Conflicts & Resilience Program Director - Bamako, Mali
CONFLICTS & RESILIENCE PROGRAM DIRECTOR - BAMAKO, MALI
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 has been working in Mali since 2013 supporting Malian women and men - 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 neighboring 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 Mali reached over 100,000 persons in Mopti, Segou, Koulikouro, Kayes, Sikasso, Koutiala regions.
The Conflicts and Resilience Program Director will lead the implementation of Mercy Corps Mali’s portfolio of conflicts and resilience multi-sectoral programs namely BREAKWATER (Ben ni Baara) and Justice and Stability in the Sahel (JASS) and similarly aligned projects, in line with Mercy Corps Mali’s strategy as well as the wider Mercy Corps standards for project, program and portfolio management.
Running for four years and funded by Sida, the overarching goal of Ben ni Baara (Bambara for Work and Peace), is to prevent the further spread of violent conflict in Central and Southern Mali. The programme addresses contemporary and historical root causes of conflict in communities situated on the frontier between the relatively stable South and the most volatile parts of the Centre, working on natural resource management challenges, the breakdown of inter-ethnic relations and traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution, economic drivers of conflict, and a broken social contract between citizens and the state. Ben ni Baara is implemented in partnership with International Alert and Humanity & Inclusion, and aims to reach 60,912 beneficiaries/participants spread across an estimated 130 communities in the Segou and Mopti regions.
Mercy Corps is currently expanding its portfolio of programs in Central and Southern Mali to reinforce the work of supporting communities prevent the spread of violent conflict in the buffer zones between the relatively stable South and the more volatile Centre. As part of this, Mercy Corps, as of September 2021, is implementing the Justice and Stability in the Sahel (JASS) program, a stabilization-focused project centered on fostering inclusive and effective land governance, conflict mitigation and justice in Mali through a holistic package of grounded, bottom-up actions addressing issues of land conflict, natural resource management and access to justice. Funded by the FCDO, this 18-month pilot program will contribute to the stabilization of increasingly at-risk areas while incorporating research that focuses on cultivating an in-depth understanding of conflicts and access to justice issues in Mali will inform a further three to four years of programming. The JASS pilot is implemented in 250 communities and 12 communes in the regions of Koulikoro, Segou and Koutialla in partnership with Adam Smith International, with Mercy Corps as lead. As part of the program, Mercy Corps implements an ambitious coalition building and influencing approach targeting land governance and access to justice actors in Mali, to improve collaboration, synergy and results of land governance and conflicts prevention programmes in Mali.
General Position Summary
The Conflicts and Resilience Program Director will provide overall leadership for the implementation of Mercy Corps Mali’s conflicts and resilience portfolio of projects and programs, providing management and strategic vision to ensure that the portfolio both meets its targets and outcomes on-time and within budget, and delivers impact in a challenging and fluid environment. The Conflicts and Resilience Program Director will supervise both local and expat program staff, coordinate partner teams, and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations and quality implementation. S/he will represent the different programs to their respective donors, relevant government entities, partners and other implementers and stakeholders and lead the development and implementation of a strategy for strong coalition building, collaboration and influencing of donors and actors working on similar programs to maximize visibility and impact. The Director will work closely with the country-level leadership, Mercy Corps Mali MEL and program teams, HQ and Regional Technical Support teams and partner team members to ensure the further refinement and continuous learning and adapting of related programs including as informed by the results of the diverse research deliverables of related programs including inception phase multi-sectoral assessments. This is important considering the complexity of the conflict and resilience program portfolio – especially the unconventional combination of research, pilot projects and conflict prevention programming alongside community- and system-level work to promote inclusion, offset economic, environmental and structural drivers of human insecurity and promote access to conflict.
As a member of the enlarged Mercy Corps Mali Senior Management Team, the position plays a key role in coordinating, supporting, and collaborating with all levels of the organization to build strong project, program and portfolio management and policy compliance capacities while fostering the effective adoption of the organization’s vision, principles, values and culture.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & VISION
• Lead the development of a vision and strategy for the implementation of conflict and resilience projects and programs, working closely with the overall Mercy Corps Mali program team, country leadership and partners, in strong alignment with the wider Mercy Corps Mali strategy
• Play an active role in identifying and developing new initiatives that foster and/or improve strategic objectives of the conflict and resilience program portfolio and the Mercy Corps Mali mission
• Foster a culture of innovation and adaptive management across the diverse team members of the conflict and resilience program portfolio, ensuring coherence across outcomes and sectors and documenting and disseminating best practices
• Work closely with the Country Director, Director of Programs, Peace and Governance Lead and Humanitarian Program Coordinator to ensure integration and coordination between the different conflict prevention, resilience, and humanitarian programs amongst Mercy Corps Mali’s country-level portfolio;
• Lead the development and implementation of a strategy for strong coalition building, collaboration and influencing of donors and actors working on similar programs to improve visibility and deepen impact and growth, in close collaboration with the country leadership
● Oversee the management of the Conflict and Resilience program portfolio through the design, implementation, maintenance and governance of portfolio management processes and best practices as prescribed in Mercy Corps program management policies.
● Monitor, quality assure and report on the health of the conflict and resilience programs portfolio ensuring risks are highlighted on a timely manner to maintain strong performance.
● Ensure strong integration, shared use of resources and learning across the portfolio’s program components and teams in a manner as to particularly promote approaches that ensure good value for money and greater impact.
● Ensure strong and effective program governance systems are in place for each project and program in the conflict and resilience portfolio. Ensure the organization of relevant governance meetings including steering committee and annual review meetings.
● Oversee start-up, management and administration of conflict and resilience projects and programs. Lead relevant multi-sectoral assessments during program inception phases, consisting of market assessment of selected sectors; conflict stakeholder and institutions mapping; natural resource management capacity assessment; and citizen-state relationship assessment. Lead the development of key deliverables from the inception phase, including the afore-mentioned reports, revised program logic, and the definition of key program parameters
● Ensure programs’ implementation is on time, target and budget, and using effective MEL systems to reach desired impacts.
● Work closely with the Mercy Corps and the Gender and Disability Inclusion advisors of partners including to mainstream gender, diversity and inclusion throughout programmatic activities and various program teams themselves.
● 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 partner capacity building.
● Integrate community-led approaches, gender sensitivity, adaptive management and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
● Coordinate development and implementation of relevant action plans to foster GESI, sustainability, communication and visibility on programs in line with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.
● Ensure program strategies and activities represent global best practice in terms of access to justice, conflict prevention, resilience, and market system 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.
● Work closely with the MEL Manager to implement a strong and accountable monitoring, evaluation and learning processes. Work closely with the MEL Manager to support the implementation of Mercy Corps’ Tola Data indicator tracking system within the conflict and resilience portfolio of projects and programs;
• Ensure the implementation of the conflict and resilience programs’ highly varied sectors and components – for example establishment of an Early Warning & Response system and community- and system-level work to support off-farm employment – are conducted fully aligned with each and in furtherance of the program portfolio’s overall strategic aim
• Lead on sequencing, integration and layering to ensure that various program team members (e.g. resilience team members, conflict prevention team members), MEL and partner teams do not conduct their activities in siloes.
• Foster a culture of adaptive management, trialing new approaches and systems
• Develop the capacity of program teams, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
• Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives. Liaise closely with HQ and Regional Technical Support Unit members (from conflict, environment, markets, resilience and research TSUs to name a few)
• 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
• Recruit, orient and lead team members as necessary.
FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT
• Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations on all programs.
• Support Mercy Corps Mali’s Compliance and Finance Manager in ensuring partner organizations similarly comply with donor 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.
• Lead monthly Budget vs Actual (BvA) reviews with in-country leadership, Compliance and Finance Manager, and consortium partners to ensure proper rates of expenditure.
• Develop and periodically revise cost projections per activity and outcome with country leadership, finance and operations to ensure proper expenditure rates
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
• Represent conflict and resilience projects and programs at local, regional and national levels of government, state authorities and traditional authorities
• Represent conflict and resilience projects and programs amongst donors, NGOs and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Country Director and Director of Programs
• Lead the dissemination of the programs’ research outputs at the national and regional level, in coordination with Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit
• Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
• 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, partner team members, and program participants
• Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security
• Work with the Head of Operation to periodically update the risk analysis matrix, ensuring it is always fit for purpose
• 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
• Work closely with the MEL Manager to implement strong community accountability and reporting mechanisms (CARM) on all conflict and resilience projects and programs.
Programs Coordination Lead (expat), Program Coordinators, Senior Program Officers, Senior Liaison and Coalition Building Officer, Project Officers, Project Assistants
Reports Directly To: Director of Programs Implementation
Works Directly With: Programme Performance and Quality teams, MEL Manager, MEL Specialist and MEL Officers; Peace and Governance Advisor; Humanitarian Program Manager; Grants Manager; consortium and partner teams; Finance, Operations and HR teams, Gender Specialist, HQ and Regional Technical Support Unit
Knowledge and Experience
• BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field (conflict management, markets, livelihoods, entrepreneurship, governance, justice). Masters a plus;
• A minimum of 4 to 6 years of relevant experience in overseeing multi-million-dollar donor funded programs including at least 2 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 projects and programs managed within the same portfolio.
• Competent in building networks, strong problem-solving skills, and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques.
• Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
• Demonstrated expertise in conflict prevention and peacebuilding programming, with additional experience in market systems development and/or resilient livelihoods and entrepreneurship preferred
• Demonstrated experience in managing large-scale, multi-sectoral programs and culturally diverse teams. Experience managing partners via a consortium a plus
• Experience in Mali or the broader Sahel region an asset
• Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
• Fluency in French and proficiency in English required; proficiency in local languages (Bambara, Fulani) a strong asset
• Strong communication skills; able to work in person and remotely with a geographically dispersed and culturally distinct teams
The successful Program Director will combine exceptional management and leadership skills, an innovative and energetic personality, and strong experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps. S/he 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 Conditions
The position is based in Bamako, Mali, and requires up to 50% travel to field bases inside Mali – primarily the Segou office, out of which key programs with the conflict and resilience program portfolio are run - should security permit. The position is an accompanied posting. There may be additional international or regional travel, including to insecure and/or remote locations.
The position is eligible for individual housing, R&R and education benefits. While the city has been mostly secure, attacks against foreigners in 2016 in some public places underscore the fluidity of the situation and may require expatriate staff to adhere to security policies, such as restrictions on movement. Bamako is served by an international airport with daily flights to European and African destinations. Restaurants and shopping options are available all over the town, with reasonable access to most consumer goods. Health care services exist and are developing rapidly. However, for more serious conditions, medevac to Dakar, Senegal or Europe may be required. Bamako hosts several international schools – American, French, Turkish, etc. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/STA 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. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and as such staff 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.
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.
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 and 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 and 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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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 always adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.