Director of Programs (Agribusiness and Natural Resource Management)

Mercy Corps
Kabul, Afghanistan
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Mercy Corps has been continuously operational in Afghanistan since 1986, implementing more than 50 programs, and is currently working in nine provinces of Afghanistan. Mercy Corps has emerged as a leader in the fields of agribusiness, animal health and economic development. Large portfolio of programs aimed at promoting sustainable agribusiness and natural resource-based livelihoods, increasing food security, promoting micro-finance and strengthening the private sector, civil society and government institutions. Historically, donors have included the European Commission (EC), German Finance Bank KFW, the United States Department of agribusiness (USDA), Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Department of State (USDS).


The Director of Programs – Agribusiness and Natural Resource Management (DoP - A/NRM) will work closely with the Country Director  and the Deputy Country Director - Programs to ensure the overall quality and impact for MC Afghanistan agribusiness and natural resource management  programming. The DOP - A/NRM will take on the prime responsibility for designing, articulating the long-term strategy for primarily water resources management, and this can be expanded to include land management. 

The DoP will identify strategic partners with government, community and donors, and cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration, cooperation and engagement with them. The DoP, along with other Mercy Corps staff in this sector serve as Mercy Corps primary platform for advocacy  for inclusive government policy development to ensure the optimal enabling environment for agribusiness and social water management is enacted in Afghanistan.

The DoP leads the efforts on behalf of MC Afghanistan to develop and implement all agribusiness and natural resources management programs that add value to Afghan development efforts, achieve the greatest possible impact, and hold the agency accountable to communities, donors and government.

The DoP supervises all A/NRM program managers and leads the development, integration and implementation of new and existing programs including synchronization with the country's strategic plan.

He/she will be the primary backstop to the Deputy Country Director for issues related to his/her portfolio and provide support and assistance in donor communication, liaison with relevant government entities and external representation.


Staff Management and Capacity Building: 

  • Mentor and contribute to an atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellent personnel at all levels. 
  • Ensure all program staff are effectively using the performance planning and management system, establishing performance expectations and regularly providing constructive feedback.  
  • Conduct staff's annual performance review with his/her direct supervisees and oversee national managers also conducting performance reviews in a way that promotes accountability. 

Program Implementation: 

  • Oversee a portfolio of agribusiness and natural resources programs; provide leadership to staff in all aspects of A/NRM program / project implementation, development and management. 
  • Responsible for ensuring programs are implemented in ways responsive to the communities, in line with MC principles, values and strategic plan and following MC compliance procedures. 
  • Directly supervise the program managers, national and expatriate; conduct frequent field visits to all project sites. 

Monitoring and Evaluation and Reporting: 

  • Ensure the achievement of project targets and objectives as developed in each proposal. 
  • Oversee the production of formal and informal reports and reporting schedules on all aspects of the Program in a timely and efficient manner. 
  • Work with Mercy Corps MEL Unit to ensure that all A/NRM Programs are effectively monitored and evaluated. 
  • Ensure that the MEL unit focuses their efforts on assisting programs to generate practical information that can be used for ongoing program decision making while also capturing results at the effect level and ensuring their loop-back into strategic and program planning. 

Program Integration and Strategic Direction: 

  • Oversee the implementation of an integrated program portfolio that includes water management, improved agricultural practice, new market development, pasture and land management, disaster risk mitigation (DRM), community mobilization, capacity building and ensure linkages with other strategy pillars: Skills and Training and Renewable Energy. 
  • Promote integrated agribusiness and natural resources management programming in a way that increases overall impact of the MC Afghanistan country program, leverages countrywide resources and captures and uses lessons learned. 
  • Play a lead role in ensuring Mercy Corps Afghanistan's strategic framework is relevant and a user-friendly decision making tool. 


  • Work closely with the Country Director to maintain systems that ensure the safety and security of the MC Afghanistan team in all aspects of its work. 
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities. 
  • At times maybe required to act as the security focal point in absence of the Country Director and is a member of the Security Management Team. 

Program Support Operations: 

  • Coordinate with the Director of Finance and Director of Operations/DCD to ensure operational systems are in place to support field programs including finance, logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management), procurement, security, administration and personnel. 
  • Adhere to policies and procedures and serve as an advocate for programs in the formulation and implementation of new policies as needed and in accordance with donor and MC regulations. 

