Programs Bamako, Mali


Short Term Assignment



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 when 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. Mercy Corps is committed to gender equality, diversity, and inclusion as fundamental principles of our work.


Mercy Corps Mali

Mercy Corps has been working in Mali since 2013 supporting Malian women and men Malian - including young women and men - to cope with food insecurity and conflict-induced shocks and stresses, restore peace and stability, and address humanitarian and development structural challenges. Throughout our work, Mercy Corps seeks to support strong, inclusive, and resilient communities by i.) providing conflict-sensitive humanitarian assistance, ii.) addressing the root causes of conflict through improved and holistic conflict prevention and management mechanisms and iii.) promoting sustainable economic development through market systems strengthening and employment opportunities for women and young women and men. Mercy Corps’ work addresses issues related to natural resource management and climate change adaptation within Mali and across the borders with neighbouring Central Sahel countries, Niger and Burkina Faso. With a current portfolio of approximately 30 M USD funded by FCDO, USAID/BHA, Sweden, the European Union, and private foundations, over the past 18 months Mercy Corps reached over 100,000 persons in Mopti, Segou, Koulikouro, Kayes, Sikasso, Koutiala.


Program Summary

Mercy Corps is anticipating the potential approval of a four-year, $16 M USD gender transformative program. The program aims to enhance the socio-economic resilience of women and adolescent girls (15-19) and their families in fragile, conflicted-affected communities in over 200 villages across Mopti, Timbuktu, and Gao. The program will i.) work closely with communities including key opinion shapers or guardians (both male and female) to support the increased agency of women and girls in households and communities, ii.) provide intensive and tailored support for the adoption of climate-resilient agriculture techniques and inputs by women producers, iii.) facilitate access to gender-responsive and inclusive financing for women-led small and medium-sized agribusinesses through a market systems approach. Throughout these actions, the program seeks to create a positive enabling environment where women and girls will lead in building the resilience of themselves, their households, and their communities. The program is implemented through a consortium of two Malian partners and one international partner, with Mercy Corps as consortium lead.


Summary of the Short-term Assignment

This program’s complex design, innovative gender-transformative approach, and risky operational environment make it a high-stakes program for Mercy Corps. To bring the right investments at start-up, to set up the program for success, and to coordinate start-up activities, Mercy Corps Mali is seeking to recruit a Start-Up Team Lead for an initial 2-3 months to:

        Set-up the program.

        Plan the program inception period with the country team, partners, and HQ colleagues.

        Work with start-up team to coordinate delivery of high-quality inception phase deliverables

        Coordinate the establishment of a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning system suitable for a gender-transformative program.

        Recruit and establish orientation plans for new team members.

        Design the program’s initial procurement plan.


Essential Job Responsibilities

Analysis and Strategy

        Lead analysis of existing and necessary capacities to facilitate a smooth and timely program start-up.

        Lead cross-functional collaboration to devise a program start-up strategy and plan including the definition start up timeline - typically 8 to 16 weeks.

        Support the establishment of a program governance structure with consortium partners that emphasizes power sharing; oversee sub-granting of partners.

        Support the design and initial stages of implementation of the program’s baseline assessment, environmental impact assessments, security, and gender equality, diversity, and inclusion assessments.

        Ensure synergy with program plans, technical approaches, and commitments and in particular those related to ensuring a strong foundation in gender-transformative approaches across all program areas (implementation, governance, MEAL, etc).

        Identify critical path and key milestones that must be completed in the start-up phase of the program.

        Review the program start-up roadmap/strategy in consultation with country and regional teams and cross-operations HQ teams.


Start-up team assembling and management

        Establish the profiles and duration of the required start-up team members and participate in sourcing. This is likely to include some of the main implementation team supporting the start up.

        Work with the DoP to communicate the agreed vision and direction to the team and ensure a coordinated and coherent approach.

        Ensure tools and tracking mechanisms are in place to accurately assess and communicate progress against the start-up work plan, resources (budget and personnel), and issues during start-up.

        Distribute and clarify roles and responsibilities throughout the start-up process.

        Provide coordination and supervision as needed to the start-up team accountable to the process.

        Engage in pro-active communication and collaboration with the country and regional directors, program implementation team, headquarters teams, and partners.

        Facilitate clear and regular communication between all in the program start up team, including partners.

        Develop all the necessary framework documents and file structure in accordance with [email protected] as per the start-up requirements


Hiring and Onboarding

        Collaborate with the Recruitment Manager of Mali team and the incoming Program Director to establish a recruitment and onboarding plan.

        Participate in the design of job descriptions and hiring of key positions, including the Program Director as needed and assist with onboarding of culture and process.


Standards and Compliance

        Ensure that all work related to the program is undertaken from an inclusive perspective, prioritizing process over product and power sharing among consortium partners and the planned program participants.

        Inculcate Program Management minimum standards and best practices including [email protected], Complex Program, Goods Distribution minimum standards; and all other relevant standards within the new team including partners.

        Foster a culture of compliance and accountability among the team with regards to Mercy Corps, donor and government laws, policies, rules and regulations.

        Work with TSU/HQ and the PAQ and MEL teams in country to set up a viable MEAL system appropriate for a gender-transformative program.

        Support in essential communication with partners and sub-grantees to verify their systems and that they understand and follow all appropriate procedures and archiving.

        Take leadership of design and implementation of the procurement plan, in collaboration with the Operations Manager and incoming Program Director.

        Work with finance compliance to mitigate fraud, conflict of interest and legal ramifications of Mercy Corps activities. This includes working with the Mercy Corps teams, as necessary to share tools, collaborate with staff and share information/support needs.

        Ensure that all program planning and implementation is in line with donor requirements.


Organizational Learning 

        Use lessons learned from existing programming, both that of Mercy Corps and of partners, to improve start up and implementation, and in particular start-up gender-transformative programming.

        Prepare a post-startup work plan to guide transition to regular program implementation.

        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 women and men from the diverse identity groups and communities which we 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 partners

        Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically
to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities and women and men of diverse identities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field programs.



Reports to: Director of Programs

Works Directly With: SMT, PMT, HR/Admin and TSU (when necessary), PaQ Lead

Collaborates With: HQ teams, all MC logistics and operations team in the Mali offices and at HQ


Knowledge and Experience

        A minimum of 5 years field experience setting up and managing administration, procurement, logistics, and human resource systems with humanitarian NGOs with supervisory responsibilities.

        Proven understanding of complex development contexts, related security concerns and appropriate responses with experience in insecure environments.

        Demonstrated understanding of inclusive approaches to program management and partnership strongly preferred.

        Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem solving independently and cooperatively.

        Excellent knowledge of Mercy Corps’ systems and procedures (esp. procurement systems) desirable; MEL experience preferred and knowledge of a variety of donor regulations (GAC, Sida, EU) helpful.

        Effective verbal and written communication, organizational, prioritization and Microsoft Office applications.

        Fluency in English and French is required; knowledge of the context is a plus.

        Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.

        Ability to work across departments to achieve results in a short period of time


Success Factors

The successful Start-up Team Lead is an effective leader that can build and motivate a team of women and men from a variety of departments under pressure and with limited time. They are very well organized, communicate clearly and use strong interpersonal skills to navigate challenging organizational political situations.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Start-up Team Lead will be based in Mopti or Bamako with potential travel to Gao and Timbuktu. Team members have good access to essential services, such as medical care, electricity, water, etc. This position is an unaccompanied position. Shared accommodation will be provided in Mopti or Bamako according to Mercy Corps Mali’s housing policy. Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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 gender equality and an inclusive working environment.