Mercy Corps

Director of Program Standards and Operations

Mercy Corps

Job Description


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.


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.

Since 2003, Mercy Corps has been working to pave the way for a new Iraq. We continue to deliver emergency, life-saving assistance to conflict affected populations while also addressing longer term needs and underlying causes. Ongoing cycles of conflict have resulted in millions of people displaced, basic infrastructure destroyed, livelihoods disrupted, and deepening divisions within communities. Since our work began in Iraq, we’ve provided support to more than 5 million people affected by war, violence, and displacement.

General Position Summary

The Director of Program Standards and Operations is responsible for the direct management of the Iraq program teams and for ensuring the delivery of appropriate and responsive programs. This role will ensure programs are implemented on time, on budget and in line with the relevant quality standards, and with appropriate management tools and documentation. They will bring together oversight of complex multi-field grants and ensure challenges are identified and addressed in good time. They will contribute to the revision of contingency plans and ensure realization of the related action plan at field level. The Director of Program Standards and Operations will provide direct, ongoing Capacity Building support to the program personnel and will help drive wider capacity building and succession planning initiatives. The post holder will ensure effective systems are in place at field level to deliver and document programs and to maintain effective and accountable partnerships, liaising with relevant Department Heads to ensure synergies across all locations.

The Director of Program Standards and Operations ensures capacity sharing and professional development for program staff on program management techniques, and providing support to create a culture of training, coaching, and integrating effective tools and techniques to improve program quality. Director of Program Standards and Operations must be highly motivated, self-driven and able to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s nexus and development portfolios, including both for directly implemented activities and for activities implemented with or via partners.

The Director of Program Standards and Operations will strengthen and systematize the team’s strategies for capturing and documenting lessons learned, both within and across programs and sectors in Mercy Corps Iraq, coaching team members on best practices and creative strategies.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Support the development of sector strategies in partnership with program leads, the DCD and PaQ team.
  • Support program teams in integrating cross-program learning and ensure that lessons learned are used to inform adaptation of activities and future Design" id="link" class="link">Program Design, with a particular focus on the use of quantitative and qualitative data for adaptive management and design.
  • Provide support to program teams including program design, program start-up, kick-off meetings, inception meeting check-ins, work planning processes, budget versus actual (BvA) monitoring, quality audits and spot checks, and end of program transition meetings.
  • Facilitate the development and pursuit of thematic, cross-cutting strategic priorities.
  • In collaboration with the PaQ Director and the DCD, support the development of cross-team Coordination mechanisms to ensure effective collaboration and integration across key program areas and functions, and within and across programs and the portfolio.


    • Champion standards for effective strategic planning and robust, right-sized measurement across our work
    • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
    • As program performance needs are determined, coordinate with relevant HQ units and teams (PaQ, TSU, etc.) to source and sequence support.
    • Provide leadership for the use of good practices and increased coordination, collaboration, communication and harmonization of programming and operations in Iraq.
    • In collaboration with the PaQ Director and the DCD, 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.

      Program Management AND DELIVERY

      • Responsible for coordination of program implementation, both direct and indirect delivery, of high-quality programming on time, and on budget, in line with the objectives of the Pathways to Possibility, the country strategy and in accordance with donor requirements
      • Establish and maintain robust program Management Systems and standardized ways of working, including through capacity building of Program Managers in work-planning and program management.
      • Ensure adherence and appropriate responsibility for program management, and the ongoing use of the Program Activity Tracker: manage and support budget holders for individual projects and grants, ensuring effective budget management, for example through monthly budget reviews
      • Ensure key project documents are in place at project kick-off (in accordance with [email protected] templates), including procurement and HR planning, implementation plans, phased budgets, and ensure the regular review of the same.
      • In coordination with the PaQ team, support the implementation of MEL, CARM, and GESI minimum standards.
      • Trouble-shoot issues affecting program delivery, drawing on support from relevant departments, and work with program leadership and other teams to identify root causes and address these accordingly
      • Responsible for early communication to DCD and Grants Management team for any project amendments, extensions etc. and participation in the development of these requests to donor(s)
      • Work with field teams to identify and communicate to the DCD and grants management team any gaps in service provision/unmet beneficiary needs in current areas of implementation or more broadly
      • Work with program managers and grant and compliance teams to review project partnerships, including partner-led implementation progress, and ensure partnerships are responsibly and effectively managed throughout the life of the agreements
      • In close coordination with relevant departments, participate in the program
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