemen

Programs Sana'a, Yemen


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 seeks to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression around the world and has worked in the Middle East since the 1980s. In response to acute and increasing humanitarian needs in Yemen, Mercy Corps opened its office in Yemen in 2010. More than 22 million people are in need and reliance on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. The main thrust of the work of Mercy Corps along with its national and international partners for the foreseeable future will be primarily focused on meeting urgent humanitarian needs across the country while building support to the recovery of economic market systems, resilience and social cohesion elements in its programming strategy. Strategies to enhance the resilience of communities to the harsh environmental and social conditions in the country cut across the portfolio.

General Position Summary

The Mercy Corps Yemen Country Director is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully managing all programming in Yemen. S/he is able to balance principle with pragmatism, focus on meeting the humanitarian imperative, and possesses strong diplomatic, representative, and communications skills. The CD develops a vision for impactful and sustainable, multi-sector programming and is accountable to beneficiaries and donors, placing a high value on innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships in tough environments.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

        Formulate, plan and communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members and stakeholders that translates into concrete programs and work plans.

        Lead the annual country planning process and provide strategic updates.

        Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve program and agency objectives.

        Use technical support teams collaboratively.

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


Team Management

        Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.

        Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.

        Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.

        Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

        Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.



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

        Ensure effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures.

        Oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, if applicable.

        Build and maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties between finance and operations.

        Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.

        Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.


Finance & Compliance Management

        Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.

        Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

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


Influence & Representation

        Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate.

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

        Anticipate needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor’s views on development.

        Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the objectives for the country as a whole.

        Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.

        Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.

        Exhibit awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs.



        Liaise with the Regional Security and Safety advisor and Regional Director on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and security policy changes.


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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility: All national and international staff in country.



Reports Directly To: Regional Director

Works Directly With: Finance Director, Director of Programs, Security Manager/Advisors, Area Directors, Technical speAdvisorscialists, Program staff, local/international NGO partners, HQ program, technical, and finance support staff, and the Regional Team.


Knowledge and Experience

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

        7-10 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including demonstrable success in managing complex humanitarian and development programs.

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

        Capacity to respond to emergency and disaster response as appropriate.

        Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in emergency response preferred.

        Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.

        Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.

        Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with (donor), (government) grant management.

        Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.

        Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic is an advantage.

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

        Previous work experience in the Middle East and in insecure environments is preferred.


Success Factors

The successful Yemen CD will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team. They 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. 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

This unaccompanied position is based in Sana’a in Yemen with travel to project sites if security allows.  Strict adherence to Mercy Corps security policies and procedures will be required as will respect for local cultural norms and traditions.  Security conditions in the country are variable, with a range of violence and insecurity, requiring close monitoring and vigilance. Conflict and corruption have also badly damaged the country's infrastructure. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other, though the road network is good, the security situation often precludes travel by road. There is a land line telephone system, a somewhat reliable cellular phone system and internet is available in the residences and offices.  Candidates must be able to work in an environment with energy, transportation and communication challenges. The location is eligible for hardship and R&R breaks.

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.