Job Details

Senior Program Development Officer

Mercy Corps, Washington DC or Portland, OR

Job - Non-Profit

Close Date: 03/11/2019

We are hiring for two Senior Program Development Officers to be based in Portland or DC. This role requires frequent travel (up to 50%) to Mercy Corps Field Offices.
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’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject-matter experts help set agency strategy and provide consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to field offices worldwide, in some of the world’s toughest places. TSU team members lead research, foster organizational learning, represent Mercy Corps to external audiences, and develop partnerships. The TSU is also integral to global business development and revenue.

Within the TSU, the New Initiatives (NI) team takes a leading role supporting and enhancing Program Development throughout the Mercy Corps world. The NI team: 1) leads the development of grant submissions to institutional donors and 2) carries out initiatives that enhance agency competitiveness. Team members lead and support strategic, high-priority proposals by: assisting country teams with pre-proposal positioning activities; assembling proposal teams; leading the proposal planning and development process; conducting on-site participatory assessment and design work; writing and editing technical proposals; working closely with the HQ and field finance team in the development of the proposal budget/cost application; reviewing proposals to assess clarity and competitiveness; and more. The team enhances agency competitiveness through the development of tools and processes to improve proposal quality across the agency. With all of its activities, New Initiatives works in a highly collaborative manner with the agency as a whole.

General Position Summary
The Senior Program Development Officer (SPDO) will be a key member of the New Initiatives team. He/she will support program development efforts by: 1) supporting propositioning efforts focusing on (but no exclusively) proposal opportunities in Afghanistan, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen; 2) Act as lead writer on medium to large proposal efforts to institutional donors (focused on USAID and Department of State but not exclusively); 3) Working with other members of the NI team, TSU, and wider program team (to include field teams and HQ desk officers) to lead or support supporting proposal development processes; and 4) Provide targeted reviews and editing support to field teams as needed. He/she will help enhance agency competitiveness by working with NI team members and other stakeholders to develop/improve tools and guidance on the proposal process and facilitate related training.

Essential Job Responsibilities
Program & Proposal Development (approximately 85% time)
Responsible for leading and supporting all aspects of the development of strategic proposals Supported by the New Initiatives team.
Special emphasis is on supporting proposal development for 1) medium/large proposal efforts for USG donors and/or 2) complex or multi-country efforts.
Extended travel to strategic countries including Afghanistan, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen to assist with program development efforts key to Mercy Corps growth targets.
Strategic Pre-Positioning: Will lead and support efforts that help Mercy Corps Country Offices pro-actively influence donor planning and access funding.
As a member of the NI team, the Senior Program Officer will spend a small portion of his/her time supporting agency-wide initiatives that enable Mercy Corps to more efficiently produce competitive submissions. (e.g. developing improved reference materials for proposal writers, contributing to efforts that capture learnings and results from our programs, and/or assisting with networking activities).
Keep up to date on relevant donor strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups. Work with Mercy Corps to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence such materials.
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 toward 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: None


Reports Directly To: Director, New Initiatives

Works Directly With: All other TSU teams, HQ, and field teams
Knowledge and Experience
Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in International Development, International Relations or related field is preferred.
5+ years of experience in International Development highly preferred, including experience living and/or working overseas
Successful track record in program design and proposal development in a variety of sectors and geographic locations.
Exceptional writing skills.
Proven ability to work productively with a wide variety of stakeholders to run both participatory process and also meet tight deadlines with an emphasis on producing quality products.
Native-level spoken and written English required; writing samples will be requested of finalist candidates.
Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
Familiarity with major donors such as USAID (especially OFDA and Food for Peace, Department of State, DFID, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
Strong organizational and process management capabilities.
Exceptional communication skills
Familiarity with at least 1 of Mercy Corps’ technical sectors and geographic locations
Fluency in English is required; knowledge of a foreign language preferred.
Success Factors
The SPDO will demonstrate a winning track record in program development, and bring flexibility, creativity, and enthusiasm to every project they undertake. The individual must have exceptional writing skills and the ability to multitask, set priorities, pay attention to detail, and work under tight deadlines within complex team environments. The SPDO will have a love of writing, strong interpersonal skills, and a healthy competitive spirit, and have the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical. The SPDO will also be willing and able to travel for extended periods to work with country teams on program development strategies and proposal efforts for a wide variety of donors.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position can be located in either Portland, OR; Washington D.C.; or London, UK. The position requires travel approximately 50% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must able to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening as required by the schedule, and in settings with limited infrastructure, food options, and living conditions.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/temporary assignment to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws and customs, and adhere to MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

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.

Complete details: