at Mercy Corps
Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date Posted April 4, 2020
Category Other
Job Type Full-time
Currency ETB


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 has been present in Ethiopia since 2004, working to catalyze lasting and meaningful change in the lives of the disenfranchised and poor. Mercy Corps seeks to drive bold and transformative ideas, working closely with government, the private sector and development actors to build a more resilient country, ensuring that programs are responsive to and influenced by the poor as active stakeholders. This translates into ensuring that the population is financially stable, healthy & nourished, educated & informed, and that natural resources are accessible, shared and utilized sustainably. Working with a diverse base of donors that includes Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and several foundations, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good.

Currently, Mercy Corps Ethiopia has been identified as a country where there is considerable strategic interest for the agency and high growth potential. We are recognized as leaders in pro-poor market systems development, rural financial services, lowland livestock systems and nutritional support, and have recently expanded our strategy to focus on humanitarian programming, bringing our expertise in market systems to address the needs of displaced and disaster-affected populations. We champion and lead innovative development approaches, specifically adaptive management and resilience programming, and are strongly positioned to influence donors, development actors and government to adopt such ideas.

General Position Summary

The Mercy Corps Ethiopia Country Director is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully developing and managing all operations and programs in Ethiopia. Looking to grow our interventions that have directly resulted in lasting improvement in the lives of more than 750,000 Ethiopians, s/he will continue to develop sustainable, multi-sector programming that is accountable to the Ethiopian Government, participants and donors. A bold and visionary leader who values innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships, s/he identifies and pursues funding opportunities that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio, guided by a long-term strategy. With a total annual budget of approximately $15 million, the Country Director has full supervisory responsibility for the country team. The Country Director must be comfortable leading “from the middle” a team of high performers; be able to confidently represent at high-level forums to influence and secure ongoing investment; nurture a culture of shared excellence based on learning and trust; and take considered risks in innovating and negotiating within a society that is in rapid change. This is an exciting opportunity to influence key outcomes and make a lasting difference in the lives of Ethiopians.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy, Vision & culture

  • Communicate a clear and compelling vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members and stakeholders that translates into concrete programs and work plans.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy development.
  • Lead the annual country planning process and provide strategic updates.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome.
  • Remain current with development thinking, including adaptive management, systems thinking, complexity, social impact, value for money, etc.
  • Foster a culture of learning and adaptation where programme and support actions evolve to become increasingly fit for purpose

Influence & Representation

  • Build strong and productive relationships with Government of Ethiopia, private sector partners, local government, foundations, etc. and leverage these relationships to build win-win partnerships to drive development objectives in the country
  • Anticipate needs, understand donor strategies and contribute to shaping donor and partner’s views on development.
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the objectives for the country as a whole.
  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.

Team Management

  • Build and oversee a senior management team to share in the leadership and management of MC Ethiopia.
  • Develop the capacity of the senior management team and foster their leadership in developing wider team capacity, towards rewarding career development opportunities.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
  • Demonstrate commitment to promoting gender, diversity and inclusion outcomes within the team, and create a safe and empowering work environment where all voices are respected and empowered.
  • Promote accountability and learning, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect and trust where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • 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.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary. Ensure that staff on boarding is timely, comprehensive and consistent.

Program Operations Management

  • Ensure effective and transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Ensure that strong safeguarding provisions are in place and that community accountability mechanisms are operational across all programs.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guidance.
  • Support a culture of adaptive management, high-quality program performance, and learning.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures - Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, beneficiary accountability standards, etc.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support field programs.
  • Build and maintain an environment of collaboration among program, finance, operations and human resource team members resulting in optimal support for program activities.
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to programming.
  • Coordinate overall country budget; manage budget within approved spending levels and establish an annual cash flow plan to ensure a steady and adequate supply of funds for program activities.


  • Liaise with the Regional Program Director and Africa Security Advisor on crucial events, high-risk periods, and incident reporting and security policy changes.
  • Manage security and safety of the entire country team and Mercy Corps assets according to best practices, MC operating standards and field realities.
  • Ensure the safety and security of staff members through regular review and adaptation of security protocols and procedures including the regularly updated country security plan.

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 program participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility: 8 direct and 320 indirect staff.


Reports Directly To: Deputy Regional Director

Works Directly With: HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Regional Program Team, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA/S preferred.
  • 7-10 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including demonstrable success in managing large, complex, transitional development programs.
  • 5 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.
  • Demonstrated success managing and bringing together a multi cultural team with team members in multiple offices.
  • Successful and proven representation, negotiation, communication and organization skills.
  • Demonstrated experience multi-tasking and success in securing funding for country programs.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government,private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
  • Proven skills in financial and grants management
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Previous work experience in countries where travel to insecure areas is required, and management of programs in insecure locations.
  • Capacity to respond to emergency and disaster situations as appropriate.

Success Factors

The successful Ethiopia CD will set a bold, transformative vision for Mercy Corps’ programing in Ethiopia and skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team. S/he will have 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 projects, fundraising for new projects and representing the agency to stakeholders. The successful CD should welcome multi-tasking and taking 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 CD is based in the capital city - Addis Ababa. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is family accommodation with good freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are several international schools in Addis Ababa, British systems exist for children up to 11 years old. The US school takes students to pre-university levels. Staff have access to basic services (electricity, water, sporadic internet etc). Medical facilities are basic with international clinics able to provide emergency services. This position requires 35% travel by road and air to field offices in often insecure environments. Addis Ababa is host to many international organizations including the OAU, the Economic Commission for Africa and other multi-national bodies, many of which have their headquarters based in the capital city.

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.

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