Chief of Party – USAID/NIGERIA Opportunities To Learn (OtL) Activity
Pending funding - expected start end of 2021
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
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 of over 200 staff, Mercy Corps is currently serving over 600,000 program participants across the country with programming in Lagos in the South; Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau in the Middle Belt; Kano in the North; and Gombe and Borno in the Northeast. Programs include girls’ education and financial inclusion, community peace-building, market-based livelihoods and a multi-sector humanitarian response.
With the vision of a Nigeria in which all people are empowered, engaged, resilient and secure, Mercy Corps Nigeria focuses on the root causes of conflict, governance, humanitarian needs, and market systems development.
The USAID/Nigeria Opportunities to Learn (OtL) Activity is a proposed five-year, $10 – 24.99 million Program in Nigeria’s northeast. The aim of the OtL Activity is to equip out-of-school children and youth in northeast Nigeria with the foundational skills needed to progress to higher levels of education, training and/or engagement in the workforce.
General Position Summary
Mercy Corps is seeking candidates for a Chief of Party (CoP) role who will manage and lead the finance and administration components of an expected five-year USAID-supported Opportunities to Learn (OtL) Activity in North East, Nigeria.
- The CoP is expected to provide overall leadership, management and general technical direction of the entire program, ensuring an integrated vision among different components and actors, and a focus on achieving the results defined in the award; s/he will also ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on time, on scope and within budget.
- The CoP will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary program representative to the donor, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and stakeholders.
- The CoP shall be this USAID Activity’s principal point of contact in Nigeria for procedural and substantive matters, including technical matters.
- The CoP shall coordinate and ultimately be responsible for all agreement management and implementation.
- The CoP shall be responsible for responding to the designated AOR and Agreement Officer.
- The CoP shall also be responsible for ensuring quality control and the overall responsiveness of technical assistance provided under the award.
- The CoP will be expected to identify issues and risks related to activity implementation in a timely manner, and suggest appropriate adjustments.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy and Vision
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
- Oversee the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program.
- Lead the development of a program-wide resilience-building framework to guide coordination and integrated implementation.
- Oversee program start-up and ongoing program management and administration of teams across various field locations.
- Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work-plans, and ensure the delivery of the same.
- Lead the socialization of the program with Government of Nigeria stakeholders, ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required.
- Ensure that program participants are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
- Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
- Provide managerial and programmatic oversight to partners and sub-grantee(s).
- Document processes and achievements to ensure best practices are captured and disseminated. This will include the continual re-evaluation of program activities and information, with resulting activity adjustments in keeping with new insights.
- Produce written program reports (activity, monthly, quarterly, annual), capturing the progress, performance and impacts of activities.
- Oversee efforts to design effective M&E systems for the program, and linkages with internal M&E systems.
- Create and follow effective stakeholder management plans, ensuring sound and proactive communications with Mercy Corps Nigeria, partner organizations, Mercy Corps headquarters, USAID, Government of Nigeria authorities, and colleague agencies.
- Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites – spend up to 30% of time in the field.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via one-on-one engagements and annual performance reviews.
- Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
- Supervise and manage all program staff to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented in a coordinated fashion according to schedule, budget and quality.
- Supervise and manage all program partnerships to ensure sound coordination in the context of an overall program strategic and resilience-building framework.
- Manage and help with the recruitment, orientation, 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.
Finance & Compliance Management
- In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management) needs of the program are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and with the maximum benefit to the program.
- Monitor adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations, including those of the government of Nigeria.
- Liaise with and represent program to USAID and other cooperating sponsors and stakeholders.
- Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events in the field, in close coordination with the Country Director.
- Provide conflict analysis, conflict sensitivity, and Do No Harm analysis training and technical assistance to USAID mission staff and USAID implementing partners.
- Ensure close coordination and information sharing with consortium partners, sub-grantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
- Establish and maintain strategic relationships with communities and local government.
- 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.
Supervisory Responsibility: These will include the national and international team members working on the program, as well as partnerships with international and national program partners. The actual number of direct and indirect reports is to be determined.
Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: DCOP, Director of Finance and Administration, Program Sector Managers, Program Managers, Reporting & Communications Officers, Country Director, Finance, and Operations teams. Coordinates with HQ Program Performance team and the Technical Support Unit.
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.
Knowledge and Experience
- Master’s degree in a relevant field such as social sciences, law, and development studies, etc. However, a Bachelor’s degree and five (5) additional years of relevant international development experience can be substituted for the Master’s degree.
- Minimum of 10 years of experience in similar education intervention activities, and experience managing complex international donor-funded development activities in challenging environments.
- Experience with projects designed to increase equitable access, build Ministry of Education (MOE) capacity, and rebuilding of education systems preferred.
- Significant previous experience working in conflict or crisis situations.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated ability to think strategically and communicate his/her vision to partners and colleagues.
- Proven experience navigating complex and high-pressure operating environments.
- Demonstrated ability to establish and sustain interpersonal and professional relationships with different donors, civil society organizations and host country government counterparts.
- Conflict analysis and Do No Harm analysis experience required. Experience in conflict sensitivity training and Do No Harm training of trainers strongly preferred.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office programs i.e. Excel, Word, PowerPoint etc.
- Experience of working on USIAD programs preferred.
- Previous experience living and working in challenging or insecure environments; Nigeria/West Africa experience preferred.
- Fluency in spoken and written English required.
- Knowledge of local dialects is preferred.
The successful candidate will have a proven ability to learn quickly; multi-task; take rapid decisions; take initiative; have drive and energy, as well as high emotional intelligence; constructive mentoring skills; proven experience with capacity building; be accountable for results; understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details; possess problem solving skills; work within a complex and sensitive setting and ability to follow laws and security protocols.
S/he will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
The most successful Mercy Corps team 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 /Environmental Conditions
The position will be based in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state with regular travel to program locations including deep field sites. The location is generally secure. Housing, health care, water, electricity and consumer goods are all reasonably accessible and there are domestic travel options from Maiduguri Airport. Air travel is necessary to get to some field locations. Mobile phones services are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices with some inconsistencies in the most remote sites. This position requires 40% travel by road and air to field offices that are located in highly insecure locations.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on short-term assignments. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps' 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.
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, reach their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborate to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity 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 based on 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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.