Mercy Corps

Program Officer

Mercy Corps

Job Description


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.

The Program / Department / Team

Mercy Corps’ programs in Africa are undergoing both momentous humanitarian crises and significant development challenges that offer the opportunity to empower people to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Against this backdrop Mercy Corps’ focus in Africa has been in promoting good governance and conflict resolution, enhancing resilience, facilitating market systems, Access to Finance and economic opportunities, as well as youth employment and empowerment. It is imperative that Mercy Corps presents itself as a key and credible partner with donors, government authorities and civil society actors in order to contribute to the process of positive change across the continent. Mercy Corps looks to actively engage and partner with an ever growing and innovative African private sector to achieve greater and sustained impact. It is also critical that we are executing our current and future programs on scope, on budget and on time across the continent, while looking at new approaches and opportunities and leveraging innovations for the greatest impact and influence in the region.

The Position

The Program Officer (PO) supports strategic, impactful, high-quality programming in the Africa Region. They support Country Directors in aspects of their country program and grant Administration, play a key role in connecting the field to HQ resources and represent the country/regional interests internally with various HQ teams as well as with external stakeholders. The PO works with the Deputy Regional Director and Regional Director (D/RD) to provide the secondary check and supports the field (ultimate point of responsibility) in adhering to internal and external policies and regulations.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Serve as HQ point of responsibility for overall monitoring of grants/programs for both external/donor requirements as well as Mercy Corps’ internal policies and requirements.
  • Provide ongoing monitoring of the status of programs and complete regular check-ins on grant requirements (such as co-financing/match, BVA, data aggregation, etc.).
  • Serve as HQ point of contact to donor representatives.
  • Support country team’s adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and Program Management minimum standards. As identified, support adherence to Mercy Corps’ Complex Programs management standards.


    • Lead HQ coordination for proposals (unless designated otherwise). Throughout the proposal process, monitor the timeline and status of the proposal and communicate to the relevant parties as appropriate.
    • Review final draft for coherence and manage submission to the donor. He/she may be appointed a different role in the design process and travel to the country office if needed.


      • With guidance from the SPM, coordinate partnership negotiation & development, ensuring the necessary teams are engaged, to help further program, country and regional interests.


        • With guidance from the SPM, represent regional interests and programs with external stakeholders, in concert with the field teams.


          • With guidance from the SPM, support country teams with strategy development and planning.
          • Facilitate learning across country portfolios and regions and share lessons learned and knowledge of agency resources/tools/best practices/etc.


            • For senior management field positions, participate in Mercy Corps’ recruitment process and support the process as needed.


              • In coordination with the APO, support internal communications and ensure knowledge Management Systems are up to date and accurate to support communication with other teams.


                • In coordination with the APO, ensure management of agency systems and adherence to HQ-related Program Management minimum standards, etc.
                  • Provide relevant security documents to travelers in preparation of travel as needed.
                  • Communicate country/regional security posture to staff/new hires as needed and support country teams, in coordination with the RPD and GSA, as issues arise.
                  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.

                    Supervisory Responsibility



                    Reports Directly To: Senior Program Manager, Africa

                    Works Directly With: Assistant Program Officers and other Program Officers; Country teams; other HQ Program units and other departments including Technical Support, Program Performance and Quality, Resource Development, Finance, Compliance, Human Resources, Legal, Policy and Advocacy; Counterparts at MC HQ offices in Europe; MC donors and partners

                    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 in relevant field required
                    • 2+ years of field-based experience in international relief and development -- ideally in Africa; demonstrated knowledge of relevant sectoral and/or operational areas.
                    • 2+ years of experience managing the development, implementation, administration and compliance of grants (especially of US Government-funded grants); general program management experience preferred.
                    • Experience with proposal development including support and writing with various donors, particularly US Government, private foundations and corporations.
                    • Experience with monitoring and evaluation and other learning efforts.
                    • Experience representing the organization and its interests to a diverse range of local and international government officials, local Civil Society Organizations, other international organizations, the media and the public – preferred.
                    • Proficiency with MS Office software required (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
                    • Preference given to candidates with prior work experience in Africa.
                    • Proficiency in French, Swahili, or another language spoken in Africa is a plus.

                      Success Factors

                      The successful candidate is a problem solver, who is adept in successfully dealing with issues of complexity and demonstrates the ability to serve as a mentor for the Assistant Program Officer. They are a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with staff, partners and donors. They will coordinate with their supervisor, the SPM, and be effective at building working relationships with stakeholders. They will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams, including members of the TSU, PaQ and HLR teams to support impactful partnerships with Country Programs and the region at large. The Program Officer is part of a team that works with country teams to ensure that we learn from experience, thoroughly research and analyze context and develop high impact strategies. They will be a skilled writer and synthesizer of diverse and complex information, helping teams generate new insights into their work, the needs of their countries and the region, and how program impact can be scaled. A robust sense of humor is greatly appreciated.

                      Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

                      The position can be based in Portland, Or, Washington, DC, Nairobi, Kenya or Dakar, Senegal. When possible, this position may travel up to 25% of the time.

                      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.

                      As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. This is done following the conclusion of recruitment and prior to assuming full employment.

                      Our screening process is designed to be transparent and completed in partnership with new Team Members. You will have the opportunity to disclose any prior convictions at the conclusion of the recruitment process before the check is initiated. We ask that you do not disclose any prior convictions in your application materials or during the recruitment process.

                      Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based Employees

                      Mercy Corps has determined that, in an effort to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Mercy Corps employees working in the United States, all U.S.-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, regardless of prior COVID-19 infection status. This policy is necessary to ensure not only the safety of our workforce, but the ongoing functionality of the organization.

                      This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.

                      For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment. Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations. Failure to comply may impact your employment. Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided.

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