Programs Mogadishu, Somalia


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians working together on the front lines of today’s biggest crises to create a future of possibility, where everyone can prosper. In more than 40+ countries around the world, over 5,400+ team members work side by side with people living through poverty, disaster, violent conflict, and the acute impacts of climate change. We’re committed to creating global change through local impact — 84% of our team members are from the countries where they work. 
We bring a comprehensive approach to every challenge, addressing problems from multiple angles. And we go beyond emergency aid, partnering with local governments, forward-thinking corporations, social entrepreneurs, and people living in fragile communities to develop bold solutions that make lasting change possible.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operating in Somalia since 2008 with dedicated skilled staff and programs funded by a multitude of donors including the United Nations (UN), USAID, Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), ECHO and Private Foundations. Mercy Corps’ overall country goal is to build a peaceful and prosperous Somalia where all people feel secure, are economically empowered, and are meaningfully engaged. Mercy Corps’ current portfolio in Somalia focuses on layering humanitarian response with resilience-building interventions to meet immediate needs of displaced populations, promote inclusive economic growth, enhance trust and accountability between communities and their government, and improve livelihood and education opportunities for young Somalis. All Mercy Corps interventions in Somalia are implemented in a conflict and gender sensitive manner.

The Position 

Mercy Corps Somalia seeks to fill the position of Director of Programs (DoP) which is a senior management position for the Mercy Corps team, with supervisory and managerial responsibility over all aspects of program design, development and implementation. The DoP leads the strategy, coordination, delivery and monitoring and evaluation of all programs within the country portfolio, engendering a collaborative team spirit focused on achievement of program goals and objectives. The DoP ensures that all Mercy Corps programs are planned and executed with quality, accountability, and measurable impact. Working with the Country Director and the Country SMT, the DoP will support strategic positioning of MC Somalia and develop proposals to support the country to pursue strategic funding opportunities. The DoP will ensure high quality technical delivery of the programs in Somalia, including compliance with all Mercy Corps Program Management standards, high technical quality and support to identify technical support needs, and strong staffing and capacity-building for program staff. The DoP ensures that all programs meet donor and government requirements and have strong accountability mechanisms in place.
The DoP will also support the CD to represent Mercy Corps programs to donors, other NGOs/UN and other key stakeholders, thematic clusters and coordination mechanisms and as needed to relevant government authorities and other partners. The DoP will also work closely with the Chiefs of Parties (CoPs) of the other major ongoing resilience programs in the country to strengthen synergies across programs in the country, ensure effective learning systems are in place and support strong donor reporting of program results.


Essential Responsibilities (Example Section Below - Adapt to Specific Role)

  • As a member of the SMT and as the Head of Programmes, the DoP will provide strong leadership to advance the development, implementation and execution of the Country Strategy. 
  • Work closely with the Country Director and other SMT members to refine the country strategy to ensure alignment with Mercy Corps’ regional and global strategies and to reflect changes in the country context. 
  • Mobilize support services and risk management resources to enable country and regional leadership teams to execute strategic priorities. 
  • Partner with the Country Director to build a strong culture within the Somalia team that aligns with Mercy Corps values and People with Possibility objectives.
  • Support the Country Director to engage with different levels of Somalia’s administrative and community leadership.


  • In coordination with the Country Director and Program Managers, lead and support in the identification of new initiatives and opportunities that respond to identified needs and align with the Somalia country strategy.
  • Lead the country program team to carry out needs assessments to inform new program designs and support routine situational analysis to inform program design and adaptation.
  • Under the direction of the CD, lead the country program team to develop solicited and unsolicited proposals and concept notes, working closely with regional and global New Initiatives teams, HQ Programs teams and relevant technical support units.
  • Working closely with the Country Director and members of the Somalia SMT, represent Mercy Corps to potential partners and develop partnership frameworks, partnership agreements/Memorandums of Understanding to deepen partnership opportunities in the country.
  • Establish and maintain effective program reporting, monitoring and evaluation systems for both internal and external use, ensuring compliance with Mercy Corps M&E minimum standards. 
  • Manage and support program teams to develop work plans, technical implementation plans, procurement plans and financial projections to meet program goals and objectives.
  • Provide managerial and programmatic oversight including day-to-day direction to/supervision of the program managers; provide mentoring, coaching and capacity-building/training to staff, as needed. 
  • Ensure partner budgets and grant holders, spending projections and requests for funds are timely and donor compliant. 
  • Provide direction and leadership in program implementation focusing on a coordinated approach that fosters complimentary delivery of services to the communities by the different project sectors and partner agencies. 
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support the delivery of field activities.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide standards, including Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards. 
  • Provide leadership and participate in the establishment and nurturing of a strong MC Somalia learning agenda and culture to enhance joint learning linked to MC PAQ and MEAL teams.



  • In close coordination with the Country Director, establish close and productive relationships with donors, cluster coordination, as well as relevant national government authorities

  • Maintain close links with partner agencies ensuring their full participation in decision-making and project implementation through regular and ad hoc meetings and briefing.

  • In the absence of the Country Director, act on behalf of Mercy Corps as the senior representative for Mercy Corps Somalia.  


  • Provide leadership in all aspects of program coordination to ensure consistent quality, including the incorporation of cross-cutting themes, quality data analysis, lessons learned and best practices.

