Chief of Party (Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems)

Mercy Corps

Democratic Republic of 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 and resilient 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) has brought together a consortium of 3 international partners (Mercy Corps, TetraTech and Sanergy) 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 Territorial (ETDs) and Provincial Administrations. The consortium of international partners works interconnectedly, leveraging their expertise in different areas to ensure the success of the Activity. Led by Mercy Corps, Tetra Tech will focus on the design of the infrastructure and market system delivery plan; and Sanergy provides the technical expertise in sanitation.

The Position

The Chief of Party (COP) provides strategic vision, overall leadership, technical oversight, and team and program management of this multi-million dollar USAID-funded program, while managing staff, partners and resources to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time, on scope, and within budget.

The CoP will work closely with the Senior Leadership Team composed of the Deputy Chief of Party – Stakeholder Engagement & Governance, Director – Program Controls, Director – Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning; Water Systems Infrastructure and Improvements Manager, Market Systems and Development Manager and 6 Program Delivery Managers. Together, they will be responsible for supervising program staff and ensuring accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations. 

Key responsibilities


  • Drive a culture of collaboration, learning and adaptation throughout the team and prosecute continuous improvement
  • Maintain focus and promote attention throughout the team of the overarching program goal, consistently ensuring alignment throughout all activities.
  • Lead overall cross team coordination efforts, bringing together different stakeholders to proactively find a collective and innovative solution for challenges.
  • Contribute to country wide team building efforts through collaboration with the Mercy Corps DRC team and influencing the development and strengthening of the organization.
  • Represent the program across the Mercy Corps global team and internally at Mercy Corps DRC, promoting best practice, sharing lessons learned and influencing the global strategy.


  • Provide technical direction, leadership and oversight of all technical elements. This encompasses Markets System Delivery, Stakeholder Relations and Governance, Water Infrastructure, Sanitation, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Gender, Youth, and Communication.
  • Work closely with Tetra Tech to ensure the highest standard of service provision strategy and implementation across four program sites. Critically analyze and provide feedback on the proposed plans, ensuring integration and synergy with the other components, particularly governance.
  • Environment – ensure cross program strategy aligns with USAID environmental regulations and best practice. Oversee Environment focal point, and the development of USAID required documents including: the global environmental management plan, the site-specific environmental review of factors, site specific environmental review reports and annual environmental management and mitigation report.
  • Resilience – ensure cross cutting resilience strategies are purposefully introduced to ensure the program is implemented in a sustainable way. This includes introducing an increased focus on climate resilience.


  • Ensure programs are running in alignment with Mercy Corps’ principles, values and the program’s strategic plan, particularly in regard to maintaining a focus on gender equality and social inclusion across the program.
  • Recognize, promote and act on opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where this is regularly encouraged.
  • Set the direction and support the Director – Program Controls in the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program.


  • 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 to build trust; maintaining and strengthening a healthy team culture is essential to this role.
  • Promote a team culture which values ongoing collaboration, learning and adaptation, integrating an increased Resilience approach to program implementation.
  • Supervise the Senior Leadership Team existing of 6 team members from Mercy Corps and partners. Clearly establish and communicate performance expectations and regularly provide constructive feedback via performance reviews with direct supervisees.
  • Strengthen the ownership of the Senior Leadership Team, empowering them to make decisions individually, contribute to strategic discussions and invest in continuous growth.
  • Promote a team culture that values diversity, equity and inclusion and work closely with HR and the Senior Leadership Team to actively promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the SWASSA team composition and leadership structure
  • 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.
  • Work with the Director of Program Controls to implement a workforce development plan, actively managing and promoting professional development and ongoing training of staff to ensure they are of the quality and technical capacity necessary to ensure the successful implementation of activities.


