Head of Office

Mercy Corps, South Sudan

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
3 to 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
25th January, 2018

Job Description

About Mercy Corps

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 programming in Sudan in 1985, and has been operating in states of what is now South Sudan since 2005; operations have continued since the independence of South Sudan in 2011. We have been working to meet people's immediate needs, and with communities, to build local capacity and promote economic development, especially with the eruption of violence in December 2013. Mercy Corps South Sudan's priority areas are food security and livelihoods (focusing on cash assistance, market-based solutions in agriculture and economic development), WASH, Education, youth development and conflict resolution. Mercy Corps has been implementing project which combine agricultural, economic development, WASH, Education and other humanitarian interventions to tackle the convulsive crises affecting vulnerable communities. Mercy Corps has worked to build relationships with local government and other actors, which has enhanced our understanding of local contexts and the multiple stakeholders involved. With the Peace Agreement and formation of a Transitional Government, Mercy Corps is expanding and intensifying multi-sector programming to rural areas in Rubkona and Panyijiar Counties, especially areas inaccessible in 2014 and 2015. From 2017 Mercy Corps plan to operate also in Equatoria States

General Position Summary

The Head of Office – Panjiyar will lead, coordinate and manage all activities related to the implementation of programs and operations in Nyal and Ganyiel, South Sudan. Currently WASH, FSL and Education in Emergency projects are being implemented with cross-cutting focus on youth and adolescents in conflict, conflict resolution and protection. Programming and operations occur in IDP-camp, urban and rural contexts as the current portfolio has reach across Panjiyar. In this regard the HoO is responsible for: 1) implementation, sustainability and potential scale up program activities 2) management of operations and logistics, 3) security management 4) team management, 5) communications and reporting, 6) proposal development, 7) coordination and external relations, and advocacy/strategy. The HoO will need to be highly sensitive to the political dynamics of the country and have relevant security experience. This position requires strong coordination on security planning, field visits and ensuring safety of staff. The HoO leads field monitoring and program performance by tracking progress toward specified objectives. This position is based 50% of the time in Nyal and 50% of the time in Ganyiel.

The Head of Office will report to the Director of Programs. He/She will be responsible in directly managing all the WASH activities in Nyal and Ganyiel. He/She will work more closely with the national WASH officers to ensure that the resources of the program meet its targets and deliverables on time and that target beneficiaries are mobilized. The position is also responsible to strength the current strategy and provides direction of the country program's youth development programming while providing technical guidance on WASH interventions. The position is responsible for conducting rigorous needs assessments, and implementing M&E systems. The job demands regular interaction and coordination of Protection/Education partners and UNICEF and the PM shall coordinate activity implementation with these partners. This position includes, developing tools for assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, capacity building of Mercy Corps staff, reporting, and evaluation of the program and preparing periodic reports back to donors

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Provide program technical guidance, coordination, supervision and monitoring designed to meet program objectives, deliverables and goals.
  • Lead and directly manage the WASH in activities based on a strong contextual understanding of South Sudan context and in line with Mercy Corps values
  • Identify, input and actively participate in the design, development and management of future programs. Engage with donors and conduct field visits with donors and key stakeholders to showcase Mercy Corps' achievements, challenges, goals and future directions.
  • Represent Mercy Corps in coordination meetings at field level including the Inter-Cluster Working Group.
  • Provide inputs and constant communication with Juba colleagues to ensure streamlined messaging and advocacy for country-level coordination mechanisms and advocacy.
  • Engage with partners (including NGOs, UN, donors, UNMISS) to develop coordinated strategies to reach populations in need of services.
  • Communicate program goals and objectives with all team members, local beneficiaries, local and central government and the international community.
  • Convey information and ideas and effectively coordinate to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Coordinate with other Mercy Corps field offices to ensure a high level of quality throughout our areas of reach
  • Promote the development of a holistic strategy through creating linkages with other sectors strategies (FSL, Education, WASH).

Program Management

  • Ensure program implementation is integrated across sectors, high-quality, serving needs identified by communities, efficient and on target within budgetary and compliance requirements.
  • Build capacity of national and international program staff including officers, technical coordinators/specialists, and program managers to understand and implement Program Management at Mercy Corps (PM@MC).
  • Responsible for managing implementation of the full project/grant cycle including support and mentoring to develop grants opening/planning documents to conducting grant closing processes.
  • Ensure meaningful participation and involvement of the community in all phases of the project cycle, with particular analysis to engage segments of the community that are particularly marginalized or invisibilized. Integrate a protection analysis into all aspects of the field site.
  • Lead the implementation of effective assessment and M&E systems with a focus on building stronger systems and allocating budget for relevant activities and specialized staff at field level.
  • Coordinate with program, finance, logistic and administrative staff to ensure systems are in compliance with donor and Mercy Corps Policies and Procedures.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Convene monthly program workshop meetings to ensure program integration.
  • Supervise and monitor the implementation of the WASH activities in Panjiyar, ensuring that all the activities are compliant with the grant requirements.
  • Work with the Director of programs to identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, donors, and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Participate in cluster working groups and meetings on WASH.
  • Work with the South Sudan Director of Programs to overcome implementation challenges based on practical solutions.
  • Ensure the tracking, monitoring and quality reporting of all Education activities.
  • Ensure documentation and filing of project activities in compliance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Understand and follow Mercy Corps' Program Management Minimum Standards.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps' Gender Policy and Do No Harm principles.
  • Work in coordination with Mercy Corps FSL Experts to integrate livelihood programs.

