Regional Program Development Specialist for South and Southeast Asia - based in London or The Hague

Mercy Corps Europe
Closing date: 26 July 2019
Job Type: Paid
Location: London
Mercy Corps is looking for a Regional Program Development Specialist to lead regional new initiatives in South and Southeast Asia.

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 currently works in the following countries in South and Southeast Asia (SSEA): Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand and Timor Leste. These are countries undergoing dramatic transitions that have the potential to create significant opportunity for development and change. The region is at the nexus of poverty and development, of disaster and resilience.


General Position Summary

The Regional New Initiatives Specialist will be a member of the regional management team and, as such, will work particularly closely with the Regional Director (RD). His/her primary focus will be on program development including: (i) tracking the pipeline of potential new business opportunities for the region and supporting country teams in prioritizing and preparing for them; (ii) leading and supporting program development efforts throughout the region; (iii) helping to enhance the overall state of practice vis-à-vis proposal processes within the region; and (iv) enhancing partner relations, with a particular emphasis on helping to diversify the agency’s partnerships in the region. In addition, he/she will be responsible for helping implement various other activities within the SSEA region that are part of the New Initiatives work plan.   

Essential Job Responsibilities

Program/Proposal Design and Development

  • Responsible for leading and supporting all aspects of the development of strategic proposals throughout the SSEA region.
  • Apply the agency’s best practices in proposal development efforts.  
  • Support proposal development for medium and mid-level proposal opportunities that required resources and capacity beyond what is available at the country level, especially larger strategic or multi-country opportunities and or unsolicited proposals.


Strategic Pre-Positioning

  • Lead and support efforts that help Mercy Corps’ SSEA’s programs to more proactively influence donor planning and access funding.
  • Support targeted assessments that will help create funding opportunities or increase competitiveness of the agency in solicitations.
  • Facilitate strategic planning sessions with country programs.
  • Track donor trends for potential opportunities in the emergency space that busy country teams might not be able to monitor or respond to at the time.


Build Regional Capacity

  • Build capacity of Mercy Corps’ staff within the region to work on proposals and run strong proposal and program development processes through team-work during actual proposal efforts, mentoring or tailored training activities,
  • Support / lead learning and communications activities for specific programs in the SSEA region alongside country teams.  
  • Support the startup of new strategic programs and projects especially those programs and projects that the Manager designed and wrote with country teams.
  • Contribute to activities that raise overall agency state of practice (e.g. developing improved reference materials for proposal writers, capture learnings and results from our programs, and/or assisting with networking activities).
  • Provide a link for flow of important information and idea-exchange between the SSEA region and the agency overall.



  • Coordinate alongside CDs with the HQ teams including Corporations and Foundations Teams and the MCE Institutional Partnership Managers and the RPT teams.  
  • Keep up to date on relevant donor strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups.
  • Work with Mercy Corps staff in the SSEA region to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence such materials.


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 Beneficiaries

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.


Supervisory Responsibility




Reports Directly To: Regional Director

Works Directly With: Deputy Regional Director, Country Directors, Deputy Country Directors, Directors of Programs, Technical Service Unit, Desk team and New Initiatives team.


Knowledge and Experience

  • BA or MA in social science, international development or other relevant fields;
  • 5-7 years’ experience in program design and proposal development in a wide variety of sectors and geographic locations.
  • At least 2-3 years’ experience in field-based program and staff management, with regional knowledge of SSEA region.
  • Preferable experience with emergency response as well.
  • Proven ability to work productively with a wide variety of stakeholders to run both participatory process and meet tight deadlines with an emphasis on producing quality products.
  • Experience with a wide range of donors including USAID and European institutional donors. Familiarity with other donors, including corporate donors, a plus.
  • Experience developing and strong understanding of budget and cost proposal submissions, and personnel and staffing requirements for USAID, OFDA, EU (ECHO and DEVCO) and other institutional donor proposals.
  • Strong representation and relationship-building skills including professional representation (e.g. donors, partner agencies, host governments, etc.)
  • Strong negotiation skills and experience developing multiple-partnership arrangements for proposal development.
  • Ability to lead teams, handle negotiations and facilitate planning processes.
  • Ability to work effectively under tight deadlines and in sparse working environments.
  • Exceptional written and interpersonal communication skills an absolute must.
  • Native-level spoken and written English.


Success Factors

The New Initiatives Specialist will demonstrate a winning track record in program development, and bring flexibility, creativity, and enthusiasm to every project they undertake. The individual must have exceptional writing skills and the ability to multitask, set priorities, pay attention to detail, and work under tight deadlines within complex team environments. S/he will have a love of writing, strong interpersonal skills, and a healthy competitive spirit, and will take a lead role in building and maintaining external relationships as well as demonstrating the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position will be located in The Hague, Netherlands or London, United Kingdom. The position requires travel at least 50% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must able to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening as required by the schedule, and in settings with limited infrastructure, food options, and living conditions.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/temporary assignment to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws and customs, and adhere to 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.

Candidates must have the right to work in the UK or in The Netherlands at the time of appointment.

Region: London and the southeast
Location: London
Sector: Projects and programmes

Please mention Bond when you apply for this position.