Chief of Party - Sahel Collaboration and Communication Activity - Niamey, Niger

Programs Niamey, Niger


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.


Program / Department Summary


Mercy Corps has been present in the Sahel since 2005, with current programming in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali. In these countries, we focus on a host of sectors depending on local priorities and needs: food security, livelihoods, governance, conflict mitigation, youth and gender and humanitarian response. We aim to boost economic opportunities, catalyze inclusive and accountable governance systems, break the cycle of food and water insecurity and respond to immediate needs, while unleashing the potential of youth and women, especially, to build for the future. Our work contributes to early/rapid recovery from shocks and stresses and supports communities and individuals to build their resilience, focusing on the potential of youth. Mercy Corps’ vision for change envisions private sector, government and civil society working together to create meaningful and sustainable change that enables individuals, households and communities to achieve and sustain long-term, inclusive and equitable wellbeing. Mercy Corps leads a growing portfolio of resilience backbone coordination and learning awards as part of its extensive global resilience programming.


Mercy Corps is seeking a Chief of Party (COP) to lead the Sahel Collaboration and Communication (SCC) Activity, a five-year, $16 million USAID program, which entered Year 4 in October 2022. SCC is a strategic mechanism that harnesses USAID’s portfolio in the Sahel towards achieving effective sequencing, layering and integration towards greater impact. It promotes collaboration, learning and adapting (CLA) for strengthening resilience and collective impact among USAID, international and local implementing partners, government institutions and research institutions. Through facilitating a common vision for building resilience, supporting joint planning and reflection, managing a shared learning agenda among stakeholders, and leading effective communication of results, SCC improves CLA across USAID’s Niger and Burkina Faso development, humanitarian and peacebuilding portfolio, enhancing impact.

The Position (General Position Summary)

The Chief of Party provides overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the USAID SCC Activity. A central collaborator with leadership from partner organizations, government and USAID staff, s/he manages program staff, resources, partnerships and relationships with USAID Missions and offices to ensure that the program is responsive to the context and stakeholders’ capacities, and that it meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. The COP supervises senior technical and leadership staff and ensures accountability to Mercy Corps’ policies and donor compliance. S/he is the primary program representative to USAID, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders.

Essential Responsibilities


Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of technical focus, program implementation, development and management. Ensure that program implementation is responsive to contextual trends, local and international stakeholders, USAID and partners, and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic plan.


Leadership in decision-making to ensure collaboration among senior technical staff to outline, agree upon, disseminate and update/adapt a strategic work plan and approaches for the implementation of program activities, including finalizing target areas/activities, methods of operation and means of evaluation.


Ensure regular, clear and effective communication on strategy and approaches to USAID Sahel Regional Office, USAID Niger Mission and USAID Burkina Faso Office.


Identify and act on opportunities for innovation towards expanding and deepening resilience and CLA excellence and collective impact.


Coordinate with and advise Mercy Corps headquarters and regional teams on strategic direction of resilience backbone coordination and learning programs, and align SCC towards agency resilience strategy.




Oversee program management and administration and oversight of the developmental evaluation1approach. Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.


Set a clear strategic focus and technical approach, drawing on Mercy Corps and USAID core

resilience and CLA frameworks and approaches

Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work-plans, and ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems and adaptive management principles to reach desired impacts.


Provide managerial and programmatic oversight to staff, partners and sub-grantee(s).


Integrate collaborative, participatory approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities and with staff, as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and participant accountability standards.


Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support activities and staff. Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.


Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.



Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development; ensure managers provide support and capacity to their team members. Implement SCC staff capacity building plan with the Senior Technical Leadership team.


● Provide leadership, resources and coaching to assist managers and team members with

information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.


Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews. Provide regular review of People With Possibility or similar coaching to teams about effectively working together in complex environments and multi-country teams.


Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence, feel appreciated and thrive in a secure and safe environment.





Ensure compliance with U.S. Government/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; collaborate and effectively work with the Mercy Corps leadership, finance, compliance, procurement and logistics teams in Niger and Burkina Faso.




Manage representation and communication between SCC Activity, USAID Sahel Regional Office, USAID Niger Mission and USAID Burkina Faso office, as well as USAID Washington Center for Resilience and Food Security, and Mercy Corps technical leadership on resilience and collaboration, learning and adaptation.


● Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close

coordination with the Country Director, Director of Programs in Niger/Burkina Faso and Country

Coordinator in Burkina Faso.


Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other

implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.




Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by the country leadership.


Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies of Mercy Corps and overall security requirements and recommendations of USAID, OCHA and the Government of Niger and Burkina Faso.




The COP will also support or identify staff to support regular “learning hours” or sessions, or

“coaching” sessions to help support the ongoing learning and understanding of Resilience and CLA, as well as other relevant sectors in which we work in the Sahel.


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 participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility

The COP directly supervises the Ouagadougou-based Deputy COP (DCOP) and the Developmental Evaluator-MEL Director, as well as Niger-based receptionist, Administrative & Program Assistant, the Research and Learning Manager and Consultant(s) (Tulane University), Communications Manager (Equal Access International) and oversees subaward and service contract management.

Reports Directly To: Country Director

Works directly with: the SCC program teams in Niger and Burkina Faso, USAID Niger and Burkina Faso, USAID Sahel Regional Office, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit and partner organizations

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • Ma/s or equivalent in management, international development or other relevant fields.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in senior management of development programs of similar or greater scope and complexity.
  • Demonstrated leadership, strategic thinking/planning, management and presentation skills.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of this assignment.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain relationships with implementing partners, host governments, donors, local organizations and partners. Important to have experience and interest in networking and building relationships between stakeholders.
  • considerable experience in organizational capacity development, holistic organizational learning and/or organizational development approaches such as cla and concept of resilience.
  • Strong familiarity with M&E, CLA/knowledge management, and resilience programming.
  • Persuasive written and oral communication in English and French. Ability to convene, facilitate and engage effectively and diplomatically in oral and written communication with various USAID staff and government stakeholders at the national and regional levels.
  • Significant relevant experience in the Sahel preferable.

Success Factors

The successful COP will thrive on balancing between advancing “the big picture” and progressing detailed strategies for incremental changes. She will combine exceptional management skills with proven experience in networking and developing and maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and adaptively manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also enjoy and have experience with cross-cultural teams and team-building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving, adaptation/flexibility 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 COP will be based in Niamey, Niger. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement. There are international schools in Niger. Staff have good access to services (medical, electricity, water). Access to electricity during the hot season can be less reliable, with the occasional power cut. This position requires up to 20% travel to Burkina Faso and occasionally to secure cities (Maradi & Zinder) in Niger. This position is eligible for R&R benefits.

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.