Senior Program Officer - Middle East

Posted by
Mercy Corps
Portland, OR
Published 20 days ago

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long-term impact.

The Program / Department / Team 

Mercy Corps implements a variety of programming throughout the Middle East in response to the diverse humanitarian and long-term development challenges of the region. Mercy Corps has ongoing programs in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine. 

The Position 

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) supports strategic direction, vision, and leadership to ensure impactful, high-quality programming in the Middle East. The SPO works closely with the Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director and is an essential member of the Regional Management Team. They are the headquarters (HQ) focal point for regional and country-level strategic plan processes; regional and country structures and transitions 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 have the ultimate responsibility for overall monitoring of grants/programs for compliance with external (donor) requirements and adherence to Mercy Corps’ internal policies and procedures.

Essential Responsibilities 


  • Support regional and country teams with strategy development, planning, and progress tracking;
  • Travel to support facilitation of the process and work with teams to finalize strategic plans; 
  • Work with the regional and country teams to ensure active and proposed programs are aligned with and contribute to strategy;
  • Assist Regional Director in identifying and securing support and resources for the region.


  • Coordinate the flow of information between country programs, the regional management team, relevant HQ departments, and donors
  • Build and maintain strong working relationships with country offices, resolving issues and maintaining regular contact regarding program implementation, grant regulations, training/ support needs, and incident tracking; 
  • Regularly engage with donors on behalf of country programs and/or the region to represent strategies. 
  • Ensure field teams are aware of relevant Mercy Corps resources/tools/best practices; 
  • Actively participate in relevant coordination forums, networks, and donor events; 
  • Provide written or verbal briefings on context, country strategy, and programs as needed.


  • Responsible for managing overall desk support to the region; 
  • Develop individual and/or teamwork plans or other internal management tools for the efficient use of desk team resources and time; set standards and priorities for the team; 
  • Check the quality and timeliness of all work of the regional desk team at HQ; 
  • Mentor and oversee the onboarding, learning, and career progression of POs and APOs; 
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.


  • Supervise ongoing monitoring of programs, including ensuring regular check-ins with country teams on contractual, legal, and financial requirements (such as co-financing/match, BvA, etc); 
  • Actively provide an assessment of risk associated with program implementation; mitigation measures and problem-solving based on patterns of knowledge across portfolios; 
  • Contribute to complex program management hand in hand with the Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director; 
  • Support field teams in adhering to internal and external policies (e.g. PM@MC minimum standards, donor compliance regulations, etc.); 
  • Ensure timely sign-off and submission of proposals, as well as both narrative and financial reports, and follow up with donors as necessary; 
  • Ensure Mercy Corps knowledge management systems (e.g. Grant Award Information Tracker) are up to date and accurate.


  • Identify and highlight promising funding opportunities for country programs and regional initiatives, in line with country strategies; 
  • Identify contractual risk and develop mitigation strategies; 
  • Ensure that proposals are developed in accordance with defined internal processes; 
  • Ensure that lessons learned are incorporated into new program design; 
  • Oversee the submission of proposals and concept notes to donors, and serve as the focal point during any negotiations with donor HQ representatives.


  • Travel to the field to support country programs as requested; 
  • Support the recruitment, deployment, and onboarding process for any Mercy Corps new hires, as needed; 
  • Any other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibility

Supervise Program Officers and Assistant Program Officers


Reports Directly To: Deputy Regional Director – Middle East 

Works Directly With: Mercy Corps country teams, other HQ Program units, and other departments, including Resource Development, Finance, Leadership, and Organizational Effectiveness, Legal, Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps Counterparts at MC HQ offices in Europe; MC donors and partners.

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.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills 

  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant field. Master’s or equivalent experience preferred. 
  • Minimum 5 years experience in international relief or development, particularly in grant administration and compliance. 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills; ability to develop relationships with a wide range of actors required. 
  • Demonstrated experience with proposal development, program management, monitoring and evaluation, and external representation. 
  • Strong management skills, with good knowledge of relevant cross-cultural issues. 
  • Previous Middle East field experience preferred. 
  • Arabic proficiency or knowledge is a plus.

Success Factors 

The successful candidate demonstrates the skill, professional maturity, and finesse required to manage the desk team to provide excellent, timely support to the Middle East field teams. They are a problem solver, who is adept in successfully dealing with issues of complexity and demonstrates the ability to serve as a mentor for the Program Officer and Assistant Program Officer. The SPO is a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with staff, partners, and donors. They will analyze context and develop high impact strategies and will be a skilled writer, and a synthesizer of complex information, helping teams generate new insights into their work, the needs of their countries and the region, and how program impact can be scaled. A sense of humor is greatly appreciated.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in Portland, Ore, Washington DC and/or remote and is expected to travel up to 35% of the time – sometimes on short notice— to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities, to support and fill-in during senior staff gaps.

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.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Education
    4-Year Degree Required
  • Professional Level

Level of Language Proficiency

Arabic proficiency or knowledge is a plus

Arabic proficiency or knowledge is a plus


Work may be performed anywhere in United States
Associated Location
45 SW Ankeny Street, Portland, OR 97204

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