Director of Programs – Niger


Programming  Niamey, Niger


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.


Mercy Corps has been working in Niger since July 2005, when we first responded to the severe food security crisis that plagued the country. Today, our interventions focus on CLA, food security, gender, livestock research, social cohesion and peacebuilding, youth employment, and piloting climate technology. Our work in these areas contributes to Nigerien communities’ resilience to shocks and stresses, and enables them to achieve long-term, inclusive and equitable development. Our vision for change requires the private sector, government and civil society to work together to create meaningful and sustainable change. Mercy Corps Niger is currently implementing a number of development and humanitarian programs with field offices in Abala, Filingue, Maradi, Tillabéri, and recently Ouagadougou. In 2018, we were able to benefit more than 139,000 vulnerable Nigeriens. Mercy Corps has also been working through partners in Burkina Faso since 2016 on conflict and livestock programming.

General Position Summary

The Director of Programs (DOP) will have management responsibility and budget oversight over more than $10 million in programming. He/she will work closely with the Country Director (CD) and programs team to lead new program development and ensure effective program coordination and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance and accountability in close collaboration with the operations team. The position is based in Niamey, with regular travel to the field sites. S/he will help represent the Mercy Corps programs to donors, other NGOs, stakeholders, thematic clusters, relevant government authorities, and other program partners

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Assist the Country Director with driving the strategic vision for Mercy Corps in Niger and implementing the three-year country strategy. This includes ensuring that crosscutting themes are integrated in all aspects of program implementation, development and management.
  • Help outline and maintain strategic plans for the implementation of program activities, including finalizing target areas/activities, methods of operation and means of evaluation.


  • Provide leadership in all aspects of program oversight and coordination to ensure consistent quality, including the incorporation of crosscutting themes, quality data analysis, lessons learned and best practices.
  • Work with the Deputy Programs Director and Program Managers to monitor adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations.
  • Support the Deputy Programs Director and Program Managers to oversee performance of partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors.
  • Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites for monitoring, quality control and program staff mentoring and coaching.
  • Build up programs’ staff capacity and ensure effective and qualitative program implementation
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify that all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support all program activities.
  • Ensure Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards (PM@MC) based on the organization-wide guide.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning

  • Ensure that robust monitoring and evaluation, accountability, quality data collection and analysis systems are in place, adhered to and used as a decision-making tool.
  • Work with the Country Director to roll out and monitor DIG (Design for Impact) across all programs and develop a global MEL system with existing MEL staff.
  • Provide ongoing training and guidance to team members on MEL best practices.


  • Work closely with Mercy Corps’ New Initiatives Team to identify new initiatives and opportunities that respond to identified needs and the country strategy, in coordination with the Country Director and Program Managers, as well as the Regional Program Team, headquarters-based Senior Program Officers, Technical Advisors and other relevant staff.
  • Plan and lead the country team to assess the needs for program design, evaluate, analyze and further develop multi-year country specific strategic plan for Niger, in line with the regional value propositions and Mercy Corps’ global strategy.
  • Put in place a business team focusing on the development of new businesses, new programs, etc.
  • Work closely with the Country Director and program team for the development of solid solicited and unsolicited concept notes and proposals.

Influence & Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Country Director.
  • Establish close and productive relationships with donors, NGOs, national government authorities, and strategic partners in Niamey, in close coordination with the Country Director.
  • Coordinate activities with consortium partners, sub-grantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that all 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 PARTICIPANTS

  • 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: Deputy Programs Director, Technical Advisors, Program Directors and Managers, Country MEL Manager, Communications team.

AccountabilityReports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With: Program team, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit and partner organizations

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S or equivalent in international development, political/social science or other relevant field.
  • A minimum of 8 years of experience in progressively more senior management roles in international NGOs of great scope and complexity.
  • Demonstrated leadership, strategic thinking/planning, and management and presentation skills.
  • Proven record of accomplishment in program design, proposal writing and development, and donor reporting.
  • Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s), including ideally food security in complex food/nutritional insecurity environment, agriculture, economic recovery, energy & environment, gender, livelihoods, and financial services.
  • Experience with resilience programming, humanitarian response, and/or market systems strongly preferred.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain relationships with implementing partners, host governments, donors, local organizations and partners.
  • Considerable experience with capacity building of team members around key technical areas.
  • Strong familiarity with CLA, MEL systems and accountability mechanisms.
  • Fluent written and oral communication in English and French.
  • Relevant experience in the Sahel or West Africa preferable.

Success Factors

The successful Director of Programs will have senior level experience in coordinating and managing programs in complex areas affected by chronic food and nutritional insecurity and climate change patterns. S/he will have exceptional program development and proposal writing skills, and 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 the region. S/he will have proven experience with building capacity in cross-cultural teams, with strong leadership, communication and mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps team 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. Patience, tenacity, diplomacy and a sense of humor will contribute to success.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Director of Programs is based in Niamey. This is an accompanied position and housing is available in individual accommodation with freedom of movement. There are international schools (French and American) in Niamey and the city provides good access to most consumer goods. There are a number of health clinics, but serious illnesses will require evacuation. During the hot season is plagued by very high temperatures and frequent power cuts. This position requires up to 25% travel by plane and/or vehicle to field offices in relatively secure but climatically challenging environments. This position is eligible for R&R but not hardship pay.

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 Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

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