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Program / Department Summary

The IDEAL (Implementer-Led Design, Evidence, Analysis) Director is a position overseeing Mercy Corps’s technical and thought leadership on the Implementer Led Design, Evidence, Analysis, and Learning Activity, a global Leader with Associates (LWA) award funded by the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and implemented through a consortium led by Save the Children in partnership with Mercy Corps and TANGO. IDEAL’s goal is to improve the overall effectiveness of BHA-funded development and emergency food security activities. IDEAL focuses on three workstreams 1) Data and Decision-making; 2) Adaptive Management; 3) Humanitarian, Development and Peace Coherence, and two cross-cutting areas: emergency programming and localization.

Mercy Corps is responsible for providing technical and thought leadership on IDEAL in advancing the effectiveness of BHA funded activities related to emergency programming, localization and humanitarian-development-peace programming across all workstreams, including data for decision-making, adaptive management, and working at the nexus of humanitarian, development and peace programming. This includes assessing capacity gaps and programming priorities and integrating technical thought leadership across all of IDEAL’s content focus areas (CFAs).

General Position Summary


  • Provide overall leadership, direction, and vision to Mercy Corps IDEAL program award
  • Coordinate across IDEAL team to refine, define and drive Mercy Corps’ technical leadership areas
  • Provide strategic, technical guidance across Mercy Corps’ workstreams; support teams to develop and deliver high quality concepts that respond to both opportunities and gaps across the donor and implementing partner community
  • Partner with consortium members, BHA and other key stakeholders in advancing IDEAL’s vision through strategic planning, regular review and reflection and adaptive management
  • Ensure coherence across Mercy Corps’ workstreams and activities
  • Facilitate integrated planning and implementation processes
  • Support teams to effectively roll out of capacity-building and learning content through agreed-upon processes, including through training delivery and knowledge dissemination to advance the improved application of best
  • Facilitate strategic linkages with other associate and learning awards to leverage synergies towards meeting IDEAL’s objectives


    • Provide overall program management oversight to Mercy Corp’s work on IDEAL; ensure the program is on scope, time and budget,
    • Serve as the senior management representative on the IDEAL Senior Management Team and other key forums
    • Effectively manage budget and identify resource needs for program delivery
    • Ensure flexible, adaptive and compliant management, in line with program needs
    • Serve as accountability point on all program deliverables, ensuring high quality and timely submissions;
    • Work with IDEAL consortium team members to identify and mobilize technical experts who can provide short-term technical assistance in critical subject areas as needed.
    • Clearly communicate the rationale for activities and updates on the process with IDEAL partners and USAID for feedback and approvals
    • Provide accountability for overall IDEAL team performance in line with Mercy Corps systems, standards, and People with Possibilities values
    • Facilitate onboarding of new team learning award members


      • Oversee and effectively manage Mercy Corps’ IDEAL team members
      • Encourage a team culture of growth, learning, creativity and innovation by incorporating a culture of continuous feedback, development and performance management.
      • Establish credibility within the team by demonstrating personal accountability, flexibility, resilience and dedication to quality programming by creating positive relationships and having composure in a complex situation.


        • Serve as Mercy Corps’ lead voice and representative on the IDEAL program
        • Nurture and maintain robust relationships across BHA, USAID, SDC (ISSD) and Save the Children
        • Amplify the voice of IDEAL internally and externally, ensuring all stakeholders are aware of the learning award and Mercy Corps’ role
        • Represent technical approaches to USAID, other donors, and implementing partner stakeholders
        • Identify appropriate networks and develop productive relationships with stakeholders and platforms focused on improving the quality and impact of programming;
        • Participate in events and leverage collaborative activities organized by relevant networks such as the Cash Learning Partnership (CALP), Global Food Security Cluster and Small Enterprise Education Promotion (SEEP) Network to advance IDEAL’s objectives;
        • Represent IDEAL’s work around programming at industry events as needed.
        • Develop and cultivate networks of technical and functional experts who IDEAL can access for long and short-term technical assistance.
          Ensure both field perspectives and USAID’s strategy are reflected in all project results, activities and materials.