Team Management

  • 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 regular performance reviews.
  • Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
  • 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.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Director of Programs for South Sudan

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Manage and supervise humanitarian operations (procurement, logistics and human resources) and finance duties within the purview of the field site.
  • Manage grant budgets.
  • Ensure all necessary requests (procurement requests, purchase orders, etc.) are accurately prepared and submitted on time.
  • Ensure internal and donor compliance through a strong knowledge of OFDA/USAID rules and regulations.
  • Stay informed of incidents as they arise through the field and are raised through the program coordination mechanism.
  • Enhance internal and external compliance through supporting incident-reporting mechanisms when needed.
  • Advocate for increased funds and personnel for operations and finance tasks in order to effectively run programming.
  • Maintain oversight of staff well-being and welfare by ensuring workplace and accommodation amenities foster a productive work environment..

Influence & Representation

  • Develop and maintain effective coordination with community stakeholders, government bodies/officials, civil society bodies and humanitarian partners with an eye towards long-term, cooperative and collaborative relationship-building.
  • Effectively represent Mercy Corps in coordinating bodies and other forums, especially the South Sudan Clusters at field and national levels.
  • Participate in local coordination mechanisms


  • Operate as Mercy Corps' Panjiyar Security Focal Point (SFP) with direct responsibility for responding to incidents and reporting to the Safety and Security Manager.
  • Maintain oversight of staff safety and security by ensuring basic equipment (e.g. communications, hibernation kits) is in place.
  • Maintain oversight of staff safety and security by ensuring contingency plans are in place with staff who are briefed and equipped to address rapid onset incidences.
  • Actively communicate and discuss safety and security issues with staff and request updates from staff on safety and security concerns on a routine (weekly) basis.
  • Ensure vehicle safety by working closely with the logistics team, mechanic and drivers to ensure drivers are trained on defensive driving/scenarios and vehicles are well maintained.
  • Liaise with the Safety and Security Manager and other partners on the ground to maintain a routing training/refresher schedule (e.g. UNMAS for Land Mine/UXO Awareness Workshops).

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.

Knowledge and Experience

  • A BS/BA in International Development or related field. MS/MA preferred.
  • At least 3 years of overseas experience managing Emergency programs is required; with particular focus on managing projects with time sensitive deliverables in complex settings.
  • At least 3 years' experience in managing WASH programs.
  • Experience with IDP/returnee programming is desired.
  • Experience managing USAID/OFDA, IOM and UN funded projects is essential.
  • Experience in highly volatile security situations and a commitment to team safety.
  • Demonstrated ability to implement a complex program, manage a range of staff and with strong emphasis on developing their capacities.
  • Well organized and strong in operations and logistics.
  • Demonstrated ability to work respectfully and constructively with local partners, including community committees and host governments.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational skills.
  • Prior experience working internationally and ability to work comfortably in the complex cultural environment is required.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English required. Local language skills highly desired.

Success Factors

The successful Head of Office will recognize that Mercy Corps' ability to function safely and successfully in South Sudan depends on the ability of staff to understand the context in which programs operate. The successful Head of Office will:

  • Apply a strong combination of team leadership, program development and implementation skills and will be able to maintain a sense of humor, calm and clarity in decision-making in stressful conditions.
  • Have a strong WASH experience and have an excellent understanding of emergency and transitional issues and programmatic approaches and will be able to work across a wide range of stakeholders, working with local community members, governmental authorities, NGO partners, and donors.
  • Focus on increasing the capacity and leadership of national staff to transition into positions with greater responsibility.
  • Bring a positive approach to the job, embracing challenges as opportunities to innovate.
  • Write well and communicate in a manner that is confident and clear, yet diplomatic, enabling him/her to forge positive working relationships with donors and other stakeholders.
  • Work well under pressure in a fluid operating and security environment.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in (city, country) and it requires up to (insert %) travel to (insert locations).

This position is based in Panjiyar in Southern Liech State (Former Unity State): 50% in Nyal and 50% in Ganyiel. Accommodation will single-occupancy container/tent as part of the Mercy Corps field office at all above mentioned locations. Candidates must be able to be away from secondary and specialized medical care. The security situation will be closely monitored as the response develops. Team members should expect variable levels of insecurity. Air travel will be necessary to move between the established operations base and affected areas during rainy season. During dry season, road movement is feasible

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in 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.


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