Mercy Corps – Program Director, Youth Employment Program – Kenya

Programming 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
Youth Empowered for Success (YES!) is a partnership with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation that seeks to enhance employment and entrepreneurship for 25,000 young people in six African countries by 2018, and scale to reach 500,000 youth by 2022. Mercy Corps is the lead on-the-ground implementer in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tunisia through activities that link youth to economic opportunities. In addition, Mercy Corps is responsible for leading the Innovation and Digital work stream that seeks to identify, incubate, and scale business solutions to youth unemployment, as well as the Thought Leadership work stream that seeks to establish YES! as a leading expert on youth employment in Africa, with the capacity to mobilize resources towards scale.

General Position Summary

The Program Director is responsible for the overall strategy and delivery of the YES! program across five countries in Africa. S/he will take on the challenging role of balancing clear strategy and management systems with localization across diverse economies and contexts. S/he will function as the lead relationship manager with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and the Coca-Cola System including bottlers and business unit representatives, and other private sector, government and NGO stakeholders. S/he will cultivate new relationships with private sector actors and others to enhance and grow the program, including donors to enable a follow-on Phase 2.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Provide overall strategic direction to the program, and ensure that program objectives are attained across a breadth of work streams in five countries.
  • Take an adaptive management approach to develop and innovate new processes, activities or services to improve impact.
  • Lead the development of the proposal and strategic plan for an anticipated YES! Phase 2.
  • Balance views of multiple stakeholders in strategic planning, including Coca-Cola and private sector actors.


  • Maintain regular and hands-on contact with corporate and untraditional donors and partners, including ability to respond to quickly and articulately to questions and concerns.
  • Ensure effective in-country relationship management between program teams and local Coca-Cola bottling companies and business units.
  • Support development of pipeline of private sector partnerships, including facilitating agreements and bringing together diverse partners for collaboration.
  • Ensure effective coordination and collaboration amongst NGO partners and government entities, and consistently cultivate new relationships.
  • Ensure that an effective communication strategy is in place to share program progress and successes with program donors, HQ, government and other stakeholders.


  • Function as a technical lead or support for a range of technical areas, including market facilitation, private sector engagement, social enterprise incubation, and youth development.
  • Drive effective private sector engagement across the program, ensuring that linkages to private sector opportunities form the basis of the program (rather than just conducting training).
  • Take a Making Markets Work for Youth approach, recognizing concepts of mixed livelihoods in youth employment.


  • Develop, manage, and revise program budgets across the five countries.
  • Ensure rigorous accountability to donor rules and regulations and that all spending is donor-compliant, program-effective and cost efficient.
  • Work collaboratively with support departments (finance, logistics, and HR) to ensure that effective program management tools are in place, and that the project is delivered on time, on scope and on budget.


  • Support the Results, Learning and Research Coordinator in the evolution of YES! M&E and Learning systems across the five countries and their ability to generate rigorous learning products.
  • Promote influence based on findings from the YES! program to local and international stakeholders, as well as to Mercy Corps internally.
  • Represent YES! at conferences, technical working groups, and seminars related to youth employment and empowerment.


  • Manage a small coordinating team in Kenya, with oversight for YES! program teams (about 15 people) in five countries.
  • Oversee capacity building to increase Mercy Corps staff’s capacities in private sector engagement and youth development in all countries, as well as providing close mentoring to YES! team leads.


  • Provide detailed reports for a range of stakeholders.


  • Design and write proposals for YES! Phase 2, building on learning from Phase 1.
  • Identify opportunities to develop new activities or additions to YES!

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:           YES! Results, Learning & Research Coordinator, YES! Innovation and Digital Coordinator

Indirectly:         Five country-level Program Managers and their teams.


Reports Directly To: Regional Director

Works Directly With: Country-level YES! teams, Country-level finance teams, HQ Regional Finance Officer, HQ Director of Corporate Partnerships, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation staff


  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field.
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience setting up and managing economic development, youth employment or market facilitation programs.
  • Experience in Africa required.
  • Expertise in strategic planning and management across complex multi-component programs or portfolios.
  • Excellent and patient relationship management skills.
  • Experience working with corporate partners a plus.
  • Excellent written and presentation skills required, for a range of audiences.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required.
  • Demonstrated expertise in working with the private sector to facilitate economic opportunities for youth or other vulnerable groups.


The successful YES! Program Director will demonstrate an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset coupled with excellent stakeholder management skills. S/He will be a doer able to step back to see the big picture while getting involved in detailed delivery processes. The Program Director should be able to proactively cultivate relationships with the private sector and should be able to demonstrate strong organizational and managerial skills. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability and thrive in evolving and challenging environments.


The Program Director will be based in Kenya’s capital city – Nairobi. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is family accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are many international schools in Kenya. Staff have a high degree of access to services (medical, electricity, water, etc). This position requires 50% travel to Tunisia, Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda (all capital cities).

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.

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Human Capital Resources and Solutions.

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