Head of Programs

Fixed-Term Contract

About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. Mercy Corps supports communities – and the most marginalized within them – to emerge from crisis in the face of climate change and build towards a more inclusive and resilient future.

MC Zimbabwe Summary
Mercy Corps has been present in Zimbabwe since 2002, leading innovative programming focusing on evidence-based solutions that have lasting impact and build resilience. Resilience building is an agency priority and involves using a systems-based approach that builds on proven solutions, accesses new ideas and information, and integrates multiple sectors and partnerships to strengthen food and water security, economic opportunities, and climate change adaptation. Zimbabwe continues to experience recurrent environmental and economic shocks that affect the wellbeing of its communities and undermine development investments. Mercy Corps puts resilience at the core of its strategy to contribute to the wellbeing of Zimbabweans by building communities’ capacities and strengthening systems and institutions.

General Position Summary
The Head of Programs will work under the direct supervision of the Country Director. They will work closely with the Program Managers, Technical Leads, Finance, Operations, MEL specialist and all other field departments in coordinating all grant applications and related responsibilities. To successfully perform these responsibilities, the successful candidate will act as a key liaison point for networking with donor and potential partners in Zimbabwe. The Head of Programs will be the main focal point for all Mercy Corps program reports including reports submitted directly to donors, reports submitted by Mercy Corps headquarters, and clusters and other external reporting. They will be the focal point for coordinating the development of concept notes and proposals, ensuring that necessary internal approvals are granted, and the budget and narrative requirements are met. This position will also be responsible for identifying new funding opportunities, donor pre-positioning, and leading new business development, including leading design and lead writing concept notes and proposals, in close coordination with HQ’s Technical Support Unit and Desk team. The Head of Programs will also lead in summarizing the compliance requirements of grants issued under each donor and communicating these requirements to the program teams.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Working with the Country Director, the Senior Management Team (SMT), and other team members, maintain a central role in developing and communicating MC’s overall program strategy and priorities in Zimbabwe, ensuring alignment with MC’s regional priorities, country strategic objectives, and the agency’s core technical approaches.
• To serve as a member of the Senior Management Team, prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to country-wide strategy development.
• Working closely with programs, drive forward a vision to build the resilience strategy for Mercy Corps in Zimbabwe, tailoring regional resilience priority areas and competitive advantages to grow and leverage Mercy Corps’ platform towards building the agency’s resilience distinctive in Zimbabwe.

• Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, UN partners, local governments and other stakeholders.
• Connect our thought leadership and influence agenda to representation and outreach efforts to support business development efforts
• Represent Mercy Corps Zimbabwe in strategic internal and external high-profile and program events and conferences, including with donors, higher-level government stakeholders and multilateral institutions in close coordination with the Country Director.
• Act as day-to-day representative of Mercy Corps to organizations on program development matters, including attending key internal and external meetings, as needed.
• Coordinate research dissemination and participation in appropriate learning and policy forums on resilience. Support country teams to identify and participate in opportunities for external representation and thought leadership. Identify strategic partners for resilience building in collaboration and facilitate outreach and coordination efforts.
• Promote resilience work within the organization and cultivate participation in communities of Practice.
• Collaborate with in-country or global advocacy initiatives and/or strategy development to influence and enlighten convince stakeholders in areas relevant to Mercy Corps’ existing work and stated strategic objectives to provide support for priority sectors.
Organize and conduct site-visits to the program sites and host visitors and donors, as needed.

● Work closely with the Country Director to drive a business development strategy to ensure the country portfolio remains fully funded and aligned with country strategic objectives.
● Proactively identify new business opportunities and translate these into concepts that further Mercy Corps’ strategy in Zimbabwe
● Map existing implementing partners and donors across a variety of Mercy Corps global strategy outcomes of economic opportunity, food security and water security.
● Help build relationships with potential partners, including international and national NGOs to pre-position for future funding opportunities.
● Develop a robust network of local partners and build relationships for sharing capacities. Develop a system for tracking potential and current donors, and upcoming strategic funding opportunities.
● Develop a partnership strategy and coherent approach to partnership and decision-making for business development.
● Lead the development and coordination of concept notes and funding proposals, which include lead writing or working closely with business development teams and consultants and work closely with all Zimbabwe departments to ensure the development of high-quality proposal submissions.
● Work closely with regional programmatic teams/advisors, relevant sectoral Technical Support Units (TSU) and SPOs to develop new initiatives and identify potential opportunities in-country and at regional level in line with the country and regional programmatic strategies and the agency global objectives.
● Ensure that knowledge management of key program documents, publications, evidence and other resources is well organized, and materials are packaged for external distribution.
● Work closely with the Regional Program Team in MC Support Offices in Edinburgh and Portland to keep donor, grant and information tracking databases up to date with most current proposals, concept notes, partnership agreements and reports.

