Chief of Party (CoP), Sahel Regional Resilience

Programs Dakar, Dakar


Position is contingent on donor funding.


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

Mercy Corps is seeking a Chief of Party (CoP) for the upcoming USAID-funded “Regional Resilience Activity in the Sahel Region.” Funded and managed out of the USAID Sahel Regional Office, the anticipated program seeks to bolster resilience in the Sahel by improving the ability of individuals, households, and communities to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from multi-faceted shocks and stresses. This initial recruitment is for the CoP of the collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA)-focused Leader award. Implementation is planned for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and The Gambia – with the possibility of additional countries – and is expected to entail the management of multiple awards under a single mechanism.

General Position Summary

The Chief of Party will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the five-year Regional Resilience Activity in the Sahel Region. They will work with a diverse array of partner and program teams to ensure that the program and its component awards meet their targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. The CoP will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps’ policies and USAID’s rules and regulations, and will be the primary representative of the program to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and regional stakeholders. They will actively promote an inclusive culture of learning and adaptive management. They will ensure strong program systems and processes drive program performance.

Essential Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

        Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of program implementation, development and management. Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners, and aligned with Mercy Corps’ and the consortium’s principles, values and strategic plan.

        Outline and maintain a strategic plan for the implementation of program activities, including finalizing target areas/activities, methods of operation and means of evaluation.

Program Management

        Oversee start-up and ongoing management of the program. Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective MEL systems and CLA approaches to reach desired impacts.

        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.

        Provide managerial and programmatic oversight to partners and sub-grantees; ensure partners are effectively included in program structures, are mentored appropriately and capacity strengthening plans are in place.

        Develop systems that support CLA, including establishing a culture of adaptive management.

        Ensure that the program’s theory of change evolves with changes in the context and learnings from the CLA – this includes overseeing the implementation of the work plan and tracking progress towards core indicators and learning objectives.

        Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity 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.

        Ensure program strategies and activities represent global best practice in Resilience programming and the expected component areas of food security, water security, economic opportunity and cross-cutting governance, youth and gender inclusion.

        Supervise procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams across the award(s) to ensure operational systems support field activities across all countries of intervention.

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


Team Management

        Provide effective management for the program management team and consortium team members, ensuring that all staff and consortium members are clear on roles and responsibilities, expectations, communications flows and workplans.

        Strengthen the capacity of the team as needed, both as individuals and as a cohesive unit.  Facilitate mechanisms for effective collaboration. Build and develop the capacity of the program team, deepening the understanding of their roles and assisting with career development. Ensure team members have access to clear objectives and the information, tools and resources they need to improve performance & reach their goals.

        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.

        Actively hire, orient and lead team members as necessary, ensuring effective onboarding mechanisms are in place across the team. Actively support succession planning.


Finance & Compliance Management

        Ensure compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps’ regulations.

        Ensure robust systems are in place for maintaining oversight on expenditures and fiscal planning across multiple countries/awards.

        Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, USAID and Mercy Corps’ needs.


Influence & Representation

        Serve as principal liaison with staff at USAID’s Sahel Regional Office, relevant institutions, and country partners to exchange information and foster professional relationships. Coordinate closely with Mercy Corps’ Regional Director for West and Central Africa, the Deputy Regional Director and/or relevant Country Directors in this broader representation and influence agenda.

        Represent the Program and coordinate strategies with regional and host-county stakeholders including consortium partners, subgrantees, public and private sector entities, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.



        Work closely with the Regional and Country team’s security focal point(s) 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.


Organizational Learning 

      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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

National and international team members working on the program, as well as partnerships with international and national program partners. The number of direct and indirect reports is to be determined.


Reports Directly To: Deputy Regional Director, West and Central Africa

Works Directly With: County Directors and Representatives across the Sahel Region; other CoPs or program managers and in-country, finance and operations teams; HQ and Regional Program Teams, Technical Resources and Quality team, partner organizations


Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills

        MA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field.

        A minimum of 8 years of relevant international development or humanitarian experience, with positions of progressively greater responsibilities.

        At least five years in a senior management role is required with experience managing integrated, multi-sectoral programs of a similar size and scope. Previous experience as a Chief of Party for projects with similar magnitude and complexity, involving multiple country programs, is highly desired.

        Prior experience with the implementation of USAID awards, leading a consortium, and familiarity with donor regulations, procedures and compliance issues. Experience managing an award in multiple countries or a Leader with Associates Award is preferred.

        Demonstrated experience in adaptive management and learning techniques is highly encouraged.

        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 the program.

        Competent in building networks, strong problem-solving skills, and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques.

        Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English and French.

        Experience working in the Sahel region is required, with preference for experience in Burkina Faso, Chad and/or Mauritania.

        Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.


Success Factors

The successful CoP will combine exceptional 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 Conditions

The CoP is based in one of the Sahel countries, likely Senegal or Burkina Faso. The location is expected to be accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are international schools. Staff have relatively reliable access to services – medical, electricity, water, etc. This position requires approximately 30% travel by road or plane to field offices with varying levels of security. This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.

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.