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 multi-sectoral programs geared towards sustainable development that link humanitarian and recovery objectives to long-term market and governance systems development: Livelihoods, Market systems development, Cash, Education and Social Cohesion. Our livelihoods and market systems development programs work to improve employment opportunities for vulnerable populations while strengthening market supporting functions to ensure that local economies can better support populations over the long term. Our multipurpose cash assistance programs are a foundational activity for livelihoods and market engagement. Our education programs advocate to the federal government to improve access to and quality of education, while delivering accelerated learning programs to youth. Our social cohesion programs build stronger communities while laying the foundation for better governance. This position will focus on our Livelihoods portfolio with an opportunity to expand to other sectors should Mercy Corps be successful in new business development.


General Position Summary

The Head of Sustainable Development provides overall leadership, technical oversight, management and strategic vision for this portfolio, while managing staff, partners and resources to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time, on scope, and within budget, with a focus on the Livelihoods portfolio. The Head of Sustainable Development will supervise key program staff and ensure high program performance and quality. The Head of Sustainable Development will be responsible for ensuring strict adherence to internal Mercy Corps policies and procedures as well as donor rules and regulations. The Head of Sustainable Development will also have representation duties to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders. The Head of Sustainable Development will support on new business development.


Essential Job Responsibilities



  • Recognize and act on opportunities for innovative action around sustainable development and operationalizing durable solutions and the humanitarian-development nexus within markets and governance systems, with a focus on livelihoods programming.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
  • Oversee the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the portfolio.
  • 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.
  • Facilitate 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, with support of the Program Performance and Development (PPD) and Performance and Quality (PaQ) teams.
  • Oversee the performance of partners and sub-grantees, with support of PPD team.
  • 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 PPD and PaQ teams.
  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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, relevant 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: Livelihoods program management team

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/MSc in economics, international development, policy, business administration, governance or other relevant degree.
  • 7 years+ of management experience in progressively responsible positions – preferably at a comparable level for a comparable size of programs, in multiple relevant sectors: livelihoods
  • , market systems, or similar sectors.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, private sector and partners.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with major institutional donor policies, procedures and approaches with regards to design, implementation, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation.
  • PRINCE 2, PMD Pro 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 Head of Sustainable Development will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor, government, private sector 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 Head of Sustainable Development must have demonstrated experience managing transitional humanitarian and recovery programs, expanding to market systems or governance development programming. 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 and 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

This position will be based in Mosul and is an unaccompanied position. This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Travel within Iraq is required to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s offices and programs. This will include mainly to the Iraqi Kurdish Region, Center and South Iraq. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.


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.

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. 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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