Start-Up Operations Advisor at Mercy Corps

* This is a Temporary 3Months Assignment*

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 been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a team member of around 450 people working in North and South Kivu and Ituri Provinces with the overall country goal to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri Provinces. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development.

Mercy Corps expects to start shortly the new five-year USAID funded P-DEC complex program, with a budget of approximately $35 million which will be implemented in the Beni (North Kivu) and Mambasa territories (Ituri), in consortium with International Alert, the Wildlife Conservation Society and 9 other international and national partners. By engaging local communities and institutions in both the diagnoses of and solutions to conflict drivers, P-DEC will take a resilience and systems strengthening approach, supporting communities to engage in inclusive multi-stakeholder mobilization and dialogue processes to design local conflict early warning systems, mitigation processes and alternatives to violence (Outcome 1), decision-making processes in governance structures and social accountability mechanisms (Outcome 2) and viable economic activities with a private sector that promotes stability, inter-ethnic cooperation and social cohesion (Outcome 3). This program has been given the internal designation of Complex Program, which is a Mercy Corps-specific process that provides additional support and resources to those programs that have potential for high impact but also high risk.

General Position Summary

The Operations Advisor will be responsible for leading the upsizing of our Beni base and initiating, planning and supporting the opening of our base in Mambasa. In doing so, he/she will directly organize and support initial assessments and liaise with stakeholders in new locations as well as manage the day-to-day/routine operational functions including procurement, logistics, asset and fleet management, safety and security, and field staff support (as necessary) under the direction of the DRC Operations Director. This role will be in direct support of ensuring an efficient and effective start-up of the pending Complex Program. S/he ensures effective systems that support strategy for healthy, robust and integrated functions of national team members. S/he will be required to strengthen the operational performance and efficiency of the DRC Mercy Corps country office team by developing the capacity of staff and establishing the right systems. S/he will also ensure that managerial processes, resources and the necessary infrastructure are all in place to support the new program. The Operations Advisor will lay the groundwork for a well-functioning Operations Department that includes all hand-over to the current Operations Team. These activities will bridge the gap between the new Complex Program’s start-up needs and the current country office Ops team.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Maintain overview of the support needs for the country office and new Complex Program and develop the Operations systems accordingly, in particular the upsizing of the Beni office and opening of the Mambasa office.
  • Be creative in looking for efficiency of the operations systems and processes given the various constraints and challenges related to the country context and the starting up of new office locations.
  • Provide program support, coordination, supervision and monitoring designed to meet program objectives.

Team Management & Capacity Building

  • Assist in recruitment of team members and development of the operational structure of the offices in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces; develop the capacity of new staff, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on one meetings.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Work with all Mercy Corps staff to ensure smooth introduction and adoption of operational systems.
  • Be responsible for full and proper implementation of Mercy Corps systems of management, compliance and control as described in Mercy Corps field guidance manuals.
  • Work with finance and compliance to mitigate fraud, conflict of interest and legal ramifications of Mercy Corps activities. This includes working with the Mercy Corps country teams, as necessary to share tools, collaborate with staff and share information/support needs.

Operations Management – Program Support

  • Assume direct responsibility for ensuring effectiveness of start-up operational systems in support of the complex program.
  • Work closely with the Operations Director, the Start-Up Lead, COP, the Finance Manager and others to ensure that all operational departments are working in close collaboration with programs to facilitate smooth, efficient and effective program implementation.
  • Work closely with the HR/Admin teams and other team members supporting the HR/Admin aspects of launching the program and any support offices, including on the content and quality of orientation for new staff regarding policies and procedures and on regular training of policies and procedures.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Implement a monthly operational pack and a dashboard to ensure follow-up and analysis is updated on a monthly basis in all operations and program areas.
  • Ensure that archiving of operations documentation is well organized with hard and soft format and up to date to facilitate audit and information research.

Operations Management – Procurement & logistics

  • Ensure timely, accurate processing and documentation of procurement activities compliant with the Field Procurement Policy & Procedures.
  • As necessary, support implementation of warehouse procedures are followed as described in the Warehouse Policy and Procedures Guidelines.
  • Support and in some cases, directly supervise the procurement of vehicles and coordinating any consultant drivers/cars (service provider); and ensure systems to track maintenance, fuel usage and vehicle scheduling, as needed.
  • Assist with improving and maintaining pipeline of supplies, overseeing the logistical aspects of the operation; oversee material storage and movements as needed.
  • Liaise with in-country finance to ensure compliance and payment schedules in coordination with country team finance team.
  • Coordinate logistical (non-program) aspects of material aid projects.
  • Maintain inventory records of materials and materials flow; oversee tracking of all assets.

Operations Management – administration

  • Ensure start-up Administration systems are implemented as described in the Field Administration Manual.
  • Oversee set-up and development of any new Mercy Corps offices in country including reviewing contracts for office and housing space, leasehold improvements, and IT from the contract support office.
  • Periodically review country or field office specific policies and communicate them to teams.
  • Oversee database and file management for administration, procurement, and logistics resources documents.
  • Oversee facility management, including housing and office leases; ensure that security standards are maintained at all premises.
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps contracts and business transactions/relationships are transparent and in compliance with local law and Mercy Corps/donor policies.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.
  • Draft and review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

Influence & Representation

  • Communicate with local partners as well as sub-grantees to verify their systems and that they understand and follow all appropriate procedures and archiving.
  • Maintain productive relationships with all stakeholders, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • Consistently demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure, even under difficult circumstances.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.


  • Assist the country team in the day-to-day security management of offices.
  • Develop security procedures and policies if needed, based on local experience and tools; coordinate with country team on standard security policies and procedures; assist with developing constant companion and security briefing documents.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

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 Participants

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
    to our participants 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

All consultants related to operations, logistics, and procurement. IT, drivers, Ops team members, as needed.


Reporting to: Operations Director

Works Directly with: Start-Up Lead, COP, Compliance & Finance Manager, and HR/Admin Officer, as well as all other STAs and consultants focused on support to the complex program start-up.

Collaboration: All MC logistics and operations team in country and HQ/region as required.

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field.
  • A minimum of 5 years field experience setting up and managing administration, procurement, logistics, and human resource systems with humanitarian NGOs with supervisory responsibilities.
  • Proven understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses with experience in insecure environments.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.
  • Knowledge of Mercy Corps’ systems and procedures (esp. procurement systems) desirable; M&E experience preferred and knowledge of USAID regulations helpful.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, organizational, prioritization and Microsoft Office applications.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in French a strong advantage .
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.

Success Factors

The successful CP start-up Operations Advisor is an effective leader that can build and motivate a team of people from a variety of departments under pressure and within a limited time. S/he is very well organized, communicates clearly and uses strong interpersonal skills to navigate challenging organizational political situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Operations Advisor will be based in Goma with frequent field travel where the complex program is implemented. Staff will have access to essential services, such as basic medical care, electricity, water, etc. This position may require travel by road or air to field locations in relatively insecure environments.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field 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.

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.

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