Director of Programs

Mercy Corps, Kathmandu, Nepal

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
29th March, 2018

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.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps began operations in Nepal in 2005, and since then has implemented projects in the sectors of agriculture, food security and nutrition, financial services, youth engagement, and disaster risk reduction/ climate change adaptation. To date, this programming has reached over 900,000 people in 23 districts. Mercy Corps Nepal works to build the absorptive, adaptive and transformative potential of vulnerable individuals and communities across Nepal. The goal is attained through a systems based approach to market development, financial services, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and youth engagement.

General Position Summary

Nepal is a complex operating environment that is characterized by high levels of competition for available funding opportunities, logistical challenges due to the country’s topography, and additional management considerations related to the country’s geographic and ethnic/ caste diversity. However, Mercy Corps has made significant progress in assuming a leadership position in the livelihoods, financial services, and disaster risk reduction sector, and now seeks a member of the senior country program management team to work side by the side with the Country Director to take Mercy Corps Nepal to the next level of consistency, depth, and excellence. The successful Director of Programs will combine sound program management and human resource management skills with a high level of efficiency, a creative and rigorous approach to program development, a consistent field orientation, good donor and external stakeholder representation skills, and the cultural/ management sensitivity to hold a supervisory role in Nepal.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Work with the Country Director, the Administrative Committee, 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 & Compliance 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.
  • Serve as a member of the Administrative Committee, helping to formulate fair and affordable human resource management policies and strategies.
  • Prioritize, and contribute to the preparation of, concept papers, proposals, and other funding opportunities for new projects/ programs. This will often include working as the lead writer on such efforts.

Program Management

  • Lead project planning processes, ensuring that all projects/ programs have a clear and achievable design, integrating innovations where appropriate; and, fully comply with PM@MC and Gender Minimum standards.
  • Supervise Project Managers/ Program Managers, ensuring that projects: follow sound planning processes; have high performing teams, with good performance management processes; focus on detail, quality, and results; have strong monitoring & evaluation frameworks; deploy cutting-edge technical approaches; and, that good participatory methods and stakeholder management approaches are used.
  • Facilitate effective partnership strategies, and maintain strategic working relationships with partners.
  • Maintain the country program’s Project Master list and Partner Master list; share this information as required.
  • Ensure that projects/ programs receive adequate technical inputs by: keeping projects/ programs technically focused and iterative, yet responsive to emerging opportunities and trends; identifying and organizing trainings and exposure visits; encouraging self-directed learning; and, facilitating cross-learning and information sharing. Strive to create a project/ program environment in which ‘business as usual’ is not acceptable, and in which project/ program teams are constantly looking for approaches to maximize impact.
  • Ensure that key cross-cutting themes, such as community participation, partner capacity building, good M&E, coordination, consultation with government, public/ private/ civic sector partnerships, inclusion of women, and inclusion of disadvantaged groups are emphasized and integrated into all projects/ programs.
  • Strive to create and use standardized tools and practices, where appropriate, across projects/ programs.
  • Carry out systematized project/ program monitoring visits and provide structured feedback in a way that can improve project/ program progress and impact.
  • Chair Program Coordination Meetings at least every quarter. Ensure that action points are implemented.
  • Working with the DM&E team, ensure that all projects/ programs produce professional quality reports and communications materials, that publishable results are disseminated, that Mercy Corps Nepal is a ‘thought leader’ in its technical areas, and that monitoring and evaluation results are used to improve implementation

Team Management

  • Support Project/ Program Managers in their efforts to manage strong project/ program teams.
  • Supervise and monitor Project/ Program Manager performance, taking corrective action as required.
  • Work with operations team members, the Country Director, and the Finance & Compliance Manager to make sure that adequate operational support is in place for project/ program success, while at the same time minimizing overheads and maintaining a ‘projectized’ (or composite) structure that facilities project/ program success.
  • Participate in the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of key project/ program staff, and other staff as requested by the Country Director.
  • Help to facilitate team coordination and capacity building opportunities and events as required.

Influence & Representation

  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Organizational Learning

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

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.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • Project Managers/ Program Managers; MEL Unit, Technical Advisors who fall outside of project/ program management structures, if these positions exist; temporarily supervise consultants deployed to the country program to provide technical or project design support.


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Country Director, Project/ Program Managers, Finance & Compliance Manager, Partner Agencies.

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S or equivalent in international development, economics, agriculture, disaster management, political or social science, management or other relevant field.
  • At least five (5) years of field experience in project/ program management positions is preferred.
  • Prior experience in South Asia is a plus, but not a requirement.
  • Demonstrated technical understanding of at least some of the following sectors: agriculture, food security & nutrition, microfinance, disaster management, and social development.
  • Demonstrated understanding of sound project management practices and protocols.
  • Excellent program conceptualization and development capacities, including the ability to convey these ideas convincingly in writing.
  • A high level of personal efficiency, and the ability to balance multiple urgent or important tasks without undue stress.
  • Good oral communication and representation skills.
  • Strong representation and presentation skills.
  • An impatience for ‘business-as-usual’, including the ability to clearly communicate a vision of success and help people to “operationalize” this vision and reach for improved results.
  • A tolerance for ambiguity, and proven inter-personal and inter-cultural skills.
  • Ability to maintain a consistent field orientation and performance orientation.


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