Technology For Development (T4D) Officer (Data Science) - Goma, DRC
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 over 300 people working in Eastern DRC, with the overall country goal to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to:
1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas;
2) Improve food security and nutrition;
3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development.
Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo. With funding from humanitarian donors including ECHO, OFDA and UN-donors, the humanitarian portfolio continues to expand in order to provide multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps plans to scale up and expand its humanitarian response to reach more beneficiaries with additional and varied assistance in a wider geographic area. All Mercy Corps interventions in DRC are implemented in a conflict and gender sensitive manner.
General Position Summary
The T4D officer position focuses on providing expert technical support and capacity building to Mercy Corps DRC Humanitarian Analysis Team (CHAT) in the officer’s area of expertise. This includes support to program design and development, network and partnership development, assisting in monitoring and improving program quality and relevance, staying current on industry innovation and best practices, delivering training, and disseminating information to internal and external partners. The advisor will also participate in matrixed teams, share and build the capacity of others, and help integrate their technical areas with others.
The T4D officer will work closely with Technology for Development Data-Driven Decision Making lead, to ensure best practices are implemented in the program, and for support liasing with external technology partners.
This position description reflects the technical expertise in the area of Information Systems for Crisis Analysis, Response and Management, and the use of relevant innovative tools and methods for assisting in data-driven for decision making projects for predicting risk, measuring (and targeting) humanitarian response, tracking recovery and resilience.
Essential Job ResponsibilitiesProgram and Proposal Development
- Work with a wide range of stakeholders internal and external to Mercy Corps, from other NGOs, Civil society, Governments agencies, private sector data holders (e.g. Mobile Network Operators), and Mercy Corps technology partners (e.g Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Tableau, Palantir,...) to identify and define requirements for data-driven innovation use cases relevant to Mercy Corps DRC CHAT.
- With the support from T4D Data-Driven Decision Making lead, oversee new data-driven product roll-outs, training, and engagement between relevant Technology Partners and Mercy Corps CHAT.
- Utilize the latest emerging technologies in “Big Data” analytics and AI enabled methods, statistics, data preparation, visualization, to facilitate data driven programmatic decision-making, program quality assurance, and the development of relevant and impactful data-driven products (e.g early warning and rapid response mechanisms, real-time awareness of displacement visualizations, real-time evaluations and measurement of behaviour change).
- Leverage technology to Improve CHAT capacity to distill, analyze, and operationalize disparate and often contradictory data sets in near real-time, to help predicting risk, anticipate conflict and displacement, measuring (and targeting) humanitarian response and access, tracking recovery and resilience, often in Fragile, Conflict and Violence (FCV) and other settings.
- Identify and provide technical insight that leads to effective local integration of new functionality from technology companies (known in this position description as Technology Partners) solutions, for the purposes of enabling this role.
- Manage any local solution integrations from design, deployment, delivery and maintenance of data-driven innovation solutions.
- Function as the operational local focal point in the Mercy Corps - Palantir Technologies (Philanthropy Division) relationship and other technology partners identified. Liaise with T4D DDDM lead for any escalations related to the use of this or other partner technology solutions.
- Stay up to date with portfolio of data-driven tools and methods, relevant to this role.
- In partnership with other relevant MC teams (e.g MEL), solve the most difficult problems facing Mercy Corps’ programs with data integration and manipulation, dashboarding, and mapping wherever possible.
- Work closely with field leaders to influence their engagement and support of technology.
- Act as a catalyst to build local data-driven innovation ecosystems, between Mercy Corps field teams and other relevant local partners and stakeholders.
- Participate as an active, integrated member of the CHAT team providing technology support to the team, from training on tools to solution integration, data process flows and integrating new data sources.
- Support effective interventions in the areas of the assigned team’s focus, using integrated technology-based approaches.
- Help maintain standards of program delivery that apply agency priorities and comply with relevant regulations and requirements.
- Take leadership in identifying and addressing program quality needs, and make sure to address them with technology, processes and by collaborating with rest of team to problem solve.
- Ensure that all aspects of data responsibility, protection, sharing, privacy and ethical manipulation, are upheld by all partners.
