Director Program Controls SWASSA

Mercy Corps

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo 🇨🇩

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.

The Program/Department Summary

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 400 people working in Eastern DRC, with the overall country goal being to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps DRC’s key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development; 4) Support peacebuilding and local governance. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo.In October 2020, Mercy Corps started the five-year USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems Activity, with a budget of $32 million to be implemented in 4 locations across North and South Kivu. Building on the successes of Mercy Corps’ IMAGINE program, and those of other WASH actors in Eastern DRC, USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems Activity (SWASSA) brings together a consortium of 4 international partners to focus on water and sanitation. In partnership with USAID and in line with Development Objective 2 of USAID’s DRC Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), SWASSA aims to show that it is possible to achieve genuinely sustainable increases in access to clean water by implementing contextually relevant, performance-based contractual models for water service delivery in collaboration with state and local entities including ETDs and Provincial Administrations.

The Position

The Director – Program Controls will be a critical member of the USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems Activity’s leadership team.

S/he will work closely with the Chief of Party and all component leads to provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of a $32 million USAID funded WASH Market Systems Development Program in four locations in eastern DRC.

The Director – Program Controls is responsible for strong management of specific tools and coordination with component leads to ensure that the program is being delivered on time, on scope and on budget, effectively delivering on the program’s intended impact with the highest level of quality possible.

The Director – Program Controls will have overall responsibility for implementing and managing program-wide control tools. S/he will also oversee Program Performance and Quality, Operations and Administration, Grants & Reporting, Consortium partnership Management and Workforce Development. Specifically this will include:

The Director – Program Controls serves as a strong leader for USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems Development. S/he is detail oriented and has excellent planning and strategic thinking skills. S/he will be an effective communicator with exceptional team building and coordination skills.

This is a new role that aims to change and demonstratively reinforce the management of a large complex program. The Director – Program Controls must be creative and ambitious, continuously pushing to improve the quality of program implementation and maximize the impact of the program.

Essential Responsibilities


●        Responsible for driving and ensuring that all components achieve their Program Controls [email protected] 2.0 responsibilities supporting the CoP in the component review function

●        Develop and maintain a cohesive, program-wide controls approach, including the areas of schedule, financial, contracts, risk, policies, operational procedures, and program information/ documents which aligns with [email protected] minimum standards.

●        Act as a ‘champion’ for Program Controls, ensuring program-wide compliance and information sharing. Provides strategic advice to the CoP & leadership.

●        Focus on a capacity building plan to support all component leads and team members to strengthen their understanding of Program Controls.

●        Develop Program Controls tools and guidelines. These will include standard operating processes, efficient use of from management, workflow process design, complex gannt program tools, risk tools etc.

●        Leads cross component workstreams e.g. all team Biannual strategy meetings or all team trainings

●        Responsible for a structured and consistent approach to Workforce Development across the entire team – the aim is to have a workforce plan that develops staff, their progression and improves program adaptation and learning

●        Oversee the implementation of team coordination mechanisms such as shared calendars and meeting schedules, ensure effective communication between all bases (South Kivu and North Kivu).


●        Work closely with the Chief of Party and Deputy Chief of Party to ensure programs are running in alignment with Mercy Corps’ principles, values and the program’s strategic plan, particularly in regards to maintaining a focus on gender equity and inclusion across the program.

●        Troubleshoot problems that arise and contribute to adaptation of strategy to be reflective of current context.

●        Maintain regular communication with country level and HQ focal point to identify opportunities for innovative collaboration with other internal departments and advise senior leadership on ways to drive forward quality programming and leverage cross program learning.

●        Act as day-to-day representative of Mercy Corps as requested by the Chief of Party including attending key internal and high level donor external meetings.

●        Advocate and advise on the importance of program controls within complex programs, both internally within the team and globally across Mercy Corps.


  • Oversee and set expectations for the PQ Manager who will be responsible for Program Quality, in particular Communications, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion(GESI) and CARM.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Controls and PQ Team

●        Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where accountability is promoted, alternative viewpoints welcomed, the team strives to achieve excellence, and is conducive to professional growth. A key facet of the SWASSA team is to ensure accountability and a shared approach to behaviors; maintaining and improving a healthy team culture is essential to this role

●        Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.

