Program Officer – Middle East

Closing date:

Location: Portland, OR or Washington, DC

Position Status: Full-time, Regular

Minimum Starting Salary: $53,000 DOE

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, and it continues to respond to humanitarian and development needs across Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen by forging meaningful and trusted partnerships and designing impactful programming. The country programs face humanitarian crises and significant development challenges, and operate in fragile and conflict-affected areas, displacement settings, emergency responses, as well as more stable developed settings. Mercy Corps’ focus in the Middle East has been in promoting good governance and conflict resolution, enhancing resilience, supporting market systems development, as well as gender and inclusion, and youth employment. Mercy Corps investment in thought leadership, continual learning, and adaptive programming allows us to make changes that are essential in a fluid context, with significant ambitions to learning and sharing through building an evidence base, investment in program quality, including MEAL and additional specific research, to enhance adaptive and responsive programming in the Middle East.

The Position

The Program Officer (PO) supports strategic, impactful, high-quality programming in the Middle East region. S/he supports Country Directors in aspects of their country program and grant administration, plays a key role in connecting the country offices to HQ resources and represents the country/regional interests internally with various HQ teams as well as with external stakeholders. The PO provides the secondary check and supports the country offices (ultimate point of responsibility) in adhering to internal and external policies and regulations.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Serve as 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 (such as co-financing/match, BVA, data aggregation, etc.).
  • Serve as HQ point of contact to donor representatives
  • Support country team’s adherence to Mercy Corps internal policies and Program Management minimum standards. As identified, support adherence to Mercy Corps’ Complex Programs management standards.
  • Support country programs, as needed, with planning and implementation challenges, and coordinating with other HQ departments, including Technical Support, Compliance, Finance, to provide additional support


  • Lead HQ coordination for proposals (unless designated otherwise). Throughout the proposal process, monitor the timeline, status of proposal and communicate to the relevant parties as appropriate.
  • Provide input to proposals, ensuring alignment with donor priorities and requirements. In addition, review drafts for coherence, provide copy-editing and rewrites as necessary, and manage submission to the donor. He/she may be appointed a different role in the design process and travel to the field if needed.


  • With guidance from the SPO, coordinate partnership negotiation & development, ensuring the necessary teams are engaged, to help further program, country and regional interests.


  • With guidance from the SPO, represent regional interests and programs with external stakeholders, in concert with the country office teams.


  • With guidance from the SPO, support country teams with strategy development and planning.
  • Facilitate learning across country portfolios and regions and share lessons learned and knowledge of agency resources/tools/best practices/etc.


  • For senior management country office positions, participate in Mercy Corps’ LEAP process and support the process as needed.


  • In coordination with the APO, support internal communications and ensure knowledge management systems are up to date and accurate to support communication with other teams.


  • In coordination with the APO, ensure management of agency systems and adherence to HQ-related Program Management minimum standards, etc.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Senior Program Officer – Middle East

Works Directly With: DRD and 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 Country Offices; 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

  • BA/S in relevant field required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.
  • 2 – 4 years of field-based experience in international relief and development — ideally in the region; demonstrated knowledge of relevant sectoral and/or operational areas.
  • 2- 4 years of experience managing the development, implementation, administration, and compliance (especially of US Government-funded grants); general program management experience preferred.
  • 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 representing the organization and its interests to a diverse range of local and international government officials, local civil society organizations, other international organizations, the media, and the public – preferred.
  • Proficiency with MS Office software required (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Preference given to candidates with prior work experience in the Middle East.
  • Proficiency in Arabic preferred.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is a problem solver, who is adept in successfully dealing with issues of complexity and demonstrates the ability to serve as a mentor for the Assistant Program Officer. They are a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with staff, partners and donors. They will coordinate with their supervisor, the SPO, and be effective at building working relationships with stakeholders. They will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams, including members of the TSU, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness and Social Innovations teams to support impactful partnerships with country programs and the region at large. The Program Officer is part of a team that works with country teams to ensure that we learn from experience, thoroughly research and analyze context and develop high impact strategies. They will be a skilled writer and synthesizer of diverse and 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 robust sense of humor is greatly appreciated.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position can be based in Portland, Oregon or Washington, DC and is expected to travel up to 25% of the time – sometimes on short notice – to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a country office posting or on a visit/STA to a country office 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.

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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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

Apply here

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