Director, Water Security – Technical Support Unit

  • Contract
  • Remote
  • TBD USD / Year
  • Salary: TBD

Mercy Corps

Location: Position can be based remotely in one of our global office locations in the UK, the Hague, Kenya, Jordan, or the US. Position Status: Full Time, Regular Salary: This position is an HQ Level 7. Salary will be benchmarked to location.

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 long term impact.

The Program / Department / Team

Mercy Corps alleviates poverty, suffering, and oppression and works to build secure, productive, and just communities in over 40 countries around the world. Our Program Department supports field-led work that delivers measurable impact.

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. Mercy Corps’ TSU houses subject matter experts whose mission is to help our global teams apply the most effective solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, while building our global reputation and resources to do so. By advancing technical excellence the Unit plays a key role in driving Mercy Corps’ impact, innovation and influence around the world. Current TSU teams are: Environment, Food Security and Nutrition; Resilience; Economic and Market Development; Financial Inclusion; Agriculture Systems; Governance and Partnerships; Peace and Conflict; Youth, Gender and Girls; Technology for Development; and New Initiatives.

The TSU helps set agency-wide strategy and develops strategic approach documents and other technical briefs for their practice area to inform the entire organization’s work. In addition, it offers technical expertise to offices worldwide – supporting country strategy development and assessments, and engaging throughout the program life cycle from project design and proposal development to quality implementation and evaluations. (Though the size of each technical team limits them to the most strategic engagements across all of these functions).

As technical experts in their field, TSU Team members are well versed in global practices and abreast of sector specific trends. They also represent Mercy Corps with donors and other strategic partners, and inform and influence both internal approaches and global understanding on how to move the needle on some of the most intractable humanitarian and development challenges of our time, especially in fragile settings. This agenda requires the team to know about progress and results across programs and paint a picture of the best that Mercy Corps has to offer based on thematic learning from across our regions. This drives innovation inside the agency, grows the portfolio, and fosters learning internally and with external stakeholders so that we can make a bigger difference in the lives of people we work with.

Each TSU subject matter team is usually comprised of a Director and Senior Advisors/Advisors. Most teams are grouped together for management and collaboration purposes, with 2 – 3 teams reporting to a TSU Senior Director, who is charged with creating a unifying vision and strategy for their teams and the larger Technical Support Unit. Senior Directors report to the Vice President of Technical Leadership who sets overall strategy for the TSU. The Unit is housed in Mercy Corps’ Program Department.

General Position Summary

TSU Directors are leaders and experts who bring both the technical and functional skills required to manage a best-in-class technical support team, while promoting a balanced approach to team, agency and personal commitments.

The Director will supervise, lead, and grow the Water Security technical team. In 2022 Mercy Corps completed its new 2030 Global Strategy. The new strategy elevates Water Security to one of four key outcome areas for the agency, along with Food Security, Economic Opportunity, and Peace and Governance. This new focus combines Mercy Corps’ historical strengths in emergency WASH programming, with a desire to further build out our impact in water resource management and service provision as part of the agency wide mission to build resilient and inclusive communities. The Water Security Director role is a new position and will guide Agency strategy (as reflected in the Global Strategy) on Water Security. The Director is responsible, in collaboration with Mercy Corps HQ and country teams, for shaping and delivering results to achieve that strategy. Central to the Director’s role will be a successful business development strategy to build the Water Security portfolio in priority geographies.

Directors lead their team to deliver on high quality program design and implementation, including through transferring knowledge and building skills in ways that build the capacity of field teams to deliver program and practice excellence. The Director also ensures the team is guiding Agency best practice on measurement in their field, and is committed to knowing and facilitating understanding of Agency results. Building on this knowledge and expertise, they are strong influencers both inside and outside the Agency with the ability to effectively communicate Mercy Corp’s overall vision, technical strengths in their area and results.

In addition to direct oversight of technical staff, directors are members of the TSU Leadership team composed of all Directors and Senior Directors. As such, they will be charged with regularly engaging their TSU counterparts and helping to shape and deliver on larger TSU priorities. TSU Directors will also collaborate closely with many other parts of the Agency, especially the Humanitarian Leadership and Support, Program and Quality, and Policy and Research teams as well as field offices. The Director position is closely associated with the Environment TSU team that delivers Climate, Energy, Disaster Risk Reduction, Water Resources and WASH programming. The Water Security Director will lead and supervise the water resources and WASH team.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Sets a distinctive strategic vision for Water Security in close coordination with regional and country teams, based on technical expertise, practical experience and understanding of MC comparative advantages, with an eye towards both impact and growth.
  • Identifies internal and external trends with potential to inform or affect Mercy Corps programming in Water Security and assure team readiness to adapt to changing conditions and expectations.
  • Build and maintain external strategic partnerships with key water resources and WASH institutions and serve as key external communicator for Mercy Corps in a wide range of public fora.


