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 in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.
Mercy Corps has been implementing emergency, life-sustaining, and resilience activities in Syria since 2012. Mercy Corps partners with a range of strategic institutional donors to deliver at high quality and a large scale. The evidence and learning component of Mercy Corps’ work and relationships with donors is critical to a meaningful impact on the lives of vulnerable people in Syria.
General Position Summary
This is a rare opportunity that combines strategic and technical leadership in Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) for a large mission. The PaQ Director oversees the Syria PaQ unit and ensures evidence and learning are at the heart of decision making, strategic direction, and accountability to communities and donors. The PaQ Director will lead on exciting internal strategic initiatives, while ensuring the daily requirements of the PaQ unit are met by the team. It is an exciting time of transition for Mercy Corps Syria with quality embedded at the core of the program. The Director will oversee monitoring, evaluation and learning, accountability mechanisms, and inputs into high quality project designs and reports. An effective and organized data management system will be critical to this, including improvements in business analytics and data visualization to inform decision making and adaptive management practice. The PaQ Director needs to remain strategic and be technically sound in trouble shooting systemic issues that are affecting the performance of the team and their deliverables. The PaQ team is considerable size and offers a rare opportunity and intellectual challenge for an ambitious candidate. Soft skills will be critical to internal influencing and troubleshooting the complexities that come with a large mission. The PaQ Director will form part of a highly experienced extended senior management team and will be given the opportunity to input and shape decisions affecting the country office.
Essential Job Responsibilities
PROGRAM QUALITY AND IMPACT
● Design and execute systems for monitoring and tracking program quality and performance. Many systems are already in place and require review and strengthening.
● Provide analytical visual data and dashboards monthly to inform SMT decision making.
● Lead in the design and mobilize internal resources for a coherent and strategic research agenda in areas of operation across Syria.
● Design and implement systems for quality assurance in Program Management and data collection, storage and analysis.
● Ensure that data and research is well communicated back to hub teams to factor in to program decision making and adjustments.
● Ensure documentation for programs meets Mercy Corps Minimum Standards and donor audit requirements, including guidance and systems for electronic and hard copy filing.
● Ensure MC Syria staff meet PM@MC certification requirements (both PMD Pro Level 1 and Higher Level Certification).
● Set up a system of regular program quality audits.
● Provide direction to the MIS Manager in developing tools, indicators, and systems to better understand scope and impact of MC’s collective programming across Syria.
● Act as a focal point for PaQ with regional and headquarter offices on wider initiatives. Including a global indicator tracking tool under development, gender minimum standards, cash minimum standards, etc.
● Lead on PaQ contributions to key internal milestones in programs, including: project design meetings; program start-up; kick-off meetings; quality audits; etc.
● Develop Capacity Building plans for staff and partners with a particular focus on building national capacity.
MONITORING, EVALUATION AND LEARNING
● Coordinate closely with Program Directors to ensure relevant and quality monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) in all projects.
● Finalize and roll-out a unified data collection, management, and analysis system to ensure MEL is available to program teams and management for decision making and adjustments.
● Provide clear work-flows and guidance for structured and systematic application of MEL.
● Work with Program Directors to ensure MEL best practice is implemented, including baseline studies, mid-term evaluations, and final evaluations.
● Ensure high quality PaQ inputs into Grant Review Meetings (GRMs) to provide learning opportunities and project adjustments.
● Lead on a research and learning agenda, including needs assessments, thematic research pieces, and internal use of data and information in programs.
● Support the creation of an evidence-based learning culture through consistent analysis of lessons learned and best practices to encourage adaptive management.
PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT, REPORTING, AND COMMUNICATION
● Provide leadership in the PaQ components of project design, ensuring designs are impactful, evidence based and learning from experience.
● Coordinate PaQ inputs into the proposal development process, ensuring high quality and timely inputs, including sound and standardized indicators, inclusive design, and detailed MEL plans.
● Provide direction to the MIS Manager on consolidating and presenting program data for reporting for all MC Syria programs.
● Lead on providing high quality inputs to reports through effective delegation and performance management.
● Lead on the development and maintenance of appropriate trackers, such as reporting tracker, and grant tracker (that details current and future/pipeline programming) etc. and explore the use of online tools such as google calendars, Trello, and google drive to increase Coordination and visibility of activities in MC Syria.
● Design and implement a system for data visualization and ensuring the right information is available, at the right level, at the right time for effective decision making.
● Provide quality assurance for all external reports and assessments, ready for sign off by the Director of Program Support.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
● Exemplify our commitment to accountability to project participants and donors.