  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and aligned with Mercy Corps’ principles, values, global P2P strategy, and Somalia country strategy.

  • Ensure technical quality of all programs in line with Mercy Corps technical standards through in-depth support to the Program Managers and strong program follow-up.

  • Work with Program Managers and Regional Program Team members to monitor adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations.

  • Support Program Managers to oversee performance of partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors and adhere to MC’s Minimum Standards for Program Management.

  • Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites for monitoring, quality control and program staff mentoring and coaching.

  • Build program staff capacity and ensure effective and qualitative program implementation



Supervise and support the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager to:

  • Ensure that robust monitoring and evaluation, quality data collection and analysis systems are in place, adhered to and used as a decision-making tool, encouraging consistency across programs.

  • In coordination with the Country Director, identify capacity gaps and support in training and guidance to staff on M&E best practices.

  • Support all efforts towards accountability - to beneficiaries and to international standards guiding relief and development work. This includes understanding and following established international guidelines and actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in community development.  

Design Monitoring and Evaluation Project

  • Partner with the Research and Learning team to identify opportunities for Mercy Corps to professionally document best practices and contextual learnings and coordinate in the dissemination of relevant learnings in appropriate forums. 

  • Provide overall leadership to the M&E team in establishing minimum organizational standards in M&E. 



Supervise and support the Country Program Development and Reporting Specialist/ Program managers to:

  • Ensure that donor reports produced by the Program team effectively demonstrate the impact of Mercy Corps’ program interventions and meet Mercy Corps SOPs.

  • Review all reports to ensure a high quality product.

  • Ensure program reports are submitted to the Mercy Corps country HQ desk teams on time for reviews and timely submission to the donors.



  • Working with the Country Director/ SMT and the Somalia HR department develop and maintain an excellent human resource plan for Mercy Corps Somalia programs department, including current position descriptions, personnel orientation and professional development plans.

  • Institute a disciplined culture of performance management and regular feedback between supervisors and their direct reports.

  • Recruit, manage and motivate, and onboard an informed, skilled and efficient team with an emphasis on excellence and achievement; encourage a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation, incorporating staff development strategies and performance management systems into the team building process. 

  • Establish leadership and personal credibility with the Mercy Corps team, and implement and create an organizational culture of accountability, responsibility and quality of services. 



  • Work closely with the Operations Manager and Finance Director to ensure that operational and financial management systems are responsive to program needs and that program staff are adhering to both donor and Mercy Corps’ procedures and regulations.

  • Work closely with the Country Director/ SMT and the country team’s security focal point to ensure that programs are contributing to and responding to safety and security plans and procedures.

  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.



  • Working with the Country Director/ SMT and the Somalia Human Resource Department, Support Mercy Corps global and regional initiatives for human resources, including safeguarding and diversity, and talent development. 

  • Collaborate with the people team to promote staff access to high quality learning opportunities with a special emphasis on national team member development. 

  • Working with the Country Director and respective departmental directors, support the on-boarding of senior team members, ensuring they are set up for success and familiar with agency systems, procedures, and protocols.



  • Engage and support the country leadership and respective managers across all country offices to ensure that adequate risk management systems are in place.

  • Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events. 

  • Engage with country teams on the internal audit process to track findings and ensure country team compliance with IA findings and recommendations. Engage with country level Ethics and Assurance Focal persons as well as the global Ethics and Assurance department to track and analyze trends and needs across countries. 

Supervisory Responsibility

The DoP supervises all Somalia Program managers, Monitoring and Evaluation and Learning Manager, Program Development and Reporting Manager and Country Infrastructure Manager


Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: All members of the SMT, and finance, HR and Operations at country level, RPT members from MCE and MCG, relevant regional and global TSU members, compliance 

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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills

  • BA/S or equivalent in International Development or relevant field. MA preferred.
  • 5 – 7 years of management experience with specific experience and skills in program development including community-based project design, assessment and evaluation and grants management.
  • Experience managing programs and consortiums with international partners and multiple donor experience (USAID, OFDA, EC, ECHO, UN Agencies etc.). 
  • Five years overseas experience including working with diverse, multicultural teams. 
  • Proven skills in listening to, learning from, training, and mentoring key staff regarding development and other relevant issues. 
  • Solid analysis and strategic planning skills as well as a proven practical and theoretical understanding of the project cycle, issues of community development and humanitarian response.
  • Demonstrated experience and ability to professionally and appropriately represent the organization and negotiate and defend Mercy Corps interests with a diverse range of government officials, local organizations and other groups. 
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational, and prioritization skills are required; attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is essential. 
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work. 
  • Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response preferred. 

Success Factors

The successful candidate will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team in the transitional response environment. S/he will be capable of multi-tasking, rapid decision-making, demonstrate initiative, drive and a lot of energy, as well as high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building. The Director of Programs 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. S/he will be able to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment with demonstrated sensitivity to the people and issues in Somalia and the region. A sense of humor, team work mentality and positive nature is highly desirable.

 Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Mogadishu and it requires up to 40% travel to support country programs, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited.  Mobility in Somalia is restricted and must first be cleared with the Security Advisor. The position also requires some travel to Nairobi, Kenya and other countries if and when required for meetings and other functions. This is an unaccompanied post and eligible for Hardship and R&R. Accommodation is provided in group housing. Standard Somali work week is Sunday – Thursday. 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.

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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.