Program Manager - EmpowerED - Kabul/Herat, Afghanistan
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.
Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by Afghanistan, since 1986 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the country and of those communities where we work.
Presently, we work in three provinces, with a portfolio of programs aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods, combating natural resource degradation, expanding access to vocational training, providing access to water and sanitation facilities, promoting Hygiene and providing emergency response MCPA and winterization.
EmpowerED (Elevating Trainer Expertise in Afghanistan) program, funded by GiZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer internationale Zusammenarbeit) aims to increase access for vulnerable young people, including women, to needs-based quality vocational training within in-company apprenticeships or other on-the-job training opportunities. The program targets master trainers from private sector companies across Kabul, Parwan and Herat and establishes master trainer courses based on in-depth market assessment. The program will be implemented together with two national partners.
The Program Manager (PM) works under the supervision of the Director of Programs (DoP) for Afghanistan. The primary responsibility of the PM will be the overall management of the implementation of the EmpowerED program together with it’s implementation partners. In coordination with field teams and partners, the PM will be responsible for the day-to-day smooth implementation of activities, and be responsible for managing and building relationships with the private sector, government and other relevant stakeholders.
The secondary responsibility will be in support of the country's livelihood and economic empowerment strategy. This includes technical capacity building of staff, donor positioning, proposal development and assessments.
The position holder is also expected to undertake the coordination role on behalf of the Livelihood portfolio while dealing with provincial authorities, UN Agencies, clusters, working groups, donors and others, when required.
The PM will be based in Kabul, requiring monitoring visits to Parwan and Herat at least 40% of his/her time.
● Supervise and monitor the implementation of the livelihood program, ensuring that all the activities are compliant with the grant requirements.
● Work closely with the implementation partners and provide necessary capacity building. Ensure implementation and compliance requirements as well as other equality standards are met by the implementation partners.
● Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
● Prepare procurement plan based on project cycle for livelihood intervention work.
● Manage program related grant budget lines.
● Outline indicators and outputs to be measured to determine success of intervention.
● Work with MEL Unit to translate assessment criteria to tools and methodology for monitoring and evaluation of interventions related to the program sectors.
● Stay informed of incidents as they arise through the field and are raised through the feedback/complaint mechanism.
● Enhance internal and external compliance through supporting incident reporting mechanisms when needed.
● Timely preparation of program related reporting and documentation including filing of project activities in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies and procedures.
● Work with the Program and support team to overcome implementation challenges based on practical solutions.
● Develop the capacity of the 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 via regular one on ones 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.
● Represent Mercy Corps at national and regional clusters as well as donors as delegated.
● Coordinate closely with DoP, Field Coordinator/ Head of Office and Government Liaison Manager for required line ministry engagement and participate in meetings as required.
Design and planning
● Partake and contribute to the design of new proposals based on sectoral and general knowledge as requested.
● Lead livelihood aspects of technical assessments in coordination with other thematic areas and/or other external sector agencies when required.
● Ensure the mainstreaming of core protection principles through design and planning of sector interventions.
● Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
● 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.
● 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.
EmpowerED Program team
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S or equivalent in international studies, economics or other relevant field; MA/S preferred.
- 4-6 years of field experience in both emergency and development environments. Experience working in Afghanistan would be a plus.
Technical experience/ skills
- Experience managing livelihood programs including assessments, implementation, budget management, sub-award management and engagement with relevant stakeholders.
- Strong understanding of the non-formal education/TVET sector
- Experience working in the private sector and/or for profit business management and implementing training programs is a plus.
- Familiarity with the market system development (MSD) approach. Strong technical understanding and experience applying MSD is preferred
- Experience with the implementation, reporting & compliance with a variety of European and US institutional donors, including grants management, and proposal development. Experience managing GiZ contracts would be a plus.
- Knowledge of participatory approaches and community sensitization and mobilization.
Team management experience/ skills
- Experience to work with national partners.
- Proven ability to work effectively in multicultural teams and with technical and administrative staff and consultants.
- Ability to work across diverse teams and get buy-in from a variety of stakeholders is essential.
- Previous experience building staff capacity/training and providing technical guidance required.
- Fluency in written and spoken English is required, knowledge of Dari or Pashto is a plus.
- Ability to multi-task and juggle several tasks and relationships at one time.
- Excellent communication skills, experience in representing an organization.
- Demonstrated proficiency with the MS Office software (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is required.
The successful Manager will combine exceptional technical skills and experience in livelihood programming. S/he will have previous experience in working in large-scale emergency and development programs in an unstable context. S/he will have an outstanding ability to design and provide technical oversight of innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the area. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. S/he will be focused on capacity building of national staff, have strong program support skills, good information management skills and maintain a sense of humour. Prioritizing, problem solving, ability to seize opportunities, attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability and thrive in evolving and changing environments
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Kabul/ Afghanistan and it requires up to 40% travel to the field, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited. Housing for this role is in a shared guesthouse and staff will have access to good medical services in the big cities such as Kabul and Herat.
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.