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Program Director at Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a global humanitarian aid agency engaged in transitional environments that have experienced some sort of shock: natural disaster, economic collapse, or conflict.

Description

Program Director: Girls Improving Resilience through Livelihoods (GIRL) – Nairobi, Kenya

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

Girls Improving Resilience through Livelihoods (GIRL) is a three-year, 10 million dollar program to be implemented in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti that seeks to improve the well-being of adolescent girls and young women by increasing their access to skills and knowledge, health resources, formal education and economic opportunities. GIRL also fosters an enabling environment by working with communities to transform unhealthy social norms and create opportunities for girls to access education and economic opportunity. Key to GIRL is a robust learning and research agenda that reaches across three countries to contribute to the evidence base on what works to secure access to opportunities for adolescent girls within the most marginalized communities and to better understand their contribution to household resilience. This evidence and learning will be shared to elevate Mercy Corps’ influence in the adolescent girl space and to bolster fundraising efforts to scale the model. The GIRL Program Director will lead the successful implementation of the GIRL program across the three target countries, driving innovation and learning to refine a replicable and evidence-based GIRL programming model, and will play a critical role in leading regional and global expansion efforts for Mercy Corps’ adolescent girl programming.

General Position Summary

The Program Director will be the overall lead for the GIRL program. S/he will be responsible for ensuring that program interventions across the three country programs are delivered with the highest quality and contribute to a strong evidence base that strengthens MC’s reputation and voice around what works for girls. S/he will provide in-depth technical support to refine and iterate the program model and ensure robust monitoring and evaluation across all target countries to support iteration and adaptation; work closely with the global research team and the program research and learning lead to design and oversee a global GIRL learning and research agenda in collaboration with country MEL teams; foster the sharing of learning, best practices, and evidence across GIRL programs within the two regions; promote the GIRL model and it’s approaches to donors, peers and relevant policy makers; and ensure effective communication and coordination between stakeholders, partners, and the project donor. The Project Director will be responsible for leading a scaling strategy, identifying key fundraising opportunities and driving program expansion across the two regions and beyond.

Essential Job Responsibilities

STRATEGY & VISION

  • Set a clear vision for the GIRL program and its associated structure to enable impactful programming and effective cross-country learning, working closely with field leadership and teams.
  • Working with country PMs, ensure the GIRL programming reflects Mercy Corps’ signature technical approaches, including meaningful youth engagement, resilience, and gender equality outcomes.
  • Work closely with the Research and Learning Lead to drive a cutting-edge research and learning agenda to inform program strategy, generate evidence of programmatic impact, inform program adaptation and learning and promote internal and external learning, using appropriate procedures and tools for data collection and analysis across countries.
  • Develop a resource mobilization strategy to expand the GIRL programming portfolio within the two regions and lead representation, donor outreach and new business development efforts to leverage additional funding for the GIRL program.
  • Develop a written approach for GIRL that can be used as a foundational model for other programs globally working with girls, including food security, livelihoods, etc.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.

Program Management

  • Provide strategic leadership and oversight of Mercy Corps’ GIRL programming, working closely with the program management team in each country to ensure the successful delivery of the GIRL program in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti.
  • Ensure strategic objectives and results are achieved through annual and quarterly activity planning and budget forecasts. Lead quarterly technical review of implementation plans and update program work-plan as needed to respond to changing dynamics/needs and emerging opportunities.
  • Provide targeted technical guidance and expertise to country implementation teams to ensure the design and implementation of GIRL is girl-led. Mentor program managers and teams in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti in technical areas.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts, and develop mechanisms for targeted research to inform program design and adaptation.
  • Ensure that program implementation adheres to all Mercy Corps program quality standards and best practices for program management.
  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Create and maintain proper conditions for learning within and across GIRL teams. Establish a safe environment for sharing of ideas, solutions, and difficulties and the capacity to detect, analyze and respond quickly to challenges. Identify performance gaps and training opportunities for Mercy Corps GIRL teams and ensure the design and delivery of high-quality training and technical assistance.
  • Develop GIRL learning documents and facilitate the dissemination of promising practices and lessons learned with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and participant accountability standards.

Influence and Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps at internal and external events and meetings to highlight the work of our GIRL teams and share evolving evidence to support the model, building agency influence in the adolescent girl and youth space.
  • Lead outreach and representation to a variety of donors and partners, including institutional donors, foundations and private donors to promote the GIRL programming approach and secure additional resources to support the program’s resource mobilization strategy.
  • Develop, enhance and steward a relationship with the donor and associated stakeholders.
  • Develop a communications plan to disseminate GIRL learning documents through various forms of media and speaking engagements.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.

TEAM MANAGEMENT

  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via performance reviews.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Supervise and regularly coordinate with project staff and support departments to ensure smooth planning, preparation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of program activities. Develop a framework for adaptive management and program iteration driven by research and learning.
  • Provide overall leadership to a broad team of program staff ensuring synergy, sharing of best practices and resources.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Minimum 7 years of experience delivering high-impact programming, including skills in program management, implementation and/or technical leadership. Experience in complex/fragile environments is preferred.
  • In-depth technical knowledge related to adolescent girls, youth and/or gender and experience supporting program teams to achieve technical excellence in youth and gender programming.
  • Experience driving a research and learning agenda and ensuring that key research findings and learnings are disseminated internally and externally to support learning and profile raising.
  • Direct experience working across multiple departments/geographies to achieve high-level results, and flexibility and comfort working across multiple reporting lines.
  • Ability to effectively represent Mercy Corps and its interests to key stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated experience with donor representation, proposal development and resource mobilization in support of a fundraising strategy.
  • Proven verbal and written communication skills and ability to distill complex information and data into accessible conversation and written pieces.
  • Ability to multi-task, organize and prioritize daily tasks and the big picture.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem-solving.
  • Strong written and spoken communication skills in English required; French preferred.
  • Ability to effectively manage a team and apply relevant Mercy Corps’ procedures and approaches.
  • Experience supporting technical capacity and skill development amongst diverse teams.

Success Factors

The successful PD will combine exceptional program management skills, strategic and creative thinking, comfort with research and learning and experience in building donor and partner relationships. S/he will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs and learning agendas within the humanitarian system. S/he will also have proven experience managing a cross-cultural team and promoting individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. Prioritizing, problem solving, ability to seize opportunities, 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.

Organization 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • Program managers in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti
  • Research and Learning Lead
  • Consultants and/or interns

Reports Directly To: Deputy Regional Director – Africa

Works Directly With: Regional Program Directors, Country Directors and teams in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti; TSU focal points across the Gender, Social Inclusion and Equity team, Young People and Protection team and the Resilience team; Country Finance, Operations, Human Resources and other support departments; Program managers/Chiefs of Party of Programs implementing GIRL interventions.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Nairobi, Kenya and requires at least 35% travel within Kenya, Uganda and Haiti. When traveling, s/he may be expected to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening as required.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed. 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.

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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

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