Innovation Project Manager, Mercy Corps Ventures - Kenya

Information Technology Africa - Various Locations, Kenya


Location: Dakar, Senegal or Nairobi, Kenya
Valid unrestricted work authorization in the country in which you will be based is required at the time of application for this position.

Position Status:
Full-time, Regular, Exempt

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse, and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact. 

The Program / Department / Team

About Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV): 

Mercy Corps Ventures invests in and catalyzes venture-led solutions to increase the resilience of underserved individuals and communities. Founded in 2015 as the impact investing arm of global development agency, Mercy Corps, we’ve supported 41 early-stage ventures to scale and raise over $333.9 million in follow-on capital. Our portfolio is 51% female-founded and centers around resilience-building solutions in adaptive agriculture and food systems, frontier fintech, and climate smart systems, so that those living in frontier markets can withstand disruption and plan for the future. Through capital and support, piloting new approaches, action-oriented insights, and rigorously managing impact, we catalyze the ecosystem toward smarter, more impactful investments.
 As part of our focus on innovative technology, Mercy Corps Ventures works with partners to responsibly pilot test new products and services tailored to un/underbanked and low-income populations.  

Learn more at 

Background on Mercy Corps Ventures’ Piloting Work: 

The hype of blockchain and Web3 solutions for underbanked populations has not yet been matched by the reality in emerging markets. While some real-world use cases exist, most lack the measurable outcomes to build a business and impact case for these technologies. Our pilots responsibly test, de-risk, and build the evidence base for promising, cutting-edge innovation while doing no harm to participants. These pilots leverage Web3 to explore nascent areas of our thesis, building resilience for underserved individuals and communities. These pilots are crucial for evidencing real world use cases in blockchain, digital assets, and cryptocurrencies, and sits alongside our work as investors, allowing us to understand and prove new innovations that could become investable in the future. Our pilots are:
  • leveraging innovative technology (eg. web3) to improve financial and climate resilience.
  • run in partnership with startups, who lead the design and implementation of the tech solutions.
  • focused on creating impact at scale for underserved users in emerging markets.
  • typically, 4-12 months long, and have specific learning objectives and KPIs.
 For more on our pilots, please visit: Mercy Corps Ventures' Pilots 

The Position

If you’re interested in designing and launching innovative and impactful tech solutions in Africa (and beyond), then this is the role that will let you work closely with the most exciting start-ups on the continent. This is the role for you if: 
  • You are passionate about deploying innovative technology as a force for good in emerging markets.
  • You are passionate about solutions that support underserved users to build financial resilience and climate resilience.
  • You have spent 4+ years working in emerging markets in a strategy, consulting, business development / partnerships, or product design capacity.
  • You appreciate the pace and disruption of working at, and with, startups, while leading with rigor and structure to ensure smooth delivery.
  • You are an independent project manager, with a strong record of managing complex projects and delivering insights.
  • You are just getting started on your crypto journey, or eager to dive deeper into the growing Web3 ecosystem
Application Process
In your cover letter, please address the following in addition to any other relevant information:

    • Why you are interested in this opportunity and why you are a good fit
    • Why you are optimistic / curious about web3
    • 1 web3 project that you are excited about and why

 The purpose of this role is to lead pilot implementation with our partner organizations across emerging markets in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. You will work alongside the Mercy Corps Ventures team to develop a pilot strategy and with our pilot partners to develop a pilot plan, project management materials, impact measurement framework and more, for each engagement. You will provide management, administrative and operational support for pilots and be responsible for pilot management, partnership development, impact management, and reporting. You will be a champion of entrepreneurial solutions to the toughest global challenges and be motivated to develop expertise in emerging technologies and business models. Additionally, you will support new pilot design by conducting research on new use cases and speaking with potential partners, while also generating thought leadership on new solutions.  

Essential Responsibilities

  • Lead day-to-day pilot operations, including, but not limited to, developing pilot work plans and impact frameworks, and supporting procurement and budgeting processes. Delivering on pilot objectives within scope and budget.
  • Prepare articles and presentations outlining the pilot launch and insights for external audiences and events.
  • Supports the development of new pilots (including managing partnerships, conducting research and preparing briefs) and leads implementation efforts.
  • Supports the development and continuous improvement of pilot processes and systems.
  • Explore new pilot opportunities by conducting thought leadership and sourcing new partners.
  • Provides thought leadership and training within a defined subject or program area.
  • Develops and presents alternative approaches/options to various needs and situations.
  • Ensures pilot objectives are met and managed to established timelines and budgets.
  • Provide support for other key projects as needed.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • To oversee the work of Mercy Corps Ventures’ pilot consultants
  • To support partner organizations in implementing pilot projects
  • No direct supervisory responsibility within Mercy Corps Ventures


Reports Directly To: Director of Operations & Strategy, Mercy Corps Ventures
Works Directly With: Head of Pilots, Mercy Corps Ventures 

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. 

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • 4+ years of relevant career experience in a startup, technology company, management consulting, investment banking, investing, international development or similar sectors.
  • Strong project management experience leading complex engagements with multiple stakeholders.
  • Strategic thinker capable of extracting and structuring valuable insights to share with the wider ecosystem.
  • Extensive work experience in emerging markets and startups; particular interest in social entrepreneurship and digital financial solutions, climate tech, inclusion and innovation
  • Familiarity with impact measurement and management concepts
  • As the pilots are focused on crypto and Web3, we expect interest in and willingness to learn more about crypto and Web3 topics (expertise not required)
  • Ability to remotely manage and coordinate with stakeholders and implementers.
  • Written and oral fluency in English required; additional competency in French preferred.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will be a structured, strategic thinker who is capable of managing several concurrent engagements and extracting valuable insights for wider audiences. The candidate will have a passion for creating impact for underserved populations in emerging markets, and experience working with innovative tech solutions (with a preference for fintech and climate tech). The candidate will be crypto-curious, and open-minded to the potential of new technologies in improving financial and climate resilience for vulnerable communities.  We expect this person to be independent, low-ego and a team player. The candidate will be execution-focused and straightforward, prioritizing getting stuff done over all else. Over time, the successful candidate will gain exposure to a wider portfolio of work, liaising with donors and ecosystem partners to chart out a longer-term strategy.   

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Nairobi, Kenya or other Mercy Corps locations, but may require up to 33% travel to multiple global locations, pending health and travel advisories. This position is expected to travel unaccompanied often, which may include some weekends. Constant communication is important where infrastructure allows. As part of Mercy Corps, all Mercy Corps Ventures team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues. 

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.  We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today. 

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.  We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work. 

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis