Chief of Party - Small Town Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (STWASH) - Nigeria
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.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and its influence spreads across the continent. Yet, inequality and insecurity have consistently undermined Nigeria's development. Mercy Corps Nigeria was established in 2012 to respond to these challenges. The Nigeria team is headquartered in Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with offices throughout Nigeria. With a strong and growing team, Mercy Corps works to achieve the vision of a Nigeria in which all people are empowered, engaged, resilient and secure.
The Small-Town Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (STWASH) Activity is a five-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by Mercy Corps and WaterAid. The Activity supports sustainable improvements in access to basic water and sanitation that are necessary to facilitate ongoing recovery, peacebuilding, and economic development within Nigeria. The program has three interrelated areas of intervention. As a foundational approach, STWASH focuses on expanded access to water and for sanitation facilities and strengthening capacity for small town water governance covering the states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) in Northeast Nigeria. The overarching vision of the activities in the BAY states is to facilitate the economic recovery of some crisis-affected communities and bolster the capacity of the state governments in providing essential WASH services and creating and sustaining enabling environments for Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Agencies and Water Consumers Associations to operate effectively. Under an expansion in 2022, the ST WASH Activity is increasing scope to implement water utility infrastructure projects in the three southern states of Imo, Abia, and Delta as well as fecal sludge management system in Borno State. This is a substantive increase in infrastructure and geography, with activities now split across six states.
The Chief of Party (COP) provides overall leadership, technical oversight, management and strategic vision for the program, while managing staff and resources to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time, on scope, and within budget. The COP will supervise key program staff and ensure high program quality. The COP will be responsible for ensuring strict adherence to internal Mercy Corps policies and procedures as well as donor rules and regulations. The COP will have the ultimate accountability for all aspects of the program, including but not limited to infrastructure, governance, and measurement of impact. The COP will be responsible for the successful integration of Activity objectives, ensuring infrastructure components (led by Mercy Corps) are integrated with complementary governance works (led by partner WaterAid). The COP will also have representation duties to donors, relevant government entities, partners, and other implementers and external stakeholders
- Drive a culture of collaboration, learning and adaptation throughout the consortium and prosecute continuous improvement
- Drive quality and accountability across all facets of the program, ensuring teams meet and exceed program minimum standards in infrastructure, MEL, Gender and Inclusion, among other areas
- Maintain focus and promote attention throughout the team of the overarching program goal, consistently ensuring alignment throughout all activities.
- Lead overall cross-team coordination efforts, bringing together different stakeholders to proactively find a collective and innovative solution for challenges.
- Contribute to country-wide team building efforts through collaboration with the Mercy Corps Nigeria team and influencing the development and strengthening of the organization.
- Provide direction for innovations in water systems delivery with an critical focus on sustainability. Constructively analyze and provide feedback on the proposed plans, ensuring integration and synergy between program components and partnerships
- Environment – ensure cross-program strategy aligns with USAID environmental regulations and best practice. Oversee the implementation and refinement of USAID required processes as governed by the global environmental management plan, the site-specific environmental review of factors, site specific environmental review reports and annual environmental management and mitigation report.
- Resilience –ensure cross-cutting resilience strategies are purposefully introduced to ensure the program is implemented in a sustainable way with a focus on expanding innovation in climate-sensitive water security in line with Mercy Corps’ Pathways to Possibility organizational strategy
STRATEGY AND VISION
- Ensure programs are running in alignment with Mercy Corps’ principles, values and the program’s strategic plan, particularly in regard to maintaining a focus on gender equality and social inclusion across the program.
- Recognize, promote and act on opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where this is regularly encouraged.
- Set the direction and provide hands on oversight of the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where accountability is promoted, alternative viewpoints welcomed, the team strives to achieve excellence, and is conducive to professional growth. A key facet of the ST WASH team growth is to ensure accountability and to build trust; maintaining and strengthening a healthy team culture is essential to this role.
- Supervise a team of 9+ staff across different units. Clearly establish and communicate performance expectations and regularly provide constructive feedback with direct supervisees and relevant partner staff.