Coordination and Representation: 

  • Ensure the coordination of the Mercy Corps agribusiness and natural resources programs with international and local agencies, Government of Afghanistan Ministries and donors in a way that fosters linkages, avoids overlap, shares resources and information in order to increase impact. 
  • On a daily basis, work collaboratively with Director of Programs – Skills and Training and the Renewable Energy Advisor to facilitate the integration of all Mercy Corps programs. 
  • May represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events in the field and in Kabul, in coordination with the CD and other senior staff. Representation is a shared duty with the Country Director and some relations will have multiple points of contact with shared duties in representation depending on scheduled and content of meetings. 

New Initiatives: 

  • In coordination with the Country Director, Deputy Country Director - Programs,Senior Management, HQ Program Ops teams and other relevant personnel and counterparts, play an active role in identifying and obtaining support for new initiatives that foster and/ or improve the strategic objectives of the country office, whether these new initiatives utilize existing resources or require program/ project development. WUA Remote Monitoring and Information Platform: In collaboration with MEW and MAIL promote establishment of national WUA remote Monitoring and Information Platform.  

Organizational Learning

As part of Mercy Corps’ agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities. 

Accountability to Beneficiaries: Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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: The Director of Programs – Agribusiness and Natural Resource Management supervises all A/NRM program managers and therefore, will have direct responsibility for the implementation of all natural resources programs. The DoP will also maintain daily contact with the Deputy Country Director and regular contact with the Director of Finance, Director of Operations/DCD, Director of Monitoring Evaluation & Learning, and Director of Programs – Skills & Training, in order to ensure productive coordination between the program, administration and finance departments. 

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Deputy Country Director

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Country Director, Director of Finance, Director of Operations/DCD, Director of Monitoring Evaluation & Learning, Director of Programs – Skills & Training, and Director of Programs – Agribusiness, the Research Manager, Program Management, Technical Specialists, and Program Staff.


  • MA/S or equivalent in Administration, International Development or other relevant field is preferred and ideally a minimum of five to seven years experience administering donor grants in agribusiness or natural resources management related fields for both relief and development initiatives. 
  • Demonstrated ability to support the management of and facilitate quality program and project implementation in the field. 
  • Demonstrated ability to build staff capacity as well as excellent team and interpersonal relationship skills, especially in a cross-cultural setting, required 
  • Ability to communicate program objectives and represent Mercy Corps to international donors, government officials, local groups and community members critical. 
  • Experience with European and USAID, USDA, DFID grants management and compliance is necessary. 
  • Exceptional report development, writing and editing skills are essential.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required. 
  • Previous experience working in Afghanistan or South Asia and/or knowledge of the region is preferred. 
  • Experience working in an insecure environment and security knowledge is a plus.
  • Experience coordinating with other international agencies and government bodies helpful. 
  • Previous work with traditional/conservative cultures, in remote environments, and in the context of high levels of poverty and humanitarian need essential.


The successful Director of Programs – Agribusiness and Natural Resource Management will apply a strong combination of team leadership, program development and relationship building abilities. S/he will have a strong understanding of the function and implications of both relief and development programming in Afghanistan. S/he will be knowledgeable of security protocols and be proactive in communication to staff and response to security incidents. This position requires new program development to complement existing programs. The successful Director of Programs will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future structure of Mercy Corps Afghanistan. Excellent negotiation and communications skills will provide for continued development of donor and partner relationships. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. The Director of Programs must be committed to long-term program sustainability and integration and to the delivery of high impact solutions at the community level. S/he will demonstrate a strong understanding of cultural, political and religious considerations in the region. The successful Director of Programs will demonstrate a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, and make effective communication a priority in all situations.


The position will be based in Kabul with extensive travel to the field. Accommodation is team housing with fairly reliable electricity and generators. The security situation is volatile and may spike into acute periods of insecurity. Internet access is available in Mercy Corps offices. Medical care is available in Kabul, however for serious cases evacuation is required, so staff must be able to be 24 hours away from medical care. S/he is expected to follow all security protocols including limited movement when necessary.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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.