Mercy Corps – Livelihoods and Food Security Officer.

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Livelihoods and Food Security Officer – Turkana (Lokitaung & Lokichar)

Job Details


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 

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 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 the global leadership, research capacity, technical expertise, and implementation experience necessary to partner with local institutions to test, adapt, and scale evidence-based solutions. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Samburu counties.

The Position Summary

The Livelihoods and Food Security officer will be a member of the USAID Nawiri Resilient Livelihoods Team supporting program implementation at sub-office level. He/she will lead work plan implementation of livelihood interventions as appropriate to context, for sustained vulnerable households’ access to nutrient-dense foods and overall food security despite exposure to shocks and stresses. S/he is directly responsible for supporting all USAID Nawiri Livestock and Agriculture (crop) program activities primarily; and directly implements financial inclusion and enabling market systems to last mile communities to support ultra-poor and the most vulnerable households and strengthening diversified efforts for improved Household Economies. S/he works alongside other officers in layering interventions for collective impact at household and community level. The officer is able to translate how the interconnected actions at household and community level contribute to sustainable household food security and therefore motivate community-driven leadership of actions at local level.

S/he is a member of the team that supports implementation of households’ economic strengthening initiatives working with local resource persons and local implementing organizations. S/he drives implementation of innovative climate smart agriculture approaches including crop through irrigation in selected irrigation schemes and communities with permanent water sources. He/she supports communities/households uptake fodder production, improved livestock and ecological practices to secure milk availability, especially through the dry season. 

S/he supports fieldwork monitoring, cross-sectoral collaboration, support to assessments and reporting. The holder has an in-depth contextual understanding of pastoral, agro-pastoral context and can co-create solutions with local stakeholders, communities and households. S/he can translate evidence and insights contextually to drive actions that sustainably address malnutrition at local level.   S/he supports the County Resilience Livelihoods coordinator and the RL team to map and strengthen capacity of local stakeholders (groups, households, individuals) and is directly responsible for implementing nutrition-sensitive resilient livelihood interventions at sub-county (all wards, village, household) level. S/he supports community own resource persons and works alongside community influencers -includes champions, facilitators, mentors and community health volunteers (CHVs) etc- in layering interventions for collective impact at household and community level. The officer supports learning and adaptations aimed at strengthening program impact.

The position is based at the USAID Nawiri sub-county (sub-office) office level supporting interventions within the sub-county and prioritized wards -that continuously experience high rates of acute malnutrition. S/He will work closely with relevant sub-county, ward officials, village level officials, CSOs and private sector players involved in livelihoods and food security & nutrition within their areas of operation. S/he is an excellent community mobilizer with strong facilitation skills in local language/dialects.

Success factors for this role include: A technical person who understands the tightly interconnected relationship between natural resources management, agriculture-based (crops & livestock) livelihoods, seasonality, risk and resilience in the arid and semi-arid lands. A community mobilizer with local context with openness to learning and demonstrable willingness to challenge self and navigate social norms change that affect nutrition outcomes.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Leading implementation of work plan in line with agreed approaches and milestones and specifically responsible for Livestock and crop interventions, including irrigation in resilient livelihood scope. Lead implementation of livestock, crops interventions including coordination with target communities and partners at the sub-office level.
  • Directly oversee crop and fodder production through irrigation in selected irrigation schemes
  • Supports household engagements for improved economies, transforming household and social dynamics and responsible for layering interventions for collective impact at household and community level. 
  • Coordinate with the different levels of stakeholders including household members, community groups, local implementing partners, community resource persons, government stakeholders at sub-county, ward, village – to mobilize actions and ensure effective communication channels.
  • Coordinate with community leadership to facilitate activity integration and targeting of participants.
  • Collaborate with Nawiri health and nutrition staff to integrate messaging into crop and livestock production training curriculum.
  • supports behavior change communication and adoption of supportive practices. This includes sharing evidence informing livelihood choices, in simplified manner with communities
  • Plans and leads TOT training sessions to Community Mobilizers / Champions in collaboration with Government counterparts.
  • Liaise with other project teams and staff at the sub office level to ensure that all USAID Nawiri interventions are well-coordinated and prioritized
  • Coordinate with Markets and Alternative Livelihoods team members to identify private sector partners or opportunities for new enterprises that improve farmer access to input and output markets. Supports financial inclusion interventions, activation and lasting connections of markets to last mile communities for affordable access to diverse nutrient-dense foods and services.
  • Coordinate with public and private service providers (animal health, crop husbandry, etc.) to reach program participants at the ward level.
  • Prepares activity reports and supports County Resilience Livelihoods Coordinator in the review and development of work plans and thematic reports.
  • Collaborate with the M&E team to support monitoring and evaluation on effectiveness and impact of livelihoods activities at the Sub-office level and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Collaborate with Nawiri health and nutrition staff to integrate messaging into crop and livestock production training curriculum.
  • Contribute to team work plans and guide successful implementation of program activities, ensuring teams and partners activities are on track and in alignment to achieve desired impact;
  • Work closely with all other program teams at local level to identify clients for financial services and to support service extension and financial inclusion as well as development of suitable products and services.
  • Actively participate in the periodic program planning, review and reflection meetings and sessions.
  • Prepare accurate and timely reports and other project documentation and communication that contribute to a learning organization.
  • Coordinate with other Mercy Corps programs and local government bodies to ensure coherent program implementation and to capitalize on business opportunities in Mercy Corps’ target communities.
  • Support collaboration, learning and adaptations, monitoring surveys in area of operation.
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its mission.
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.