  • Work closely with the Director of Program Controls to ensure oversight and implementation of the highest standard of program management tools. This includes risk management, updated and timely workplans and accurate budgeting.
  • Lead Consortium Management, with the two critical international program partnerships to ensure sound coordination in the context of an overall program strategic and resilience-building framework
  • Provide oversight of all component implementation, including ensuring that each component has a detailed implementation plan aligned and coordinated with others.
  • Supervise and manage all program staff to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented in a coordinated fashion according to schedule, budget and quality.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
  • Act as program lead on relevant incident management responses, in coordination with country level leadership, as they arise.


  • Ensure Positive coordination with operations, finance and other support departments, ensuring open and transparent communication and coordination between both parties and knowledge and adherence to processes and policies.
  • Ensure effective systems and structures (including finance, logistics, procurement, security, administration and human resources) are implemented to maximize support to field activities whilst ensuring compliance with regulations and policies.
  • Hold ultimate accountability for budgetary oversight and management, whilst building the team’s capacity to understand budgeting and financial management.
  • Promote compliance with USAID regulations, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and ensure all activities are implemented accordingly.
  • Confirm that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.


  • Primary program representative for USAID and other cooperating sponsors, donors and high-level international stakeholders, including private sector entities, NGOs, public utilities, etc. Responsible for building strong relationships in the sector and ensuring proactive and continuous engagement to promote the program and maintain abreast of sector specific news and events.
  • Support the DCoP – Stakeholder Engagement, in engaging regularly with local government and civil society, Community and Water Sector based partners building a strong reputation for the program and creating support. The extent of this involvement will be dependent on the candidate’s language capacity and will be adjusted accordingly.
  • When required, act as the media spokesperson (in the candidate’s preferred language) on behalf of the program, giving interviews, delivering speeches and hosting press conferences under the strict guidance of the Communication team.

Supervisory Responsibility

Deputy Chief of Party – Stakeholder Relationships & Governance; Director – Program Controls; Director – Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning; Environment &Sanitation Manager; Market Systems Development Lead (Tetratech), Water Systems Infrastructure and Perfomance Manager (Tetratech).


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

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

  • MA/MSc in business, program management, engineering, or equivalent.
  • 10 years or more of management experience in increasingly responsible positions – preferably as the lead for a comparable water and sanitation project or senior leadership/management position on a larger project.
  • Experience working with water or electricity utilities, either public or private.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, private sector entities, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners.
  • Exceptional relationship building skills, with demonstrated experience in management of large and cross cultural teams. Must be committed to promoting equality and inclusion throughout their management style.
  • Strong preference will be given to applicants with private sector experience, business acumen and interest in public-private partnerships and contractual agreements (involving interlinked infrastructure and service delivery).
  • Fluency in oral/written English
  • French at high intermediate level is preferred. However, candidates who demonstrate sufficient capacity in other areas would need to commit to learning French and may be required to attend an intensive learning plan
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience of working with policies, procedures and approaches with regards to design, implementation, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation for projects of a similar size. USAID policy experience would be desirable.
  • Previous experience leading programs in complex contexts is strongly desired.


Success Factors

The successful Chief of Party will embody a collaborative and values driven leadership approach, combining exceptional program management and technical skills in commercial market sectors and business model development. S/he should bring experience of building and maintaining robust donor, private sector, government and partner relationships in a challenging context. The successful candidate will have an outstanding ability to ensure technical excellence, whilst holding team members accountable to the highest standards of program management and pushing for continuous adaptation and innovative improvements. 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 in the water or electricity utility (public or private) sector. S/he will have demonstrated skills in managing large scale and challenging programs in volatile and insecure environments. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem-solving and simultaneous attention to detail whilst maintaining 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.

Due to the nature of this program, and the operating environment, the successful candidate must have a high level of internal resilience.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is an accompanied position in Goma (DRC) (based in Gisenyi, Rwanda if accompanied with spouse and/or children). Individual accommodation will be provided according to Mercy Corps DRC housing policy. Goma is a provincial capital of over 900,000 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.

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.






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