Mercy Corps – Country Director – Kenya

Programming Nairobi, Kenya


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 withinnow, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps has been present in Kenya since 2009, focusing its interventions on four objectives: peace and conflict management; governance (principally at county level); livelihood/market systems; and youth employment/employability (including the social and economic development of adolescents). The four objectives serve to increase community resilience to drought and other shocks and stresses, and to decrease fragility. Working with a diverse base of donors that includes the UK Department for International Development (DFID), European Commission (EC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States Department of State (USDS), Google.org, MasterCard Foundation, Coca Cola Africa Foundation, Rockefeller, and Nike Foundation, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Mercy Corps has been working together with communities, the private sector and county government to respond to election violence, address protracted conflicts, build the economic and social assets of youth and adolescents, improve communities’ capacities to cope in the face of drought, and make viable market investments in the arid lands of Kenya.

General Position Summary

The Mercy Corps Kenya Country Director is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully managing all programming in Kenya. Looking to increase interventions that have already directly resulted in lasting improvement in the lives of more than 650,000 Kenyans, s/he will continue to develop sustainable, multi-sector programming that is accountable to both beneficiaries and donors. Placing a high value on innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships, s/he pursues funding opportunities that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio, guided by a long-term strategy. With a total budget of approximately $8.2 million, the Country Director has full supervisory responsibility for the country team. This is an exciting opportunity to influence key outcomes and make a lasting difference in the lives of Kenyans.

Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision

  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies to team members
  • and stakeholders that translates into concrete programs and work plans.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy development.
  • Lead the annual country planning process and provide strategic updates.
  • Use headquarters and regional technical support teams collaboratively.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome. Remain current with development thinking, including adaptive management, systems thinking, complexity, social impact, value for money, etc.

Team Management

  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally
  • and formally via regular one-on-ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • 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.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary. Ensure that staff onboarding is timely, comprehensive and consistent

Program Operations Management

  • Apply Mercy Corps’ M&E principles and framework to programs and ensure the country’s overall
  • strategy includes effective, timely reporting systems for all donors.
  • Ensure effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor
  • policies/procedures.
  • Oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, if applicable.
  • Build and maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties between finance and operations.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and
  • beneficiary accountability standards.
  • Support country teams to improve data collection, management, and use to build a culture of adaptive management, high-quality program performance, and learning.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Coordinate overall country budget; manage budget within approved spending levels and establish an annual cash flow plan to ensure a steady and adequate supply of funds for program activities.
  • Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support field programs.
  • Build and maintain an environment of collaboration among program, finance, operations and human resource team members resulting in optimal support for program activities.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to programming.
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.
  • Work with auditors to facilitate their work and then work with the country team to make changes based on their findings and recommendations.

Influence & Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in
  • community activities as appropriate.
  • Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local governments, foundations, the private sector, etc.
  • Anticipate needs, understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor’s views on development.
  • Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the objectives for the country as a whole.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.
  • Exhibit awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs.


  • Liaise with the VP of Operations, Regional Program Director, and Africa Security Advisor on crucial events, high-risk periods, and incident reporting and security policy changes.
  • Manage security and safety of the entire country team and Mercy Corps assets according to best practices, MC operating standards and field realities.
  • Ensure the safety and security of staff members through regular review and adaptation of security protocols and procedures including the country security plan.

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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility:
9 direct (BRACED Program Director, Chief of
Party KEVP, PEARL Program Manager, Operations Manager, Finance Manager, Sr. Human Resource Officer, MEL Manager, YES Program Manager) and 75 indirect staff.


Reports Directly To: Regional Program Director

Works Directly With:, HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit; Uganda leadership and program team given multiple cross border programs with Uganda, as well as staff involved in multi-country and complex programming

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA/S preferred.
  • 7-10 years of field experience in international relief and development programs, including
  • demonstrable success in managing (large, complex, transitional) development programs.
  • 5 years of senior-level leadership, capacity building and field management experience.
  • Demonstrated success managing and bringing together a multi cultural team with team members
  • in multiple offices.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills.
  • Demonstrated experience multi-tasking and success in securing funding for country programs.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government,
  • private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
  • Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with (donor), (government)
  • grant management.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to
  • obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Kiswahili is a plus.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Previous work experience in countries where travel to insecure areas is required, and
  • management of programs in insecure locations.
  • Capacity to respond to emergency and disaster situations as appropriate.

Success Factors

The successful Kenya CD will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team. S/he will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. The role is a hands-on position and success will be determined by the level of direct engagement in program development, oversight of projects, fundraising for new projects and representing the agency to stakeholders. The successful CD should welcome multi-tasking and taking an active role in program design and overarching strategy. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The CD is based in the capital city – Nairobi. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is family accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are many international schools in Kenya. Staff have a high degree of access to services (medical, electricity, water, etc). This position requires 35% travel by road and air to field offices in often insecure environments.

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.

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Human Capital Resources and Solutions.

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