- Work with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team and the field to ensure that monitoring and evaluation is practical and reflects best practices.
- Utilize Mercy Corps/Technology Partner developed technologies and approaches to integrate data, enable greater information sharing, and generate actionable insights to improve MEL outcomes.
- Leverage Mercy Corps’ position as a leader in humanitarian technology solutions to enable coordination across agencies in complex, fluid environments where effective data analysis can enable accelerated, coordinated, joint responses.
- Provide in-country training and support for Mercy Corps CHAT, partners, and others.
- Stay up to date with all latest trainings, in collaboration with T4D DDDM lead
- Support new and ongoing CHAT activities with best practice advice and assistance on assessment, implementation, research, and evaluation needs.
- Support CHAT research agenda involving complex impact measurement activities requiring advanced “big data” analytics methods. Support discussions with key technology partners in this space (e.g Flowminder, NASA)
- Represent Mercy Corps CHAT at relevant events, conferences, media forums, and other events; contribute to thought leadership in the technology for development and humanitarian space.
- Develop and implement a targeted strategy for expanding technology solutions with assistance from other Mercy Corps teams, in particular T4D.
- Support the Senior Management Team in presenting concepts and ideas to donors, partners, and peer organizations that influence them to drive innovation and positive change.
- Show and demonstrate interest and understanding in the global agenda for sustainable development data, and stay informed of relevant trends and discussions in this space, by participating in different forums like UN World Data Forum.
- Assist fellow CHAT team members with information, tools and resources to improve overall team performance.
- Actively participate in discussions with other CHAT initiative owners, and T4D DDDM lead, to understand how data-driven innovation might be integrated across initiatives.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Participate in recruitment interviews as necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
Reports Directly To: CHAT Manager
Works Directly With: PMs, M&E Manager, Team Leader, DoPs
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree required.
- A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to the team specialty and relevant technical certifications are preferred.
- Technical prefered experience
- You have passion for data, be it at crunching, transforming or visualising large data streams;
- Comfortable having data-driven innovation discussions with a variety of technical profiles from technology partners and other organizations, from Cloud Engineers to Data Scientists, software development teams, data visualization experts, or information analysts.
- Ideally you have some working knowledge of one of the common languages, e.g. R, Python, Java or Scala; and are familiar with data science collaboration platforms like Kaggle
- You are interested an aware of different Machine Learning methods (e.g deep learning, natural language processing, tracking, image classification,...) and willing to explore relevant opportunities with our technology partners
- Familiar with relevant open data sources and platforms, such: Humanitarian Data Exchange (https://data.humdata.org/) , IOM data (https://displacement.iom.int/), ACLED (https://www.acleddata.com/)
- 3 years of experience providing increasingly proficient technical support in the relevant field of expertise that includes:
- Demonstrating strong theoretical and applied knowledge of the field of expertise.
- Using integrated technology based approaches and applying systems thinking.
- Practical field experience, typically over the course of 3 years, that includes:
- A combination of successful temporary duration field assignments (under two weeks), longer-term field assignments (two or more weeks), and/or living in a field location for an extended period to work in a country or field office.
- Ideally exposure to emergency response scenarios or other crisis response work that demonstrates the ability to successfully adapt support and assistance methodologies to real-world complexities.
- Managing and implementing successful data-driven innovation projects in the field.
- Delivering Capacity Building curriculum or other processes for field teams
- Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
- Familiarity with major donors such as USAID, DFID, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
- Fluency in English is required; fluency in French foreign language preferred.
The successful T4D Officer will have the ability to combine exceptional management skills and strong technical management skills. S/he will demonstrate strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps. S/he will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, and make solid. S/he will be able to creatively problem-solve, juggle multiple priorities under tight deadlines, and to calmly and diplomatically deal with unexpected and sudden events impacting program operations. Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required. 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
This position is an unaccompanied position. Shared housing will be provided in Goma according to Mercy Corps DRC housing policy. Goma is a provincial capital of over 800,000 inhabitants. Travel may be required up to 40% of the time to program areas within North and South Kivu. 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 security is quite stable in Goma, North and South Kivu continue to be an arena 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 service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There is 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. 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 MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.