Chief of Party, Food for Peace Program - Kenya
*This position is pending funding from the donor as well as approval for the position and candidate.
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.
We help people overcome poverty and conflict. Working with communities, we leverage local logic to help people transform their lives. To grow more food, earn higher incomes and ultimately advocate for their needs. We see global challenges as an invitation to pioneer innovative, sustainable solutions. During our 34-year history, our work has improved more than 170 million lives in more than 115 countries around the world.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps anticipates applying for funding for a five-year USAID Food for Peace Activity to support agriculturalists, agro-pastoralists, and pastoral households living in Northern Kenya. The program will be an integrated food security activity with a goal of achieving food security in the target counties in Kenya, through community level governance, preventing chronic malnutrition, sanitation and hygiene and sustainable livelihoods.
General Position Summary
The CoP will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of a five-year, multi-million dollar USAID/Food for Peace funded Development Food Security Activity (DFSA). S/he will manage staff, resources and partnerships to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. The CoP will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and stakeholders.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
- Oversee the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program.
- Lead the development of a program-wide resilience-building framework to guide coordination and integrated implementation.
- Oversee program start-up, management and administration. Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
- Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic workplans, and ensure the delivery of the same.
- Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
- Ensure beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to transparent criteria.
- Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.
- Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
- Document processes and achievements to ensure best practices are captured and disseminated. This will include the continual re-evaluation of program activities and information, with resulting activity adjustments in keeping with new insights.
- Oversee efforts to design effective M&E systems for the program, and linkages with internal M&E systems.
- Create and follow effective stakeholder management plans, ensuring sound and proactive communications with Mercy Corps Kenya, partner organizations, Mercy Corps headquarters, USAID, Government of Kenya authorities, and colleague agencies.
- Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites – spend up to 50% of time in the field.
- Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
- Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.
Finance & Compliance Management
- In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management) needs of the program are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policy and with the maximum benefit to the program.
- Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor and Mercy Corps’ needs.
Influence & Representation
- Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Country Director.
- Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
- Establish and maintain relationships with communities and local government.
- Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
- Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of 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.
DFSA Program Team
Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: Other CoPs or program managers in-country, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit
Knowledge and Experience
- MA/S or equivalent in development studies, international relations, agriculture, nutrition, public health, business administration, or related field.
- A minimum of 10 years in international development programming with progressively increasing management responsibility with 5 years in a senior management positions.
- Proven leadership skills managing projects of a similar size and scope for USAID-funded activities required including ability to be accountable for all components of multi-sector programs. Preference for experience with Title II funded activities.
- Strong skills and a record of accomplishment in strategic visioning, leadership, and inspiring teams. Experience in adaptive management and learning techniques is highly encouraged.
- Demonstrated experience recruiting, developing, and managing staff, as well as experience managing programmatic and financial reporting. Preference for understanding of USAID/FFP compliance issues.
- Demonstrated ability to and prior experience of building and maintaining relationships with host governments, donors, stakeholders, colleague agencies, local organizations, and partners.
- Strong problem-solving skills and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques required.
- Understanding of and demonstrated commitment to the importance of gender and youth issues in food security programming.
- Persuasive written and oral communication in English, including report writing.
- Experience in the Kenya or Horn of Africa preferable.
The successful CoP will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. 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.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The CoP is based in Nairobi with 50%+ travel to implementation areas. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are numerous International schools in Kenya. Staff have a relatively high degree of access to health and utility services (hospitals, clinics, electricity, water, etc). This position requires frequent travel by road and air to field offices in less secure environments, where basic amenities are lacking (no running water, and limited electricity without generators). This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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 Mercy Corps’ 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.