Chief of Party (Water and Sanitation)

Mercy Corps
Goma, Congo (Kinshasa)
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

This position is fully contingent on award and approval by the donor


Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 300 people working in North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, and Kinshasa. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with five sub-field offices. Mercy Corps activities focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in settlements of internally displaced people, and large-scale infrastructure and service delivery development in peri-urban centers. Mercy Corps also has Food Security, Economic Recovery/Development and Governance programs. The DRC team has a strong commitment to providing entrepreneurial and innovative solutions to development challenges, and is actively seeking and facilitating market-based solutions.

In 2008, Mercy Corps and USAID launched a project to rehabilitate and extend the municipal water system of Goma and it was extended through other various donors.  In 2013, Mercy Corps signed a new $60M (USD) grant agreement with DFID-DRC to replicate and scale-up the Goma water project in two cities in Eastern Congo. The program involves designing, rehabilitating, extending and constructing city water and sanitation infrastructure as well as working to reform management structures to ensure that the systems are managed profitably and sustainably. In 2019, Mercy Corps intends to pursue its peri-urban water and sanitation programming with an anticipated USAID funded project.


The Chief of Party (COP) provides overall leadership, technical oversight, management and strategic vision for the program, while managing staff and resources to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time, on scope, and within budget.  The COP will supervise key program staff and ensure high program quality. The COP will be responsible for ensuring strict adherence to internal Mercy Corps policies and procedures as well as donor rules and regulations. The COP will also have representation duties to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Program Implementation:

  • Structure his/her team to ensure that all program aspects are implemented to the highest standard (adhering to industry norms/regulations).
  • Ensure program objectives and deadlines are tracked and met.
  • Ensure grant agreements are monitored and comply with Mercy Corps policies and procedures and donor/government/external rules and regulations.
  • Oversee the performance of consortium partners and sub-grantees.
  • Oversee all aspects of design, monitoring, evaluation and learning, and ensure that all program aspects are documented and archived according to internal/donor requirements.
  • Ensure the program is aligned with Mercy Corps’ principles, values and strategic plan.
  • Ensure all program management minimum standards are met (including risk management, issues management and change management.

Team Management:

  • Recruit a program team and ensure that program staff receive necessary inductions / training (including program management certification where required).
  • Create a work atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellent personnel at all levels.
  • Implement, and ensure all staff members are effectively using, the performance planning and management system, establishing performance expectations and regularly providing constructive feedback.
  • Promote accountability by conducting staff annual performance reviews with direct supervisees, and ensuring that supervisory staff personnel do the same.
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.

Accountability / Reporting:

  • 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.
  • Ensure all internal control procedures are adhered to and that necessary measures are put in place to ensure high standards of accountability and compliance.
  • Ensure all internal/ donor /external reports are produced as required.

Program Support:

  • Coordinate with program, finance and administration staff to ensure operational systems are in place to support field activities (including logistics, procurement, security, administration and human resources).
  • Work closely with country-level security focal points to develop and maintain systems that ensure the safety and security of the team in all aspects of its work.
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.

Coordination and Representation:

  • Represent Mercy Corps to government, donors, NGOs and other relevant events in the field.
  • Coordinate activities with partners, sub-grantees, government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps global staff.

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, consultants, engineering staff program staff

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO:  Country Director

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: DRC senior Directors (e.g., Finance, Operations, and the Country Leadership Team. Program specific staff, HQ Program Operations team members and Technical Support Unit (TSU) team members.


  • MA/MSc in environmental or infrastructure engineering, Business and Administration, Governance or equivalent.
  • 10 years+ of management experience in progressively responsible positions – preferably as Project Director for a comparable water and sanitation project or a lower level position on a larger project.
  • 5 years+ of experience in the management and oversight of USAID-funded cooperative agreement and/or contracts of similar size and scope.
  • Demonstrated knowledge/experience of USAID policies, procedures and approaches with regards to design, implementation, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Strong preference will be given to applicants with private sector experience, but some knowledge of non-profit organizations would be desired.
  • PRINCE 2 or other program management certification is required.
  • Strong management skills, with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
  • Fluency in oral/written English and French is required.
  • Previous experience in the DRC or other developing context is strongly desired.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.


The successful COP will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The COP must have demonstrated experience managing large infrastructure construction programs. S/he will have demonstrated skills in managing programs in challenging, insecure environments. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff 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.


This position is an accompanied post based in Goma (DRC) / Gisenyi (Rwanda). The position is entitled to individual housing and is suitable for an accompanied spouse and children (up to the age of 10 years due to limited education institutions). While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other.  Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available.  Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.

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.