Senior Program Advisor, Performance and Quality – Africa
Senior Program Advisor, Performance and Quality – Africa
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 is currently operational in 17 countries across Africa, working in fragile and conflict-affected areas, displacement settings, emergency contexts, as well as more stable development settings. Against this backdrop, Mercy Corps’ focus in Africa has been to promote good governance and conflict resolution, enhance resilience, facilitate growth of market systems, support access to finance and economic opportunities, as well as drive youth employment and empowerment. Mercy Corps has built its reputation as a key and credible partner with many donors, government authorities and civil society actors within the region, helping people build secure, productive and just communities across the continent. Mercy Corps looks to actively engage and partner with an ever-growing and innovative African private sector to achieve greater and sustained impact.
The Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) Unit partners with program delivery teams to support and enable quality program implementation by establishing and maintaining standards for excellence, championing accountability and an evidence-based practice to strengthen program performance, and supporting strategic program change management. PaQ oversees several business functions and processes including program management standards; quality assurance; community accountability; monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL); program data management; infrastructure quality assurance; strategic change management; and facilitating the complex program process. PaQ is implementing a new, multi-year vision and strategy that is organized around three business categories: Standards & Training; Service; and Evidence.
GENERAL POSITION SUMMARY:
Embedded within the Africa regional team, the Regional Senior Program Advisor for Performance and Quality will work closely with regional and country teams to enable and support implementation of Mercy Corps standards, policies, and best practices for program quality, supporting our program teams to achieve greater impact by strengthening program management practices, ensuring strong systems for evidence and learning, building adaptive management practices, and ensuring the use of data-driven evidence to demonstrate results. S/he will supervise a team of 2 regional MEL Advisors with a dotted line to 2 regional CARM Advisors, building a Regional Program Performance Unit that is poised to deliver strategic and targeted support to country teams and programs to enable high quality program delivery. The Regional Senior Program Advisor for Performance and Quality (PaQ)will play a key role in equipping teams to deliver expected program outputs on time, on scope, and on budget, ensuring accountability to our donors and the communities where we work and supporting teams to strive for excellence, producing evidence of durable results. Technology can offer important, scalable solutions to enable programmatic excellence, and this role should partner with teams to identify and implement appropriate technology solutions to meet programmatic needs. The Regional Senior Program Advisor for Performance and Quality (PaQ) is a member of the regional team and works closely with regional and country teams as well as HQ-based PaQ teams. The Regional Senior Program Advisor will provide a critical leadership role, supporting and partnering with country teams to set high standards for program performance and quality by strengthening the organizational culture and building systems and skills within teams to enable evidence-based programming, strong monitoring and evaluation, and accountability systems.
The Regional Senior Program Advisor for Performance and Quality (PaQ) will oversee four inter-related areas 1) program management and standards, 2) monitoring, evaluation, and learning, 3) accountability (CARM), and 4) regional collaboration and strategic support. The Regional Senior Program Advisor for Performance and Quality (PaQ) will partner closely with regional and country leadership to support teams to achieve high quality program implementation through adherence to Mercy Corps and global best practices, policies and procedures, which include PM@MC and other Minimum Standards at Mercy Corps, the MEL and CARM Policies and other agency level initiatives. Working closely with country and regional leadership, the Advisor will support teams to conduct program implementation quality reviews, enable systems to track compliance with minimum standards, monitor quality of M&E data collection and analysis, and ensure the responsiveness of feedback mechanisms.
ESSENTIAL JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:
Program Management and Standards
● Ensure that program managers and directors are oriented, trained and prepared to implement program management standards.
● In collaboration with Global PaQ contribute to development and delivery of the agency strategy to design, promote and verify accountability to integrated standards that ensure quality program implementation.
● Foster a culture that values high quality program management practices.
● Contribute to global efforts to integrate and mainstream Mercy Corps’ program management standards, tools, resources, and accountability mechanisms, ensuring a strong user perspective from across Africa programs.
● Lead adoption and refinement of agency program management policies in Africa, including the Program Management Manual, Gender Integration and Standards, Program Record Retention and Archiving Policy, and other related policies.
● Coordinate PM@MC learning, training, and facilitation across Mercy Corps’ programs and teams in Africa. Oversee internal program management training and skill-building, and track key performance indicators.
● Contribute to a culture of learning and adaptive management.
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
● Supervise 2 Regional MEL Advisors, and enable these advisors to provide timely, quality and relevant support to country teams to achieve strong MEL outcomes.
● Supervise the Regional MEL Advisors, while working closely with the Global MEL Team to coordinate regional rollout and adherence to Mercy Corps’ MEL Policies.
