Temporary Director of Programs - Columbia

Country: Colombia
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 23 Jul 2021

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

For 15 years, Mercy Corps has successfully worked in more than half of the country with communities most affected by conflict, both pre and post-2016 Peace Accords. Mercy Corps program participants include displaced and refugee populations, smallholder farmers and victims of natural disasters. Mercy Corps Colombia’s rapidly growing portfolio, which will have an operational budget of approximately $20M+ in FY2021, includes programs focusing on the Venezuelan refugee response (including cash transfers, psychosocial support, legal support, small business and employment opportunities), land titling, illicit crop substitution, and improved productivity and increased income from coffee farming, especially for women farmers. Mercy Corps Colombia is the lead organization of the VenEsperanza cash consortium, the largest cash transfer program in Colombia, which includes as its main partners (sub-grantees) World Vision, Save the Children and IRC. VenEsperanza has reached, to date, over 120,000 individuals with Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA). Mercy Corps Colombia donors include USAID/BHA, BPRM (State Department), European Commission, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the Jack Dorsey (Twitter) StartSmall Fund. Also, we have become a trusted partner of several key Government of Colombia agencies including the President’s Office, Foreign Affairs, the national Victim’s Unit, the National Learning Service, and the Agency for Child and Family Welfare.

General Position Summary

The STA Colombia Director of Programs will be directly responsible for program design and implementation in Colombia during the period of assignment. They will have supervisory responsibility for the FY program portfolio of approximately $26 million across a diverse group of private foundation, USG, and European Union donors. The DoP will supervise 4 staff members directly, including the Cash Program Manager, BPRM Program Manager, MEL Manager, and CARM Coordinator. The Director of Programs will, when needed, mobilize the internal and external technical resources to ensure the quality of the programs implemented under his/her supervision. They will work closely with the Operations, Finance, HR and Security departments to ensure that all the aspects of the program implementation under his/her responsibility are compliant with MC and donors standards, rules and regulations. During this STA, the DoP will work closely with key managers to provide leadership in all areas of programming excellence. The DoP will support the Mercy Corps Colombia Country Director and VenEsperanza Consortium Director to ensure that all programs meet targets in a timely manner and with the highest level of quality and accountability, both to donors and program participants.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Oversight to ensure programs are able to meet donor and internal obligations on scope, time and budget, including efficient coordination on common program, operational and funding issues;
  • Provide support to the startup of new grants;
  • Facilitate sharing and learning across different Mercy Corps Colombia offices and support teams to incorporate learning from the response, and other regions, in project design and management;
  • Liaise regularly with designated Senior Program Officer in Portland and Edinburgh, as well as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Partnership Services, to ensure successful grant management with donor headquarters.
  • Ensure quality donor reporting.


  • Sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback as needed during the assignment period;
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives;


  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations;
  • Work with program managers to review expenses vs. budget on a monthly basis;
  • Provide adequate technical, analytical and administrative support for programs.


  • In coordination with Colombia Country Director, the VenEsperanza Director and other senior leadership, engage in effective representation with donors, international and local NGOs and networks;
  • Represent Mercy Corps Colombia in cash consortium and coordination platforms such as the Collaborative Cash Delivery (CCD) platform, the Cash Working Group, UN coordination groups, and the International NGO Forum as needed;
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support program objectives.


  • Work with the Country Director and the Security Focal Point to ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

4 direct reports including two Program Managers, the MEL Manager and CARM Coordinator.


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Country Director, VenEsperanza Director, Finance Manager, Operations Manager, Security Focal Point, and HR Manager, as well as the LAC Regional Director. The DoP also works closely with the SPO in Portland and other HQ (e.g. TSU) team members.

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

  • An MA/S in a relevant field;
  • At least 7 years of senior-level leadership and management experience in large and complex programs including humanitarian operations, previous work experience in the Americas preferred;
  • Knowledge of the international humanitarian system, institutions and donors, and of compliance requirements, accountability frameworks and best practices; prior experience with funding from OFDA (BHA), USAID, EC, and private foundations;
  • Robust experience in developing, operationalizing, and implementing program strategies;
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments;
  • Highly-developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching;
  • Solid project management skills related to international, cross-functional teams;
  • Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success;
  • Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Spanish required (fluency preferred).

Success Factors

The successful candidate is an opinionated, fast thinking, experienced leader. S/he has a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver impactful programs in challenging environments. S/he is an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. S/he is able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. S/he is able to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team-building and capacity-building of national staff. S/he has excellent information management skills, is a strategic thinker. S/he has an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Colombia.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based either in Bogotá or in one the Colombia field offices. Housing will be provided as individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. All MC Colombia employees are expected to work a 5-day work week with occasional need to work extended hours and on weekends/holidays.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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.

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.

How to apply:

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