WASH Program Manager

Mercy Corps

Baghdad, Iraq 🇮🇶


Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.  

Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq current goal is to work with new and existing civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate and long-term needs by strengthening communities’ ability to rebuild amidst increasing crisis. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) a relief-to-resilience pathway to meet the needs of conflict-affected communities leveraging agency expertise in conflict management and civil society development (2) a humanitarian response that empowers conflict-affected populations to meet their own needs (3) partnering with conflict-affected adolescents to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society.

Mercy Corps is expanding its current WASH portfolio in Iraq, scaling up in response to the emerging population displacement crises in Salah al-Din, Anbar, Kirkuk, Erbil, and Ninewa governorates, while concurrently addressing the needs of protracted IDPs, returnees, and host communities across all operational areas. Building on its vast experience in the humanitarian sector in Iraq, Mercy Corps aims to present itself as a key and reliable partner in the WASH sector with various donors, INGOs, government authorities and civil society actors. Mercy Corps, with its global experience in working in countries undergoing major transitions, will bring knowledge, expertise and strong management skills to position the agency as a partner of choice to respond to the needs of IDPs and vulnerable populations in Iraq.

The WASH Program Manager is a member of Iraq’s humanitarian unit, working under the supervision of the Humanitarian Team Leader. S/he will be responsible for ensuring the delivery of high quality WASH interventions (including infrastructure); developing and evolving the organization’s strategy and future direction in WASH; engaging actively with the WASH Cluster, local governments, and all other WASH actors; managing a team of staff across dispersed locations; and managing program budgets. The position includes developing tools for planning, assessment and intervention monitoring; building active community participation into project design and implementation, ensuring design of high quality interventions suited to the local context, monitoring and tracking program activities; designing training modules and delivering trainings for Mercy Corps staff, and designing and supervising baseline and end line surveys (including KAP).


Strategy and Vision

  • Contribute to the development of a sectorial strategy based on a strong contextual understanding of Iraq and in line with Mercy Corps values.
  • Design viable strategies that are both respectful with the local culture and sensitive towards the population.
  • Ensure inclusion of national technical staff and other key stakeholders into strategy process.
  • Promote the development of a holistic strategy through creating linkages with other sectors’ strategies (Multipurpose Cash Assistance, Social Cohesion, NFIs, Food Security and Livelihoods, Youth).
  • Contribute to the technical and operational advocacy strategies of the mission, region and headquarters.
  • Contribute to policy discussions among Senior Management Team as applicable.

Design and Planning

  • Support the Mercy Corps team in identifying additional opportunities for short, medium and long-term programming.
  • Contribute to design of new proposals based on sectoral and general knowledge.
  • Integrate the use of community approaches in the design, implementation, and maintenance of projects.
  • Partake in planning and design efforts as requested.
  • Collaborate with finance to develop budgets for WASH related work.
  • Lead WASH aspects of technical assessments in coordination with other thematic areas and/or other external sector agencies.
  • Develop realistic work plans per grant in conjunction with relevant sector leads and the Director of Programs.
  • Ensure provision of program quality in all aspects of design, planning, and implementation of WASH and infrastructure interventions.
  • Ensure the mainstreaming of core protection principles through design and planning of sector interventions.

Implementation and Program Coordination

  • Develop needs assessment strategies, design interventions accordingly and contribute to building the capacity of Mercy Corps staff, as well as project stakeholders.
  • Provide technical oversight to the field teams and mentor senior staff in the design of WASH activities, including rehabilitation/renovation of water and sanitation systems, solid waste management, excreta disposal, hygiene promotion and emergency water supply.
  • Communicate project work plans to Emergency Program Team Leader, Director of Programs, and WASH Technical Support Unit as applicable.
  • Work with Emergency Team Leader and other relevant team members to ensure joint planning and grant compliance.
  • Work with Emergency Team Leader to overcome implementation challenges based on practical solutions.
  • Ensure the tracking, monitoring and quality reporting of all WASH and infrastructure interventions.
  • Complete budget pipeline planning, monitoring and monthly follow up, in collaboration with senior technical staff and in coordination with the Emergency Team Leader.
  • Ensure documentation and filing of project activities in compliance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Supervise and monitor the implementation of WASH activities, ensuring that all activities are compliant with the grant requirements.
  • Work with Emergency Team Leader and Director of Programs to identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Participate in cluster working groups and meetings.

Program Impact and Program Management

  • Prepare procurement plans based on project cycle for WASH and infrastructure work.
  • Manage grant budget lines related to technical area of specialization (WASH and infrastructure)
  • Ensure all necessary purchase requests are accurately prepared and submitted on time.
  • Outline indicators and outputs to be measured to determine success of intervention.
  • Work with M&E Unit to translate assessment criteria to tools and methodology for monitoring and evaluation of interventions related to WASH and infrastructure.
  • Provide technical input and indicators to the M&E Unit to be incorporated into tools and formats as needed.
  • Contribute to the design of holistic community assessments.
  • Support the establishment and maintenance of monitoring and evaluation systems for internal and external use.
  • Ensure internal and donor compliance through a strong knowledge of rules applicable to the Iraq context.
  • Work closely with Emergency Team Leader on planning and follow-up of aspects of the grant.
  • Stay informed of incidents as they arise through the field and are raised through the program coordination mechanism.
  • Enhance internal and external compliance through supporting incident reporting mechanisms when needed.
  • Maintain and coordinate reporting and documentation of WASH and infrastructure activities.
  • Timely preparation bi-weekly, quarterly and interim donor reports for relevant activities under the guidance of the Emergency Team Leader and DoP.

Team Management

  • Provide technical supervision and support to technical staff.
  • Assess capacity of Mercy Corps technical staff, as well as other stakeholders, to perform functions.
  • Work with other middle and senior management staff to consider alterative ways of doing distance capacity development and learning in the Iraqi context.
  • Recruit and train of field technical staff. 

Safety, Security and Access

  • 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 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: WASH Team (Engineers and Project Officers)


REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Emergency Team Leader, Iraq

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Emergency Program Managers, Sector Leaders, MEL Unit, Senior WASH Advisor (TSU), Program Operations, Finance


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Civil Engineering, Public Health or related field. Masters preferred
  • 5 years on a relief setting with WASH management or managerial experience; from starting up programs to working in emergency and transitional contexts
  • Experience from complex and complicated settings with time sensitive deliverables in unstable environments
  • Strong experience of mentoring a team, identifying talent and building their capacity.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Knowledge of humanitarian standards and codes, including SPHERE.
  • Knowledge of participatory approaches and community sensitization and mobilization.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and communicate effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
  • Experience with the development, implementation & compliance of USAID (OFDA and FFP) and ECHO programs.
  • Ability to effectively represent Mercy Corps and its interests to key stakeholders including host governments, and national and international NGOs.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic or Kurdish is as plus
  • Previous experience in similar contexts.

The successful Manager will combine exceptional technical skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have previous experience in working in large-scale emergency programs in insecure and conflict context. S/he will have an outstanding ability to design and provide technical oversight of innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the area. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The successful candidate will be able to provide technical oversight to large relief programs in an austere environment; be focused on capacity building of national staff; have strong program support skills, good information management skills and maintain a sense of humour.

The position will be based in Baghdad with frequent travel to project locations within Iraq as required for coordination and project management. Personnel in these locations are expected to follow all security protocols. This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.

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 MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.