Mercy Corps – Senior Technical Manager.

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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.

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

With funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), Mercy Corps’ Nawiri Program is leading a consortium of Kenyan and international partners on a five-year journey to sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition in Turkana and Samburu Counties of Kenya. Through a phased approach that emphasizes evidence gap analysis, as well as partnership, learning, and co-creation, the program takes a robust county-centered design with government leadership, active engagement from communities, the private sector, and civil society. Mercy Corps’ consortium brings together global leadership, research capacity, technical expertise, and implementation experience to partner with local institutions to test, adapt, and scale evidence-based solutions to sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties.

The Position

The role of the Senior Technical Manager is to lead and supervise a technical team and, in collaboration with the technical Director and DCOP, oversee and steer design and implementation of a coherent technical strategy. The Senior Technical Manager is responsible for managing the technical team and providing support to design robust technical program strategies utilizing evidence and learnings developed in the research phase of USAID Nawiri. S/he must ensure integration of diverse technical sectors for the specific goal of sustainably reducing persistent acute malnutrition below emergency threshold levels. The Senior Technical Manager will lead coordination and collaboration of technical experts in water systems, climate smart agriculture, environment, alternative livelihoods & inclusive markets, financial inclusion, socio-economic, as well as resilience for the benefit of over one million vulnerable people in Turkana and Samburu. In addition to providing technical direction for the project, they will bring both the technical and functional skills required to manage USAID Nawiri’s technical advisors while providing nutrition specific technical support. They will also work closely with wider technical functions to ensure gender and social inclusion, social behavior change and resilience are fully integrated and addressed across program strategies. She/he will integrate a systems approach and sustainability in all strategies and approaches towards nutrition resilience. S/he will 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 Senior Technical Manager also ensures the team is guiding USAID Nawiri’s best practices in the field and is committed to interpreting results while being open to change.

In addition to direct oversight of select technical staff, s/he will seek out opportunities, promote cross team coherence on the theory that the complex problems USAID Nawiri seeks to address are, by definition, multi sectoral in nature and require shared solutions across sectors and systems. By working with composite teams and providing strategic engagement on technical matters, the Senior Technical Manager will deliver coherence and clarity of approach across the entire consortium. Working across all program areas, and supporting the Technical Director, s/he will ensure that the USAID Nawiri team is analyzing emergent findings and routinely iterating to build a robust evidence base for informing strategic investments that drive nutrition outcomes. The Senior Technical Manager will also coordinate with other organizations and donors to ensure the best practices and learning from other initiatives are integrated in the USAID Nawiri Program.

Essential Responsibilities

STRATEGY & VISION

  • Sets a distinctive strategic vision for the relevant sectors in close coordination with the field and other agency departments and ensures that it is continuously updated to reflect trends in the field, learning over time and emerging capacities.
  • Works with USAID Nawiri senior leadership team and technical leads to develop a comprehensive transition and technical implementation strategy to bridge between a 2 year research and learning phase into full implementation of coherent nutrition and resilience approach including support to develop and roll out targeting strategies, contextualize technical implantation strategies in Turkana and Samburu, and develop technical minimum standards for the consortium.
  • Influences the program’s approach based on technical expertise, practical experience and understanding of USAID Nawiri’s comparative advantages, with an eye towards both impact and results.
  • Works with M&E and CLA teams to identify data sources and analysis approaches to track internal and external trends with potential to inform or affect technical programming and assures team readiness to adapt to changing conditions and expectations.
  • Ensure maximum impact of technical team, engaging in regular meetings to maximize collaboration and cross team coherence, annual planning and quarterly reviews.
  • Ensure that learning from the program is informing continuous program design and technical quality.

PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

  • Set direction for Technical Advisors ensuring coherence across composite teams and wider consortium; strategically engages to advance implementation of those plans.
  • Coordinate between M&E, CLA, Research teams and Technical Advisors to continually refine research and learning agenda to ensure its relevance to the overall program objective and maximize its utility to inform design decisions for testing and scale up of activities.
  • Provide technical support for the implementation of high-quality nutrition programming following USAID Nawiri’s theory of change, with a strong emphasis on social and behavior change.
  • Ensure that different technical areas/sectors are integrated and coordinated for optimal design and maximum impact.
  • Strategically engage and guide team engagement to support county level program design and quality implementation.
  • Identify opportunities to ground technical approaches and lead on efforts to drive multi-sectoral approaches and tackle thematic issues (e.g., youth employment) in new ways to advance reductions in persistent acute malnutrition.
  • Produce strong, influential analysis and derive new insights from field assessments and industry learning, incorporating that into new program designs and implementation.
  • Recommend changes to program design and implementation to ensure that the program is continuously improving to meet the program’s transformational objective.
  • Support and collaborate Technical Advisors and County Managers to align research and sectoral approaches to the malnutrition in the drylands conceptual framework.
  • Support an evidence based and data use culture – including assisting packaging/simplifying coherent evidence and encouraging its utilization by technical advisors and implementation teams for adaptive management.
  • Develop strategy and approaches to facilitate multi team/multi county shared learning on what is working in order to standardize best practice, develop comparative advantages for new program development and advance strategic partnerships.
  • Guide team plans for building the capacity of field teams to perform high quality assessments, program design and implementation in relevant technical field or through multi sector approaches.
  • Conduct regular field visits and provide targeted technical feedback while ensuring nutrition is at the forefront of program thinking.
  • Support the socialization of the program with Government stakeholders, USAID, Technical Steering Committee ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required.

TEAM MANAGEMENT 

  • Fully embrace USAID Nawiri’s values and actively work to achieve synergies within and across teams, one-Nawiri vision and its goals relating to sustainably reducing persistent acute malnutrition.
  • 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 team, to forge its reputation as a cohesive, strategic and responsive world class technical team.
  • Ensure accountability of team members for delivering on their individual workplans as well as adhering to established processes (event planning, travel approvals, expense reports, tracker, etc).
  • Conduct regular performance reviews, adhering to Mercy Corps personnel policies and practice.
  • Help team members identify and take advantage of opportunities, training, information and other resources to ensure professional growth and provide advice and encouragement to help them reach their full potential.
  • Empower teams to advance leadership in their fields and encourage/support professional growth

FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT

  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.
  • Build and/or maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs.
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION

  • Guide technical team research and learning agenda, identifying opportunities to explore key practical research questions that can inform programming and advance USAID Nawiri’s “business unusual” approach.
  • Advance Thought Leadership, develop Learning Agenda and related Knowledge Management plan.
  • Advance external Influence through work with Communications Advisor and other USAID Nawiri leads to raise USAID Nawiri’s profile with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Actively engage in internal relationship building, providing project and unit updates with other departments.
  • Work with the team to maintain a strong roster of consulting resources to fill technical needs that are not available in house.

SECURITY 

  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Technical Advisors

Accountability

Reports Directly To: Technical Director

Works Directly With: All Nawiri Team, Nawiri Consortium Team Members, Mercy Corps Technical Support Unit (TSU) and other relevant Kenya Country Team.

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 Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in a relevant field such as nutrition, public health, food security, etc.
  • At least five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in the successful implementation of integrated health or nutrition activities working on programs of a similar scope and scale, with preference given to integrated nutrition programs. At least two (2) years must be in program management, including direct supervision of technical and support staff.
  • Direct experience in planning, implementing and measuring the impact of health, nutrition, behavior change, hunger reduction or other related program.
  • Demonstrated systems thinker and ability to think outside of the box in the implementation of a unique program with experience in adaptive management and using research as part of program implementation.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, and to liaise with donors and remote HQ teams.
  • Demonstrated experience managing multi-organization teams and managing partners is required.
  • Demonstrated strong leadership and teambuilding skills; ability to work effectively in a team which includes remote members, often with limited supervision and under pressure.
  • Ability to mentor others and model successful management techniques and approaches.
  • Experience with participatory assessment methodologies a plus.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Strong budget management experience is required.
  • Prior experience in designing, implementing or managing implementation research strongly preferred.
  • Prior experience of working on USAID-funded programs strongly preferred.
  • Previous experience working in the ASALs of Kenya strongly preferred.
  • Essential computer literacy and capacity to work with MS Office applications.
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently by road and flight to the northern arid lands including remote communities (estimated 50% of the time) sometimes at short notice.

Success Factors

The successful Senior Technical Manager must be a self-starter who demonstrates leadership in technical management/supervision, communications, partnership development, and team management. Multi-tasking with proven ability to manage competing priorities, follow procedures, and meet deadlines is required. The position manages their team to have an impact on program quality, overall strategy and thought leadership. The Manager 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 Senior Technical Manager 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 person will have the vision and drive to lead initiatives that are more than program development, that demonstrate understanding for the larger picture while remaining focused on and able to handle the details. Be open to learning, adaptations and must be culturally sensitive.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Nairobi requiring up to 50% field visits to projects sites in remote locations, and working with county relevant department office and forums;

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

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. We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

 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. 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. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

Mercy Corps does not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process.

Travel Required

Yes. 50% field visits to projects sites in remote locations

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