• Develop a thorough understanding of relevant Mercy Corps internal and donor policies, regulations, and procedures and train teams accordingly.
• Lead in summarizing the compliance requirements of grants issued under each donor and communicating these requirements to the program teams.
• Work closely with the finance and operations departments to develop grants compliance checklists and share, and follow-up, with program staff for implementation.
• Act as the primary focal point with the Regional Portfolio teams in Portland and Edinburgh to act in response to donor priorities and adhere to specific requirements and deadlines.
• Support the organisation and follow-up of grant inception meetings, grant review meetings, and grant close out meetings.
• Advise and support programme teams on building the capacities of local partners to handle contractual compliance issues, including project audit and verification requirements.
• Lead in keeping track of grant start and end dates and ensure all reporting deadlines are met.
• Lead in the consolidation of all donor reports for Mercy Corps Zimbabwe programs with input from Country Director, MEL Specialist, program managers and desk officers at MC HQs.
• Lead in developing Technical Agreements for the Government of Zimbabwe’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).
• Ensure that all programs produce professional quality reports and communications materials and that publishable results are disseminated strategically and effectively; and that Mercy Corps is a thought leader in its strategic technical areas.

• Facilitate training for program and operations staff on proposal development, report writing, grant management and information management.
• Provide technical support and mentoring to program managers and team members in applying a resilience approach, ensuring high-quality, impactful implementation in resilience, documentation of lessons and taking initiatives to scale.
• Identify capacity-building needs and opportunities in resilience for staff and program partners, to support an integrated resilience approach across programs.
• Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles, and assist with career development.
• Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
• Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally.
• Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence. Hire, orient and lead team members.

• Update MEL and project management systems to reflect program progress and needs; enforce proper usage of these systems by program staff.
• Ensure that lessons learned throughout the project are captured and communicated to internal and external stakeholders.
• Take on overall responsibility for project reporting including Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annual, Final and ad-hoc reports.

• 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.

• 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 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: None

Works Directly With: Technical Leads, Program Managers and Teams, MEL Specialist and Teams, Country Finance, HR and Operations Teams, Regional and HQ Programme Officers

Success Factors
The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience designing and delivering a complex, high quality program portfolio, including exceptional research and program management skills and experience in building and maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an ability to approach complex development challenges through a systems-thinking lens and have an ability to think creatively about improving communities’ livelihoods and resilience. The Head of Programs will have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. S/he will be passionate about learning and adaptive management techniques as fundamental strategies to improve program impact. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Qualifications and Experience

• An advanced university degree in Social Sciences, International Relations, Rural Development, International Development, Development Studies, or any relevant field.
• At least 7 years’ experience in supporting multi-sectoral and multi-donor funded grants including leading in proposal development and donor reporting in emergency & development environment.
• Proven record of accomplishment in securing institutional funding from successful grant applications and commercial contracts including consortia.
• At least 5 years’ relevant experience in resilience-related projects, portfolio management, research, Social Behaviour Change (SBC), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Livelihoods, Natural Resources Management (NRM), Climate Adaptation and Mitigation.
• Prior experience and knowledge of USAID (BHA), SIDA, FCDO, EU, ECHO, UN or other relevant institutional donors, trusts and foundations’ grant management including regulations, procedures and requirements.
• Familiarity with key International Humanitarian Standards and Partnerships such as Sphere Project, Core Humanitarian Standards, Humanitarian Accountability and Partnership, ALNAP and IASC.
• Experience building relationships and engaging in high level representation to institutional donors, corporate and foundation partners, Government stakeholders, etc.
• Proven experience in resilience capacity building tools/training development and implementation.
• Demonstrated ability to build network or community of practice; work across multiple projects to identify cross-learning opportunities.
• Extremely strong writing skills, including past experience generating substantive written products; excellent verbal communication skills.
• Demonstrated proficiency and experience managing grants funded by EC, UN, DFID and other
public and private donors, government grant and financial management requirements.
• Exceptional program and project conceptualization and design skills.
• Successful and proven negotiation, communication, organization, and prioritization skills and
• Ability to handle multiple issues at one time, including emergency situations.
• Must be adaptable to and comfortable with shifting priorities.

How to Apply

Mercy Corps is committed and accountable to the community members we work with and the beneficiaries we serve. As part of this commitment, Mercy Corps has zero tolerance to violations of the Code of Conduct (Sexual Abuse of Beneficiaries and Community Members (PSEA) Policy, Anti-Trafficking Policy, Child Safeguarding Policy, Mercy Corps Ethics Complaint and Whistle-blower Policy, Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace Policy, Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy and Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy).

Applicants are required to download and sign the MC Candidate Declaration Form (copy and paste this link to your web browser) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RmlrQfcgAa7S5d5WkcUUHoKTNXXOPD74/edit and submit together with CV and Cover letter to Mercy Corps Human Resources at [email protected] by COB 06 October 2023. Please note that CV and Cover should be on one document.

Applications should be clearly marked with the position applied for in the email subject line.

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity organization and encourages both female and male candidates to apply. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis and shortlisting will proceed as applications are received.

Additional information
Living Conditions
This is a national position based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Housing and transport allowances are provided by the Country Office. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and as such staff 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.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact. We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Ethics and Integrity
All Mercy Corps staff are expected to behave ethically and demonstrate the highest integrity in their professional and personal life. Mercy Corps has zero tolerance to any form of fraud, corruption, abuse, harassment, or exploitation. Any breach of our policies or misconduct will lead to disciplinary action that may lead to termination.

Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct eLearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.