          Supervisory Responsibility

          Senior Emergency Advisor, Senior Humanitarian-Development-Peace Advisor, Social Accountability Lead, Localization Lead, Program Coordinator


          Reports Directly To: Mercy Corps Food Security Portfolio Director

          Works Directly With: IDEAL’s Food Security Technical Officers, Program Officer; Mercy Corps Food Security and Resilience Team, other Technical Support Units, Senior Director, Global ResilienceKnowledge Management Advisor;

          Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

          Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, and 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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills

        • BA in relevant field

        • 10 years of experience implementing international development and emergency projects, preferably food security programs including demonstrated experience managing cross-cultural teams to define and deliver on project work plans.

        • 5+ years of experience implementing food security, nutrition, agriculture, emergency or resilience programs

        • Extensive experience in capacity development, facilitation, knowledge management and learning.

        • Demonstrated ability to liaise with senior level leaders at donor agencies, and USAID to set a shared vision and define expectations

        • Demonstrated ability to deliver results in difficult environments, and negotiate solutions

        • Demonstrated ability to function productively within a consortium.

        • Demonstrated ability to provide capacity building within teams and/or with government partners, such as ministries and NGOs so that the team is better able to achieve results.

        • Experience providing technical leadership in design and implementation of USAID’s former Office of Food for Peace (now BHA) funded activities strongly preferred;

        • Proven proficiency in program management and previous experience supervising direct reports.

        • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural communication and networking skills as well as the ability to sell ideas, get buy-in and win support;

        • Excellent writing, editing, and communications experience;

        • Familiarity with technical and programmatic requirements of USAID and other major donors around emergency food security and humanitarian-development-peace programming is strongly preferred;

        • Ability and willingness to travel and work independently, occasionally in harsh environments for up to 25% of the time is required;

          Success Factors

          A successful candidate for the Director will be a self-starter with demonstrated experience leading cross-cultural teams to define and meet project objectives and work plans that build on technical excellence and align with donor expectations. The Director will have exceptional verbal and written communication skills and experience developing learning and communication products for diverse audiences. The candidate will have experience in food security and emergency or humanitarian programming. The candidate will demonstrate enthusiasm to improve the quality and impact of programming to meet the needs of the world’s most vulnerable populations before, during and after times of crisis. They will demonstrate creativity in approaching their work and willingness to test new ideas and iterate. This role is ideal for someone strong in cross-cultural communications and someone who shows perseverance in the face of challenges. A key success factor for this role is the ability to engage with a variety of stakeholders ranging from donor representatives to consortium partners. This role requires someone who is able to work with ambiguity yet find a way to offer tangible solutions. It also requires the ability to lead and provide direction for assigned direct reports. Understanding field dynamics that are impacted by low connectivity and language limitations is important. We are seeking an individual who is flexible in a non-hierarchical environment and a multi-tasker with the proven ability to organize and prioritize competing priorities. This individual will have the ability to communicate effectively with team members of varied experiences and work styles, follow procedures, and meet deadlines.

          Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

          Pending restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the position will be co-located between Mercy Corps office in Washington D.C. and to Save the Children’s offices in Washington, D.C., and requires 25-40% travel both within the US and internationally. The EP Senior Advisor will travel to field sites that may lack amenities or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed.

          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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.

          As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. This is done following the conclusion of recruitment and prior to assuming full employment.

          Our screening process is designed to be transparent and completed in partnership with new Team Members. You will have the opportunity to disclose any prior convictions at the conclusion of the recruitment process before the check is initiated. We ask that you do not disclose any prior convictions in your application materials or during the recruitment process.

          Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based Employees

          Mercy Corps has determined that, in an effort to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Mercy Corps employees working in the United States, all U.S.-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, regardless of prior COVID-19 infection status. This policy is necessary to ensure not only the safety of our workforce, but the ongoing functionality of the organization.

          This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.

          For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment. Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations. Failure to comply may impact your employment. Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided.

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