Deputy Chief of Party / Technical Director (Feed the Future-funded Scaling Inclusive Food Systems program)
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. Interventions include 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 Deputy Chief of Party / Technical Director 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 DCOP / Technical Director is a key member of the Scaling Inclusive Food Systems senior management team and is responsible for leading the strategic intervention of program activities. They are responsible for the design, management and implementation of the program, including ensuring effective operations. The DCOP / Technical Director will work closely with the Chief of Party to drive the program’s strategic approach and ensure strong technical models are translated into high quality operational plans and interventions. They will directly manage implementation and technical teams in order to operationalize systems, structures, and processes that enable high quality, decentralized program implementation tailored to the local context.
Essential Job Responsibilities
● Works closely with the Chief of Party (CoP) to develop and guide overall strategic and technical vision and drive the program’s innovative, evidence-based, adaptation approach.
● Ensure program vision, implementation modalities, and operational mechanisms are consistently communicated and internalized by all program team members, partners and stakeholders; facilitate by-in across partners and stakeholders.
● Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed; promote and model a culture of learning and adaptive management.
● Operationalize strategic linkages and coordinate across technical, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and learning teams at implementation level, to further technical excellence, learning and impact, and ensure coherence of program components.
● Serves as the technical focal point for the program with Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU), Research, and PaQ teams – as well as technical advisors from consortium partners.
● Promotes a multi-sectoral vision to the program through active participation, accountability and performance-based reviews with technical teams - engages technical expertise for support and integration, when required.
● Supports the development of a program-wide resilience-building framework to guide coordination and integrated implementation in collaboration with the Resilience TSU.
● Identifies internal and external trends that will inform and address implementation challenges and any need to pivot programming.
● Prepares, supports and assures team readiness to adapt to changing conditions and expectations.
● Supports quarterly/annual reflections, work plan and implementation reviews, reporting, development/adaptation of integrated strategic work-plans for the program.
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AND QUALITY
● Manages the consolidated consortium workplan and is responsible for execution and tracking of work plans, ensuring the program is on time, on scope, and on budget, and that program plans are well coordinated with operational support functions (procurement, people and culture, etc.). Ensure that the program work plan consistently is adaptive to learning and contextual changes.
● Adapts and develops context and program-specific guidance, tools and training to advance the integration of resilience-thinking and evidence to impact into program systems.
● Leads the continuous review and adaptation of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual workplan development, and supports the delivery of the same.
● Ensure adaptive management, learning and reflective practices against work plans are adopted across the implementation team and facilitate improved decision-making.
● Inform program systems to ensure the intervention is generating relevant information that is being used for ongoing learning, program analysis and decision-making while also capturing results at the output and impact level.
● Inform and actively participate in pause and reflect sessions, sense-making workshops and ongoing program adaptations; ensure program data is used for learning and decision making.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION
● Provides oversight and coordination of all learning, M&E, and research efforts to facilitate information flow and the utilization of evidence in programmatic decisions and adaptive management.
● Supports information systems and procedures to ensure easy access to and utilization of evidence collected and processed by the program team.
● Develops the capacity of the program teams to capture and package success stories (including resilience storytelling) and learning; supports in the packaging of content and information for key internal and external audiences.
● Oversee the scheduling and production of formal and informal reports on all aspects of the program in a timely and efficient manner.
● Creates and sustains a work environment of mutual respect and accountability where team members strive to achieve excellence on their own team and embrace their role and responsibilities in advancing the shared goals of the program
● Empowers and supports teams to advance leadership in their fields and support professional growth, including creating space for field teams to engage in senior level discussions.
● Contributes to team-building efforts, helps team members identify and problem-solve complex issues - ensures all team members can effectively collaborate and leverage internal and external knowledge and information.
● Assists with the hiring and on-boarding of senior team members, ensuring they are set up for success and familiar with agency systems, procedures, and protocols.
● Develops and nurtures a culture of innovation, collaboration, and information sharing for purposes of adaptive management and learning across the entire program team.
● Ensure high quality performance management systems for each team member to promote accountability; communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE
● Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies; manage implementation budgets in compliance with donors regulations while applying financial flexibility to meet program needs.
● Monitor program activities to ensure adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and other relevant regulations, including those of USAID and the Government of Kenya.
● Work closely with support functions in Kenya, regional and headquarters to ensure highest compliance and program performance.
● Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
INFLUENCE AND REPRESENTATION
● Lead the socialization of the program with Government stakeholders, USAID, Technical Steering Committee ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required.
● Contribute to program visibility and advocacy work by assisting in the dissemination of program research and learning information. Represent Mercy Corps in forums with the broader humanitarian and development community.
● Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
● Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote best practices within the program.
● Communicate effectively across teams and partners to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
● Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
● Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
● 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.
● Ensure that Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) is operationalized within the program. Designate a CARM focal point for the program and ensure that program stakeholders are proactively informed of the program CARM feedback channels
● Develop a CARM sensitization plan for feedback channels, in coordination with CARM and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) teams, to ensure the harmonization of messaging.
● Ensure that appropriate action is taken for all programmatic feedback Grades 1-4 and that it is appropriately incorporated into program activities and overall implementation strategy.
● Technical Team Members
Reports Directly To: Chief of Party
Works Directly With: Country Director, Director of Programs, Program Managers, Finance Director, Operations Director, People & Culture 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 DCOP or Technical Director highly beneficial
- A minimum of 7 years' experience, including 4 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 required.
- 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 DCOP/Technical Director will combine exceptional management skills with significant technical expertise. S/he will have the ability to lead complex program and technical teams, including demonstrated skills in capacity building and mentoring. In additional to his/her technical expertise in food systems, the DCOP / Technical Director should have foundational knowledge of / exposure to WASH, governance, climate change and other related technical fields in order to ensure complementarity of the interventions. 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 DCOP / Technical Director 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.