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Iraq: Youth Programs Manager - Iraq

NGO/UN Job Vacancy

Organization: Mercy Corps
Country: Iraq
Closing date: 06 Jan 2018

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 operated in Iraq since 2003, implementing both emergency response and longer-term development programs that are assisting Iraqis – internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities and other vulnerable groups throughout the country. While remaining responsive to the urgent needs of those affected by conflict and displacement in Iraq, Mercy Corps also incorporates development activities into its programming, with a focus on identified strategic priority areas: conflict management, capacity building of local institutions, transformative youth empowerment. Mercy Corps' youth programming in Iraq is focusing around the critical needs of adolescents and youth as they relate to psychosocial support, life skills, and education in the interest of creating an environment that protects them and preserves their future.

General Position Summary

The Youth Programs Manager supervises youth program managers and teams and works closely with the Director of Development Programs to ensure effective coordination and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and quality assurance of Mercy Corps Iraq's youth portfolio. The Youth Programs Manager ensures leveraging and alignment with other youth programs in the region and works with Mercy Corps' regional and global technical support teams. S/he is responsible for contributing to program design and development; technical support to interventions; measurement, research and documentation; representation and partnership development, proposal and resource development; and training, mentoring and organizational learning for youth program staff nationally. The Youth Programs Manager provides overall technical support to the design and implementation of Mercy Corps youth programs, ensures coordination across sectors and supports the development of a strong and sustainable youth portfolio in Iraq. S/he is a strong writer and producer of professional documents, experienced in developing international relief and development proposals, and comfortable working with groups and delivering public presentations.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Develop strategies for youth programs in Iraq and the region, integrating global and regional best practices and building off the existing portfolio of programs in country;
  • Coordinate across sectors to ensure an integrated approach to portfolio development leveraging existing expertise and partnerships;
  • Assist in prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve these objectives and contribute to country- and region-wide strategy development.

Program Management

Program Development

  • Develop and expand Mercy Corps Iraq youth portfolio through innovative program development and quality technical leadership in field;
  • Work closely with Mercy Corps technical and program teams to pre-position the agency for additional opportunities to develop a robust portfolio of youth programs;
  • Supports assessments and program design for new opportunities that build off existing Mercy Corps programs;
  • Develop and provide additional resource recommendations (consultants) for quality proposal support.

Program Implementation

  • Supervise the Program Managers in the development and execution of program activities, monitoring and evaluation and reporting requirements;
  • Ensure all programs are in line with Mercy Corps internal rules and regulations as well as compliant with donor regulations;
  • Support program staff in understanding best practices and foundational tools for designing and implementing quality youth programming and incorporating them throughout youth projects;
  • Support program staff and consultants in delivering, evaluating and following up on training modules in accordance with the youth program objectives;
  • With the support of in-country and global M&E staff, train program staff on monitoring and evaluation tools for youth programs, including M&E plan, baseline and end of program surveys, and other tools.

Training and Capacity Building

  • Development of a strong and sustainable youth programs team across the country able to respond effectively and efficiently to the needs of youth in Iraq.
  • Provide technical assistance to youth program activities in cooperation with key project stakeholders, including Mercy Corps staff, local non-governmental organizations, local government officials, community-based organizations, other international agencies on the ground, and key donors;
  • Increase staff capacity by designing, leading and coordinating technical training sessions on youth programming for Mercy Corps staff and local partners and providing ongoing coaching and mentoring;
  • Promote active learning, adaptive management, including within agency-level youth development networks and working groups, through documentation and knowledge sharing around best practices and lessons learned.


  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders;
  • As relevant, maintain good working relationships with donors, the host country government and local leaders, partner agencies, and other key stakeholders;
  • Represent Mercy Corps Iraq youth programming externally with donors and peer agencies;
  • Participate and present at conferences, working groups or other forums as prioritized by team.

Team Management

  • 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.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • 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.

Influence & Representation

  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, 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
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Organizational Learning

  • 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.

Accountability to Beneficiaries

  • 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

Youth Program Managers, M&E staff in Mercy Corps Iraq youth programs.


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs, Iraq

Works Directly With: other project/program teams, finance and operations teams, Youth and Gender Technical Support Unit

Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor Degree or equivalent in international development, youth education or development, social sciences or other relevant field preferred. Masters preferred.
  • 5 + years relevant professional experience with programming in adolescent/youth development, preferably in insecure or transitional environments and with refugee populations.
  • Previous experience of working in insecure environments.
  • Experience in child/adolescent protection, psychosocial support, adolescent/youth development, and/or youth conflict management.
  • Experience and proven flexibility in advising program teams in adjusting activities based on changing political circumstances and in response to needs articulated by local partners and program stakeholders.
  • Strong writing, research, training and M&E skills for youth programming.
  • Experience managing national and international staff.
  • Excellent English required, Arabic or Kurdish language skills preferred.
  • Must be able to work independently while being a strong team player.

Success Factors

The successful Youth Programs Manager will have the ability to multi-task, set priorities, and work under tight deadlines within a complex team. S/he will demonstrate strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps. S/he will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, assume leadership, and make solid decisions while working remotely from country leadership.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Erbil, Iraq and it requires up to 35% travel. This position will require residing in group housing. The team member must follow all security protocols at all times. This position is eligible for hardship and R&R breaks per Mercy Corps policy regulations. Erbil is a large city with water, electricity and internet services. City electricity is not steady yet supported with generators. Health services are accessible. Supermarkets and fresh produce is available with a diverse variety.

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.


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