Deputy Program Director for Emergencies - Haiti

Programs Port-au-Prince, Haiti


 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.


Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps helps communities develop their own ideas to solve Haiti’s most daunting problems by using innovative approaches to bring Haitians new social and economic opportunities and to make their country more secure, productive and just. Established in January 2010, Mercy Corps Haiti has offices in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitian, Miragoane, and Corail, and more than 70 team members implementing programs in economic development, agriculture, natural resource management and humanitarian response. Mercy Corps’ economic development work is guided by the principles of pro-poor development and demand driven strategies. Mercy Corps takes a progressive approach to development that leads communities and entrepreneurs from relief to sustainable livelihoods to resilience.


On August 14th, 2021 a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti creating widespread destruction, impacting over 130,000 households, and causing over 12,000 injuries and 2,200 casualties. Mercy Corps’ team in Haiti responded immediately, implementing our SMS emergency alert system to provide communities with critical information, as well as distributing Non-Food Items (NFIs) and multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) to help families meet their urgent needs including: personal hygiene, food preparation and light and thermal comfort for their shelter. Now almost two months since the earthquake, Mercy Corps is working with communities to help recover their livelihoods and rehabilitate critical WASH systems and infrastructure, while continuing to support people to meet their basic needs.


The Position

The Deputy Director of Programs for Emergencies will work closely with the Director of Programs, Program Managers and Deputy Program Managers, and field teams to provide overall leadership, management, and strategic vision to the implementation of a multi-million-dollar emergency response portfolio, supported by institutional (USAID) and private donors. This person supports the management of all emergency program operations and staff, providing strong leadership and ensuring proper coordination to operate effectively and deliver on the projects’ intended impact.


The Deputy Director serves as team leader for Mercy Corps Haiti’s emergency response programs. They are detail oriented and has excellent planning and strategic thinking skills. This person will also be experienced in external and donor representation. They will be an effective communicator with exceptional team building and coordination skills. The Deputy Director will coordinate the delivery of inclusive high-quality programming and reporting, and work with HQ-based teams to manage relationships with current and potential donors. They will represent the program externally to donors, coordination bodies, relevant government entities, partners and implementers, and other key stakeholders.


Essential Responsibilities


        Set direction for the Mercy Corps emergency response portfolio by prioritizing and organizing tasks and resources to achieve programming objectives.

        Provide operational leadership to the existing portfolio and response mechanisms to reinforce program quality and maintain response capacity.

        Support the reinforcement of Mercy Corps’ role in the emergency response, by ensuring alignment with humanitarian sector priorities and seeking opportunities for expansion where appropriate.

        Work alongside the Director of Programs to harmonize and create synergies between the emergency response portfolio and the broader Mercy Corps Haiti program portfolio, where appropriate.

        Collaborate with the Director of Programs and Program Performance & Quality (PAQ) Manager to identify new initiatives focused around emergency response and early recovery.



        Oversee management and administration of emergency response programming, ensuring mechanisms and tools for effective adaptive management are in place and utilized regularly.

        Support emergency response program teams in the development and ongoing refinement of implementation strategies.

        Ensure that Mercy Corps programs target participants effectively and according to established vulnerability criteria for various sectors (MPCA, NFIs, etc.)

        Integrate community engagement and participation, Do No Harm, protection, gender sensitivity and capacity building approaches into all activities as appropriate.

        Facilitate collaboration between program, MEL, and technical support staff to execute assessments and other MEL activities within the emergency response portfolio.

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

        Review draft reports and ensure that reports are ready for submission to HQ on time.



        Ensure strong and transparent communications with partner organizations, coordination bodies (WaSH, cash, NFI, and other sectoral and working groups), Mercy Corps HQ, donors, and local and national authorities.

        Represent Mercy Corps’ emergency response portfolio externally with various stakeholders including donors, government, and the coordination system.

        Share lessons learned from Mercy Corps emergency response portfolio with the greater humanitarian community within Haiti.

        Identify opportunities to expand the current emergency program portfolio and collaborate with Director of Programs, Finance and MEL teams, and HQ-based programs teams to submit high-quality concept notes and proposals. 



