Gender and Youth Advisor (APOLOU Program) - Uganda

Programming Kotido, Uganda


Note this is a key personnel position 

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

In 2017, Mercy Corps was awarded the Title II USAID/Food for Peace (FFP) funded Development Food Aid Program (DFAP) for Karamoja, Uganda. Already one year into implementation, the Apolou Activity is an integrated food security program that operates in both the agricultural and health sectors with a resilience focus. The goal of Apolou is to achieve a food secure future in the Karamoja sub-region of Uganda through community level governance, preventing chronic malnutrition, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and sustainable livelihoods.


General Position Summary

Mercy Corps is currently seeking a Gender and Youth Adviser for  Apolou Program. This multi-year, development  program is integrated with USAID strategies to address the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity. The program’s ultimate goal is to improve food and nutrition security among vulnerable households. The program will focus on community-level governance structures, preventing chronic malnutrition, water, sanitation & hygiene and sustainable livelihoods.


The Gender and Youth Adviser is responsible for leading Gender and Youth integration efforts in the Apolou program. S/he is responsible for facilitating a participatory process to adapt and implement a targeted gender and youth strategy that is built off the results of a year 1 assessment and tailored to the Activity.

S/he will manage a team of five field staff and work closely with sector team leads to refine and implement work plans with clear targets and timeframes to ensure more effective gender and youth integration in sector activities, as well as special projects with a focus on thought leadership.

The Gender and Youth Adviser will also be responsible for facilitating a process of organizational change that supports gender and youth integration within the program, and which could include but is not limited to a female staff initiative, gender trainings and other events designed to increase staff buy in.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Finalize the gender assessment process. Review and edit consultant’s report and lead discussions to incorporate recommendations into sector work based on the assessment findings.
  • Adapt the Apolou gender and youth strategy to reflect assessment findings and learning across the life of the Activity.
  • Inspire and provide general direction to a team of 5 field-based gender and youth staff engaged in the day-to-day implementation of the program’s gender and youth strategy.
  • Build the Apolou team’s capacity to achieve gender and youth integration goals across the four thematic purposes of livelihoods, maternal and child health, governance and WASH-related purposes through trainings and tool development.
  • Provide technical guidance to teams on gender-related initiatives to promote women and youth leadership, male engagement in gender transformational change, customary norms change targeting elders and safe spaces programming for youth and adolescents.
  • Integrate gender into the program’s M&E – in output, outcome and impact level indicators and in the collection of sex and age disaggregated data to inform adaptive decision making.
  • Work closely with Apolou’s Social Behaviour Change (SBC) Advisor to ensure that gender initiatives are in line with best practice and the Activity’s campaign for change.
  • Conduct regular community consultations to ensure programming remains gender sensitive and responsive to evolving needs.
  • Manage pilots on mental health, customary norms change, and mixed sex savings groups involving partnerships with two national-level organizations and an internal and external research and learning agenda.
  • Work closely with the Human Resources team to ensure that female staffing levels are adequate and accountability for gender is incorporated into the position descriptions and performance evaluations of team members
  • Ensure that program and country staff understand and adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Minimum Standards.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country
  • 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

Gender and Youth Officer(s).


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Apolou component leads, Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, Apolou field teams, Gender and Youth technical team.


Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S or equivalent experience in international development, political science, women’s studies, economics, sociology or other relevant field.
  • 5-7 years’ experience in gender and youth development work including experience developing and conducting gender training, gender/youth mainstreaming and engaging in gender advocacy.
  • Demonstrated capacity to lead the collection, analysis and utilization of quantitative and qualitative information from a broad range of sources in order to ensure effective integration of gender and youth concerns throughout the project’s duration;
  • In-depth understanding of gender, age and other socio-cultural factors in the context of food security programming; and
  • Ability to foster commitment and build capacity among project staff and in-country actors to gender integration and empowerment.
  • Strong public speaking skills required.
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally as required, up to 50% of time.
  • Experience working with food security programs strongly preferred
  • Experience in Uganda or East African Countries strongly preferred
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office.
  • Fluency in English required.

Success Factors

  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong facilitation skills.
  • Ability and willingness to both lead and follow as appropriate.
  • Has an internal and external network of experts to draw upon as needed.


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 position is based in Kotido or Moroto, Karamoja, Uganda and will require travel throughout the program area. Life in Karamoja is very basic with a few restaurants and other activities available. The nearest health care facility is in Moroto and Kampala. Both locations are eligible for R&R.

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 Mercy Corps's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.