Technical Director (APOLOU)

Programming Karamoja, Karamoja


Description

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 is currently implementing a five-year, $41 million USAID Food for Peace Activity – called “Apolou” - to support agriculturalists, agro-pastoralists, and pastoralist households living across the four districts of Amudat, Kotido, Kaabong and Moroto in Karamoja.  Apolou is an integrated food security program. The goal of the Activity is to achieve a food secure future in the Karamoja sub-region of Uganda through community level governance, preventing chronic malnutrition, sanitation and hygiene and sustainable livelihoods.

General Position Summary

The Technical Director (TD), as a member of the senior management team, is responsible for supporting programmatic/technical implementation of the Apolou Activity. The TD is primarily responsible for: planning jointly with field team members; review of SoWs and approval of their technical quality; coordination of technical teams in the production of training materials; curricula and other products; activity implementation; project performance tracking; adherence to schedules; and assuring resource requirements and quality standards. Additionally, the TD is responsible for work planning, setting priorities and evaluating progress towards program goals for the full LOA work plan. 

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • 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.
  • Collaborate with Apolou Senior Management Team with the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program that translate into monthly and weekly planning for each technical team and individual team member.
  • Collaborate with the CoP and DCOP to lead the development of detailed project performance tracking tools and systems. Track progress against work plan performance. Integrate performance tracking with indicator tracking.
  • Review ongoing program activity planning, development and implementation to ensure program quality. Conduct a detailed review of each activity SoW before DCOP and/or COP review and ensure that the activity is well designed, is reflected in the budget (cost reasonable) and that the technical teams have adequately planned for implementation.
  • Review all training materials, modules, curricula and other learning/training products for quality prior to their submission to a Ministry or Donor for their review and approval.
  • Work with senior Apolou team leadership to verify that activity layering is happening across all activities. Develop a review framework in collaboration with the MEL team to adequately access the impact of layered activities and ensure that modifications are made in real time based on feedback from the field team.
  • As needed, implicate operations and finance departments in the planning and development process of planned field activities to ensure proper support in advance.
  • Ensure that beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
  • Support the writing of regular written reports to the donor on program activities with the senior leadership team, capturing the impact of activities.
  • Conduct frequent field visits to project sites with the technical team and advise on work in progress.
  • Responsible for coordinating with relevant Ministries and external technical departments within those Ministries.

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

None

Accountability

Reports Directly to: Apolou Chief of Party

Works Directly with: Apolou Chief of Party, Deputy Chief of Party, MEL Advisor, Program Quality and Partnerships Manager, Gender and Youth Advisor and Technical Team Leads across all technical purposes.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Master’s degree in development studies, international relations, agriculture, nutrition, public health or related field.
  • Five to ten years of progressively increasing responsibility in international development projects
  • Prior experience providing technical direction and planning for multi-sectoral projects including agricultural development and maternal child health and nutrition.
  • Understanding and demonstrated commitment to the importance of gender and youth issues in food security programming.
  • Experience managing programmatic and financial reporting requirements.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Ability to travel within the country and internationally, as required.
  • Experience with USAID rules, regulations and requirements is preferred.
  • Experience working in sub-Saharan and preferably East Africa.
  • Strong computer literacy with a full knowledge of office applications.

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 TD is based in the Karamoja Region. The location is unaccompanied and secured. Housing is an organization guesthouse with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff has access to basic services – medical, electricity, water, etc. However, recreational facilities are limited. This position requires significant travel in Karamoja region (60%) and occasional travel to Kampala by road and internal flights to field offices in often-insecure environments.  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/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.