Program Director (WASH & Water Resources Management)

Mercy Corps

Erbil, , IQ

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.


Program / Department Summary

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’s goal is to work with civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate needs and reduce longer-term vulnerabilities of communities within Iraq. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) providing humanitarian assistance to conflict affected populations to meet basic needs, maintain human dignity and facilitate self-empowerment; (2) supporting income-generating opportunities that transition individuals and households from financial dependency towards financial independence while facilitating market-system approaches; (3) working with young females and young males to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society, as well as access to education, psychosocial support, and economic opportunities; and (4) promoting reconciliation and foster trust across community divisions by strengthening conflict management and prevention mechanisms and enhancing social cohesion.


Mercy Corps runs a portfolio of WASH programming that reach over 400,000 individuals per year. Our WASH programming includes work inside and out of camps with interventions that include: rehabilitation of water treatment plants, development of water networks, eVouchers for hygiene kits and water trucking, hygiene promotion, solid waste management, NFI distributions, water trucking, reverse osmosis units, drainage, rehabilitation of latrines and showers, and maintenance of all WASH infrastructure. Our work includes acting as the main WASH actor in IDP camps. We aim to expand our portfolio of humanitarian programming to include water resource management, including good governance approaches to ensuring strategy, proper resourcing and technical expertise to better manage water resources in country.


General Position Summary

The Program Director provides overall leadership, technical oversight, management and strategic vision for a 10+ million USD OFDA-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 Program Director will be poised to manage a portfolio of programs, should the WASH/water resource management portfolio grow. The Program Director will supervise key program staff and ensure high program performance and quality. The Program Director will be responsible for ensuring strict adherence to internal Mercy Corps policies and procedures as well as donor rules and regulations. The Program Director will also have representation duties to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders.


Essential Job Responsibilities



  • Recognize and act on opportunities for innovative action and operationalizing the humanitarian-development nexus within the water, sanitation and water resource management sectors.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
  • Oversee the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program and sector.
  • Where relevant, lead and contribute to donor cultivation and new business opportunities/proposal development to grow the portfolio.



  • Oversee program start-up and ongoing program management and administration of teams across various field locations, ensuring mechanisms for effective adaptive management are in place and utilized regularly.
  • Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work-plans, and ensure the delivery of the same.
  • 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 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, in close coordination with the Program Performance and Quality Department.
  • 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), including those for complex programs.
  • Lead all coordination and communications with the Mercy Corps internal Complex Board.
  • Ability to transition to manage a portfolio of programs should the organization identify other sources of funding under WASH, integrated water resource management or similar sectoral-focused programs.



  • Recruit and maintain a program team and ensure that program staff receive necessary inductions / training (including program management certification where required).
  • Create and sustain a work environment conducive to professional growth and of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Set a team culture valuing learning and adaptive management in support of an ongoing resilience approach in programming
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews with direct supervisees, and ensuring that supervisory staff do the same.
  • Implement, and ensure all staff members are effectively using the performance planning and management system, establishing performance expectations and regularly providing constructive feedback.
  • 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.
  • Supervise and manage all program staff to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented in a coordinated fashion according to schedule, budget and quality.
  • Manage and help with 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.
  • Supervise and manage all program partnerships to ensure sound coordination in the context of an overall program strategic and resilience-building framework.
  • Transition to manage a team across a portfolio of WASH, integrated water resources management programming should the portfolio grow.



  • 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 at a high level of quality, as required.



  • 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.
  • Maintain productive and strong working relationships with all program support functions.



  • In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management) needs of the program are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policy and with the maximum benefit to the program.
  • Monitor adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations.



  • Liaise with and represent program to the donor(s), government actors, partners and other key stakeholders.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events in the field, in close coordination with the Deputy/Country Director.
  • Ensure close coordination and information sharing with partners, sub-grantees, local government, WASH Cluster partners, other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with communities and local government.



  • 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.


Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Deputy Country Director

Works Directly With: Program Support Function counterparts, program specific staff, headquarters operations and technical support unit team members

Supervisory Responsibility: Senior Program Manager, Program Manager, WASH Cluster Co-Coordinator 


Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/MSc in environmental or infrastructure engineering, business administration, governance or equivalent.
  • 7 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 complex project.
  • 5 years+ of experience in the management and oversight of USG-funded programs of similar size and scope.
  • Experience working as a WASH actor in camps; managing large-scale WASH infrastructure rehabilitation; supplemented by hygiene promotion and cash-based programming.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with USG policies, procedures and approaches with regards to design, implementation, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation.
  • PRINCE 2 or other program management certification is strongly preferred.
  • Strong management skills, with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
  • Fluency in oral/written English is required; Arabic is highly preferred.
  • Previous experience in the Iraq or the region is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.


Success Factors

The successful Program Director will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor, government and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage programs. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The Program Director must have demonstrated experience managing large infrastructure programs and experience providing WASH services in camps, including strong CARM functions. S/he will have demonstrated skills in managing programs in challenging, insecure, constantly-changing environments. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem-solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. S/he will have the vision to transition a humanitarian portfolio to a recovery and development context, with the ability to fundraise to grow the portfolio. 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

The position is based in Erbil, Iraq. Personnel in this location are expected to follow all security protocols. This unaccompanied position will be required to reside in group housing environment.


Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit 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.





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