Director of Operations – Nairobi, Kenya

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 began working in Kenya in 2008 and has built a robust and diverse portfolio working to enable Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict to be healthy, productive and to drive peace and development of their communities. To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen market and governance systems, innovate urban youth employment opportunities, address the root causes of conflict, and build the resilience of vulnerable populations – in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized communities.

Working with a diverse base of donors that includes the UK Department for International Development (DFID), European Commission (EC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID),, MasterCard Foundation and other foundations and institutional donors, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. We work closely with the private sector, civil society and governance structures at local and national levels to facilitate change and ensure that opportunities are inclusive of all Kenyans.

General Position Summary

The Director of Operations is a critical member of the country’s senior management team with supervisory and managerial responsibility. Reporting to the Country Director, the Director of Operations will be primarily responsible for enabling excellence in all operations functions of all offices in Kenya including procurement, assets management, fleet management, warehousing and facilities & office management. She/he will do this through primarily two-pronged initiatives:

  1. Develop an operations strategy for Mercy Corps Kenya and develop and implement systems that support and realize the strategy for healthy, robust and integrated functions of team members.
  2. Build the capacity of the Operations (and non-operations) teams through training, coaching and development and implementation of strategy, systems and procedures.

S/he will be required to strengthen the operational performance and efficiency of the organization by developing the capacity of staff and establishing the effective and appropriate systems and processes. S/he will also ensure that managerial processes, resources and the necessary infrastructure are all in place. The Director of Operations supports leadership through capacity building and the development of systems and processes.

Essential Job Responsibilities


● Lead the development and implementation of Operation Strategy for Mercy Corps Kenya.

● Support and contribute to the development and implementation of Mercy Corps Kenya strategy.

● Provide support to the Country Director on matters pertaining to strategy, planning, budgeting and overall support functions.

● Work with the Operations Manager, Country Director and senior management team to support the growth and execution of the program portfolio.


● Maintain productive relationships with the private sector inclusive of, vendors and suppliers, etc.

● Work in close coordination with legal advisors to seek the required guidance to keep Mercy Corps policies and activities aligned to the Kenyan laws.

● Work closely with Global Procurement and Logistics (GPL) HQ department to ensure alignment to agency rules and regulations.


● Provide operations support to Complex Programs and these programs that are implemented across borders. Work with Operation Teams in other countries to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.

● Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.


● Represent Mercy Corps operations work in external and coordination forums.

● Identify, build and maintain an effective network of like-minded partners to improve the operation environment.

● Interface with relevant government authorities responsible for international NGOs.


● Lead the development of systems and procedures for Mercy Corps Kenya. Ensure that these policies are effective and efficient.

● Ensure integration of program support systems and processes in all Mercy Corps Kenya offices.

● Ensure all offices have capacity (human and technical) to support smooth program operations.

● Ensure internal and donor procedures, policies and guidelines are followed.

● Ensure unified and cost effective fleet management, including tracking of maintenance, fuel usage and vehicle scheduling.

● Oversee set-up and development of Mercy Corps offices including drafting and reviewing contracts for office and housing space, leasehold improvements, IT.

● Ensure that country and field office specific policies are up to date and communicate them to teams. Develop new policies and guidelines as needed.

● Oversee database and file management for administration, procurement and logistics 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.


● Train and coach the operations and other team members.

● Build a cohesive team spirit and culture among the team and effectively delegate functions and responsibilities to them while ensuring performance.

● Lead and develop program support teams in the main office and all field offices.

● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

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

● Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach career and performance objectives.

● Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.

● Take ultimate responsibility for performance and capacity building of the operations support function.


● Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps policies and regulations.

● Draft and review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.


● 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.


● 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.


Directly Supervising: Operations Manager

Indirectly Supervising: Other operations team


Reports Directly To: Country Director**

Works Directly With: MCK department teams, HQ and Regional teams, HQ Global Procurement and Logistics (GPL), Internal Auditors.


● BA/S or higher in management or other relevant field.

● At least 8 years of Operations experience, including at least five years in senior management position.

● Demonstrated experience setting up and managing administration, procurement, logistics with NGOs or a business

● Demonstrated understanding of supporting complex operations and programs in challenging environments.

● Demonstrated experience and passion to develop the capacity of team members

● Extensive experience developing systems, policies and processes.

● Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.

● Knowledge of USAID, DFID and other donor regulations required.

● Excellent and demonstrated negotiation and representation skills.

● Effective verbal and written communication, organizational, prioritization and Microsoft Office applications.

● Excellent oral and written English skills required.

● Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.


The Director will have high emotional intelligence; is an exceptional capacity builder; a systems professional; and a strategist. A successful Director of Operations will be excellent at problem solving and have the ability to work out methods to deliver the operational needs of a large and complex protifio implemented over diverse geographies. The Director will provide excellent stewardship of donor funds and compliance with Mercy Corps and donor regulations. An impeccable professional standard and procurement ethics and the willingness and ability to enforce compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies and procedures is essential. S/he will maintain strong cooperative relationships with other departments and interact effectively with all personnel both in a managerial as well as training capacity, while demonstrating the ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and process information in support of changing program activities. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.


The position is based in Nairobi and requires up to 40% travel to field locations. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are numerous International schools in Kenya. Staff have a relatively high degree of access to health and utility services (hospitals, clinics, electricity, water, etc). This position requires frequent travel by road and air to field offices in less secure environments, where basic amenities are lacking (no running water, and limited electricity without generators).

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.

How to apply

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