Chief of Party - Cross-Sectoral Youth Activity, Bamako - Mali

Programs Bamako, Mali



Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, and 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 working in Mali since 2012 supporting Malian women and men - including adolescents and youth  - to cope with food insecurity and conflict-induced shocks and stresses, restore peace and stability, and address humanitarian and development structural challenges. Throughout our work, Mercy Corps seeks to support strong, inclusive, and resilient communities by i.) providing conflict-sensitive humanitarian assistance, ii.) addressing the root causes of conflict through improved and holistic conflict prevention and management mechanisms and iii.) promoting sustainable economic development through market systems strengthening and employment opportunities for women, men, and young people. Mercy Corps’ work addresses issues related to natural resource management and climate change adaptation within Mali and across the borders with neighboring Central Sahel countries, Niger and Burkina Faso. With a current portfolio of approximately 30M USD funded by FCDO, USAID/BHA, Sweden, the European Union, and private foundations, over the past 18 months, Mercy Corps reached over 100,000 persons in Mopti, Segou, Koulikouro, Kayes, Sikasso, Koutiala.

Mercy Corps is seeking a Chief of Party (CoP) to lead the implementation of the anticipated USAID-funded five-year Cross-Sectoral Youth Activity in Mali. This Activity will elevate and support vulnerable and marginalized 15 - 29-year-old Malian youth so that they have access to assets, agency, and support networks in order to be educated, healthy, and productive citizens while building their resilience to recurrent crises. The Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach will serve as the foundation of the program, ensuring that the program starts with young people’s needs, aspirations, and challenges to identify successful, contextually relevant models. Models will consider scalable soft skills, educational opportunities, workforce development opportunities, and safe pathways for sexual and reproductive health, as well as consider contributing shocks and stressors to support resilient futures. The Activity should enable youth to become educated and productive citizens while improving their employability, and integrating positive information and communication technology practices while instilling a sense of responsibility to their community.  Based in Bamako, the COP will oversee all aspects of program implementation, providing a vision for the program and ensuring that objectives are met on time and within budget.


General Position Summary

The CoP will provide overall leadership, management, and strategic vision to the implementation of the anticipated USAID-funded, five-year Cross-Sectoral Youth Activity, to ensure that the project meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget while modeling and nurturing processes and systems that are equitable, promote transparent and equal partnerships, and shift power dynamics that perpetuate inequalities. The CoP will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers, and stakeholders.

Essential Job Responsibilities


        Lead the development of a vision and strategy for the program with the program team and key stakeholders including youth participants


        Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives. Work with the country program to guide coordination and integrated implementation.


        Play an active role in identifying and developing new initiatives that foster and/or improve the strategic objectives of the program.


        Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.


        Integrate and embrace all voices into shared strategies for shifting norms.


        Champion the voice and experience of young people across the team and consortium to support positive outcomes and inclusion of youth.


        Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO, and other relevant forums in close coordination with the Country Director.


        Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government,  youth-led and youth-serving organizations, civil society and private sector partners, program beneficiaries, and other implementers as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.


        Serve as an active contributor and collaborator with regional and global counterparts to promote best practices.


        Maintain close working relationships with counterparts in other organizations in Mali.


        Partner with youth, wherever possible, to advocate for the experience of youth participants at representational events, advocacy forums, or other opportunities.


        Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles, and ensure a focus on professional development and growth.


        Assist team members with information, tools, and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.


        Ensure team and program adhere to Mercy Corps Mali’s Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion (GDI) action plan and commitments.

        Ensure that team members prioritize positive youth development approaches and gender, diversity, and social inclusion as part of their daily work.


        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.


        Ensure that program implementation - from start-up to close-out - is responsive to communities and partners, particularly youth, and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards, and strategic plan, while applying politically-sensitive adaptive management principles.


        Lead effective management, communication, and coordination among consortium members in a manner that is fully collaborative in sharing decision-making among all members, including developing partnership frameworks and the program’s collaborative approach to partnership.


        Create and follow effective stakeholder management plans, ensuring sound and proactive communications with Mercy Corps Mali, partner organizations, Mercy Corps headquarters, USAID, Government of Mali authorities, and colleague agencies.


        Introduce the program to the Government of Mali stakeholders, ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required.


        Ensure program strategies and activities represent global good practice in creating transformational changes in gender relations at the family, community, and national levels by strengthening the enabling environment, and institutional capacity and addressing structural barriers for adolescent girls and women.


        Document processes and achievements to ensure best practices are captured and disseminated. This will include the continual re-evaluation of program activities and information, with resulting activity adjustments in keeping with new insights.


        Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities. Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards.



        In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources, and logistics (including transport, warehousing, and asset management) needs of the program are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policy and with the maximum benefit to the program.

        Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor, and Mercy Corps’ needs.


        Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.


        Ensure that activities are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.


        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.


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

Supervisory Responsibility

PYD Lead, Program Staff, Technical Advisor, MEL Team, and Program Support Team (Finance, HR, Operations).


Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works Directly With the Director of Programs, other Mercy Corps Mali Directors or program managers, finance and operations teams, the grants unit, the Regional team, HQ Technical Support Unit

Knowledge and Experience

        MA/S or equivalent experience in education, social or political science, international development, or other fields relevant to youth development programming. Applicants with other academic track records who bring a strong track record of work in youth development programming may also be considered.


        A minimum of 10 years relevant development experience with at least 5 years in senior management positions or similar size/scope of the program ($20+million).

  Experience managing multi-sector programs and teams which integrate gender and inclusion principles and best practices and are focused on shifting norms to advance gender equality.


     Strong understanding of conflict-sensitive program mainstreaming, and gender or protection mainstreaming would be an advantage.


   Technical experience in positive youth development focusing on education, livelihoods workforce development, and youth entrepreneurship preferred.


        Demonstrated ability to build and foster an adaptive team culture and a record of accomplishment in strategic visioning, leadership, and inspiring teams.

  Experience managing a consortium of international and local partners or operating within a consortium, ideally USAID-funded.


  Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, youth leaders, donors, other donor-funded projects, youth-led and youth-serving organizations, leaders from the education, civil society, and private sectors, and stakeholders and partners. Knowledge of the Malian context and key Malian stakeholders, as well as work experience in the Malian or regional context, is strongly preferred.


      Experience managing complex programmatic and financial reporting requirements, preferably with USAID.


        Experience with USAID rules, regulations, and requirements is strongly preferred.


        Fluent verbal and written communication skills in French and excellent verbal and written English is required.


        Fluency in written and spoken French and English; Knowledge of some local languages is a plus (Bambara, Songrai, Peuhl).


        Malians and women are strongly encouraged to apply.

Success Factors

The successful CoP will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem-solving, and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. 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. This position requires an ability to think creatively about changing norms that lead to greater opportunities for economic growth at household, community, and institutional levels.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is accompanied by a spouse alone and based in Bamako with at least 30% travel to program areas, security permitting. The position is eligible for individual housing and R&R. While the city has been mostly secure, attacks against foreigners in 2016 in some public places underscore the fluidity of the situation and may require expatriate staff to adhere to security policies, such as restrictions on movement. Bamako is served by an international airport with daily flights to European and African destinations. Restaurants and shopping options are available all over the town, with reasonable access to most consumer goods. Healthcare services exist and are developing rapidly. However, for more serious conditions, a medevac to Dakar, Senegal, or Europe may be required.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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 always 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 a 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 the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary-General and IASC. 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 adhere to the 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.