Access to Energy Manager
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 is exploring a number of strategies to expand access to renewable energy to refugees in Uganda’s west nile region through market-based solutions. Mercy Corps will lead two programs - STARRE (Strengthening Access of Refugees to Renewable Energy) and AMPERE (Access to Modern Energy in Humanitarian Settings Pilot) in West Nile targeting refugees in BidiBidi as well as host community members. In addition, Mercy Corps is implementing a program - Energy in Emergencies, Mitigating Risks of Gender Based Violence (EEMRG), which is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and implemented by Mercy Corps and the Women’s Refugee Commission. The program aims to improve safety and opportunities for refugee women and girls through improved access to energy in emergencies, and Uganda is a focus country for this opportunity which includes assessments and development of capacity building materials on gender and energy access issues. AMPERE will be managed as a consortium led by Mercy Corps, in partnership with Save the Children (Response Innovation Lab) and SNV.
These programs aim to test, prove and build evidence for quality, affordable and reliable market-driven energy access solutions in humanitarian response programming, with a focus also on gender. The programs leverage existing programming in Uganda and globally, including Mercy Corps’ experience on improving access to energy through the Pay-As-You-go (PAYGo) payment modality in Innovation Centres in Bidibidi, in West Nile (Northern Uganda); Save the Children’s promotion of local innovations in humanitarian settings through the Response Innovation Lab (RIL); and SNV’s invaluable technical assistance on the most appropriate, locally available and sustainable market driven energy solutions. The results of STARRE and AMPERE will be shared with the wider energy access and humanitarian community, globally and in-country.
General Position Summary
The primary focus of the Access To Energy Manager will be to oversee all activities and successful implementation of the AMPERE and STARRE programs, as well as acting as a focal point for EEMRG activities within Uganda. The Access to Energy Manager will lead the consortium between Mercy Corps, Save the Children/RIL and SNV to deliver AMPERE. S/he will be responsible for oversight of quality activities and coordination among partners, including Save the Children/RIL and SNV, and responsible for ensuring that the program meets targets, ensures quality, on deadline and within scope. S/he will be overall responsible for budget management. The Manager will lead at both strategic and operational levels, working with staff to develop strategies for effective implementation. S/he will coordinate closely with the MEL Advisor at Mercy Corps to ensure appropriate MEL activities are planned, and supervise the management of MEL activities on the ground, ensuring that analysis of data coming from the ground feeds into the learning agenda for the programs. The position will also lead activities for EEMRG in Uganda, including development and testing of tools to improve energy access for women and girls in emergencies.
The success factors for the candidate include:
1) demonstrated familiarity with the Market System Development approach and off grid solar market systems (PAYGo methodology desirable);
2) previous program management experience,
3) previous experience managing partnerships with private sector actors and consortium’s counterparts, while being able to leverage and connect with other ongoing projects.
Proven previous experience in expanding access to energy for hard-to-reach clients, including women and girls, through private sector actors, would be an advantage.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Access to Energy Technical Leadership
- Conducting ongoing analysis of energy markets and market systems, including documenting and analyzing observations and results as well as drawing relevant conclusions to inform future Intervention strategies
- Provide leadership and daily oversight for partnership with PAYGo companies at both Kampala and regional levels, including relationship and trust building, development of shared strategies for market development in refugee settlements, joint activity planning with clear division of roles and responsibilities, and regular monitoring of progress and joint problem solving for market development activities, which may include marketing activities, post-sale services, developing connections between potential in-camp retailer and suppliers, etc
- Collect, analyse and systematize lessons learnt and best practices to be shared with the community of practice
- Act as primary liaison with private sector actors to enter Bidibidi and engage with clients (including marketing activities, post-sale services, developing connection between potential in-camp retailer and suppliers)
- Gauge willingness to pay of clients (e.g. equipment’s’ monthly installments) and private sector actors (e.g. renting space in Innovation Center, inclusive of electricity), and develop intervention strategies accordingly
- Recommend access to energy priorities and explore, evaluate and present new opportunities that have high potential for impact
- Develop, test and refine a tool on improving market access for women to high quality solar energy products in refugee market settings
- Convene community of practice members in Kampala and share findings also via webinar at project completion (for both AMPERE, STARRE and EEMRG).
- Provide overall leadership and strategy development for access to energy (A2E) activities within the AMPERE and STARRE programs, clearly articulating theories of change, assumptions and adjusting program implementation plans and activities in rigorous pursuit of impact for refugees and host community members
- Develop effective work plans and ensure the A2E activities are implemented according to agreed monthly plans and budgets; delivering against timeframes, output and outcome indicators
- Conduct regular monitoring of program activities and program impact, per Mercy Corps Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) and in accordance with existing related guidelines and donor regulations;
- Overview program budget and complete financial planning to inform programming including monthly projections and budget reviews;
- Write regular donor and organizational reports to highlight program successes and challenges.
- Ensure coordination with other Mercy Corps programs,
- Ensure the program has appropriate visibility for the donor and for Mercy Corps, and contribute to the development of communications materials that highlight Mercy Corps’ programming.
