Consultant - Cash Assistance Program Officer - Romania
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.
Purpose / Project Description:
The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in over 5M people fleeing the country and many millions more displaced within Ukraine. There are many more who are unable to safely leave their homes. The circumstances and populations are constantly evolving with the conflict. Mercy Corps has reopened its registration and presence in Ukraine as well as offices to support people in neighboring Poland and Romania. This includes partnership models, cash, information provision and other emergency response activities in a very fluid environment. Partnerships with Romanian organizations are expected to be a key Mercy Corps approach, which leverages the skills of diverse civil society groups to provide much-needed assistance to Ukrainian refugees. As Mercy Corps’ standards for cash assistance are new to many Romanian organizations, we will need to adapt and create practical orientation sessions, training, and coaching models to onboard our partners to our processes, formats, and program management standards. In addition, we will want to support organizations with monitoring, evaluation, and accountability in order for us to demonstrate our impact and account for responsible use of funding.
The Cash Assistance Program Officer will provide day-to-day oversight and implementation of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) program activities conducted through local partners including needs identification, participant registration, and compliant reconciliation with financial service providers and local merchants, when applicable. The Cash Officer will support program implementation, coordinate with local partners, vendors and contractors and other Mercy Corps teams members. They can work both independently and with a diverse team to achieve common objectives. The successful candidate will have an eye for detail, is able complete documentation and reports to a high standard, can monitor the work of others and has the communication skills to mentor others to improve.
Consultant Activities & Deliverables:
The Consultant will: Conduct the following key assignment responsibilities
Strategy and Vision
- Develop the weekly work plan and overall schedule of assessments and monitoring.
- Support the broader cash team in the identification and consolidation of gaps, needs, and opportunities.
- Plan the schedule for commodity, cash and voucher distributions, and ongoing distribution monitoring.
- Conduct general and sector focused needs assessments as needed (including population movements, needs assessment, market price surveys, market assessments & vendor assessments, shelter needs rehabilitation); ensuring documentation is correctly completed and submitted in a timely fashion.
- Conduct local associations capacity assessments, local associations performance reviews and vendor capacity assessments and share results and recommendations promptly.
- Support the identification of modalities (in-kind, vouchers, cash) that are appropriate for different communities and profiles of needs.
- Ensure that Mercy Corps humanitarian mission and principles are clearly communicated and understood by all stakeholders in our communities and that fair and transparent program participant and vendor selection processes are established and shared widely.
- Organize and implement training sessions for vendors and program participants
- Conduct capacity strengthening and provide ongoing support to local partners
- Communicate with local associations to ensure they are aware of pending deliveries of vouchers or commodities and that they develop distribution plans in a timely manner. Ensure that vendors are informed and prepared before voucher distributions commence.
- Coordinate with the MEL team on monitoring of CVA and NFI distributions.
- Support and monitor local associations’ communication with the community, their documentation, storage facilities and distributions, and payments requests.
- Support and monitor vendor performance to ensure that vendors adhere to their agreement with Mercy Corps (type of items, quantity, quality, prices, services and documentations).
- Participate in voucher counts and reconciliation and ensure that the vouchers are organized, packed in the agreed manner with all necessary supporting documentation.
- Ensure proper documentation of all activities.
- Complete daily or weekly activity reports to a high standard with care to record successes, challenges and lessons learned on a schedule directed by the supervisor.
- Monitor the situation of conflict affected populations and inform the supervisor of any new developments.
- Flag any problems with vendors or associations immediately to the supervisor;
- Assist supervisor with any requests for information or data regarding program expansion or development.
Coordination and Representation
- Contribute to the development of the overall project strategy, specifically in terms of humanitarian needs, emergency priorities, and geographic location for partner projects.
- Develop and maintain effective working relationships with all stakeholders - including NGOs, clusters, UN agencies, community based organizations.
- Ensure that information from coordination meetings is shared internally and with other sectors, as appropriate.
- Work closely with the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Coordinator to aggregate and analyze data provided by partners to both influence programmatic decision making and contribute to reports to the donor and/ or Mercy Corps stakeholders at headquarters or in the region.
- Adhere to all MC policies and procedures as outlined in MC policies and procedures manuals;
- Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.
- Other duties as assigned
Timeframe / Schedule:
The Consultant will report to:
Emergency Program Manager, Cash
The Consultant will work closely with:
Program Departments, PAQ, Finance & Compliance, Operations and Security Management
Required Experience & Skills:
- 5-10 years of experience in relevant technical field (required)
- Diploma or University Degree in international studies, social, economic or other relevant field is desired.
- Experience conducting studies, especially around social work, social protection, or humanitarian assistance
- Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members in a cross-cultural environment is required.
- Basic understanding of mobile money or cash transfer apps preferred.
- Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
- Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational and prioritization skills.
- Ability and willingness to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team and other groups of various cultural, social, religious and ethnic backgrounds in a sensitive environment.
- Demonstrated attention to detail.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills: Ability to interact effectively with other team members, as well as with project partners, vendors and community members.
- Ability to deal with people fairly and tactfully while not compromising Mercy Corp’s own standards and procedures.
- Ability to conduct oneself with sensitivity and respect toward others.
- Honest, hardworking and committed to community work.
- Familiarity with the MS Office software (i.e., Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) is required
- Excellent oral and written Romanian and English is required. Ukrainian or Russian language is desirable.
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
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 team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders 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. 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.