Goods Distribution and Quality Specialist - Program Performance and Quality

Programs Portland, Oregon Washington, District of Columbia Anywhere, United States


Description

This position is open to any Mercy Corps location

About Mercy Corps

Mercy 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 / Team

The Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) department supports and enables quality program implementation by establishing and maintaining standards for excellence, championing an evidence-based practice to strengthen program performance, and supporting strategic program change management. PaQ oversees several business functions and processes including program management standards; quality assurance; monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL); program data management; infrastructure quality assurance; strategic change management; and facilitating the complex program process. PaQ is implementing a new, multi-year vision and strategy that is organized around three business categories: Standards & Training; Service; and Evidence. PaQ will rigorously and iteratively evaluate the strategy as it evolves to support and strengthen the quality of program implementation at Mercy Corps.

Mercy Corps recognizes that program quality requires strong program management, gender integration and accountability to affected populations. The Standards sub-team works to design, promote and verify adherence to standards for program quality, including standards that address Program Management, Community Accountability Response Mechanisms (CARM), gender, and cash and goods distributions. We support teams globally to apply these program standards, and access the necessary tools and capacity building to effectively and efficiently meet these standards. This team has a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and is currently leading a global initiative to strengthen country and program-level community accountability reporting mechanisms.

The Position

Mercy Corps distributes $20-40 million worth of in-kind goods every year in programs throughout our global portfolio. Goods distribution is varied, but regularly includes both food and non-food goods in a variety of contexts to meet a variety of programmatic objectives, such as food security, improved shelter, or to meet the immediate needs of recently displaced people.  These multifaceted program activities procure, ship, transport, warehouse, distribute and monitor donated and purchased commodities to meet the identified needs of their intended recipients.  All Mercy Corps programs must adhere to the forthcoming Program Management Policy, which outlines standards for effective and efficient program management, including standards that directly and indirectly address goods distribution.

This position provides support to logistics, distribution, management, and accountability processes within those programs to ensure the quality and safety of goods comply with all donor and government regulations. In addition, this position supports country teams to adopt the Program Management Policy, with a specific focus on the standards that directly and indirectly address goods distribution. Examples of these standards include developing standardized operating procedures (SOPs), participant selection, monitoring, quality control, and reconciliation.

