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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.
Mercy Corps began working in Kenya in 2008 and has to date built a robust and diverse portfolio of programs aimed at sustainably improving the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict. To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen resilience, market and governance systems, address the root causes of conflict, and equip vulnerable populations- in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized social groups- with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, productive, and drive the development of their communities. Mercy Corps Kenya also collaborates with Mercy Corps teams and partners in neighbouring countries to implement a number of multi-country and cross-border programs.
Program / Department Summary
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace recently awarded funding to a Mercy Corps-led consortium of Kenyan and international partners for a 5-year Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) in Turkana and Samburu counties. Through a phased approach that emphasizes evidence gap analysis, as well as partnership, learning, and co-creation with government, civil society, communities, and the private sector, this program aims to drive sustained reductions in acute malnutrition in both counties. Mercy Corps’ NAWIRI consortium brings together the global leadership, research capacity, technical expertise, and implementation experience necessary to partner with local institutions to test, adapt, and scale evidence-based solutions. The program requires a robust county-centered design with government leadership, active engagement from communities, the private sector, and civil society. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties.
General Position Summary
The Field Director will promote a culture of collaboration, learning and adaptation amongs Mercy Corps staff, partner organizations, county government and a variety of other stakeholders that are committed to reducing acute malnutrition. S/he will ensure integration between diverse program activities and the continual refinement of our approach based on evidence of what works. The Field Director will build collaborative relationships with county government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the private sector and other key stakeholders to ensure efficient program implementation and shared ownership of the program as well as its results. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and stakeholders in the field.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy, Leadership and Representation
- Communicate a clear vision of the complex program to county team members and other stakeholders that translates into concrete program design and incorporates learning.
- Represent Mercy Corps and the program at the highest levels of county government; maintaining productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private sector partners, county government, civil society, communities, and other stakeholders.
- Lead county level planning processes and provide strategic updates in collaboration with technical leads.
- Ensure that all program activities are tightly integrated at the county level and are responsive to the overall vision for the program – in close collaboration with the Nairobi-based technical leads.
- Continuously monitors program performance, and in coordination with the Deputy Chief of Party (DCoP), generates and evaluates alternative solutions and makes effective and timely decisions.
- Promote a culture of learning, systems thinking, and critical analysis. Create a working environment in which sharing of successes and failures is encouraged and capitalized through learning to establish mechanisms that ensure informed adaptive actions.
- Create a work environment of mutual respect that attracts motivated, skilled and effective team members and enables them individually and collectively to strive to achieve excellence.
- Supervise, provide leadership, mentor and build the capacity of direct reports, including through individualized professional development plans.
- Assist in connecting research results and best practices in Monitoring &Evaluation (M&E) to ensure that information and knowledge is accessible to all staff and partners.
- Hire, onboard and lead team members to be positioned for success.
- Coordinate county-level NAWIRI staff and oversee the timely development and submission of quality program reports, workplans and budgets.
- Provide leadership and oversight that helps inform and improve program outcomes and county level results.
- Lead in the principles, methods or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, and managing program activities and resources – including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, staff and consultant performance.
- Oversee daily office and program activities by ensuring program staff are following work plans as assigned by respective team leaders.
- Serve as a resource for program staff and input into activity design, evidence-based programming, M&E plans, and impact assessments.
- Support internal and external reviews and lead the analysis of findings, with a strong emphasis on learning.
- Ensure adherence to Mercy Corps (MC) administrative procedures by support and program staff.
- Work daily with support staff that is Operations, Finance and Human Resources departments to ensure proper support functions and compliance with MC and donor policies.
- Work daily with program staff and receive regular updates of program activities to ensure activities are on schedule.
- Conduct daily meetings and receive routine reports from support functions, as per MC policies, and facilitate linkages to programming.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are both abiding by and aware of policies.
- Represent Mercy Corps as required with local governments and authorities for security meetings/briefings.
- Assist the Chief of Party (CoP) and DCoP in developing strategies to continue work in times of heightened security.
- 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.
- 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.
Mercy Corps NAWIRI Program staff in the county includes an M&E/ Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) Officer, Senior Livelihoods Officer, Government Engagement Manager, Gender and Social Change Officers, Social Protection/Resource Transfer Officer, Operations Officer and Finance Officer – as well as staff from local partner, Caritas, for WASH activities.
Reports Directly To: Deputy Chief of Party
Works Directly With: Deputy Chief of Party, Chief of Party, Mercy Corps NAWIRI Program staff, Nairobi-based Technical Leads, Consortia and Partner Organizations.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field; an advanced degree is preferred
- At least 6 years’ work experience with 3 years field experience managing diverse multi-sector, multi-partner programs and teams (familiarity with nutrition programming preferred).
- Proven experience managing a large team with programmatic and operational functions.
- Deep familiarity with the local context in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs).
- Direct experience in Turkana preferred.
- Demonstrated ability and/or appetite to demand evidence and translate it into practice.
- Demonstrated ability working with policymakers/practitioners on translating evidence into practice.
- Strong writing skills with ability to analyze and consolidate information into succinct and timely reports.
- Highly proficient in English verbal and written skills; additional knowledge of local Turkana dialect preferred.
A successful Field Director will be an innovative and visionary leader with the ability to nurture a culture of systems thinking, learning, and adaptation across diverse and multi-sector teams and partners. S/he will be a skilled mediator, with demonstrated experience in resolving conflict between parties and helping mitigate and overcome challenges common within consortia. The Field Director will have the ability to work independently while being a strong team player and continuously seek solutions and see the big picture. S/he will be a skillful facilitator of workshops and multiple stakeholder meetings.
How to Apply