Nutrition Team Lead, PRIME II - Ethiopia

Programming Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


This position is contingent on funding 

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 has been present in Ethiopia since 2004, and acts on behalf of people who have become disenfranchised and poor. We stand with Ethiopia to find and access opportunities, and to be part of lasting and meaningful transformation in the country. Mercy Corps seeks to be influential with government and development actors towards a more resilient country where poverty is tackled through the eyes of those who understand it best. This translates into ensuring that the population is financially stable, healthy & nourished, educated & unformed, and that natural resources are accessible, shared and utilized sustainably. 

Mercy Corps anticipates a multi-year, multi-million dollar USAID funded initiative focused on: stimulating increased production, productivity and marketing through more competitive livestock and livestock products markets; increasing communities’ resilience; improving alternative livelihood options through essential skills transfer; improving food security and nutrition, and contributing to the wider knowledge on pastoral development.  The program will operate in multiple pastoral regions across Ethiopia.

General Position Summary

The Nutrition and Behavior Change Technical Lead will provide leadership and oversight over the program’s nutrition interventions. The Technical Lead will be responsible for overall planning, coordination and implementation of nutrition activities in the program, ensuring interventions achieve maximum impact while remaining on schedule and budget. The individual will work closely with other members of the senior management team and private and public sector stakeholders in designing and implementing innovative nutrition and behavior change approaches.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Technical Leadership
  • Provide leadership and strategic vision while overseeing all nutrition and social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities, including design of compelling informational messages (edutainment), culturally-sensitive Information Education Communication (IEC) materials and outreach drama and mass media, and ensuring that staff are following work plans, activities on schedule to the highest standard, and that project deliverables are completed as planned.
  • Advise on technical aspects of nutrition and SBCC in the program to promote improved food security. Work closely with partners on coordinating activities and harmonizing technical strategies and tactics.
  • Provide technical support to program teams to help improve nutrition and SBCC practices.
  • Manage implementation of nutrition activities providing technical direction, developing work plans in collaboration with the team, monitoring implementation and impact, and training staff in nutrition and SBCC skills enabling them to train program participants.
  • Based on the findings of Barrier Analysis (BA) and other research findings, recommend new areas of BCC content for both the immediate causes of nutrition and underlying causes such maternal/child nutrition,  household income, household decision making and design BCC through suggestion and advice from designated audience groups and the production team.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.


Program Implementation

  • Oversee program and technical start-up and ongoing program management and administration of teams across various field locations.
  • Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work- plans, and ensure the delivery of the same.
  • Ensure that beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
  • Provide managerial and programmatic technical oversight to partners and sub-grantee(s).
  • 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.
  • Produce written reports on program activities, capturing the impacts of activities.
  • Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites - spend up to 50% of time in the field.

Internal and External Coordination

  • Active contributor and collaborator with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of best practices.
  • Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library, Hub, and workplace, to enhance organizational learning. 
  • Maintain close working relationships with counterparts in other relevant international NGOs, and local NGOs and associations in Ethiopia and East Africa.


  • 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.
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

Nutrition and SBCC team members


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Other technical leads, M&E Team, Operations, Finance, Human Resources


Knowledge and Experience

  • Master’s degree in nutrition, communications, development, public health or a related field
  • At least seven years of relevant nutrition and SBCC experience with positions of progressively greater responsibilities and at least two years of experience working in the field in low or middle income countries.
  • Demonstrated technical and successful expertise in a relevant mix of designing, managing and evaluating SBCC programs through social marketing, as well as small group and interpersonal.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing sound communication plans that include innovative strategies to address them.
  • Experience with the development, implementation & compliance of donor funded programs including USAID agreements and strong understanding of USAID rules, regulations and compliance issues
  • Established ability to manage and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving
  • Experience working with host governments, national and international NGOs.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Preference given to candidates with prior experience in Ethiopia
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.

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 planning and problem solving. S/he will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. The most successful Mercy Corps team 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 Nutrition and SBCC Technical Lead is based in the capital city – Addis Ababa. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is family accommodation with good freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are several international schools in Addis Ababa, British systems exist for children up to 11 years old. The US school takes students to pre-university levels. Staff have access to basic services (electricity, water, sporadic internet etc). Medical facilities are basic with international clinics able to provide emergency services. This position requires 35% travel by road and air to field offices in often insecure environments. Addis Ababa is host to many international organizations including the OAU, the Economic Commission for Africa and other multi-national bodies, many of which have their headquarters based in the capital city.

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.