●        Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary; communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.

●        Provide continued capacity building to all direct reports and broader program team members and create a pleasant work environment that promotes learning, accountability and ownership.


●        Support the Chief of Party in ensuring the Program is running on time and on scope through regular component reviews and optimal integration of components for maximum impact.

●        Ensure all Program management minimum standards are met (including active risk management, issues management, lessons learned etc.). Communicate and inculcate these requirements across the team.

●        Organise and conduct monitoring visits to the project sites and host visitors and donors, as needed.

●        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).


●        Support the Chief of Party in maintaining strong and transparent communication with all partners.

●        Provide support / lead (as required) internal comms and meetings such as partner check in meetings, regular meetings, 90 day end of program transition meetings.

●        Ensure quality and timely reporting of Consortium members to report back to USAID.


●        Review, coordinate, compile and finalise all official donor reports after initial drafting by components and Consortium partners.

●        Oversee the communications team in drafting of program updates for donor and other key stakeholders.

●        Set up and oversee a strong Program documentation system, ensuring records are archived according to minimum standards and donor requirements.

●        Ensure program reports comply with donor and Mercy Corps’ procedures and best practices.

●        Ensure that program information shared with stakeholders is presented in languages, formats and media that are appropriate for, accessible to, and can be understood by the target population.


●        Ensure the grants management is transparent and compliant with donor and Mercy Corps regulations and procedures.

●        Support monthly coordination meetings between program and finance on budget planning and follow-up.

●        Prepare accurate monthly cash flow projections, through effective coordination and expectation management with the component leads

Supervisory Responsibility

PQ Manager, Senior Operations Officer, Senior Reporting Officer


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Deputy Chief of Party, Program Delivery Managers (M&E, Market Service Delivery, Governance, Infrastructure), Heads of Offices, Operations Director, HR/Admin Director, Finance Director, PaQ Director and associated support department Managers.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

●        Equivalent practical experience or BA/S in management, political science, international development, or other relevant field

●        Certified in program management.

●        At least 5 years of experience in international development programming, preferably in Africa or in a protracted crisis

●        Patient and committed to capacity building, training and coaching of a team with diverse skillsets

●        Experience in implementing and managing Program Controls including workplanning, risk management, governance and resource management

●        Demonstrated practitioner level capability in time based planning tools – such as MS project or similar or an in depth understanding in how to approach their use.

●        At least 3 years experience with managing US and/or European institutional donors, including strengths in grant management, coordination and donor reporting

●        Demonstrable ability to produce high quality deliverables at speed and with minimal direction

●        Excellent communication and stakeholder management skills, and the capacity to work at a strategic level with senior leaders (both internal and external) is essential

●        Ability to multi-task and juggle several tasks and relationships at one time, with little to no direction

●        Proven ability to work effectively in multi-cultural teams and with technical and administrative staff and consultants

●        Fluent English required and fluent French desirable

●        Ability to work in a sometimes solitary environment with moderate to high levels of insecurity and significant restrictions on personal movement

●        Prior work experience in the DRC and demonstrable understanding of the context a significant advantage

Success Factors

The successful Director of Program Controls will combine exceptional strategic thinking skills with an ability to focus on minute details. S/he will approach the position with a systems-thinking lens, possessing a high level of adaptability to creatively find solutions when things don’t go to plan, and continuously pushing for systematic improvements and growth. The ability to demonstrate exceptional interpersonal, relationship and cross-cultural communication skills especially in high stress environments is essential for success.

The Director – Program Controls will have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. S/he will provide the space and support for the team members to realize their full potential in a high pressured environment. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail as well as 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.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is an unaccompanied position. Individual accommodation will be provided in Goma according to Mercy Corps DRC housing policy.

Goma is a provincial capital of over 700,000 inhabitants. Living in Goma is mostly comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.

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

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & 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 identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, 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.

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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.