Interim Country Director

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is an international, non-governmental humanitarian relief and development agency that exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people to build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps was established in 1979, and has headquarters in the USA and UK. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has worked in over 100 countries. Mercy Corps currently works in 41 countries…

Job Information

Job Description

Interim Country Director – Nepal – This position is for a period of 6 weeks

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

Mercy Corps has operated in Nepal since 2005, implementing programs in food security, agriculture, market development, financial services, youth engagement, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. We take a systems-based approach in our programming, with the aim of improving the lives and potential of vulnerable individuals and communities across Nepal.

General Position Summary

The Interim Country Director is the senior management position in Nepal, with supervisory, leadership, and managerial responsibilities over all country program personnel, offices, programs/grants, security and policies. S/he provides strategic vision and ensures that programs are designed and implemented with quality, accountability and measurable impact. The Country Director ensures and maintains a culture of professional development, strategic coherence, quality assurance, and teamwork. S/he is responsible for internal and external representation, and is the primary contact and coordination point for donors. This STA/Temporary Assignment covers a critical time period during (or immediately following) high levels of community spread of COVID-19 in Nepal and therefore, the Interim CD will maintain a focus on Duty of Care requirements (immediate medical needs, frequent health advisories and programmatic or administrative decisions related to business continuity) for our team and partners.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Formulate a clear country program strategy that expresses Mercy Corps’s added value, and which can be clearly communicated to team members, local beneficiaries, government, partners, Mercy Corps colleagues and donors.
  • Explore and evaluate new fundraising opportunities, and lead efforts to attract institutional and private donors through representation and program development.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and secure resources for such programs, or otherwise convince donors and other key stakeholders to provide support.
  • Participate in activities and efforts prioritized by regional management team.

 Program Management & Development

  • Direct and hands-on support to COVID-19 related emergency programming. Strong oversight of each activity to ensure minimal exposure to team members.
  • Steward overall proposal development process, including contributing to proposal and budget documents, and ensure programs are based on sound design principles and responsive to demonstrated needs.
  • Oversee program startup and ensure program implementation adheres to Mercy Corps’s Program Management Minimum Standards.
  • Ensure that programs are on time, on budget, and reach desired impacts with high quality, coherent results.
  • Ensure that the Director of Programs chairs regular program coordination meetings, and that effective and timely program/grant reporting systems are maintained.
  • Ensure that program teams comply with Mercy Corps and donor required monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and establish ongoing program monitoring.
  • Carry out routine monitoring visits to verify field activity reports.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.

Team Management

  • Establish leadership and personal credibility with expatriate and national staff, and maintain a clear chain of authority and accountability.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence, and where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
  • Chair a regular Senior Management Team meeting to support administration, conduct policy or strategy reviews as needed, or for other matters that may arise.
  • Ensure the integration of all relevant team members into decision-making processes.
  • Recruit and manage an informed, skilled and efficient team, and assist with career development and team-building efforts.
  • Working with the Human Resources Manager, maintain an adequate human resource plan consistent with Mercy Corps’ policies, including current position descriptions, performance evaluations, orientation materials, professional development plans, National Staff Handbook Policy (NSHP), organizational chart, and personnel grievance procedure system.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Supervise Director of Finance and Compliance, and maintain relationships with relevant counterparts at headquarters.
  • Working with the Director of Finance & Compliance, manage consolidated country program budget within approved spending levels, oversee budget management of sub-grantees/sub-contractors, and ensure adequate funds.
  • Oversee accurate, transparent, timely and informative reporting to ensure program expenses are reasonable and in accordance with donor rules and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties, robust internal controls, and high standards of accountability and compliance, while minimizing fixed costs.
  • Work closely with finance and compliance staff to mitigate fraud, conflicts of interest and legal liabilities in accordance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Ensure adherence to internal/ external audit requirements


  • Maintain a high and detailed level of awareness around COVID-19 in Nepal, Mercy Corps procedures and health conditions in the country for immediate and informed action.
  • Together with delegated security focal points, manage security and safety of the country program team and assets according to best practices, Mercy Corps standard operating procedures and the local context.
  • Ensure an updated country security plan is in place and understood by all team members.
  • Ensure all team members have the necessary security training for their respective roles.
  • Oversee continual security assessments and make adjustments to plans as required.
  • Liaise with Mercy Corps headquarters on critical events, crises, high-risk periods, and incident reporting or security policy changes.

Influence and Representation

  • Build strong constituencies among Mercy Corps headquarters and regional teams, international and local NGOs, government officials, donors, diplomatic corps and embassies, local partners, vendors, media, coordination platforms, etc.
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Coordinate with regional management and Mercy Corps headquarters to formulate and communicate effective public relations and external messaging pertaining to Nepal.

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.

Supervisory Responsibility : Director of Programs, Director of Finance & Compliance Manager, Operations Manager (or Operations Team members in the absence of an Operations Manager), Human Resources Manager.


Reports Directly to: Asia Regional Director

Works Directly with: Regional teams, HQ teams, Donors, partners, country program management team, senior management team

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.

Required Qualification & Experience

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S or equivalent in international development, economics, agriculture, disaster management, political or social science, management or other relevant field.
  • At least 7-10 years of field experience in leadership position, project/program management positions is preferred.
  • Prior experience in Nepal or South Asia is a plus.
  • Demonstrated technical understanding of at least some of the following sectors: agriculture, food security and nutrition, microfinance, disaster management, and social development.
  • Demonstrated understanding of sound project management practices and protocols.
  • Excellent program conceptualization and development capacities, including the ability to convey these ideas convincingly in writing.
  • A high level of personal efficiency, and the ability to balance multiple urgent or important tasks without undue stress.
  • Strong oral communication, and representation and presentation skills.
  • An impatience for ‘business-as-usual’, including the ability to clearly communicate a vision of success and operationalize this vision.
  • Proven interpersonal and intercultural skills.

Success Factors

The successful Interim Country Director will be good at problem solving, and have the ability to work out new ways to deliver successful programs and excellent stewardship of donor funds in compliance with MC and donor regulations. They will maintain strong cooperative relationships with other departments and interact effectively with international and national personnel, while demonstrating the ability to multitask, meet deadlines and process information in support of changing program activities. They will be able to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment, and be willing to travel regularly to Mercy Corps field offices and project sites

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

Nepal is currently experiencing a high level of COVID-19 community spread and the medical facilities are overly stressed. Nepal is currently experiencing frequent lock-downs. The position is based in Kathmandu and is accompanied. Kathmandu is a culturally dynamic capital city that can provide a comfortable, safe living environment with access to amenities, although a sense of patience with routine (and extended) power cuts, water shortages, air/ noise pollution, and traffic is required. Some travel to field locations may be required, some of which are easily accessible but many others of which are quite remote and require extended travel (by flight, vehicle, hiking, and occasionally motorcycle) in locations that may be distant from amenities or health care.

 The most successful Mercy Corps staff 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.

 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

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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