Food Security and Livelihoods Program Manager - CAR

Programming Bambari, Central African Republic


*This position is contingent upon 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.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover, build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by CAR and Africa Region Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work. 

General Position Summary

The Food Security and Livelihoods Program Manager (FSL) will be based in Bambari, as a member of the Food Security and Livelihoods team, the FSL Program Manager will lead on the implementation of the FSL programs in Ouaka prefecture, facilitating and supporting the program assessments (baselines, mid-term and PDMs). The FSL project is a Cash transfer program targeting approximately 13,000 households in Ouaka prefecture. The Program Manager will be under the technical support of the Food Security and Livelihoods Adviser based in Bangui and will be line managed by the Director of Programs. He/She will ensure that the direct and indirect FSL intervention is of the highest technical quality, that monitoring processes are in place, that reporting is high-quality and timely, and that the program is continually assessed and solutions quickly put in place for any changes in local context, working with Head of office and the support team.He/She will ensure effective implementation and communication on the progress of the program to local authorities and others humanitarians actors in Bambari.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision
  • Contribute to the development of Food security and livelihoods strategy based on a strong contextual understanding of the Ouaka and in line with Mercy Corps values.
  • Design viable strategies that are both respectful with the local culture and sensitive towards the population.
  • Ensure inclusion of national technical staff and other key stakeholders into strategy development process.
  • Promote the development of a holistic strategy through creating linkages with other sectors’ strategies.

Design and Planning

  • Support the Mercy Corps team in identifying and contributing to the FSL design of additional opportunities for short, medium and long-term programming.
  • Integrate the use of community approaches in the design, implementation, and maintenance of projects.
  • Collaborate with finance to develop budgets for FSL related work.
  • Lead FSL aspects of technical assessments in coordination with other thematic areas and/or other external sector agencies.
  • Develop realistic and quality work plans per grant in conjunction with relevant sector leads and the Director of Programs.
  • Ensure the mainstreaming of core protection principles through design and planning of sector interventions.
  • In collaboration with the head of office, ensure an advance planning of support aspects needed in the implementation of the program

Implementation and Program Coordination

  • The FLS Program Manager is responsible for the implementation of Mercy Corps’ FSL interventions and ensuring that the highest technical standards are respected, the activities include conditional and non-conditional cash transfer program, cash-for-work, support community projects such as income generating activities).
  • Develop needs assessment strategies, design interventions and contribute to building the capacity of Mercy Corps staff, as well as project stakeholders in FSL programming.
  • Provide technical oversight to the field teams and mentor senior staff in the design of FSL activities, including cash transfer modalities, farming methods, income generating activities and entrepreneurship.
  • Supervise and monitor the implementation of FSL activities, ensuring that all activities are compliant with the grant and Mercy Corps requirements.
  • Work with FSL Advisor and Director of Programs to identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships, donors, and other stakeholders.
  • Leading, managing and motivating staff under his/her direct line management, ensuring that they have clear objectives and receive meaningful feedback on their performances. Especially with the support of the FSL Advisor, develop internal capacity in implementing cash transfer, income generating activities and market analysis and entrepreneurship activities.
  • Participate in training of FSL staff (officers and assistants) to ensure they have solid understanding of key program documents and tools, including MEAL tools
  • Working closely with FSL Advisor and Head of Base, will develop implementation plans for the FSL project and oversee the development of weekly and monthly work plans in line with the project implementation plan.
  • Lead the implementation of FSL program, engaging local authorities, and existing government extension workers like agriculture and livestock extension workers.
  • Liaise regularly with communities/municipalities and ensure community participation especially youth and women in all steps of project cycle.
  • Oversee FSL direct activity budgets, financial reporting and forecasting of direct Mercy Corps’ project and complete budget pipeline planning, monitoring and monthly follow up, in collaboration with senior technical staff and in coordination with Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor.
  • Work with logistics/procurement and programming staff to select service provider for food and livelihoods services including private sector providers.
  • Produce timely reports for internal use on the status of on-going programming; and contribute to donor reporting

Program Impact and Program Management

  • Prepare procurement plans based on project cycle for FSL and infrastructure rehabilitation works.
  • Manage grant budget lines related to technical area of specialization (cash transfer and income generating activities, conditional food voucher activities).
  • Work with M&E Unit to translate assessment criteria to tools and methodology for monitoring and evaluation of interventions related to FSL.
  • Provide technical input and indicators to the M&E Unit to be incorporated into tools and formats as needed.
  • Enhance internal and external compliance through supporting incident reporting mechanisms when needed.
  • Maintain and coordinate reporting and documentation of FSL activities.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.

Team Management

  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.
  • Contribute in capacity building of the team in general program management and specifically FSL
  • 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

FSL Team (Project Officers and Project Assistants).


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

Works Directly With: Head of Office, Emergency Program Managers, and all others Program Managers, MEL Unit, Senior FSL Advisor (TSU), FSL Advisor (Bangui), Operations Director, Human Resources and Finance Managers or Director

Knowledge and Experience


  • Degree in Agriculture, Agronomy, Horticulture, Economics, Nutrition or similar field
  • Three years of experience of humanitarian food security and & livelihoods programming; experience in cash transfer programming and entrepreneurship is essential
  • Demonstrated experience in managing a team in an insecure humanitarian context
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong experience in data collection and analysis, experience in Emergency Market Mapping & Analysis (EMMA) is a plus.
  • Strong experience in field work and community mobilization; and in training groups of beneficiaries
  • Fluency in written and spoken French and English is desirable
  • Computer skills
  • Strength in interpersonal, communication and presentation skills. Previous experience of liaising with the UN, national and donor governments and NGOs as advantage.
  • Flexibility and willingness to change work practices and hours, and capability to work in insecure environment.
  • Spoken and written English
  • Regularly visit project sites to ensure that teams are appropriately supported

Success Factors

The successful Manager will combine exceptional technical skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have previous experience in working in large-scale emergency programs in insecure and conflict context. S/he will have an outstanding ability to design and provide technical oversight of innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the area. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The successful candidate will be able to provide technical oversight to large relief programs in an austere environment.  S/he will be focused on capacity building of national staff, have strong program support skills, good information management skills and maintain a sense of humour.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Bambari, east CAR and it requires up to 60% travel to the field sites and other potential sites for future FSL programming.

This is an unaccompanied post and eligible for Hardship and R&R (one week every 10 weeks). The Central African Republic is a nation of 4.6 million people, ranked as one of the poorest nations in the world, with an average life expectancy of only 49 years. Hospitals and access to medicines is very limited. Malaria is prevalent, and it is estimated that 7-8% of the population may be HIV positive. The location is unaccompanied however if security improves this could be revisited. Housing is in-group housing with

freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff will have access to electricity, water, and internet, though they should expect occasional outages. Access to health care is limited. As an unaccompanied position, this role qualifies for hardship allowance

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.