● Work closely with the MEL Advisors and regional/country leadership to actively promote and troubleshoot universal adoption of TolaData for indicator performance tracking and work with program teams to identify complementary tools and processes to enable teams to gather, analyze and use data to understand and monitor performance and promote program adaptation in response to changing conditions on the ground.
● Identify technology solutions for data collection and analysis/visualization and support teams with adoption, in concert with the global PaQ and T4D teams.
● Serve as a key thought partner for Country and Regional Teams to trouble shoot issues related to monitoring, evaluation and learning and the relationship between MEL and program quality and performance tracking, and ensure that the Regional Program Performance Unit is responsive and supportive of country requests.
● Work closely with Regional CARM Advisors to coordinate regional rollout and adherence to Mercy Corps’ CARM Policies in close collaboration with the Global CARM Team.
● Work closely with country teams to embed accountability mechanisms within our standard program management tools and practices throughout the program cycle.
Regional Collaboration and Strategic Support
● Build a Regional Program Performance Unit that is equipped to partner with Regional and Country teams to ensure consistently high program quality and performance standards, including:
○ Support country teams in the review of MEL, CARM, and PAQ structures to ensure optimal functionality.
○ Support strategic hiring for Key PaQ, MEL, CARM, T4D, and Gender positions within country teams.
○ Support orientation and onboarding of country-level PaQ, MEL, CARM, and senior program staff.
○ In coordination with global efforts, engage with and grow relevant Communities of Practice and organize learning/sharing events to promote a dynamic group of PaQ specialists across the region.
○ Contribute to Regional and Country Strategies, as requested. Design indicators and processes to measure performance and impact against the Regional Strategy.
- Recruit and lead an efficient, capable and high-performing team, with a particular emphasis on developing and promoting African talent.
- Develop and empower team members to deepen understanding of their roles, improve performance and reach objectives and assist with career development.
- 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.
- Contribute to regional team-building efforts and ensure the integration of team members into relevant decision-making processes.
Internal & External Collaboration
● Build and maintain positive working relationships across all headquarters departments, country and regional teams, as well as other key stakeholders within Mercy Corps.
● Represent Mercy Corps’ program management work externally, and cultivate strong working relationships across key organizations and partners to share learning and keep practices current.
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 Community Partners: Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our community partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Regional MEL Advisors; Dotted-line supervision of Regional CARM Advisors
REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Africa Technical Director
WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Regional and Country leadership, program managers, country-level MEL & CARM team members, Global PaQ Team members, other relevant headquarters-based departments.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
● BA in relevant field required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent experience preferred
● 5-7 years of relevant experience in international relief and development, including field-based experience; demonstrated knowledge of grant-based funding models, emergency response and development strategies and operational challenges in the sector
● 3-5 years of experience managing programs and teams and/or demonstrated ability to establish strong program management systems and practices to promote quality, performance and accountability within individual or country programs
● Demonstrated experience and skills of leading a team to build a culture of accountability, high performance, and establishment of reflective and adaptive management practices
● Demonstrated success designing and delivering professional development activities
● Experience with monitoring, evaluation and other learning efforts
● Some knowledge of gender integration and community accountability mechanisms preferred
● Experience leading or supporting change management preferred
● Project management certification required
● Proficiency with MS Office software required (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), and Google suite (Google drive, docs, sheets)
● Strong communication skills and demonstrated ability to build strong and productive working relationships with a geographically dispersed team
● Fluency in English and French strongly preferred.
The individual needs to be a creative problem solver, able to support country teams to overcome contextual challenges in the design and implementation of their programs. They will also be a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with team members and departments internally, as well as with external bodies, and leverage these relationships to produce programmatic results. They will have a positive and dynamic working style that enables them to adapt to challenges as they arise. They will harness the expertise, experience and ideas of diverse Mercy Corps team members and external partners to strengthen program quality within Mercy Corps. S/he has a deep understanding of how a grants-based international relief and development organization works and has a proven passion for quality program implementation and evidence-based decision-making. The Senior Advisor has an entrepreneurial spirit that is creative, flexible and collaborative while also detail-minded, data-oriented and with strong values for accountability. The successful Sr. Advisor will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with coaching and skill building. The Sr. Advisor will be a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), ensuring that the principles of DEI are firmly embedded in all aspects of Mercy Corps’ PaQ work. The Sr. Advisor will have a proven commitment to teamwork and accountability, a passion for facilitating strategic change management, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written, verbal and visual communication a priority.
LIVING /ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS:
This position will be based in an Africa office, and is expected to travel up to 40% of the time, sometimes to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed to a country office or on a visit/ short-term assignment to a country office. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
Every voice matters and diversity is powerful are critical elements of Mercy Corps’ values that allow us to achieve our mission of alleviating suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. We embrace diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have sustained impact. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.