  • Strategically engage and guide team engagement to support country level program design and quality implementation in Water Security
  • Produce strong, influential technical analysis and derive new insights from field assessments and industry learning, incorporating that into new program designs and implementation.
  • Develop strategy and approaches to facilitate multi team/multi country shared learning on successful implementation of Water Security programs to standardize best practice, develop comparative advantages for new program development and advance strategic partnerships.


  • Fully embrace the Agency’s culture and values and actively work to achieve its goals relating to Gender, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence on their own team and embrace their role and responsibilities in advancing the shared goals of the larger TSU, to forge its reputation as a cohesive, strategic and responsive world class technical unit.
  • Manage personnel and financial resources to ensure the Water Security team is working in line with Agency’s Impact, Innovation and Influence objectives and delivering on individual work plans.
  • Coordinate and integrate technical support on water and WASH with the Infrastructure Team and regional TSU and PaQ advisors.


  • Develop and refine theories of change and related indicators for Water Security; work with field teams both in their development and to test them
  • Work with the Program and Quality team to ensure Water Security indicators continue to be relevant and accessible to programs, and that measurement tools are created to effectively measure indicators and staff capacity is built.
  • Lead and support activities to understand and document the impact of Water Security interventions, including analysis of outcome and impact data to inform technical briefs, corporate capacity statements, and future program development.


  • Identify and develop strategic funding partnerships for new or expanded field programs, and Identify strategic grant opportunities to grow TSU capacity in Water Security in ways that serve broader TSU agenda and the Agency strategy.
  • Guide the Research Team as they engage in learning on Water Security, identifying opportunities to explore key practical research questions that can inform programming and advance global practice.
  • Strengthen Mercy Corps’ profile and representation through expert interaction with internal stakeholders, partner agencies, donors and other networks and groups. Speak at key events, highlight Mercy Corp’s evidence base.
  • Spearhead technical partnership initiatives, including with academic partners think tanks, local networks, private sector actors or others to enhance impact and influence.

Supervisory Responsibility

The position has supervisory responsibility over Senior Advisors and Advisors.


Reports Directly To: Senior Director, Climate and Water

Works Directly With: Other TSU Directors and their staff, other HQ and field teams.

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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills

  • Broad experience and exposure to Water Security priority intervention areas for Mercy Corps including governance, management, technologies, market systems and finance for water resources and WASH.
  • M.S./M.Sc. or above in a technical field relevant to Water Security is required.
  • 6+ years experience in the water sector is required, including:
    • Experience building strong working relationships with government and private sector donors, peer agencies, corporations and/or foundations.
    • Program strategy development and implementation
    • Experience managing field-based projects in the developing world, with ability to translate theory into practical applications.
  • This experience should include 3 to 5 years of management and supervisory experience that includes:
    • Effective mentoring, development, and management of individual staff and teams.
    • Coordinating matrixed teams, including in non-hierarchical settings.
    • Engaging with teams of diverse backgrounds.
  • Proven leadership, self-motivation, and interpersonal skills.
  • Exceptionally strong verbal and written communications skills, and organizational skills are required.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Familiarity with the donor landscape in Europe and with bilateral aid agencies generally, as well as experience with foundations and corporations engaged in funding research and implementation in the water sector.
  • Fluency in English is required; fluency in a foreign language such as French preferred.

Success Factors

The successful director must be a self-starter who demonstrates leadership in communications, partnership development, and team management. Multi-tasking with proven ability to manage competing priorities, follow procedures, and meet deadlines is required. The director manages their team to have an impact on revenue, program quality, overall strategy and thought leadership. The director leads and nurtures individual team member development and works effectively with different work styles. The position must communicate and work with a variety of external groups including private sector partners, peer agencies, academic institutions, and donors. The director is flexible and creative in planning and problem solving, and has a proven ability to learn quickly, take initiative and be accountable for results. The director has the vision and drive to lead initiatives in the agency that are more than program development, that demonstrate understanding for the larger picture while remaining focused on and able to handle the details. The individual must have a high proficiency for working in a variety of cultural, political and religious environments and must be able to travel and work successfully in austere environments and maintain poise in stressful situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is located in one of Mercy Corps’ headquarter or regional offices and it requires up to 30% travel to support country programs, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited. Housing for this role is in individual housing and staff will have access to good medical services and the living situation is of a high standard.

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.

As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. Any offers of employment or continued employment are dependent on the successful completion of the screens which include, but are not limited to our Background Check and Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme processes,

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.

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

Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based Employees

Mercy Corps has determined that, in an effort to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Mercy Corps employees working in the United States, all U.S.-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, regardless of prior COVID-19 infection status.

This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.

For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment. Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations. Failure to comply may impact your employment. Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided.

How to apply

Apply here