Mercy Corps

Program Officer (Americas)

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.

Program / Department Summary Mercy Corps’ operations in The Americas are active in the countries of Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, the Caribbean Basin, and in the US, specifically the Northwest and Puerto Rico, as well as the Venezuela regional humanitarian crisis. These are a disparate collection of contexts with many different challenges, and are all undergoing dramatic transitions with the potential to create significant opportunity for development and change. Mercy Corps is well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting forces for positive change in these geographies.

The Americas program desk provides essential headquarters support to Mercy Corps programs in the region. The desk is the key point of HQ contact for country Program Management including the Regional Director (RD), Country Directors, Program Managers and other National and International staff. The desk links Country Programs to a range of US- and international-based resources and represents the region to potential and current funders and other organizations and institutions in the US and Canada. This Program Officer position is a key member of the program desk team that will consist of a Senior Program Manager (SPM), a Senior Technical Advisor, a Program Performance and Quality (PAQ) Advisor, two other Program Officers (POs), and an Assistant Program Officer (APO).

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

Essential Job Responsibilities PROGRAM & GRANT ADMINISTRATION

  • Serve as HQ point of responsibility for overall monitoring on 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.).
  • Support the Program teams’ adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and Program Management minimum standards, including Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL), Community Accountability and Response Mechanisms (CARM), and other areas to ensure program quality. As identified, support adherence to Mercy Corps’ Complex Programs management standards.
  • Liaise with HQ departments to catalogue new business opportunities and programs, determine roles and responsibilities for administration and management and ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ processes related to program and grant administration.PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT
    • Help teams establish clear proposal development processes and contribute to proposal development as requested and agreed upon for specific opportunities.
    • Lead and/or support the program team in designing and writing proposal sections as required, including technical narrative, budget narrative, and annexes.
    • Review final draft for coherence and manage submission to the donor. The PO may be appointed a different role in the design process and travel to the country team if needed. PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT & MANAGEMENT
      • With guidance from the SPM, coordinate partnership negotiation & development, ensuring the necessary teams are engaged, to help further program, country and regional interests.EXTERNAL REPRESENTATION
        • With guidance from the SPM, represent regional interests and programs with external stakeholders, in concert with the country teams. STRATEGY, PLANNING & LEARNING
          • With guidance from the SPM, support HQ and country teams with strategy development and planning.
          • Facilitate learning across portfolios and share lessons learned and knowledge of agency resources/tools/best practices/etc.
          • Travel within the region as needed to support country leadership, Program Managers, and operational staff in key stages of program management (e.g. reporting, PRODEV), and in other situations requiring surge support such as deploying in support team during emergency responseINTERNAL COMMUNICATION AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
            • In Coordination with the Americas APO, ensure management of agency systems and adherence to HQ-related Program Management minimum standards, etc.
            • Ensure designated knowledge Management Systems are up to date and accurate to support communication with other teams.
            • Adhere to retention policies with central filing of program files in agency servers.RECRUITMENT
              • Participate in the interview process and selection for key positions as identified with country-level and global recruiting teams.

                Supervisory ResponsibilityNone


                Reports Directly To: Americas Senior Program Manager
                Works Directly With: Other HQ Program units and other departments, including Global Programs and other region’s RPTs, Resource Development, Technical Support Unit, Finance, Research and Learning, Global Compliance and Support Unit, Legal, Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps counterparts at MC HQ offices in Europe; MC donors and partners.

                Accountability to Participants and StakeholdersMercy 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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills

                • BA/S in relevant field required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.
                • 2+ years of experience in international relief and development and with multicultural and diverse teams; demonstrated knowledge of relevant sectoral and/or operational areas, country based experience preferred
                • 2+ years of experience managing the development, implementation, administration and compliance of development or humanitarian relief programs (especially of US Government-funded grants).
                • 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 a nongovernmental 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 (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and Google Suite (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc.) required.
                • Proficiency in Spanish and/or French is preferred.*Transferable skills: Any skills you have gained through education, volunteer or work or life experience (including the military) that are relevant for this position will be considered. Be sure to describe any transferable skills and how they apply to this position in your cover letter.

                  Success FactorsThe successful candidate is a proactive 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 (APO). They are a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with staff, partners and donors to coordinate and accomplish detailed work, often with short turnaround times. They will coordinate with their supervisor, the SPM, and be effective at building working relationships with stakeholders, and will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ diverse 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 is based in Portland, OR, Washington, DC, or remotely from another Mercy Corps location, and it requires up to 35% travel to support country programs - sometimes on short notice - to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities.
                  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.

                  Ongoing LearningIn 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 & InclusionAchieving 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 & EthicsMercy 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 EmployeesMercy 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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