● Ensure adherence to MC and international best practice on accountability to affected populations.
● Guarantee a functional and effective Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) in all MC locations.
● Lead on ensuring project design and implementation standards adhere to international best practice and minimum standards.
● Analyse CARM data and follow up directly on higher risk cases, seeing them through to closure.
PARTNERSHIPS AND Technical Support
● Lead on developing the PaQ components of an emerging partnership strategy.
● Design and develop tools, systems and training to support partners on PaQ and ensuring quality data and reporting.
● Lead on consultant engagement including: scope of work; deliverables, and quality assurance.
● Ensure bespoke Capacity Development plans are in place for all partners on PaQ.
● Develop, refine, and track gender makers in the Syria response with monthly data visualized for informing decision making at senior management levels.
● Ensure all MC Syria programs comply with MC’s Gender Minimum Standards.
● Provide training and other resources to raise awareness of gender across MC Syria country office.
● Create a culture of gender-sensitive, and where appropriate, gender-transformative programming.
TEAM MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS
● Promote structured and planned working by setting clear expectations, holding people accountable for delivering, and providing the support required for success.
● Ensure fair, candid, and constructive feedback is provided to individuals as part of their development.
● Ensure position descriptions are up to date, accurate, and detailed to ensure we source the right talent needed to develop the mission.
● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence, can engage in healthy debate, and support one another to achieve our joint vision.
● Provide supervision to the PaQ team, ensuring their work is aligned and contributing effectively to the PaQ unit strategy, and that they have access to training and support needed to achieve what is expected.
● Work closely with Technical Advisors and Program Directors to ensure the adoption of program management processes and workflows for efficient working.
STRATEGY AND VISION
● Support to overall strategic and annual planning for MC Syria with evidence-based contributions.
● Develop and effectively lead a strong, effective and coordinated Performance and Quality (PaQ) Unit with a written strategy and clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the unit.
● Support country level strategy development and adaptation to the various geographic contexts within Syria.
● Support in the development of a new partnership strategy, leading on PaQ components and the wider process as requested by the Director of Program Support.
REPRESENTATION AND COORDINATION
● Participate and/or organize internal meetings to inform the development of improvements in MC Syria working practices.
● Lead efforts in sharing best practices with other NGOs working in Syria.
● Identify, build, and manage collaborative partnerships with donors and other stakeholders, as required.
● Represent MC in external coordination and donor meetings, as requested.
● Participate in complex program board calls, as requested.
● Contribution to media and advocacy needs, as requested.
● Ensure supervisees’ compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
● Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
● As part of MC’s commitment to organizational learning and in support of MC understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, MC expects all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
● Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward 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.
Supervise a team of international and national staff with a total between 20-40 at a given time.
Reports Directly To: Director of Program Support.
Works Directly With: MC Syria Sectoral Technical Advisors, Program Directors, Operations Director, Finance Director, Sub-Awards and Compliance Director, Humanitarian Access Team (HAT), the Regional Programs Team (RPT), as well as Regional Technical Support Unit (TSU) members and the global PaQ team.
A successful candidate will have the ability to influence and build consensus and reach across departments to lead successfully. They will have the ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied experiences and work styles, follow procedures, and meet deadlines. The successful candidate will be personally dedicated to quality and learning. They will be comfortable working under pressure, independently and with limited supervision. They will possess the ability to work independently and as part of a team, with curiosity about and sensitivity to new cultures, a desire and ability to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, and a great sense of humor.
Knowledge and Experience
● Bachelor’s degree in a field related to Humanitarian or International Development or relevant monitoring/data field. Master’s degree preferred.
● 7+ years of experience designing and rolling accountable MEL systems in complex humanitarian environments, with limited access.
● Strong knowledge of and experience with humanitarian and development programming.
● Strong leadership, communication, and project management skills.
● Ability and interest to work with a multi-ethnic team in a culturally appropriate manner.
● Willingness to work in a face-paced, fluid environment on multiple tasks.
● Strong Remote Management skills.
● Excellent English writing and communications skills is required.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Amman, Jordan with frequent travel to project sites and field locations. This position is accompanied, with individual housing provided. Jordan is a middle-income country with excellent education, medical, and other facilities in the capital Amman. Jordan is a very safe country with excellent communications, transportation, and housing infrastructure. Although neighboring countries continue to experience political unrest, Jordan has been a stable monarchy for over 30 years and the destination preference for many people from the Middle East to relax or gain access to available services. In recent years, events unfolding in Syria and Iraq have increased local concerns over the continued stability of Jordan but to date there have been no incidents. It requires up to 30% travel to countries in the region.
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.