Interim Country Director

at Mercy Corps
Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date Posted April 4, 2020
Category Business Development
Sales and Marketing
Job Type Temporary
Currency ETB



  • This role in interim and for up to a maximum of 5 months.

    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 Interim Country Director is responsible for resourcefully developing and managing all operations and programs in Ethiopia. Looking to build upon our interventions that have directly resulted in lasting improvement in the lives of more than 750,000 Ethiopians, s/he will continue to deliver and grow 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 Interim Country Director has full supervisory responsibility for the country team. The Interim 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. S/he is expected to provide energetic leadership that inspires creativity and excellence in the program team, while at the same time ensuring that team members receive appropriate mentoring and professional development opportunities. This is an exciting opportunity to influence key outcomes and make a lasting difference in the lives of Ethiopians.

    S/he will supervise the Mercy Corps program team, finance, operations, and human resources/admin team members—and work closely with HQ support teams, when necessary to ensure that program operations receive strong support. The Interim Country Director will play a critical role in representing Mercy Corps Ethiopia externally and in ensuring that the agency remains accountable to the standards and expectations of donors, government, and communities.

    Essential Job Responsibilities

    Strategy & Vision

    • 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.
    • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
    • 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.
    • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy implementation.


    • Collaborate with other senior team members to develop and secure funding for new program concepts aligned with country and regional strategies.
    • Oversee the transformation of proposed concepts into operational programs.

    Program Management

    • Support successful start-up and ongoing program management and administration of teams across various field locations.
    • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
    • Ensure that participants are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
    • Strengthen program implementation strategies, including partnership frameworks, participant targeting as well as capacity building of partners.
    • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
    • Ensure that strong safeguarding provisions are in place and that community accountability mechanisms are operational across all programs.
    • Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
    • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guidance.
    • 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.

    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.
    • 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.
    • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
    • Insure that all Mercy Corps tools are rolled out in a timely way.
    • 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.

    Finance & Compliance Management

    • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.

    Influence & Representation

    • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
    • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
    • Represent Mercy Corps at all donor, partner, and coordination meetings as appropriate.
    • Develop and maintain internal and external relationships to ensure optimum program success.
    • Help to develop Mercy Corps’ reputation in Ethiopia as a professional, transparent, effective, and innovative organization.


    • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
    • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

    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 participants

    • 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.

    Supervisory Responsibility

    All Ethiopia Team members: 8 direct and 320 indirect staff.


    Reports Directly to: Deputy Regional Director for Africa

    Works Directly with: Deputy Country Director, Director of Humanitarian Programs, Operations manager, HR manager, Finance manager, Field teams, HQ technical teams, HQ desk officers, New Initiatives Manager, Compliance teams, HQ finance teams.

    Knowledge and Experience

    • At least 7 years of experience administering donor grants for a variety of sectoral areas for both relief and development initiatives.
    • 7 years of management experience, with a demonstrated ability to build teams capacity in cross-cultural settings as well as excellent team-building and interpersonal skills.
    • Proven experience managing complex projects in conflict-affected countries. Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies and appropriate responses.
    • Experience with remote management in Francophone Africa and a solid understanding of the region preferred.
    • Experience with donor requirements of USAID, SIDA, EU, UN, and private donors and foundations.
    • History of working effectively and respectfully with host country government, INGO and NGO partners.
    • Professional English proficiency required with strong oral and written skills.

    Success Factors

    The successful Interim Country Director will drive 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 Interim Country Director will have a natural leadership instinct and will feel energized by working in and building teams. S/he will have an excellent understanding of development issues and programmatic approaches. The successful Interim Country Director will enjoy working with local community members, governmental authorities, NGO partners, and donors and will bring a positive approach to the job, embracing challenges as opportunities to innovate. 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. Finally, the successful Interim Country Director will work well under pressure in a fluid operating and security environment.

    Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

    The position is based in the capital city - Addis Ababa. 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 of 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 Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.







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