        Provide leadership, programmatic and managerial oversight of all direct reports to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented according to schedule, budget and quality.

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

        Monitor the team’s wellbeing in the high-stress, high-workload emergency context and take corrective actions to reduce turnover

        Set a team culture valuing learning, adaptive management, and accountability.

        Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.

        Oversee the recruitment, orientation, professional development and training of staff to support emergency staff capacity, continuity, and successful implementation of activities.



        In collaboration with Operations and Finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and needs of emergency programs are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policy.

        Review BVAs with Finance, Program Managers and Director of Programs to identify any issues and undertake any necessary budget revisions.

        Monitor adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations, including those of the government of Haiti.



        Ensure compliance with security procedures and that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.


Supervisory Responsibility

  • Direct: Emergency Manager, Deputy Program Manager – Cash, Deputy Program Manager – DRR, M&E Officer, Head of Office - Nippes, Head of Office - Grand’Anse
  • Indirect: Cash Officers, M&E Assistant, Community Mobilizers


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

Works Directly With: All program staff, both national and expatriate in Haiti; HQ-based Programs, Operations, HR, Finance, Compliance, and Technical Support teams


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 social science, management, international development or other relevant field. MA/S preferred.

        4-6 years experience managing humanitarian relief and/or transitional programs in areas affected by insecurity and natural disasters.

        Previous experience working in Haiti or similar contexts strongly preferred.

        Trained and knowledgeable in design, monitoring, and evaluation concepts and methodologies.

        Extensive experience in relevant technical area(s) preferred, including Emergency Response, Livelihoods, Agriculture, WASH, Economic Recovery, Women’s Empowerment and GBV programming.

        Knowledge of major donor requirements and compliance issues (USAID experience preferred).

        Strong management skills with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues and experience working with international and national staff.

        Extensive experience working effectively with external stakeholders such as humanitarian coordination clusters, national and international NGO partners, and local authorities.

        Knowledge of and experience with security protocols is preferred.

        Fluency in written and oral French and English is required.


Success Factors

A successful Deputy Director will possess a high level of adaptability and be able to adjust to the constantly changing programmatic and working environment. They will harness the potential of multiple funding streams under an emergency program portfolio, and bring it together under one unifying strategy to implement effective emergency response. They will streamline emergency operations and provide structure to it to increase efficiency and effectiveness. They will have an ability to approach complex humanitarian challenges through a systems-thinking lens and have an ability to think creatively about humanitarian response across sectors.


The Deputy Director will have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. They will provide the space and support for the team members to realize their full potential in a highly stressful environment. They will be passionate about learning and adaptive management techniques as fundamental strategies to improve program impact. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail as well as 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. The successful Deputy Director must be comfortable operating and traveling in a volatile security environment and therefore, changing plans and program tactics accordingly.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

Haiti is a country of 10 million people and is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  The country has been wracked by a series of major natural disasters since 2010 including earthquake, hurricanes, and drought.  A new government is in place for the next five years which is anticipated to reduce instability, however occasional violent demonstrations and flare-ups in crime can occur.  Haiti suffers from chronic high unemployment, severe environmental degradation, food insecurity, and health issues like cholera exacerbated by low levels of access to water and poor infrastructure.  Nonetheless, Haiti also has great beauty including beaches and mountainous national parks. Its international airport provides daily flights to multiple destinations in the US, as well as access to DR, Canada, Paris, Cuba, Panama, Curacao, and other locations in the Caribbean.


The position is unaccompanied and based in Port au Prince. Shared housing accommodations with other Mercy Corps staff members will be arranged, with comfortable basic amenities as per Mercy Corps housing policy. Although infrastructure is also poor in the capital, water and electricity are readily available.  There are many places to eat in all price ranges, as well as shops, and supermarkets which are comparable to a US supermarket.  Self-drive is permitted, however driving can be challenging and traffic is often very heavy.


This position requires up to 50% of travel by car and air to field offices in insecure environments.  Outside Port-au-Prince, travel can be challenging and somewhat unpredictable due to weather conditions and gang violence depending. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by the field teams and security actors. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses.


Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting. Team members 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.


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.