  • Integrates community approaches, gender sensitivity, conflict sensitivity and do no harm principles and mainstreams capacity building and sustainability approaches into all activities as appropriate including certifying all interventions to adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards;
  • Conduct community mobilization and sensitization meetings that are inclusive and to help prioritize the economic needs of target communities.
  • Support with collaborative partnership with other development partners and identify potential opportunities for linkages
  • Engage and support systems strengthening actions including Ward Development planning
  • Link and strengthen capacity of program participants’ to tap into opportunities including their influence in influencing planning and budgeting of nutrition resilience interventions i.e. their voice in Ward Planning Committees and multi-sectoral platforms.
  • Continuously update stakeholder mapping and coordinate activities with various stakeholders, to ensure strong linkages between resilient livelihood and other priority pathways for strengthening nutrition resilience in the context.
  • Collaborate with consortium staff within the geographical and thematic scopes to develop projects, implement and closely monitor selected economic development projects including detailed work plans and business plans.
  • Mobilize sub-county, ward level and village meetings with relevant stakeholders.
  • Support the facilitation of planning meetings and workshops with government, NGO, private sector, and community partners to revise and customize implementation plans.
  • Conduct community mobilization and engagement meetings with ward and community-level leaders to implement USAID Nawiri livelihoods activities
  • Support community visioning process for resilient livelihoods
  • Support with collaborative partnership with other development partners and identify potential opportunities for linkage


  • Assist sub-office coordinator and County Field Director to coordinate activities with consortium partners, sub grantees, local government and other implementers
  • Support the facilitation of planning meetings and workshops with government, NGO, private sector, and community partners to revise plans and promote partner acceptance/buy-in;
  • Ensure close coordination and sharing of information with relevant stakeholders such as local government departments, NGO’s and local authorities, as appropriate and advised by the line manager.
  • Collaborate with Consortium partners, sub grantees, local government, and other implementers working at the sub-office level.
  • Facilitate planning meetings and workshops with government, NGO, private sector, and community partners to revise plans and promote partner acceptance/buy-in at the sub-office level
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission

Supervisory Responsibility

Supervision of Assistant Livelihoods officers and Community Resource Persons 


  • Reports Directly To: County Resilient Livelihoods Coordinator
  • Works Directly With: Climate Smart Advisor, Alternative Livelihoods and Inclusive Markets Advisor, R4N coordinator and field officers, Health and Nutrition officers, Structural and Social Behavior Change officers, Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Officers, Household Economic Strengthening Technical Advisors, Gender and Social Inclusion Coordinator among others.

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

  • Degree in agricultural related field or Diploma with over 5 years’ relevant working experience
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience directly implementing agriculture (crop and livestock) interventions at the field level in Kenya ASALs. Learning and experience in agronomy will be an advantage.
  • Demonstrable familiarity with Kenya’s ASAL, agriculture crop and livestock and natural resources sectors.
  • Proficient analytical skills that demonstrate an understanding of the current concepts, priorities, and issues in program monitoring, data collection, and evaluation.
  • Team player who takes initiative and is a problem-solver.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multitasking and organizational s
  • Ability to manage priorities independently
  • Excellent attention to detail and ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Excellent teamwork abilities and interpersonal skills.
  • Familiarity with M&E, information, communications and knowledge sharing technologies and use of innovative approaches on digital financial services.
  • Demonstrated computer competency of Microsoft Excel/Word and knowledge of data management software;
  • Strong analytical and quantitative skills
  • Demonstrated flexibility, creativity and enthusiasm as well as a willingness to learn and to be continually adaptive within a dynamic and often self-directed working environment.
  • Ability to focus on day-to-day tasks at hand while also working towards longer-term objectives with an understanding that these will change continuously;
  • Ability to work without constant supervision and as part of a diverse team;
  • Good reporting, communication and representation skills;
  • Good problem solving, written and oral communication skills;
  • Confident, sound training facilitation and representation/relationship skills;
  • Strong written and spoken English and Kiswahili
  • Local language skills required especially Samburu and Turkana Languages.

Success Factors

Success factors for this role include: Having technical and implementation experience in crop and livestock interventions, with skills and capacities for household economic strengthening and understanding contextual market dynamics. A successful Livelihoods and Food security Officer is highly adaptive, brings thought leadership to local challenges, is open and has agility to learn. S/he is a master community facilitator, mobilizer, trainer with the ability to effectively nurture productive working relationships within and with externa; stakeholders; is open-minded to uptake technical assistance that is critical to take the program to scale rapidly. S/he will have the capacity to sustain innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to programming, connecting private sector interests to public sector needs that will result in high quality programming. S/he will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community and business levels. S/he is experienced in multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail are essential. S/he has cross-cultural engagement skills, is a strong mentor, follows procedures and meets deadlines; The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.

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


Travel Required





About Author

Human Capital Resources and Solutions.

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