Director of Programs

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:
Timor-Leste is the newest country in Asia, having gained independence in 2002 after decades of conflict. Timor-Leste is working to build its new democracy with still-nascent institutions, limited human capital, and significant economic, food security, and health challenges. Since establishing operations in Timor-Leste in 2007, Mercy Corps has earned a reputation for innovative and high-quality programming with our community-led, market-based approach. With a main office in Dili and with partners and offices strategically located throughout the country, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good.

General Position Summary:
The Director of Programs (DoP) is a key leadership and management position for Mercy Corps and works closely with the Country Director to set the overall strategic direction of the program portfolio. With oversight of a diverse portfolio, the DoP is responsible for management oversight of all programs, building and sustaining motivated and creative cross-cultural teams, ensuring technical quality and cross-program synergies and fundraising strategically. They build and maintain strong relationships with all agency stakeholders, and ensure a productive and thoughtful work environment between the Programs and Support teams. They play an integral role in program development, evidence building and use, as well as communications, influence, accountability, and overall quality assurance. They represent Mercy Corps Timor-Leste programs and  responsible for directly supervising programming staff.  

Essential Job Responsibilities:

Strategy & Vision:
  • Work with the Country Director, the Country Leadership Team, and other team members to formulate and revise country program strategies and priorities, and to communicate this strategy to constituencies.
  • Support the Country Director in country level strategic planning and in the development, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and administration of humanitarian relief and development projects in line with the country program strategy. Ensure that evidence-based results are clearly documented and communicated, and that annual planning documents adequately reflect an evidence-based, iterative strategic path.
  • Work with the Country Director and Finance Manager on country program consolidated budgets for the current and upcoming fiscal years, and to use this budget as a management tool to maximize resources and ensure sound fiscal management.
  • Creatively imagine new business opportunities and play an important role in the preparation of concept papers, proposals, and other funding opportunities for new initiatives and programs. This will often include working as the lead writer on such efforts.
Program Management: 
  • Provide overall strategic leadership to the Program team, and ensuring team fully understands and can operationalize both program agreements and the overall P2P country strategy.
  • Ensure all teams understand and can operationalize Mercy Corps’ community-led, market-driven approach, and that gender equality is mainstreamed into all program strategies, programs, and projects.
  • Supervise and mentor Program Managers/direct reports to ensure that both programs and projects follow sound planning, implementation, monitoring, learning and adaptation processes; have high performing teams; receive appropriate technical input and support, utilize good performance management processes; focus on quality, accountability, and results; deploy cutting-edge technical approaches; and, that good participatory methods and stakeholder engagement approaches are used.
  • Ensure the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) team and all program teams understand, appreciate and utilize our project design, monitoring, learning, accountability, and documentation tools and system
  • Ensure that projects and programs receive necessary technical support by: identifying, organizing, and when appropriate delivering trainings, cross-learning exchanges, and information sharing; encouraging and supporting self-directed learning;
  • Ensure regular field monitoring visits and provide feedback in ways that improve both project and program level progress, impact, influence, and innovation.
  • Lead programming meetings on a monthly basis to ensure team learning and cross collaboration
  • Work with Operations, Finance, HR teams and to make sure that adequate operational support is in place for project success
  • Participate in the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of key program staff, and other staff as requested by the Country Director.
  • Promote learning and knowledge management through documentation and knowledge sharing around best practices and lessons learned
Business development:
  • Drive a resource development strategy to ensure the portfolio remains funded and aligned with P2P strategy
  • Pro-actively identify new business opportunities and translate these into concepts
  • Maintain a business development tracking system that captures priorities of key in country donors
  • Lead / write new proposal development to ensure a fully funded portfolio
Team Management:
  • Participate in recruitment and selection, orientation and training of key personnel
  • 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 performance reviews.
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Supervise and regularly coordinate with project staff and support departments to ensure smooth planning, preparation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of program activities;
  • Provide coaching and mentoring to team members.
Finance & Compliance Management:
  • Collaborate with program, finance and operations staff to ensure systems are in compliance with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Support Program Managers to appropriately manage their budgets through regular budget vs actual reviews and follow up action items
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.
Influence & Representation: 
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Ensure that all programs produce professional quality reports and communications materials; that publishable results are disseminated strategically and effectively; and that Mercy Corps is a ‘thought leader’ in its strategic technical areas.
  • Ensure effective, consistent and timely communication with donors and project partners
  • Maintain excellent relationships with donors, the host country government and local leaders, partner agencies, and other key stakeholders;
  • Document and disseminate lessons learned and best practices to internal and external stakeholders, including at international conferences and similar forums.
  • Ensure visibility of Timor-Leste programs, both internally and externally
  • Ensure 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.
Accountability to Beneficiaries:
  • 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.
Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills:
  • MA/S degree in international development, economics, agriculture, social sciences or other relevant fields.
  • At least five years of field experience, with at least three years in program management positions
  • Demonstrated experience bringing in new business and working with market actors (e.g., private sector, foundations, etc.); including innovative design and leading the proposal development process
  • Demonstrated technical understanding of at least two areas: resilience, climate change mitigation/adaptation, disaster risk reduction, agriculture, market systems development, and/or private sector approach, food security, nutrition, and circular economy
  • Practical knowledge and experience in successfully leading and managing a thematically diverse portfolio of projects
  • Strong written and verbal cross-cultural communication skills, and representation
  • Strong facilitation and consensus-building skills
  • Knowledge of key Mercy Corps approaches and systems a plus
  • Prior work experience in South East Asia is a plus