Essential Responsibilities

PROGRAM SUPPORT
  • Coordination of all Mercy Corps food aid shipments from US Government sources:
    • Tracking and relaying information between field offices and freight forwarder, including but not limited to call forward requests, freight tenders, shipping documents, reports and claims;
    • Following claims process with surveyors, freight forwarders and USDA to ensure all regulations are followed and that the US Government is able to settle or dismiss all claims against ship owners and other agents for losses incurred during shipping;
    • Creation of monthly shipping reports on status of all shipments from call forward through claims;
    • Work with Finance to ensure appropriate controls and workflows on commodity processes, such as selection of surveyors, payments, and claims.
  • Collect and collate documentation for the Annual Food Resource Audit Report, including commodity and shipping values, for the Mercy Corps Finance team and the Mercy Corps annual audit.
  • Disseminate guidance for program teams to use to comply with food safety requirements in food assistance programs that procure food regionally or locally either for in-kind, direct distribution or through commodity voucher approaches.
  • Support teams to adopt Mercy Corps’ Program Management Policy, particularly the standards that directly and indirectly strengthen the quality of goods distribution programming.
  • Review and support country team development of Standard Operating Procedures that meet donor requirements, reflect appropriate controls for GDP, reconcile goods procured and distributed, and to ensure that the right product is delivered to the intended participant. Advise and/ or directly support the implementation of the same.
  • Identify and share processes and practices to reduce risk in goods distribution programs; identify and address areas of risk in current programming.
  • Capture, disseminate, and facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned on GDP across country teams to ensure highest quality and standards, and to share good practices.
  • Provide dedicated support to country teams in the event of an emergency or startup of a complex program that requires additional resources.
  • Maintain a register of Mercy Corps programs featuring goods distribution, leveraging Mercy Corps’ data sources and support quality assurance processes for these programs.
  • Promote and provide support to country teams that wish to track commodities digitally through Mercy Corps’ e-platform system.
 STANDARDS, QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ANALYTICS
  • Promote Mercy Corps’ Program Management Policy, and support teams to meet the standards that directly and indirectly strengthen the quality of goods distribution programming.
  • Own and update Mercy Corps’ Goods Distribution Implementation Guide, and update/create guidance, templates and tools to support teams to implement quality goods distribution activities and adhere to Mercy Corps’ Program Management Policy, particularly the standards that relate directly or indirectly to goods distribution programming.
  • Coordinate with and inform Mercy Corps integrated approach to Standards Reporting, including reporting on Goods Distribution Standards.
  • Promote the digital tracking of goods distributions as appropriate and relevant, through a Master Service Agreement that Mercy Corps currently holds.
  • Monitor adoption of the Program Management Policy, and use this data to inform proactive outreach to country teams.
  • Work with countries, regions and HQ to run analytics on Goods Distribution trends.
 COORDINATION
  • Partner with the PaQ, Program, Humanitarian Leadership and Response, Technical Support Unit (the Food Security and Cash teams in particular), Finance, Compliance, Goods Procurement and Logistics (GPL), Legal, and Internal Audit teams to ensure systems, procedures, templates and tools that promote goods distribution quality, and effectively reduce agency risk
  • Ensure goods distribution aligns with Mercy Corps’ project and program management approach, which is based in Project D Pro and Program D Pro, and that best practices from cash and voucher distribution is integrated into goods distribution where applicable.
  • Work with other relevant Mercy Corps teams (TSU, Program Standards, MEL, etc.) to ensure that assessments, modality selection, participant selection, CARM, and post-distribution monitoring are integrated into SOPs and program plans and practices.
  • Represent on commodity logistics and goods -related initiatives and working groups
 CAPACITY STRENGTHENING
  • Strengthen staff capacity to comply with the Program Management Policy, in particular the standards that directly and indirectly strengthen goods distribution programming
  • Strengthen staff capacity to meet food safety standards in LRP programming.
  • Orient teams new to commodity programming to the overall processes involved in procuring, shipping and reporting on commodities as well as respective roles and responsibilities at each phase of the process.
  • Engage with Mercy Corps [email protected] training methodology to ensure goods distribution is appropriately covered in relevant online and face-to-face modules.
Supervisory Responsibility

None.

Accountability

Reports Directly To: Cash Quality Assurance Manager, Program Standards Team

Works Directly With: Global teams working with in-kind distributed goods, Regional Program Teams, Program Performance & Quality (PAQ), Finance, Global Procurement, Freight Forwarder

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.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
  • A BA or BS degree, or equivalent.
  • Three years work experience implementing grants and/or contracts, supply chain management, or a combination thereof, focused on goods distributions.
  • A working knowledge of the processes involved in procuring, shipping, and handling of US Government donated food commodities destined for international ports of call.
  • Understanding of and experience in program and/or project management.
  • Demonstrated experience facilitating knowledge sharing, and developing guidance, training materials, templates, and tools to address gaps, risks, and/or needs.
  • Ability to track information, monitor data, and take action based upon the results.
  • Ability to communicate, problem-solve, and facilitate collaboration effectively with a culturally diverse and geographically dispersed teams, including members of HQ and country leadership.
  • Ability to work across diverse teams to achieve common goals, share knowledge, and identify and solve problems.
  • Professional proficiency in English is required; Language skills in French, Arabic or Spanish are a significant plus
Success Factors

The successful candidate will have the ability to translate rules, regulations, policies and systems to concrete and helpful guidance and support to country teams implementing goods distribution programs. They will be able to track logistical information, commodities, and goods at a global level, while also being able to conceptualize last-mile distribution.  They will leverage project and program management best practices to help country teams identify quality and process improvements for goods distribution programming, while contributing to the overall goal of effective and efficient program management at Mercy Corps.  They will be able to listen and respond to requests coming from country teams regarding the guidance, tools, templates, information sharing practices, and professional development opportunities that will improve quality and reduce risk in goods distribution. They will be collaborative, facilitate knowledge sharing, and a team-player.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in any Mercy Corps location and it requires up to 25% travel to support programs throughout Mercy Corps’ global portfolio, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited. 

Ongoing Learning

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.