Chief of Party, Highland Resilience Activity, Ethiopia
Position is contingent on new funding
About Mercy CorpsMercy 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.
The Program / Department / TeamMercy Corps has been operating in Ethiopia since 2004. In partnership with civil society organizations, private sector, and the government, Mercy Corps Ethiopia has reached more than five million Ethiopians with interventions to save lives and build secure livelihoods. Our programs emphasize market-driven solutions, reinforce social bonds, and help communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Currently in six regional states – Afar, Gambella, Oromia, Somali, Amhara and South Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) – Mercy Corps Ethiopia is driven by the mission to contribute the emergence of a peaceful, resilient, and prosperous Ethiopia which is inclusive of youth and women. Our strategic directions focus in promoting inclusive and dynamic markets; promoting peace and social cohesion through strengthening formal/informal governance structures and citizen engagement; improved natural resource governance; and integrated humanitarian response.
Mercy Corps is currently seeking a qualified Chief of Party (COP) to lead the anticipated, USAID-funded Highland Resilience Activity (HRA) in Ethiopia. HRA will support strengthened resilience among vulnerable households in Ethiopia’s Highlands through increased public and private investments. HRA will facilitate the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) 5’s “Big Push” initiative by supporting 120,000 PSNP households to move above the graduation threshold to where they no longer require social safety net programming for household food security and where they have the capabilities and assets to withstand regular and predictable shocks. The Activity will achieve this goal by directly supporting households in increasing their on-farm, off-farm, and employment incomes and households. HRA will be a five-year program with an expected start date during late June 2022.
The PositionThe COP will provide overall leadership, management, and strategic vision for the implementation of the anticipated Activity, ensuring that the program meets its targets and deliverables on time and within budget. The COP will supervise all program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies as well as all donor rules and regulations. The COP will be the primary representative for the program with donors including USAID, government entities, and all other partners and stakeholders.
Essential ResponsibilitiesSTRATEGY AND PLANNING
● Lead development of a vision and strategy for HRA shared with Activity staff and stakeholders.
● Leverage Mercy Corps’ existing market development and resilience programming and expertise to ensure technical quality and integration with complementary initiatives.
● Participate in Mercy Corps’ strategic discussions at the country and global level.
● Oversee program management and administration for the duration of HRA. Ensure implementation is on time, target, and budget, using effective M&E systems to assess impact.
● Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards, and strategic plan.
● Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee capacity building for partners.
● Integrate locally-driven approaches, gender sensitivity, and capacity building into all activities, as appropriate. Certify that all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and program participant accountability standards.
● Ensure program strategies and activities represent global good practice for market development and resilience programming.
● Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.
● Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
● Oversee recruitment and onboarding of the Activity staff, including expatriates, national staff, and consultants.
● Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of staff roles, and assist with career development.
● Provide team members with information, tools, and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
● Promote staff accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-one meetings and performance reviews.
● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
● Support Mercy Corps global and regional initiatives for human resources, including safeguarding and diversity, and talent development.
FINANCE & COMPLIANCE
● Ensure compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps’ regulations.
● Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor, and Mercy Corps’ needs.
● Ensure sound financial management, including programmatic budgeting, spending projections, and monitoring of payments in compliance with USAID standards.
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
● Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO, and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Country Director.
● Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government, and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
● Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events.
● 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.
Supervisory ResponsibilitySupervise the HRA Team, including expatiate and national staff. The number of direct and indirect reports will be determined at a later stage.
AccountabilityReports Directly To: Country Director, Ethiopia
Works Directly With: Regional Directors, Country Directors, other COPs, Mercy Corps programs in East Africa, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Programs Team, and HQ Technical Support Unit
Accountability to Participants and StakeholdersMercy 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/S or equivalent in economics, management, international development, or relevant field.
● Minimum of 10 years of relevant experience, including proven technical expertise in one or more of the following programming areas: market systems development, agricultural value chain development, income & livelihoods diversification, household access to finance, and resilience strengthening.
● Minimum of 5 years of experience in a senior management position, preferably for large ($25+ million) and complex USAID-funded activities; previous experience in similar roles (Chief of Party, Deputy Chief of Party, or Program Director) preferred.
● Experience in Ethiopia preferred.
● Strong skills and track record in leading diverse teams, inspiring staff, and developing a shared vision with staff and stakeholders.
● Demonstrated ability to build and maintain partnerships with diverse stakeholders including national and subnational government, donors, donor-funded programs, private sector actors, and civil society organizations.
● Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.
● Familiarity with USAID rules, regulations, and requirements preferred.
Success FactorsThe successful COP will combine exceptional team management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. They will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. They will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving, and simultaneous attention to detail and 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.
Living Conditions / Environmental ConditionsThe position is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is an accompanied position and housing is available in family accommodation with good freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are several international schools in the city and staff have access to basic services (electricity, water, sporadic internet, etc). Medical facilities are basic with international clinics able to provide emergency services. This position requires up to 40% travel by road and air to field offices in often insecure environments.
Ongoing LearningIn 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 & InclusionAchieving 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 OpportunityMercy 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.