- Promote a team culture that values diversity, equity and inclusion and work closely with HR and the Senior Leadership Team to actively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the ST WASH team composition and leadership structure
- Actively manage and promote professional development and ongoing training of staff to ensure they are of the quality and technical capacity necessary to ensure the successful implementation of activities.
- Liaise with support structures within Mercy Corps Nigeria, including the Program and Quality Unit to ensure smooth coordination with portfolio initiatives and support to the program
- Work closely with the Director of Program Controls to ensure oversight and implementation of the highest standard of program management tools. This includes risk management, updated and timely workplans and accurate budgeting.
- Manager the subaward relationship with WaterAid, ensuring sound coordination in the context of an overall program delivery. Liaise with the subaward team for effective monitoring and support.
- Provide oversight of all component implementation, including ensuring that each component has a detailed implementation plan aligned and coordinated with others.
- Supervise and manage all program staff to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented in a coordinated fashion according to schedule, budget and quality.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
- Act as program lead on relevant incident management responses, in coordination with country level leadership, as they arise.
OPERATIONS, FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
- Ensure positive coordination with operations, finance and other support departments, ensuring open and transparent communication and coordination between both parties and knowledge and adherence to processes and policies.
- Ensure effective systems and structures (including finance, logistics, procurement, security, administration and human resources) are implemented to maximize support to field activities whilst ensuring compliance with regulations and policies.
- Hold ultimate accountability for budgetary oversight and management, whilst building the team’s capacity to understand budgeting and financial management.
- Promote compliance with USAID regulations, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and ensure all activities are implemented accordingly.
- Confirm that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.
COORDINATION AND REPRESENTATION
- Primary program representative for USAID and other cooperating sponsors, donors and high-level international stakeholders,including private sector entities, NGOs, public utilities, etc. Responsible for building strong relationships in the sector and ensuring proactive and continuous engagement to promote the program and maintain abreast of sector specific news and events.
- Ensure timely submission of all deliverables to USAID and government partners, collaborating closely with country and desk support structures.
- Set the direction for government engagement and high level support. Collaborate with the DcoP and program staff, in engaging regularly with local government and civil society, Community and Water Sector based partnersbuilding a strong reputation for the program and creating support among key government partners.
Supervisory Responsibility: Program Engineers, MEL and Communications staff, Water Aid (DCOP and Water Specialists), dotted line engagement with dedicated support staff (Security and Operations)
Reports Directly To: Director of Programs
Works Directly With: Program and Quality Unit, Other Program COPs/PMs/Directors.
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/MSc in water resource management, engineering, public administration, or other relevant fields.
- 10+ years of management experience in increasingly responsible positions – preferably as the lead for a comparable water and sanitation project or senior leadership position on a larger project.
- 7 years+ of experience with successful water and sanitation projects, with utilities experience preferred
- Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments,private sector entities, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners.
- Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with USAID policies, procedures and approaches with regards to design, implementation, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation for projects of a similar size.
- Exceptional relationship-building skills, with demonstrated experience in management of large and cross cultural teams. Must be committed to promoting equality and inclusion throughout their management style.
- Strong preference will be given to applicants with private sector experience, business acumen and interest in public-private partnerships and contractual agreements (involving interlinked infrastructure and service delivery).
- Certified in program management or commitment to achieve certification within first 3 months of position.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
- Fluency in oral/written English is required.
- Previous experience leading programs in a similar context to Nigeria is strongly desired.
The successful Chief of Party will embody a collaborative and values driven leadership approach, combining exceptional program management and technical skills in sustainable water and sanitation system delivery. S/he should bring experience of building and maintaining robust donor, private sector, government and partner relationships in a challenging context. The successful candidate will have an outstanding ability to ensure technical excellence, whilst holding team members accountable to the highest standards of program management and pushing for continuous adaptation and innovative improvements. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem-solving and simultaneous attention to detail whilst maintaining 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. Due to the nature of this program, and the operating environment, the successful candidate must have a high level of internal resilience.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Yola, Adamawa State for the first year with an anticipated shift to Owerri, Imo State in the second year. The position may require up to 50% travel as activities are spread across 6 states. Locations may include sites where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited.
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.