Mercy Corps Director of Programs Job in Nairobi, Kenya

Mercy Corps

Director of Programs (DoP) – Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

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 working in Kenya in 2008 and has to date built a robust and diverse portfolio in working to enable Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict – in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized communities – to be healthy, productive and to drive peace and development of their communities.

To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen resilience, market and governance systems, address the root causes of conflict, and equip vulnerable populations- in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized social groups- with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, productive and to drive the development of their communities.

Mercy Corps Kenya also collaborates with neighbouring countries to implement a number of multi-country and cross-border programs.

Working with a diverse base of donors that includes the UK Department for International Development (DFID), European Commission (EC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID),, MasterCard Foundation and other foundations and institutional donors, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good.

We work closely with the private sector, civil society and governance structures at local and national levels to facilitate change and ensure that opportunities are inclusive of all Kenyans.

General Position Summary

Mercy Corps is seeking a bold and innovative leader to be the Director of Programs (DoP) for Mercy Corps Kenya. The DoP is a senior member of Mercy Corps Kenya team tasked with developing new programs and managing a diverse, innovative and high quality portfolio.

He/she is responsible for overall program performance and quality, ensuring that teams are implementing high-impact programs, and are tracking progress toward specific objectives, indicators and milestones. Guided by the Mercy Corps Kenya Country Strategy, the DoP will identify funding opportunities and developing proposals that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio.

The DoP will support program teams to effectively coordinate with operations, finance and human resources functions from inception to close out. This position will place a high value on finding innovative solutions and building creative partnerships to development and humanitarian challenges. A market systems development and resilience approach is at the core of Mercy Corps Kenya’s programming strategy. The DoP will promote and integrate these approaches into program development and delivery.

The Director of Programs will champion the Mercy Corps’ Cornerstones of Leadership to ensure that teams are driving transformational impact in country through groundbreaking innovations and influence in action strategies that positions Mercy Corps as the leader of change in Kenya and beyond.

Mercy Corps Kenya has several cross-border and multicountry initiatives. As such the Director of Programs is someone who is willing to think and go beyond borders to innovate and scale impact in the region.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and Vision

  • Support and contribute to the development and implementation of Mercy Corps Kenya strategy. Develop programs that aligns with the Mercy Corps Kenya Strategy.
  • Provide support to the Country Director on matters pertaining to strategy, planning, budgeting, programming and management.
  • Develop work plans and mobilize resources to achieve country strategy objectives.
  • Promote thought leadership by ensuring that program innovations and successes are tested, analyzed, documented, and effectively communicated internally and externally.

Program Management

  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ principles, values, program guidelines and quality standards.
  • Support the Country Director to strengthen program strategies and quality, partnerships, and accountability in accordance with Mercy Corps and donor policies.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective Mercy Corps (and other standard) program quality tools to achieve the desired impact.
  • Ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources and timely, accurate and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.
  • Coordinate with Mercy Corps teams and programs across the neighboring countries to implement cross-border and multi-country initiatives.
  • Support all donor reporting and communications and track major grant milestones deliverables, cost share requirements, project burn rates and major procurement.

Team Management

  • Build a cohesive team spirit and culture among staff and delegate functions and responsibilities to them while ensuring achievement of program objectives.
  • Maintain effective and positive internal communication with Mercy Corps staff in all field offices. Promote open and harmonious communication between departments, offices, and programs.
  • Supervise and mentor program team in program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Foster a working atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellence at all levels.
  • Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater impact.
  • Recruit, orient and lead team members as necessary.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on one meetings and performance reviews.
  • Fill in for the Country Director and for program leadership as needed and as requested.

Influence, Representation & Fundraising

  • Identify and lead on fundraising opportunities, including developing partnerships and proposal writing.
  • Develop and nurture culturally sensitive internal and external relationships and networks to ensure optimum communication and program success.
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the country strategy.
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with donors, government partners, consortium partners, sub-grantees, and other stakeholders.
  • In coordination with the Country Director, partake in representation role on specific coordination working groups or forums.

Finance and Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies.
  • Monitor and adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and other relevant regulations, including those of the Government of Kenya.
  • Work closely with support functions in Kenya, regional and headquarters to ensure highest compliance and program performance.
  • Work with Program Managers on proper budget management, including forecasting and procurement planning.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure the well-being of team members and ensure they are aware of policies to help manage insecure environments.

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 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: Program Managers/ Directors, Team Leaders, Country MEL Manager, relevant advisors (TBC).


  • Reports Directly To: Country Director
  • Works Directly With: HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit, Regional teams

Knowledge and Experience

  • Proven track record in diverse program and team management; successful proposal writing and program development.
  • BA/S or higher in management, international development or other relevant field.
  • At least 10 years of programming experience, including at least five years in a senior management position. Expatriate experience preferred.
  • Experience managing development and humanitarian programs as well as transitional programs in insecure areas affected by conflict.
  • Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including food security, nutrition, resilience, market systems development, gender, livelihoods and financial services.
  • Strong M&E skills in developing and executing effective and timely monitoring systems, both at the program- and country-level
  • Conversant with major donor requirements and compliance especially USAID, DFID and other institutional and foundation donors.
  • Strong management skills with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work both independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Strong understanding of conflict sensitive program mainstreaming and gender and protection mainstreaming would be an advantage.
  • Experience in Kenya highly (especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands ASALs) preferred.

Success Factors

The successful DoP will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team.

S/he will have strong proposal writing skills as this role spends about half of the time fundraising.

S/he has high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level.

The role is a hands-on position and success will be determined by the level of direct engagement in program development, oversight of programs, fundraising and representing the agency to stakeholders including donors, governments and other agencies.

The successful DoP is a versatile leader who takes an active role in program design and overarching strategy. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Nairobi and requires up to 40% travel to field locations. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office.

There are numerous International schools in Kenya. Staff have a relatively high degree of access to health and utility services (hospitals, clinics, electricity, water, etc). This position requires frequent travel by road and air to field offices in less secure environments, where basic amenities are lacking (no running water, and limited electricity without generators).

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to 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. Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.

Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Visit to apply online.

Business Administration, Community Development, NGO and UN
Updated: August 5, 2019 — 8:00 pm