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 began working in Kenya in 2008 and has built a robust and diverse portfolio working to enable Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict to be healthy, productive and to drive peace and development of their communities. To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen market and governance systems, innovate urban youth employment opportunities, address the root causes of conflict, and build the resilience of vulnerable populations - in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized communities.
Working with a diverse base of donors that includes the UK Department for International Development (FCDO), European Commission (EC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Google.org, Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), MasterCard Foundation and other foundations and institutional donors, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. We work closely with the private sector, civil society and governance structures at local and national levels to facilitate change and ensure that opportunities are inclusive of all Kenyans.
General Position Summary
Mercy Corps is seeking a bold and innovative leader to be the Director of Programs (DoP) for Mercy Corps Kenya. The DoP is a senior member of Mercy Corps Kenya team tasked with developing new programs and managing a diverse, innovative and high quality portfolio. He/she is responsible for overall program performance and quality, ensuring that teams are implementing high-impact programs, and are tracking progress toward specific objectives, indicators and milestones. Guided by the Mercy Corps Kenya Country Strategy, the DoP will identify funding opportunities and develop proposals that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio. The DoP will support program teams to effectively coordinate with operations, finance and human resources functions from inception to close out. This position will place a high value on finding innovative solutions and building creative partnerships to development and humanitarian challenges. A market systems development and resilience approach is at the core of Mercy Corps Kenya’s programming strategy. The DoP will promote and integrate these approaches into program development and delivery. The Director of Programs will champion the Mercy Corps’ Cornerstones of Leadership to ensure that teams are driving transformational impact in-country through groundbreaking innovations and influence in action strategies that positions Mercy Corps as the leader of change in Kenya and beyond. Mercy Corps Kenya has several cross-border and multicountry initiatives. As such the Director of Programs is someone who is willing to think and go beyond borders to innovate and scale impact in the region.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy and Vision
- Support and contribute to the development and implementation of Mercy Corps Kenya strategy. Develop programs that aligns with the Mercy Corps Kenya Strategy.
- Provide support to the Country Director on matters pertaining to strategy, planning, budgeting, programming and management.
- Develop work plans and mobilize resources to achieve country strategy objectives.
- Promote thought leadership by ensuring that program innovations and successes are tested, analyzed, documented, and effectively communicated internally and externally.
- Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ principles, values, program guidelines and quality standards.
- Support the Country Director to strengthen program strategies and quality, partnerships, and accountability in accordance with Mercy Corps and donor policies.
- Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective Mercy Corps (and other standard) program quality tools to achieve the desired impact.
- Ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources and timely, accurate and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
- Develop partnership frameworks, partner agreements/Memorandum of Understandings, and oversee partner capacity building.
- Coordinate with Mercy Corps teams and programs across the neighboring countries to implement cross-border and multi-country initiatives.
- Support all donor reporting and communications and track major grant milestones deliverables, cost share requirements, project burn rates and major procurements.
Program Performance and Quality
- Ensure that robust monitoring and evaluation, accountability, quality data collection and analysis systems are in place, adhered to and used as a decision-making tool.
- Provide ongoing training and guidance to team members on MEL best practices.
- Ensure Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards (PM@MC) on all programs based on the organization-wide guide.
- Ensure effective Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) is developed and implemented in Kenya.
- Build a cohesive team spirit and culture among staff and delegate functions and responsibilities to them while ensuring achievement of program objectives.
- Maintain effective and positive internal communication with Mercy Corps staff in all field offices. Promote open and harmonious communication between departments, offices, and programs.
- Supervise and mentor program team in program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
- Foster a working atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellence at all levels.
- Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater impact.
- Recruit, orient and lead team members as necessary.
- Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on one meetings and performance reviews.
- Fill in for the Country Director and for program leadership as needed and as requested.
Influence, Representation & Fundraising
- Identify and lead on fundraising opportunities, including developing partnerships and proposal writing.
- Develop and nurture culturally sensitive internal and external relationships and networks to ensure optimum communication and program success.
- Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the country strategy.
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with donors, government partners, consortium partners, sub-grantees, and other stakeholders.
- In coordination with the Country Director, partake in representation role on specific coordination working groups or forums.
Finance and Compliance Management
- Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies.
- Monitor and adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and other relevant regulations, including those of the Government of Kenya.
- Work closely with support functions in Kenya, regional and headquarters to ensure highest compliance and program performance.
- Work with Program Managers on proper budget management, including forecasting and procurement planning.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure the well-being of team members and ensure they are aware of policies to help manage insecure environments.
- 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
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Supervisory Responsibility: Program Managers/ Directors, Team Leaders, Country PaQ Manager, relevant advisors (TBC).
Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit, Regional teams
Knowledge and Experience
- Proven track record in diverse program and team management; successful proposal writing and program development.
- BA/S or higher in management, international development or other relevant field.
- At least 10 years of programming experience, including at least five years in a senior management position. Expatriate experience preferred.
- Experience managing development and humanitarian programs as well as transitional programs in insecure areas affected by conflict.
- Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including food security, nutrition, resilience, market systems development, gender, livelihoods and financial services.
- Strong M&E skills in developing and executing effective and timely monitoring systems, both at the program- and country-level
- Conversant with major donor requirements and compliance especially USAID, FCDO and other institutional and foundation donors.
- Strong management skills with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work both independently and cooperatively with team members.
- Strong understanding of conflict sensitive program mainstreaming and gender and protection mainstreaming would be an advantage.
- Experience in Kenya highly (especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands ASALs) preferred.
The successful DoP will skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps program team. S/he will have strong proposal writing skills as this role spends about half of the time fundraising. S/he has high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. The role is a hands-on position and success will be determined by the level of direct engagement in program development, oversight of programs, fundraising and representing the agency to stakeholders including donors, governments and other agencies. The successful DoP is a versatile leader who takes an active role in program design and overarching strategy. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Nairobi and requires up to 40% travel to field locations. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are numerous International schools in Kenya. Staff have a relatively high degree of access to health and utility services (hospitals, clinics, electricity, water, etc). This position requires frequent travel by road and air to field offices in less secure environments, where basic amenities are lacking (no running water, and limited electricity without generators).
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 & 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.