Mercy Corps

Deputy Country Director

Mercy Corps

Job Description

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’ approach within Iraq has allowed us to continue to provide critical assistance to some of the country’s most vulnerable populations, while at the same time transitioning towards more sustainable and durable solutions for the communities we work for.

Operational in Iraq since 2003 – and with a current annual budget of USD $90 million from programs funded by USAID, Department of State/DRL, DFID, ECHO, Global Affairs Canada, Swedish SIDA, French AFD, and others – we are searching for a team oriented, highly efficient and skilled DCD to continue to nurture, develop, and expand portfolio of sustainable programming.

The country program is in the midst of a transition from humanitarian response towards sustainable development and durable solutions programming with a longer term focus and impact. Current portfolio of 15 active grants brings together diverse staff, resources and program thinking.

Mercy Corps seeks a passionate, team oriented, visionary leader to manage major programming in Iraq.

The Deputy Country Director (DCD) role is an exciting opportunity to help shape and lead Mercy Corps Iraq programs that will make a lasting difference in the lives of millions of Iraqis.

General Position Summary

The Deputy Country Director (DCD) is responsible for all the programs in Iraq. The DCD supervises WASH Program Director, and Heads of Sustainable Development, Social Cohesion, and Education Programs. Within Cash Consortium Iraq, DCD manages Mercy Corps’ cash team. The DCD manages the work of the Program Development Team to ensure that adequate leadership is applied to the implementation of relevant, innovative and adaptive programs; ensure the existence of a fully-functioning and adaptive accountability framework; assist Country Director in maintaining the scale of portfolio through a forward looking business development strategy informed by coordinated engagement with donors, partners, peer organizations and various working groups and task forces.

The DCD works closely with the Country Director (CD), Program Performance and Quality Director, Finance Director, Operations Director, Program Advisor(s): Human Resources Manager and the Ethics and Assurance Manager to create dynamic and stimulating relationships with all the technical and analytical resources available internally and externally relevant to the Iraq context.

The DCD represents Mercy Corps at the highest level and is able to develop, articulate and deliver a strategic vision in line with the rapid evolution of the context and the strategic decisions made by the Country Director and organization’s executive leadership.

The DCD is a resourceful and proven leader who has held senior roles in large, complex institutions, preferably in conflict locations. They place a high value on team work, collaborative approach and innovative solutions to development and humanitarian issues; internal communications while empowering national staff; creative partnerships in tough environments; and accountable programming to beneficiaries and donors. The DCD is committed to holistic approach in program implementation by bringing together different program portfolios, helping in advancing the organization’s country strategy and building a healthy team culture that promotes generosity and growth.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to Program Leadership team, and other team members and stakeholders, translating into concrete work plans;
  • Contribute to countrywide strategy development and prioritize and organize actions and resources to achieve objectives and action plans set through those processes;
  • Follow Analysis of the Iraq socio-political, economic, access, security context ensuring that this analysis is recognized and incorporated in planning for both short-term humanitarian and longer-term sustainable development and resilience programming;
  • Ensure effective communications and collaborations between programs and administrative and Technical Support teams ensuring effective implementation of activities towards implementation of the MC Iraq programs and strategy;
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment of trust where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.


  • Work closely with the Iraq Country Director and Senior Members of the Iraq Program to ensure that Mercy Corps strategy is understood and guides decision-making throughout the response;
  • Provide leadership to increase coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of Mercy Corps’ programming and operations in Iraq;
  • Help Country Director in building consensus around a common vision of what shared success in Iraq looks like, including development of appropriate indicators;
  • Build consensus around priorities to improve the delivery of assistance in Iraq and to make program strategies and frameworks more consistent across the response;
  • Oversight to ensure programs are able to meet donor and internal obligations on scope, time and budget, including efficient coordination on common program, operational and funding issues;
  • Facilitate sharing and learning across different Mercy Corps portfolios, teams and offices and support teams to incorporate learning in project design and management;
  • Engage Iraq program leadership in ongoing context analysis that enables programs and teams to adapt to significant changes in the geopolitical/conflict environment;
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure efficient and transparent capture of program data for management decision-making and timely and informative internal and external reporting;
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and promote creative programming across the programs portfolio;
  • Contribute to go/no-go decisions regarding pursuit of Iraq funding opportunities and, in coordination with the Country Director, engage in strong regional-level representation with donors, international and local NGOs and networks;
  • Participate in shaping policy positions and advocacy messages relevant for the interests and MC Iraq country strategy;
  • Ensures all program staff are familiar with the Mercy Corps Iraq Standard Operating Procedures and work in accordance;
  • Provide regular programmatic updates and strategic advices to Country Director;