- Ensure the program follows Program Management Minimum Standards, and has appropriate documentation of activities
Team Management and Capacity Building
- Supervise teams to develop work plans focused on key outputs and outcomes;
- Ensure team to complete tasks as assigned in a timely, professional way;
- Foster a strong team spirit and ensure effective communications both between team members and with partners
- Develop and implement a comprehensive staff training plan to build team capacity
- Ensure staff receives appropriate capacity building to enable them to complete their tasks effectively
- Establish and maintain positive working relationships with Save the Children/RIL, SNV and private sector actors working together to develop complementary monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive management structures wherever possible
- Support to consortium partners for the implementation and coordination of the activities that fall under their main responsibility
- Act as a professional and credible voice for the program, representing Mercy Corps in meetings / working groups on access to energy though PAYGo systems
- Work with relevant counterparts to prepare advocacy and communication materials such as success stories, case studies, newsletters, etc
Leadership and Management:
- Oversee activities related to access to energy in Innovation Centers, facilitating connections with private sector actors and Bidibidi clients
- Provide strategic support to programming on access to energy and PAYGo systems
- Participate on the Country Coordination Team (CCT) and program managers' meetings as key platform for collaboration and coordination of core functions
- Ensure AMPERE project compliance with procurement and financial regulations are in accordance with the field procurement policy and procedure manual, field finance manual, work plans and approved project expenditure
- Provide management support and coaching to relevant team members in market systems development approaches and skills
Monitoring and Evaluation:
- Work closely with the MEL Advisor to set up robust monitoring for the programs
- Ensure regular monitoring is happening on the programs, in accordance with the indicator plan and logframe, and aligned with the program theory of change and learning agenda
- Ensure data is analysed, and fed back into program decision making processes through iterative feedback loops
- Compile monthly and final reports with emphasis on both output and outcomes as well as lessons learned, good practices and success stories
- Create a dynamic culture of learning and knowledge sharing within the project counterparts and the community of practice; sharing good practices and addressing underperformance in a timely manner
- Support coordinated data collection systems and reporting formats with integrated communications to ensure sharing of lessons learned and foster a supportive environment driven by achievement
- Analyze project implementation strategies to identify constraints to program success failures, incorrect assumptions, and provide timely recommendations
- Work closely with MEL team for data gathering and quality control;
- Work closely with MEL team to monitor and measure implementation, impact, standards, and operational compliance to identify constraints to program success and provide timely recommendation
- Oversee the program filing system and ensure that information is organized according to the reporting and auditing needs of the program. Ensuring required levels of confidentiality.
External Representation and Coordination:
- Conduct regular meetings with Save the Children/RIL and SNV to ensure excellent coordination and quality delivery
- Support and coordinate visits from regional and HQ based staff and external visitors, such as donors and media, in collaboration with DCoP and other relevant in-country staff.
- Establish and maintain contact with all key actors as relevant for program implementation; government ministries, UN agencies, NGOs, private sector partners; establish mechanisms for contacting community organizations, partners and other local NGOs/CBOs
- 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;
- Other duties as assigned.
The Access To Energy Manager is responsible for directly supervising the Project Officers and Project Assistants for both STARRE and AMPERE projects, and to coordinate with Save the Children/RIL and SNV staff as appropriate to the implementation of the AMPERE project. S/he will also supervise interns on the project.
Reports Directly To: Deputy Country Director
Works Directly With: Program Manager - BRIDGE project , Project Management Adviser and Response Innovation Lab Manager (Save the Children), MEL Manager, Finance, Operations and HR departments.
Ethics and Integrity: All Mercy Corps staff are expected to behave ethically and demonstrate highest integrity in their professional and personal life. Mercy Corps has zero tolerance to any form of fraud, corruption, abuse, harassment or exploitation. Any breach of our policies or misconduct will lead to a disciplinary action or may lead to termination.
Knowledge and Experience
- At least 3 years of related professional experience, with minimum 2 years’ management experience.
- Bachelor’s degree in energy or business development a plus
- Demonstrated experience in business development and partnerships with private sector actors, including demonstrated ability to achieve results for low income populations through effective market facilitation activities
- Demonstrated experience managing energy access programming in off-grid context, preferably in Africa
- Sensitivity to gender dynamics, GBV risks and energy needs of women and girls in emergencies
- Demonstrated analytical skills and dexterity in data collection, verification and documentation.
- Proven skills in networking, team-building, community consultations and organizational development.
- Excellent reporting, communication and representation skills.
The success of the PAYGo and Access To Energy Manager will combine strong program management skills with one’s ability to execute program activities with high quality. S/he will have an ability to develop, implement and manage innovative activities focused on business development on access to energy in partnership with private sector actors. S/he will have the ability to quickly develop trusting relationships with others and make strategic connections that are beneficial for program objectives, refugees and host community members. S/he will constantly seek out strategic connections that are beneficial for program objectives and refugees. S/he will also have proven experience leveraging on ongoing programs, managing partnerships and navigating cross-cultural teams. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail 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 PAYGo and Access To Energy Manager is based in Yumbe. The position requires frequent travel to Kampala (about 30%).
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/short term assignment 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.