Congo Humanitarian Analysis Team (CHAT) Advisor
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 participants 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.
The Congo Humanitarian Analysis Team (CHAT) supports Mercy Corps programs in the Eastern DRC in five key areas: providing population displacement alerts, developing contextual knowledge of crisis and access, developing operational and programmatic strategies, crafting advocacy messages, and working closely with security on predicting movement. The CHAT focuses on understanding crisis – whether this is conflict, epidemic, famine, natural disasters, etc. – and trends, both present and forecasted, and linking this with its impact on the local population. The CHAT team, made up of assistants, officers, and analysts, monitor social media, communicates with field informants, communicates with partners, validates data through primary and secondary sources, and interfaces with relevant international organizations in order to gather and collate relevant information. The CHAT looks not only at violence, but also at those underlying factors that trigger crisis and displacement such as markets, territorial conflicts, governance, humanitarian dynamics in a protracted conflict, past displacement patterns, local, regional and international politics, social identity and intercommunal relationships, and Congolese modern history.
General Position Summary
The CHAT Advisor will support the team in producing regular, ongoing, high-level analytical products, including monthly and situational reports, area assessments and thematic products. The CHAT Advisor will oversee the reporting conducted by local researchers and analyze the current situation, providing regular forecasting for the situation at an area specific level and national. They will also contribute to ensuring all finalized CHAT products are factually sound and form a strong representation of the surface and subsurface situation in the Eastern Congo, while also advising on and analyzing future potential scenarios.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Work with a wide range of stakeholders internal and external to Mercy Corps, from other NGOs, and Civil society to identify and define requirements for information.
- Leverage technology to improve CHAT capacity to distill, analyze, and operationalize disparate and often contradictory data sets in near real-time, to help predict risk, anticipate conflict and displacement, measure (and target) humanitarian response and access, track recovery and resilience, often in Fragile, Conflict and Violence (FCV) and other settings.
- Manage any local solution integrations from design, deployment, delivery and maintenance of information-driven innovation solutions.
- Stay up to date with portfolio of research and information relevant to this role.
- Work within Mercy Corps to influence the inclusion of CHAT in all program development.
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with donors, humanitarian actors, Mercy Corps program teams, and other stakeholders.
- Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
- Participate as an active, integrated member of the CHAT team, providing support from training on research methodologies (primary and secondary) and ethics to analysis and reporting design.
- Support effective interventions in the areas of the assigned team’s focus.
- 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 rest of team to problem solve.
LEARNING & IMPACT
- Provide in-country training and support for Mercy Corps CHAT, partners, and others.
- Support new and ongoing CHAT activities with best practice advice and assistance on assessment, implementation, research, and evaluation needs.
- Draft analytical reports to inform the humanitarian community’s strategic response to crises.
- Inform programmatic decisions using data and contextual knowledge in order to maximize impact and minimize programmatic risk;
- Design, build, and present regular and ad hoc analytical products and providing briefings to MC personnel. These analytical topics will facilitate programming while also adding to the body of research and knowledge across HAT/Mercy Corps.
- Support CHAT research agenda involving collaboration with T4D on complex impact measurement activities requiring advanced “big data” analytics methods.
POLICY, ADVOCACY, & REPRESENTATION
- Represent Mercy Corps CHAT at relevant events, conferences, media forums, and other events.
- 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.
- Inform advocacy by providing realistic, local, and ground-truthed inputs.
- 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, to understand how data-driven innovation might be integrated across initiatives and with qualitative and academic research.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Participate in recruitment interviews as necessary.
STRATEGY & VISION
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to strategy development.
- Understand and express crisis in terms of humanitarian needs, access restrictions, and threats to the humanitarian community.
- 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 PARTNERS
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant 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.
- M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to the team specialty preferred.
- Fluency in English and French required.
- Technical preferred experience
- Functional knowledge of data management (Excel), ArcGIS, PiktoChart, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator software a plus.
- Comfortable having data-driven innovation discussions with the team and including big data in traditional research.
- Minimum 2 years of research or analytical experience within an NGO, private consultancy, or think tank:
- Demonstrating strong theoretical and applied knowledge of the field of expertise.
- Experience in primary and/or secondary research in political science, humanitarian operations, economics, or conflict analysis.
- Demonstrated ability to conduct research in dynamic, fast-paced and quickly-changing environments. Preference for experience in conducting research on complex conflict zones combined with humanitarian crises.
- Practical field experience, typically over the course of 2 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Understanding of crisis to include issues beyond conflict – such as epidemics, poverty, natural disasters, etc. – required.
- Understanding of how markets and agricultural systems work in complex environments is a major plus.
- Experience living/working/studying in Central Africa is a plus.
The successful CHAT Advisor will have the ability to combine exceptional management skills and strong technical management skills. They will demonstrate patience, creativity and persistence. They will work both collaboratively with other members of the team as well as independently on self-originated products as required by the context of the ongoing crisis. They will demonstrate strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps. They will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, and make solid decisions, built team capacities, and engage in staff mentoring of CHAT officers. They 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/STA 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.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.