The Senior Program Officer (SPO) supports strategic direction, vision and leadership to ensure impactful, high-quality programming in the Middle East. The SPO works closely with the Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director and is an essential member of the Regional Management Team. The SPO is the headquarters (HQ) focal point for regional and country level strategic plan processes; regional and country structures and transitions updates and progress on program implementation and impact. The SPO leads, manages and mentors a team of Program Officers (POs) and Assistant Program Officers (APOs), ensuring quality work, and instilling a cohesive team dynamic. The SPO supports country teams in multiple aspects of their programs, and plays a key role in connecting the field to HQ resources and represents country/regional interests internally with various HQ teams, as well as with external stakeholders. The SPO has the ultimate responsibility for overall monitoring of grants/programs for compliance with external (donor) requirements, and adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and procedures.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY, PLANNING AND LEARNING
- Support regional and country teams with strategy development, planning and progress tracking;
- Travel to support facilitation of the process and work with teams to finalize strategic plans;
- Work with the regional and country teams to ensure active and proposed programs are aligned with and contribute to strategy.
- Assist regional leadership in identifying and securing support and resources for the region.
COORDINATION AND REPRESENTATION
- Coordinate the flow of information between country programs, the regional management team, relevant HQ departments and donors;
- Build and maintain strong working relationships with country offices, resolving issues and maintaining regular contact regarding program implementation, grant regulations, training/ support needs and incident tracking;
- Ensure field teams are aware of relevant Mercy Corps resources/tools/best practices;
- Attend donor meetings on behalf of country programs and/or the region to represent strategies.
- Actively participate in relevant coordination forums, networks and donor events;
- Provide written or verbal briefings on context, country strategy and programs as needed.
- Responsible for managing overall desk support to the region;
- Develop individual and/or team work plans or other internal management tools for the efficient use of desk team resources and time; set standards and priorities for the team;
- Check the quality and timeliness of all work of the regional desk team at HQ;
- Mentor and oversee the onboarding, learning and career progression of POs and APOs;
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT AND GRANT ADMINISTRATION
- Supervise ongoing monitoring of programs, including ensuring regular check-ins with country teams on contractual, legal and financial requirements (such as co-financing/match, BvA, etc);
- Actively provide assessment of risk associated with program implementation; mitigation measures and problem solving based on patterns of knowledge across portfolios;
- Contribute to complex program management hand in hand with the Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director;
- Support field teams in adhering to internal and external policies (e.g. PM@MC minimum standards, donor compliance regulations, etc.);
- Ensure timely sign off and submission of proposals, as well as both narrative and financial reports, and follow up with donors as necessary;
- Ensure Mercy Corps knowledge management systems (e.g. Grant Award Information Tracker) are up to date and accurate.
- Identify and highlight promising funding opportunities for country programs and regional initiatives, in line with country strategies;
- Identify contractual risk and develop mitigation strategies;
- Ensure that proposals are developed in accordance with defined internal processes;
- Ensure that lessons learned are incorporated into new programme design;
- Oversee submission of proposals and concept notes to donors, and serve as the focal point during any negotiations with donor HQ representatives.
- Travel to the field to support country programs as requested;
- Support the recruitment, deployment and onboarding process for any Mercy Corps new hires, as needed;
- Any other duties as assigned.
Supervisory Responsibility: 3 Programme Officers and 1 Assistant Programme Officer
Reports Directly To: Deputy Regional Director, Middle East
Works Directly With: Country programme teams, Country Directors, Directors of Programmes, MCE Programmes team, Finance, Compliance, Communications, Policy and Advocacy,, New Initiatives, Programme Accountability and Quality, Strategic Partnership Team.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
- Mercy 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.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in relevant field.
- Minimum 5 years experience in international relief or development, particularly in grant administration and compliance.
- Demonstrated experience with proposal development, program management, monitoring and evaluation, and external representation.
- Previous Middle East field experience preferred.
- Arabic proficiency or knowledge is a plus.