Director of Programs at Mercy Corps

Project Management jobs, Senior Management jobs,

Director of Programs

General Position Summary

Mercy Corps is seeking a bold and innovative leader to be the Director of Programs (DoP) for Mercy Corps Kenya. The DoP is a senior member of Mercy Corps Kenya team tasked with developing new programs and managing a diverse, innovative and high quality portfolio. He/she is responsible for overall program performance and quality, ensuring that teams are implementing high-impact programs, and are tracking progress toward specific objectives, indicators and milestones. Guided by the Mercy Corps Kenya Country Strategy, the DoP will identify funding opportunities and developing proposals that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio. The DoP will support program teams to effectively coordinate with operations, finance and human resources functions from inception to close out. This position will place a high value on finding innovative solutions and building creative partnerships to development and humanitarian challenges. A market systems development and resilience approach is at the core of Mercy Corps Kenya’s programming strategy. The DoP will promote and integrate these approaches into program development and delivery. The Director of Programs will champion the Mercy Corps’ Cornerstones of Leadership to ensure that teams are driving transformational impact in country through groundbreaking innovations and influence in action strategies that positions Mercy Corps as the leader of change in Kenya and beyond. Mercy Corps Kenya has several cross-border and multicountry initiatives. As such the Director of Programs is someone who is willing to think and go beyond borders to innovate and scale impact in the region.  

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and Vision

  • Support and contribute to the development and implementation of Mercy Corps Kenya strategy. Develop programs that aligns with the Mercy Corps Kenya Strategy.
  • Provide support to the Country Director on matters pertaining to strategy, planning, budgeting, programming and management.
  • Develop work plans and mobilize resources to achieve country strategy objectives.
  • Promote thought leadership by ensuring that program innovations and successes are tested, analyzed, documented, and effectively communicated internally and externally.

Program Management

  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ principles, values, program guidelines and quality standards.
  • Support the Country Director to strengthen program strategies and quality, partnerships, and accountability in accordance with Mercy Corps and donor policies.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective Mercy Corps (and other standard) program quality tools to achieve the desired impact.
  • Ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources and timely, accurate and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.
  • Coordinate with Mercy Corps teams and programs across the neighboring countries to implement cross-border and multi-country initiatives.
  • Support all donor reporting and communications and track major grant milestones deliverables, cost share requirements, project burn rates and major procurements.

Team Management

  • Build a cohesive team spirit and culture among staff and delegate functions and responsibilities to them while ensuring achievement of program objectives.
  • Maintain effective and positive internal communication with Mercy Corps staff in all field offices. Promote open and harmonious communication between departments, offices, and programs.
  • Supervise and mentor program team in program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Foster a working atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellence at all levels.
  • Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater impact.
  • Recruit, orient and lead team members as necessary.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on one meetings and performance reviews.
  • Fill in for the Country Director and for program leadership as needed and as requested.

Influence, Representation & Fundraising

  • Identify and lead on fundraising opportunities, including developing partnerships and proposal writing.
  • Develop and nurture culturally sensitive internal and external relationships and networks to ensure optimum communication and program success.
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the country strategy.
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with donors, government partners, consortium partners, sub-grantees, and other stakeholders.
  • In coordination with the Country Director, partake in representation role on specific coordination working groups or forums.

Finance and Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies.
  • Monitor and adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and other relevant regulations, including those of the Government of Kenya.
  • Work closely with support functions in Kenya, regional and headquarters to ensure highest compliance and program performance.
  • Work with Program Managers on proper budget management, including forecasting and procurement planning.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure the well-being of team members and ensure they are aware of policies to help manage insecure environments.
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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: Technical Leads/Aread Managers, Program Managers, Team Leaders, Country MEL Manager, relevant advisors (TBD).


Reports Directly To: Country Director.

Works Directly With: HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit, Regional teams.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Proven track record in diverse program and team management; successful proposal writing and program development.
  • BA/S or higher in management, international development or other relevant field.
  • At least 10 years of programming experience, including at least five years in a senior management position.
  • Experience managing development and humanitarian programs as well as transitional programs in insecure areas affected by conflict.
  • Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including food security, natural resources management, resilience, market systems development, gender, climate change, livelihoods, and financial services.
  • Strong understanding of private sector engagement in development programming and the use of a locally led/localization approach for sustainable development.
  • Strong M&E skills in developing and executing effective and timely monitoring systems, both at the program- and country-level.
  • Conversant with major donor requirements and compliance especially USAID, FCDO, EC and other institutional and foundation donors.
  • Strong management skills with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work both independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Strong understanding of conflict sensitive program mainstreaming and gender and protection mainstreaming would be an advantage.
  • Experience in Kenya highly (especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands ASALs) preferred.


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