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Mercy Corps seeks an experienced seed system technical advisor who has significant program and partnership management experience. They will be responsible for the overall management and technical direction of Mercy Corps’ two ISSD action learning topics and the relevant seed system components of PWS. Both programs are founded in collaboration and consultation and will require working with various stakeholders such as other INGOs, local organizations, research institutions and donors.
The Senior Technical Advisor will lead the technical seeds-related activities for the two programs, including conducting desk reviews on seed-related activities in conflict-affected areas, particularly linked to peace building, and on challenges, benefits and gaps in private sector practices that could contribute to more resilient, inclusive and productive seed systems in fragile contexts; pilot-testing and refining tools and guidance materials, building off of the CAT and SERT developed under the last ISSD phase; forging new connections and partnerships with seed system actors; convening online and in-person events with diverse stakeholders such as policy makers, implementing partners, donors and private sector actors; and documenting and disseminating learning and tools.
Alongside technical activities, the Senior Advisor will be responsible for management oversight of the two ISSD Africa action learning projects. This will include leading on project strategy, partner coordination and management, technical implementation, hiring and managing technical consultants where needed, and reporting and budgeting.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Lead the implementation strategy development and refinement of Mercy Corps’ ISSD action learning projects, in collaboration with project partners and other relevant stakeholders
- Act as Mercy Corps’ lead point of contact with WCDI, including engaging in the ISSD Africa management meetings and representing Mercy Corps at partner events
- Work with PWS leadership on implementation strategy for emergency BHA partners, specifically focused on partners’ seed system priorities
- Identify opportunities for synergies with Mercy Corps’ seed system activities
- Ensure that program implementation is responsive to implementing partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
- Manage the workplan, budget and reporting for Mercy Corps’ two ISSD action learning projects
- Lead on procurement processes, recruitment, and contracting of consultants, sub-awardees and other vendors
- Manage project partnerships (SeedSystem and IFDC) and relevant consultants, ensuring clear communication, roles and responsibilities and completion of deliverables on time and within budget
- Ensure delivery of action research, knowledge sharing and learning activities on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts..
- Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards
PROGRAM TECHNICAL IMPLEMENTATION
- Contribute to influential analysis and derive new insights from desk reviews, assessments and pilot tests; incorporate those results and best practices into learning documents, practical tools or other outputs. Technical focus areas may include: seed systems in conflict-affected areas; private sector practices that could contribute to more resilient, inclusive and productive seed systems in fragile contexts; linking seed system interventions with resilience design and related outcomes (e.g., nutrition, food security); and anticipatory action and scenario planning for seed activities.
- Lead online and in-person technical consultations to harness learning and share best practices and lessons learned; document learning and develop guidance documents/tools based on lessons learned; and facilitate knowledge sharing events with relevant stakeholders.
- Forge new connections and partnerships with seed system actors;
- Document and disseminate learning and tools widely to ensure best practices are shared, endorsed and utilized amongst relevant stakeholders
MONITORING, EVALUATION AND IMPACT MEASUREMENT
- Manage the M&E system for Mercy Corps’ two ISSD Africa action learning projects; externally, this will include tracking key indicators (through collating documentation and annual or end-of-project surveys with project stakeholders) for reporting to WCDI; internally, this will include ensuring data is entered into Mercy Corps’ online tracking system and annually reporting on participant counts.
- Contribute to PWS’s M&E and report systems, as relevant and when needed
FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
- Ensure compliance with donors and Mercy Corps regulations.
- Work closely with finance officer to ensure ISSD budget is managed effectively, on time and within scope.
- Communicate effectively to ensure overall program targets and donor obligations are met.
INFLUENCE, REPRESENTATION AND PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
- Identify, build and manage strategic partnerships with SeedSystem, IFDC, other ISSD Africa partners, USAID, as well as with networks and stakeholders.
- Represent both programs and Mercy Corps with different stakeholders, in relevant practitioner and learning networks and at key events, as well as through developing industry wide papers, conference presentations, and online fora.
- Build external visibility on relevant technical areas.
The position will supervise consultants and sub-awardees, including the technical partners engaged in ISSD Africa. They may occasionally supervise interns and/or volunteers on special assignments.
Reports Directly To: Director of Agriculture Systems TSU
Works Directly With: PWS Technical Director, Agriculture Advisors and other team members; Agriculture Systems and other relevant TSU team members, Mercy Corps country program teams in priority countries; Wageningen University and Research and other ISSD Africa Partners; SeedSystem; IFDC; Save the Children; and IDEAL, PRO-WASH, REAL, PCS and other USAID/BHA learning award staff.
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
- At least 4 years of experience implementing emergency projects with a focus on seed system development and/or technically leading or advising on seed system interventions.
- Advanced degree at master’s level or above in a field relevant to agriculture or international development, or at least 7 years of relevant work experience.
- Demonstrated program management experience, including budget management and multi-partner, multi-country coordination experience
- Demonstrated strong theoretical and applied technical expertise in formal and informal seed system development; practical experience with seed system assessments, strongly preferred.
- Demonstrated strong theoretical and applied knowledge of market-based programming, including using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking, preferred.
- Experience developing knowledge sharing strategies, learning tools, and leading/facilitating learning events.
- Demonstrated ability to engage stakeholders at different levels from various agencies to collate learning and develop frameworks for implementation.
- Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop collaborative relationships
- Strong presentation and communication skills in English required.
- Willingness and ability to travel to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
- Fluency (written and verbal) in English is required; working knowledge (verbal) of French is preferred.