Operations Director

Mercy Corps, Erbil, Iraq

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
28th February, 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 works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.

Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq's 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq current goal is to work with new and existing civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate and long-term needs by strengthening communities' ability to rebuild amidst increasing crisis. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) a relief-to-resilience pathway to meet the needs of conflict-affected communities leveraging agency expertise in conflict management and civil society development (2) a humanitarian response that empowers conflict-affected populations to meet their own needs (3) partnering with conflict-affected adolescents to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society.

General Position Summary:

The Operations Director is a member of the country's senior leadership team (SLT) and is responsible for ensuring operation functions support the advancement of the country strategy. The Operations Director is to development an operations strategy while providing oversight for the Procurement, Logistics, Assets, Fleet, Warehousing, IT and HR departments. S/he ensures compliance with donor regulations as well as Mercy Corps' internal policies and procedures and updates local manuals and policies. The Operations Director builds the capacity of operations team members across four offices and three field offices in Iraq and North East Syria. S/he provides support and advises the Country Director on operational issues. The Operations Directors works closely with the rest of the SLT members as well as the program team leads to ensure the efficiency and integrity of operation functions is maintained members on operational issues.

Essential Job Functions:


  • Articulate and lead the strategic direction of the operations department.
  • Contribute to the country strategic planning process and provide regular updates.


  • Supervise the functions of liaison with governmental departments.
  • Maintain productive relationships with the private sector inclusive of, vendors and suppliers, etc.
  • Work in close coordination with legal advisors to seek the required guidance to keep Mercy Corps policies and activities aligned to the Iraqi laws.
  • Work closely with headquarters to ensure alignment to agency rules and regulations.


  • Develop the capacity of the operations team and assist with continued development of a career path.
  • Work with all Mercy Corps staff to ensure smooth introduction and adoption of operational systems and procedures.
  • Work with finance compliance to mitigate fraud, conflict of interest and legal aspects of Mercy Corps activities.
  • Oversee interaction and participation in the UN Cluster System.


  • Responsible for the full and proper implementation of Mercy Corps systems of management, compliance and control as described in Mercy Corps field manuals contained in the Office in a Box.
  • Work closely with Program Management to facilitate operations aspects of program planning, and upcoming operations resources needs, especially procurements.
  • Work closely with Program, Finance and Grant & Compliance teams to deliver successful programs while demonstrating excellent stewardship of donor funds and compliance with Mercy Corps and donor regulations.
  • Participate in management meetings where required and ensure close collaboration with Program and Finance Management across the Mercy Corps Iraq and North East Syria program.


  • Ensure quality, timely and accurate processing and documentation of procurement as described in the Field Procurement Manual.
  • Ensure procurement records systems are well managed and maintained.
  • Ensure the warehouse procedures are followed as described in the Warehouse Policy and Procedures Guidelines.
  • Ensure the establishment of a pipeline of supplies to Iraq and North East Syria overseeing the logistical aspects of the operation.
  • Oversee the fleet management team and ensure that systems are in place to track maintenance schedules, fuel usage and vehicle scheduling as described in the Field Fleet Management Guidelines.
  • Ensure tracking of all assets to ensure accurate record keeping of Mercy Corps and donor assets, including exceptional items that require registration and movement tracking, in accordance with the Mercy Corps Asset Management Manual.
  • Oversee customs clearing, equipment registration, licensing and insurance, etc.
  • Chair tender openings as required.


  • Ensure the HR systems for national staff are implemented as described in the HR section of the field administration manual.
  • Continue the development or review of country or field office specific HR policies (national staff policy handbook, phone policy, salary increase) and with the HR team communicate new policies to all staff as described in the field administration manual.
  • Oversee a fair and transparent, and timely recruiting process including orientation and onboarding.
  • assist other managers to properly implement the performance review process to ensure proper talent management (star performers are rewarded, plan for underperforming team members)
  • Implement a fair and competitive compensation system.
  • Oversee the HR database and proper tracking of key dates for team members.
  • Ensure all HR policies comply with local law.


  • Ensure the Admin systems are implemented as described in the Field Administration Manual
  • Oversee the set-up and development of Mercy Corps office(s) to meet needs of team members including drafting and reviewing contracts for office and housing space, leasehold improvements, IT.
  • Continue the development or review of country or field office specific policies (phone policy, IT policy, per diem) and with the administration team communicate new policies to all staff as described in the Field Administration Manual.
  • Oversee database and paper file management for administration, procurement, logistics resources documents.
  • Oversee facility management, including housing and office leases. Ensure that security standards are maintained at all premises.
  • Responsible for expatriate visa and work permits, if necessary.
  • Supervise IT System Administrator to ensure IT systems functions as needed.
  • Ensure that all Mercy Corps contracts and business transactions/relationships are transparent and in compliance with Iraq law and Mercy Corps/donor policies.


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.


Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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: Senior Operations Manager, IT Advisor, HR Manager and Government Liaison Advisor.


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Director of Programs, MEL Director, Finance Director, Country Safety and Security Advisor and North East Syria Team Leader

Collaborates With: All Mercy Corps logistics and operations team members as required.

Knowledge And Experience:

  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field, masters preferred
  • A minimum of 5-7 field experience setting up and managing administration, procurement, logistics, and human resource systems with humanitarian NGOs with supervisory responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns and appropriate responses with experience in the Middle East and in insecure environments.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.
  • Knowledge of Mercy Corps systems and procedures (esp. procurement systems) desirable;
  • Knowledge of donor regulations including USAID, EC, DFID regulations.
  • Excellent negotiation and representation skills.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, organizational, prioritization and Microsoft Office applications.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic is a plus.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses to such emergencies.


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