Chief of Party - Nairobi, Kenya- (Feed the Future-funded Scaling Inclusive Food Systems Program)
* This role is subject to funding and donor approval. The final selected candidate will be asked to provide 3-5 references and a letter of commitment.
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
Since 2008, Mercy Corps Kenya has worked to build strong, peaceful communities. Programming including governance, social cohesion, humanitarian response, market systems development, and climate change adaptation programming, among others. Through our work across a diversity of program activities, Mercy Corps supports the establishment and cultivation of resilient livelihoods.
Mercy Corps is seeking a Chief of Party to lead implementation of the anticipated five-year USAID’s Feed the Future-funded Scaling Inclusive Food Systems program, which seeks to promote inclusive, agricultural-led growth throughout Kenya that results in strengthened resilience within target households and improved nutritional outcomes, especially among women and children. The Scaling Inclusive Food Systems program also seeks to integrate a diversity of cross-cutting issues, such as water access, women and youth empowerment, climate change adaptation and peacebuilding / social cohesion.
General Position Summary
The CoP will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the anticipated activity, to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. 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
Strategy & Vision
- Provide overall technical and administrative leadership and expertise. Responsible for administering and managing the implementation of the activity and has the overall responsibility for assuring that all assistance provided is technically sound and appropriate to meet activity objectives.
- Lead the development of a vision and strategy for the program by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
- Play an active role in identifying and developing new initiatives that foster and/or improve strategic objectives of the program and the country office.
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action, create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed and foster a safe, diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Oversee program start-up, management and administration. Ensure program implementation is on time, scope and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impact.
- Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from strategic annual work plans and ensure delivery of the interventions.
- Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
- Ensure project participants are effectively targeted according to transparent criteria.
- Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/memorandum of understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.
- Integrate community approaches, social inclusion, 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 a diversity of technical fields.
- Document processes and achievements to ensure best practices are captured and disseminated.
- Develop effective stakeholder management plans, ensuring sound and proactive communications with Mercy Corps Kenya, partner organizations, Mercy Corps Headquarters, USAID, Government of Kenya and other relevant stakeholders.
- Supervise and/or review the work of program consultants.
- Supervise procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams within the program to ensure operational systems support field activities.
- Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
- Develop the capacity of the program 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 through regular exchanges 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 proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and logistics are conducted in alignment with USAID and Mercy Corps regulations and to the maximum benefit of 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.
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, subgrantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
- Establish and maintain relationships with communities and local government stakeholders.
- 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.
- 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 Beneficiaries
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
- Scaling Inclusive Food Systems Program Team.
Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: Director of Programs, Program Managers, Finance Director, Operations Director, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit.
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S in agriculture, business, economics, public policy, international development or other relevant field, MA/S is strongly preferred.
- Experience leading large, complex programs required, with previous experience as COP or Deputy COP highly beneficial.
- A minimum of 10 years experience, including 5 years in a senior management position.
- 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.
- Prior management experience within USAID funded programs is critical.
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management, or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
- Persuasive written and oral communication in English, including report writing; competency in a relevant local language beneficial.
- Demonstrated technical expertise in food systems, market systems development and/or agricultural sector preferred.
- Experience in Kenya preferred, with prior experience in the Arid and Semi-Arid lands is an added advantage.
- Experience managing locally-led, innovative and evidence-driven programming is critical
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is an asset.
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, capacity building of partner institutions and of individual staff, with strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. S/he will be conversant in a diversity of cross-cutting technical themes, including WASH, governance, climate change, social cohesion and female empowerment, among others. 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 / verbal communication a priority in all situations.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The CoP is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with nearly unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are many international schools within Kenya and staff have good access to basic services. This position requires 30% travel by road and flight to field offices and areas which may lack basic services found in Nairobi.
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.