Chief of Party - Mauritania

Programs Nouakchott, Mauritania


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
Mercy Corps has been active in the Sahel since 2005, with ongoing programs in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. In these countries, Mercy Corps works primarily in the areas of resilience, food security, livelihoods, governance, conflict mitigation, and humanitarian response. Through these programs, Mercy Corps aims to stimulate economic opportunities, catalyze inclusive and accountable governance systems, boost local economies, and break the cycle of food and water insecurity while addressing the immediate, medium, and long-term needs of populations. Mercy Corps' work promotes resilience to shocks and stresses and enables individuals, households and communities to achieve inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. Mercy Corps' vision for change encourages other actors, government, and civil society to work together to create meaningful and lasting change.

In Mauritania, Mercy Corps is based in Nouakchott and is operating the USAID-funded NAFOORE program, implemented in consortium with Counterpart International and ECODEV. The NAFOORE program is Mercy Corps’ only current program in Mauritania. In line with Mercy Corps global strategy and the national strategy in Mauritania, the Nafoore program aims to build the resilience of vulnerable young people to violent extremism, ages of 15-29, by increasing economic opportunities, empowering youth through civic engagement and participation and developing sustainable support networks for and by youth. The overall objective of the program is to increase the resilience of vulnerable Mauritanian youth in Nouakchott and the southwestern regions of the country, Ayoûn el' Atroûs, and Nema.

Nafoore Program is designed to be iterative and adaptive all along its implementation to allow integration of Nafoore Network Youth Organisations and contextual realities. 
To achieve this, the NAFOORE program plans to build on three pillars, including:
  • Increasing youth economic potential
  • Strengthen youth belonging & agency in their lives and communities
  • Expand and strengthen youth-serving organizations and networks 
Mercy Corps works in partnership with the government, the communities of Mauritania, and in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations present in the country and youth participants to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development in Mauritania.

The Position
The Chief of Party/Mauritania Country Representative will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the NAFOORE program, to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget.  The COP also serves as Mercy Corps main country representative in Mauritania, including representation with local authorities and the management and oversight of all in-country support teams (finance, operations, security, HR/Admin) that directly support and serve the NAFOORE program. 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. 

The CoP will provide technical direction and thought leadership on preventing and countering violent extremism through use of the implementation modalities (and any necessary, evidence based adaptations) described above, ensuring a sensitive and effective approach to achieve program success as well as contributing to Mercy Corps' reputation and thought leadership in peacebuilding and P/CVE in the Sahel. The CoP will ensure that all program team members and key stakeholders are working toward a common P/CVE goal and are following best practices in Positive Youth Development, market-based employment opportunities, and civic engagement.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision
  • Lead the development of a vision and strategy for the program shared with program team and key stakeholders.

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

  • Actively share learning with and absorb lessons from Mercy Corps’ and other organizations P/CVE programming in the Sahel region.

  • Shape and work toward a forward-looking research and learning agenda that will inform program success as well as other P/CVE programs in-country and in the region

  • Oversee the Stakeholder Management Strategy and support the Stakeholder Manager and other team members in realizing the same

  • Support communications to promote the visibility of the Nafoore Activity and its objectives to reach all the stakeholders, direct or indirect, partners and communities participating in Nafoore. 

Program Management
  • Oversee program start-up, management and administration. Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.

  • Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work-plans, and ensure the delivery of the same.

  • Structure his/her team to ensure that all program aspects are implemented to the highest standard (adhering to industry norms/regulations).

  • Ensure program objectives and deadlines are tracked and met.

  • Oversee the performance of consortium partners and sub-grantees.

  • Confirm participants are effectively targeted according to transparent criteria.

  • Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.

  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.

  • Ensure program strategies and activities represent global good practice in P/CVE, peacebuilding, conflict sensitivity, youth employment, psychosocial support and safe spaces, and other related areas .

  • Supervise and/or review the work of program consultants.

  • Supervise and/or Coordinate with procurement, logistics, and security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.

  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide. This includes an ability to properly plan and track the program with detailed Gantt planning and financial literacy in forward forecasting with the team on a detailed monthly basis

  • Working with the MEL Manager, ensure that all aspects of design, monitoring, evaluation and learning are met and ensure that all program aspects are documented and archived according to internal/donor requirements. 

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. 

Finance & Compliance Management
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations.

  • 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. 

Influence & Representation
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Country Director.

  • Coordinate activities with consortium partners, sub grantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs. 

  • 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 programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security. 

Supervisory Responsibility
The COP will oversee the DCOP and technical support team members for each objective. Contingent on budget, there may also be cross-cutting Financial Inclusion, Sequencing Integration and Learning (SIL) + CLA and gender specialists. Mercy Corps will oversee financial and contracting aspects of sub-granting to Nafoore Network partners – with routine programmatic decisions taken by the COP in collaboration with a senior management committee (DCOP + technical teams). 

Reports Directly To: Senior Director Conflict or Deputy Regional Director
Works Directly With: Other CoPs or program managers conflict programs, regional/HQ finance and operations teams, Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit
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
  • MA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field

  • A minimum of 10 years of overseas experience including 5-7 years in a senior management position.

  • Specific, in-depth experience leading a P/CVE program and/or other highly sensitive program in a violence prevention context highly desired.

  • Strong program management skills required, including managing other large, multi-sector development programs.

  • Strong skills and a track record in strategic visioning, leadership, and inspiring teams.

  • Effective personnel management, coordination, and decision-making skills, with proven ability to be accountable for all components of the program.

  • Competent in building networks, strong problem-solving skills, and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques.

  • Strong understanding of USAID compliance issues.

  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.

  • Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response preferred.

  • Foreign language ability - French, English required.

  • Persuasive written and oral communication in English, including report writing.

  • Experience in the Mauritania or in the Sahel region required.

  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.

Success Factors
The successful Chief of Party 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.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The Nafoore program office will be based in Nouakchott – with smaller hubs proposed in Ayoun El Atrous and Néma - with travel to field sites anticipated. The CoP is based in Nouakchott. The location is  accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with reasonable freedom of movement beyond the house/office. In Nouakchott there is access to medical services, international schools, and internet/electricity. This position requires up to 20% of travel to field offices in insecure environments.  This position is eligible for R&R benefits.

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.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

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.