Governance Technical Specialist

Programming Goma, Congo, Democratic Republic Of (Was Zaire)


This position is fully contingent on award and approval by the donor.

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

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 300 people working in North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, and Kinshasa. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with five sub-field offices. Mercy Corps activities focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in settlements of internally displaced people, and large-scale infrastructure and service delivery development in peri-urban centers. Mercy Corps also has Food Security, Economic Recovery/Development and Governance programs. The DRC team has a strong commitment to providing entrepreneurial and innovative solutions to development challenges and is actively seeking and facilitating market-based solutions.

In 2008, Mercy Corps and USAID launched a project to rehabilitate and extend the municipal water system of Goma and it was extended through other various donors. In 2013, Mercy Corps signed a new $60M (USD) grant agreement with DFID-DRC to replicate and scale-up the Goma water project in two cities in Eastern Congo. The program involves designing, rehabilitating, extending and constructing city water and sanitation infrastructure as well as working to reform management structures to ensure that the systems are managed profitably and sustainably. In 2019, Mercy Corps intends to pursue its peri-urban water and sanitation programming with an anticipated USAID funded project.

General Position Summary

The Governance Technical Specialist is responsible for providing overall leadership and strategic vision for the governance activities, including providing technical and managerial oversight on all governance objectives, strategies, partners, and program activities. Mercy Corps DRC and its partners will work with local and provincial authorities, service providers as well as community stakeholders to ensure the environment supports increased WASH finance and investment, and that responsive and accountable governance structures and mechanisms are in place for effective WaSH service provision.  The Governance Technical specialist will provide technical advice and leadership on WASH-related financing and investment readiness, and on MOUs and partnerships for improved governance, and for related activities to improve governance in target zones. She or he will facilitate communication and information sharing with other stakeholders, partners and component managers related to governance objectives, to ensure smooth collaboration for an integrated and multi-sector approach.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision
  • Demonstrate visible leadership and adherence to Mercy Corps’ core values, principles, and strategy
  • Oversee all governance and community engagement program and institutional capacity building activities, ensuring that team members are following work plans, that activities are on schedule, and that project deliverables are completed as planned.
  • Coordinate with program team and other departments to ensure operational systems are in place to support Governance activities including logistics, administration and human resource
  • Plan, coordinate and oversee the implementation of the Governance strategy for the five-year implementation phase of the program
  • Ensure Governance is delivered on budget and to schedule
  • Oversee all aspects of design, monitoring, evaluation, and learning, and ensure that all program aspects are documented
  • Manage collaborative partnerships, providing effective donor liaison. Identify, build partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met
  • Ensure all program management minimum standards are met including risk management, issues management
  • In collaboration with Managers and other staff, oversee information management and communication as necessary.
Program Management
  • Work closely with the component managers and partners to ensure that the Governance and Water service delivery strategies are closely aligned and in coordination at all times
  • Work closely with the service providers and government to ensure there are sufficient opportunities for WASH investment, as well as accountability mechanisms in place to support a constructive dialogue, efficient and open and permanent with consumers/clients.
  • Work closely with Gender Advisor to ensure gender sensitivity of Mercy Corps and subgrantees governance activities (e.g. GBV complaint mechanism)
  • Oversee ongoing program management and administration of governance teams across the three project sites.
  • Develop partner MoUs and contracts & oversee a training program for program partners integrating community approaches, gender sensitivity, and capacity building into all activities as appropriate
  • Develop program implementation plans including partnership frameworks, beneficiary targeting focused around WASH and capacity building of partners as needed
  • 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.
  • Develop work plans in collaboration with national staff, as well as monitor implementation, program quality, and impacts of these activities
  • Develop monitoring systems (with technical support from the M&E team) and provide regular reports on program activities as required by the program
  • Collaborate with evaluators and advise on relevant evaluation and research questions
Team Management
  • Ensure coordination between governance and all other departments and operations systems, that procedures are followed for all governance activities.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews
  • Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary
  • Provide team members with information, tools, and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes
Finance & Compliance Management

Ensure partner compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to the implementation of all Governance activities (incl. of sub-grantees activities)

  • 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.

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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Governance teams, consultants, partners, program staff, field officers


Reports Directly To: CoP

Works Directly With: All Component Managers, Gender Manager, monitoring and evaluation, partner organizations DRC team members, and members of the Mercy Corps Technical Support Units

Knowledge and Experience

  • Graduate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., finance, business administration, urban planning, economics) required;
  • Minimum seven years of relevant professional experience, including at least three years in developing and emerging markets on water, sanitation, energy or infrastructure finance and investment issues.
  • Demonstrated success leading project teams of large, complex water and/or sanitation systems
  • Experience designing and implementing programs related to governance and accountability particularly in Africa
  • Demonstrated understanding of systems approach and/or systems thinking
  • Experience recruiting, training, and managing program teams
  • Experience collaborating with local authorities and leaders, community capacity building, and community mobilization
  • Previous experience working with international organizations or water utility (public or private) required and history with USAID-funded initiatives desirable
  • Previous experience with Public-private partnerships (PPP) in the water or sanitation sector a strong added advantage
  • Proven ability to work effectively in multi-cultural teams and with technical and administrative staff and consultants
  • Professional proficiency in English and French is strongly preferred, conversational Swahili a plus

Success Factors

A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in project planning. S/he will demonstrate flexibility and creativity in planning and problem-solving and have a proven ability to learn quickly and achieve stated results and objectives. S/he will combine strong collaborative working skills with an ability to implement programs successfully. S/he will demonstrate adaptability, flexibility in approach and a strong sense of equity. In DRC, patience, diplomacy, tenacity, compassion, determination and a sense of humor are all success factors.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in (Goma, DRC) and it requires up to (50%) travel to Goma, Kasais, and Kinshasa.

This position is as an unaccompanied post based in Goma, DRC. Travel to field sites up to 50% will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic.  Exceptional work schedules may be required occasionally (e.g., evenings and weekends).

Goma is a provincial capital of over 1,000,000 inhabitants, with travel to Bukavu, Kasais, and Kinshasa. Living in Goma is comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.

While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other.  Mobile phones and cellular services are widely available.  The Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. 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.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.