  • Collaborate with Program Performance and Quality (PAQ) Director in establishing systems, policies and approaches necessary to ensure and demonstrate the quality of programs;
  • Assist the PAQ team to enhancing established Monitoring and Evaluation tools in line with Mercy Corps guidelines and policies are effectively used by the programs teams;
  • Closely collaborate with PAQ Director and other designated PAQ team members when developing and drafting concept notes, proposals and draft budgets;
  • Ensure that all the programs staff have received trainings in line with their level of responsibility and receive technical support relevant to their programs;
  • Contribute to the establishment of the adequate team of technical advisors to provide expert advice and ensure technical consistency across programs.
  • Propose ideas for improvement of productivity, efficiency and internal organization of program team to Country Director;


  • Track and review calls for proposals and identify opportunities that match Mercy Corps’ strategic interests and priorities in Iraq;
  • Provide analysis of funding opportunities to Country Director ensuring MC Iraq is well informed and proactive in responding to funding opportunities;
  • Coordinate and supervise the process of proposals development carried by the Program Development team;
  • Draft concept notes and proposals as required;
  • Coordinate with partner organizations and field program staff on proposal development and design, including gathering information for concepts and proposals;
  • Apply the agency’s best practices in proposal development efforts for institutional donors.


  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews;
  • Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary;
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives;
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, cross departmental cooperation, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
  • Review and propose enhancement of internal communications, and decision making processes within the MC Iraq to Country Director;


  • Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny in Iraq programming and ensure effective, transparent and responsive compliance mechanisms are in place;
  • Maintain oversight of overall program budgets ensuring appropriate yet prudent allocation of resources to meet program objectives;
  • Ensure MC Iraq proposes competitive and efficient program budgets;
  • Ensure adequate technical, analytical and administrative support for programs;
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.


  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities in coordination and consultations with the Country Director;
  • Ability to work with formal and informal government structures and representatives, maintain and develop relevant and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders;
  • Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs and Civil Society Organizations and academic institutions;
  • Anticipate program needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor views on the evolving context and its impact on civilians in Iraq;
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support program objectives;
  • Ensures appropriate level of coordination and information sharing about representation and influence is taking place;
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps maintain a high degree of risk awareness;
  • Respect and understand differing cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and have the ability to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved;
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.


  • Provide support in oversight of access provisions to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach beneficiaries;
  • Coordinate with the Iraq Country Director on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and any security policy changes;
  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies;
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

Sector Leads (WASH, Livelihoods, Cash, Education) and Program Development Manager and Program Performance and Development Specialist


Reports Directly To: Iraq Country Director Works Directly With: Country Senior Leadership Team, Regional Program and Technical Team, Headquarters Technical Support Unit, additional headquarters-based support departments as needed.

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.

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;
  • At least seven years of senior-level leadership (CoP, DCD) and management experience in large and complex programs including humanitarian operations, previous work experience in the Middle East and insecure environments preferred;
  • Knowledge and experience in implementing Market System Development concept and programs;
  • Substantial knowledge and experience about concepts of the sustainable development, durable solutions, good governance and humanitarian system, institutions and donors, and of compliance requirements, accountability frameworks and best practices; prior experience with funding from USG, DFID, ECHO and other leading donors;
  • Robust experience in developing, operationalizing, and implementing program strategies;
  • Demonstrated expertise in representation and negotiation resulting in securing significant new opportunities for the organization;
  • Experience in writing project proposals, concept notes, policy papers;
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments;
  • Experience leveraging Information Management Systems within development or humanitarian programs to evaluate program outcomes;
  • Experience in managing strategic transitions from humanitarian to early recovery, social cohesion programs in a post- conflict transition phase;
  • Proven record in guiding the formulation of sectoral strategies in a rapidly evolving contexts;
  • Highly-developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Excellent project management skills related to international, cross-functional teams;
  • Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success;
  • Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Arabic preferred.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is a team oriented, opinionated, fast thinking, and experienced leader. They have a thorough understanding of what is takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. They are an excellent communicator, who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. They are able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. They are a confident representative in public settings, able to speak up when needed to defend Mercy Corps’ positions and influence key stakeholders internally and externally to further and expand MC Iraq’s goals in the response. They are able to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team-building and capacity-building of national staff. They have excellent information management skills and are a strategic thinker. They have an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Iraq.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Deputy Country Director position is based in Erbil, Iraq. This is an unaccompanied position and housing is in group housing. This position is eligible for R&R breaks and hardship allowance. This position requires travel to the field sites in Mercy Corp Iraq’s operational areas up to 50% of the time, as security allows, including travel to some locations that may be insecure or austere. Frequent travel to project sites in Tikrit, Mosul or Kirkuk will be required. When traveling around the country, strict adherence to Mercy Corps Security Policies and procedures will be required as well as respect for local cultural norms and traditions. Candidates must be able to work in an environment with energy, transportation and communication challenges.

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. 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.

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