Director of Support Services – NES

Closing date:

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 a long-term impact.

The Program & Department

Syria is in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis impacting the entire country as well as a number of neighboring countries. More than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes and the number relying on humanitarian assistance continues to grow. The main thrust of the work of Mercy Corps along with its national and international partners for the foreseeable future will be primarily focused on meeting urgent humanitarian needs across the country while building resilience and social cohesion elements in its programming strategy. The heightened insecurity and continuous acts of violence and war make the humanitarian response not only more challenging, but increasingly complicated. With a large and complex portfolio of work across the country, Mercy Corps has established itself as an analytical, strategic and flexible responder, adapting continually to shifting front lines and operational realities to respond effectively and efficiently through multiple modalities with teams inside Syria and working cross-border from neighboring countries. Mercy Corps Syria country program moved to a structure where teams report into a single managerial architecture to allow transversal consistency among programs and unity of purpose at the strategic level.

The Position

The Support Services Director (SSD) for Northeast Syria (NES) shall provide proactive leadership for effective and timely delivery of assistance to conflict-affected people. The SSD guides the priorities and key deliverables for Operations, Finance and HR within NES, and is responsible for their delivery in conjunction with the respective Directors in Amman. Reporting to the Area Director NES, the SSD shall provide coordination across the Logistics, Operations, Human Resources, Procurement, Administration, and Finance functions, with collaborations with Programs, Program Quality, and Security management teams. The SSD shall work with Amman-based and field-led support actor apparatus to ensure an effective, efficient, quality, and results-driven support structure at a time of programmatic and strategic change. S/He will ensure that the NES team is supported, prepared, and resourced to deliver high-quality programming both directly and in partnership with local and diaspora Syrian organizations at scale. The role requires a focus on systems building with an ability to own the change management that accompanies such processes.

Essential Responsibilities


● As a senior member of the NES team, contribute and provide active leadership in contextualizing and operationalizing the countrywide strategy roll-out for NES, while prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives set through those processes.

● Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to the Northeast Syria strategy and portfolio changes.

● With the country program leadership and Area Director, develop and organize activities of the support departments for Human Resources, Operations, Procurement, and Finance to provide timely and effective support to the program to ensure objectives are met.

● Work across support service, MEL and Program departments in SOP/policy development, drafting, field-testing and roll-out, with the relevant department heads (HR, Ops, Finance, PaQ, etc.)

● Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.


● Ensure timely and accurate processing of procurements, with relevant and accurate procurement planning between program and procurement teams.

● Ensure fleet management actors can ensure a fluid and safe movement of staff members and goods and services in the field.

● Ensure that commodities management is effectively processed according to current and future program needs.

● Provide oversight to sub-award partner project-level operational planning and systems.

● Recognize the high level of donor scrutiny imposed on Syrian programming and ensure continuing effective, transparent and responsive compliance mechanisms are in place.

● Maintain oversight of overall NES Operational budgets ensuring appropriate allocation of resources to meet program objectives.

● Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations, including risk mitigation policies and SOPs.


● Maintain oversight on HR administrative and payroll processes and their adaptation to the needs of the NES hub, facilitate cross-functional engagement to address shortcomings where required.

● Identify opportunities in general HR management, policies and manuals, as relates to NES and contribute to their revision, ensuring close engagement and understanding of broader HR department objectives.

● Support the revision of structural changes, management processes and platforms to ensure that teams work cross-functionally to achieve commonly understood goals.

● Work with the North Syria Senior HR Manager to define NES HR priorities.

● Champion the HR function development to a strategic partner, identifying and creating opportunities to adapt processes or further engage HR colleagues in support of such objective.


● In close coordination with programs, awards and other stakeholders support the development of planning and budget processes, including development and periodically enhancing internal budgeting guidelines, templates and tools for annual budgeting, grant proposal development and budget modifications.

● In collaboration with different stakeholders in WOS, support the deployment of award specific budgets, ensuring the appropriate cost recovery and cost sharing mechanisms that are in line with Donor Flexibility Requirement and internal MC Policies and Procedures.

● Manage the oversight and reporting on Budget vs Actual (BVA) exercises, ensuring that support costs are properly budgeted for and actioned.

● Work with different stakeholders in country on monitoring grant performance for all donors. Liaise with budget holders to ensure that key processes and systems are in place to manage grant risk assessments, donor financial compliance and reporting process.

● Work with various stakeholders in country on updating and aligning the forecasts in the BVA and aligning them with the most updated program plans as per the MC internal guidelines.


● Direct line management for the most senior support function staff members within North East Syria.

● Identify gaps and systems breakdowns and assist the operations team to be able to achieve the objectives.

● Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.

● As required, and with the consultation of Northeast Syria leadership, supervise, hire and orient new team members.

● Able to lead teams and offer clarity, facilitating successful operational outcomes, in a complex reporting structure, that is at times ambiguous.

● Able to manage engagement with senior level managers working across multiple geographies, whilst offering day to day management support to mid-level NES based, functional representatives.



● Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events.

● Engage with country teams on the internal audit process to track findings and ensure country team compliance with IA findings and recommendations.

● Engage with country level Ethics and Assurance managers as well as the global Ethics and Assurance department to track and analyze trends and needs across countries.

Supervisory Responsibility

Direct Supervision of: Senior HR Officer; Operations Coordinator; Commodity Management Coordinator; Finance Coordinator, Senior Finance Officer – IMTA; Senior Finance Officer – Budget and Financial Analysis

Indirect Supervision of: Senior Managers for Finance, Human Resources, Operations and Procurement (Amman-based).


Reports Directly To: Area Director, Northeast Syria

Dotted line/work directly with: Directors of Finance, Human Resources and Operations (from country main-office). Northeast Syria (NES) hub leadership

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 or equivalent in relevant field required, MA/S preferred;

● A minimum of 6 years field experience setting up and managing Programmatic Support systems with humanitarian NGOs with supervisory responsibilities, particularly in complex environments.

● Demonstrated 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 donor regulations, including USAID and European Union regulations.

● Excellent negotiation and representation skills

● Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;

● Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in Arabic preferred

Success Factors

The successful Director will combine exceptional technical skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have previous experience in working in large-scale complex programs in insecure and conflict contexts. S/he will have an outstanding ability to design and provide technical oversight of innovative operational systems within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the area. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The successful candidate will be able to provide technical oversight to large relief or development programs in an austere environment. S/he 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.

The successful candidate will have a desire to grow and learn in one of the most interesting and complex crises of our times. S/he will face challenges with a smile and light-heartedness. The successful candidate will be comfortable in asking colleagues for help as well as stepping out of her/his role to assist others. The Mercy Corps team is one that emphasizes the value of joy and curiosity. The team enjoys a great sense of humor and appreciates sharing meals amongst colleagues.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in North East Syria, and requires travel between all offices and program implementation sites, security permitting, and as required for coordination and operational support. Personnel in this location are expected to follow all security protocols. This unaccompanied position will be required to reside in group housing in an austere environment.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ 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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply

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