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Senior Program Officer (SPO) – Americas Region
Mercy Corps’ operations in The Americas are focused in Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, the Caribbean Basin (including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and expansion into new islands) and the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington states). Within this collection of countries there are many different challenges and opportunities that are all undergoing dramatic transitions that have the potential to create significant opportunities for development and change. Mercy Corps is well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting forces for positive change in these countries. Our path to being relevant and having significant impact will be through the clear identification of high leverage strategies and related resource mobilization, learning about what works in the current context and from our significant experience in the region, recruiting and developing exceptional regional team members to lead our programs.
The Senior Program Officer (SPO) supports strategic, impactful, high-quality programming in the Americas. The SPO works closely with the Deputy Regional Director, Technical Director, and Regional Director and is an essential member of the Regional Management Team. They are the headquarter’s (HQ) focal point for regional and country level structures and transitions and updates and progress on program implementation and impact. They lead, manage and mentor a team of Program Officers (POs) and Assistant Program Officers (APOs), ensuring quality work, and instilling a cohesive team dynamic.
The SPO supports country teams in multiple aspects of their programs, and plays a key role in connecting the field to HQ resources and represents country/regional interests internally with various HQ teams, as well as with external stakeholders. They are ultimately responsible for overall monitoring of grants/programs for compliance with external (donor) requirements, adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and procedures, and direct desk engagement with relevant internal stakeholders.
- The SPO is the HQ point of responsibility for overall monitoring on grants/programs for both external/donor requirements as well as Mercy Corps’ internal policies and requirements.
- Provide ongoing monitoring of the status of programs and complete regular check-ins on grant requirements across the region (such as co-financing/match, BVA, data aggregation, etc), with particular emphasis on program portfolio support the Colombia country program
- Support country team’s adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and Program Management minimum standards as well as adherence to Mercy Corps’ Complex Programs management standards.
PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRAM GROWTH
- Lead HQ coordination and prioritization for development of concept notes and proposals (unless designated otherwise), monitor the timeline, status of proposal and communicate to the relevant parties as appropriate.
- Review final draft for coherence and manage submission to the donor.
- May be appointed a different role in the design process and travel to the field if needed, including writing entire or sections of proposals.
- In the event of a major disaster or emergency in the region, work directly with Mercy Corps’ Global Response Unit, regional leaders, and Resource Development teams to coordinate an appropriate and timely response.
PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT & MANAGEMENT
- Coordinate partnership negotiation & development, ensuring necessary teams are engaged to help further program, country and regional interests related to Americas regional programming and US domestic managed awards.
- Collaborate with regional Senior Program Development Officer to conduct partner mapping and engagement activities, and donor scoping and relationship-building in new geographic areas or sector areas of interest
TEAM AND OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT
- Develop the capacity of the Americas RPT, deepen their understanding of their roles, and support their career development.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
- 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.
- Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.
- Provide support to RD and country teams on matters pertaining to strategy, planning, budgeting, programming, management and security incidents.
- Engage in regular and timely communication with country team directors, managers, and operations leads, including travel to country offices as needed;
- Support country, regional and agency leadership in adhering to Mercy Corps and donor policies and procedures, including rollout of new initiatives and standards.
- Represent regional interests and programs with external stakeholders, in concert with the country program teams.
STRATEGY, PLANNING & LEARNING
- Support country teams with strategy development and planning and travel to the field to support facilitation of the process as requested.
- Facilitate learning across country portfolios and regions and share lessons learned and knowledge of agency resources/tools/best practices, etc.
- Contribute to the development of compelling, coherent strategies that integrate and align with the regional strategy and agency strategy (where relevant), and support the agency’s impact, influence and innovation objectives in the Mercy Corps Pathway to Possibility strategy.
- In coordination with the RD and other senior leaders, lead the planning and preparation of agendas of regional gatherings.
- In partnership with regional leadership, Legal, and other global teams, support the Americas’ region’s efforts to assess opportunities for geographic expansion into Central America, the Caribbean, and/or South America, in alignment with Mercy Corps’ global Pathway to Possibility
INTEGRITY, SAFEGUARDING AND ETHICS
- Ensure proper compliance with internal and external ethics and safeguarding standards and processes and liaise with country leadership, Regional Director and HQ Ethics and Finance and Compliance Unit to manage and report on issues related to Ethics and Fraud as required.
- Participate in the interview process, providing contextual information on Mercy Corps’ programs and realities of the position, and selection for key positions as identified with the recruiting team.
- For senior management field positions, participate in Mercy Corps’ LEAP process and support the process as needed.
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION & KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
- Represent the Americas and RPT in cross-regional communities of practice and regular convenings with SPOs and RPTs from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to learn about and adopt best practices, and advocate as a broader body for systems and process improvements within Mercy Corps
- Oversee the A/PO with internal communications and ensure knowledge management systems are up to date and accurate to support communication with other teams.
- Play a greater and more direct role in internal communication management during periods of disaster response.
- Oversee the A/PO for management of agency systems and adherence to HQ-related Program Management minimum standards, etc.
- For new hires and other team members visiting US offices, provide briefings on context, country strategy and programs prior to their departure as an initial step in the onboarding process.
- As requested, support supervisors with onboarding of new international team members.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills
- BA/S in relevant field required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.
- 3-5 years of field-based experience in international relief and development – ideally in the region; demonstrated knowledge of relevant sectoral and/or operational areas.
- 3-5 years of experience managing the development, implementation, administration and compliance (especially of US Government-funded grants); general program management experience required.
- Experience with proposal development including support and writing with various donors, particularly US Government, private foundations and corporations.
- Experience with monitoring and evaluation and other learning efforts.
- Experience required representing an organization and its interests to a diverse range of local and international government officials, local civil society organizations, other international organizations, the media and/or the public.
- Proficiency with MS Office software required (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Sharepoint).
- Preference given to candidates with prior work experience in the Americas region.
- Fluency in Spanish and/or French required.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Equal Employment Opportunity
Safeguarding & Ethics
Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based Employees
Job posted: 2023-09-04