Regional Senior Agriculture and Markets Advisor - Sahel region, 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 alleviates poverty, suffering, and oppression and works to build secure, productive, and just communities in over 40 countries around the world. Our Program Department supports country-led work that delivers measurable impact.
The Africa Region
Africa’s main source of revenues and jobs is generated within agriculture systems - being in livestock, crops, dry or wetlands, rural or urban areas. These agriculture systems, however, need to thrive if we are to feed the growing populations, and help both producers and consumers meet their needs. Mercy Corps will build on its successes in East Africa to support the development of these agri-systems in West Africa, with a specific focus on the Sahel.
Mercy Corps works in 17 countries across Africa, all of which are facing momentous humanitarian crises and/or significant development challenges. We see tremendous opportunities to deliver transformative programming that can drive agricultural and market development across West Africa.
General Position Summary
The Regional Agriculture & Markets Senior Advisor position focuses on providing expert technical support and capacity strengthening to Mercy Corps Africa-based teams (especially the Sahel) in the agriculture and broader economic growth sectors. The support includes program design and development, network and partnership development, representation at key sector forums and events, monitoring and other support to improve program quality and relevance, staying current on industry innovation and best practices and helping country teams in their definition of their agriculture systems’ strategy and priorities. The Senior Advisor, in collaboration with the Global Agriculture Systems technical team, will play a technical liaison role with key partners and donors for the region, and will help teams design, innovate, partner and ultimately succeed in delivering evidence-based agriculture systems programs.
The Regional Agriculture & Markets Senior Advisor will be integrated into the Africa Regional Team that supports 17 country programs and sets regional strategy, and will focus more specifically on the Sahel region. The position is closely connected with Mercy Corps’ Global Technical Support Unit (TSU) Agriculture Systems department, providing regionally-focused support services in close coordination with the global team while working more intensively with a small number of strategic programs in the region under the direction of the regional leadership team.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Building on our global agriculture systems approach, spearhead the development of a Sahel-specific and broader Africa Agriculture Systems Strategy.
- Serve as key technical resource within the region for agency’s priorities in agriculture markets, including support key countries in building their strategies, identify partnerships and leverage resources.
- Contribute to agency-wide agriculture systems’ efforts and communities of practice and ensure that Africa’s priority agriculture and markets areas of focus are reflected within the Agency’s agriculture systems’ strategy.
- Support a research and learning agenda that feeds into the global learning agenda.
Program and proposal development
- Contribute to or lead proposal development efforts for country-level and regional agriculture markets programs, with a focus on identifying and scaling innovative partnership models, leveraging best practices, and harnessing Mercy Corps’ key technical approaches.
- Support country and regional program teams to undertake situation analysis to identify opportunities and constraints faced by smallholders and agri-entrepreneurs.
- Support country teams in capacity development for rural agricultural marketing for better integration into markets.
- Support program quality for key agriculture systems programs within the region.
Influence & Representation
- In collaboration with the Global Agriculture Systems TSU, represent Mercy Corps at relevant regional and international conferences, forums, and events to elevate our image.
- Identify and nurture strategic regional partnerships to build our credibility and reputation as a key thinker and implementer of innovative and high-impact programs in the region.
- Support internal and external communication efforts (articles, case studies, conferences and forums) to highlight Mercy Corps’ agriculture systems’ work in Africa.
learning and impact
- Work closely with the PAQ Department to establish assessment, monitoring and evaluation frameworks and indicators to measure the impact of our agriculture market programs.
- Develop key learning and impact briefs to articulate our regional impact on agriculture systems outcomes across our regional portfolio.
Coaching and Mentorship
- Lead the Africa community of practice of regional, country-level, and project based agriculture systems’ specialists.
- Work closely with the global TSU, regional technical specialists, program managers, field and HQ teams as required to foster a dynamic community of practice.
- In partnership with the global TSU teams and regional MSD advisor, lead training/capacity strengthening efforts aimed at strengthening the skills of agriculture markets specialists and champions across the region.
- Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance.
- 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.
The position has supervisory responsibility over interns and/or volunteers (or other team members when there is no Director).
Reports Directly To: Africa Senior Technical Director
Works Directly With: Agriculture Systems Technical Support Unit, other Economic Growth Technical Support Units, Regional Technical Support Unit, Regional Director, Deputy Regional Directors, Country Directors and Directors of Programs, and Program Directors/Managers implementing agriculture systems’ focused or multi-sector programs.
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.
Knowledge and Experience
- Master’s degree in international development, business or agri-business, OR a comparable area of study preferred
- 5-7 years of experience in international development work, with a minimum of three years in a program management or technical advisor role, including proposal design.
- Minimum of 3 years of experience in agriculture markets work -including experience with program design, partnership building, and capacity strengthening.
- Substantial background and experience in market systems development for agriculture and food markets.
- Experience working in the Sahel required, including a good understanding of dryland and conflict-sensitive programming
- Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions is desirable
- Strong writing, presentation and representation skills required
- Proficiency in French a must
- It is expected that this position will travel to Mercy Corps country offices within the Africa region, including insecure environments, for up to 40% of time
The Africa Regional Agriculture & Markets Senior Advisor will be a highly innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial leader able to build and deliver on a vision to drive impact on agriculture markets outcomes across the region. The successful Senior Advisor will have strong networking and partnership building skills, including with social enterprises, private sector partners, think tanks, and governments to leverage diverse contributions to drive impact and innovation at scale. The Senior Advisor should have experience with program design and proposal development, have an ability to translate technical theory to address real world complexities through tangible program interventions, and be skilled in representing programmatic ideas to donors and investors to secure partnership and resources. The Regional Senior Advisor role requires strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills, and a level of emotional intelligence that quickly builds and maintains productive relationships across teams. S/he should be collaborative, with strong teamwork skills and a demonstrated commitment to build technical skills of technical team members across diverse contexts and backgrounds. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in one of our Sahel office locations and is expected to travel up to 40% within Africa. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a country posting or on a visit/TDY to a country program. 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 crea 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. 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.