WASH Program Manager

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 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 is expanding its current WASH portfolio in Iraq, scaling up in response to the emerging population displacement crises in Salah al-Din, Anbar, 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.

General Position Summary

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).

Essential Job Responsibilities

• 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.

• Supervise and monitor the implementation of WASH activities, ensuring that all activities are compliant with the grant requirements.
• 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.
• Develop needs assessment strategies, design interventions accordingly and contribute to building the capacity of Mercy Corps staff, as well as project stakeholders.
• 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.
• Participate in cluster working groups and meetings.
• 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.
• 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.
• Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
• Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.
• Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary.
• Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
• 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.

• Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.
• Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.
• Ensure internal and donor compliance through a strong knowledge of rules applicable to the Iraq context.
• 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.
• Ensure documentation and filing of project activities in compliance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
• Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with cluster, suppliers, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
• Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.

• 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.
• Stay informed of incidents as they arise through the field and are raised through the program coordination mechanism.

• 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.

• Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward 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, Project Officers and Assistants)


Reports Directly To: Emergency Team Leader, Iraq
Works Directly With: Emergency Program Managers, Sector Leaders, MEL Unit, Senior WASH Advisor (TSU), Program Operations, Finance

Knowledge and Experience

• Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering, Public Health.
• 5-7 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.

Success Factors
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.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Erbil, Iraq and is unaccompanied. Travel within Iraq is required to support all Mercy Corps Iraq’s offices and programs (50% travel). Erbil is a comfortable city with most amenities and moderate security. Suitable group housing is available in Erbil.

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.