Job Vacancy: Deputy Chief of Party
Requisition number: DEPUT002629
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.
Mercy Corps began working in Kenya in 2008 and has to date built a robust and diverse portfolio of programs aimed at sustainably improving the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict.
To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen resilience, market and governance systems, address the root causes of conflict, and equip vulnerable populations- in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized social groups- with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, productive, and drive the development of their communities.
Mercy Corps Kenya also collaborates with Mercy Corps teams and partners in neighbouring countries to implement a number of multi-country and cross-border programs.
Working with a diverse base of donors that includes Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), European Commission (EC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Google.org, 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.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps and its consortium partners are implementing a five-year USAID/Food for Peace funded program entitled Nawiri in Turkana and Samburu Counties of Kenya focused on nutrition resilience.
The program aims to sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition in the two counties over a five-year period using a multi-sectoral program approach that integrates resilient livelihoods, access to improved water, health and sanitation services, and strengthening enabling systems for nutrition from household to national level.
Nawiri has dedicated the first two years (Phase 1) to implementing an action research agenda to inform the program design to achieve the program’s goal in the remaining three years (Phase 2).
The program is currently embarking on an ambitious implementation plan to layer and integrate a series of interventions that address both immediate and systemic drivers of acute malnutrition, while addressing the effects of extreme drought and the global food crisis in implementation areas.
Throughout all stages, the program is working closely with government, community, and private sector partners.
General Position Summary
The Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) is a position on the USAID Nawiri senior management team responsible for leading and guiding the strategic implementation of Nawiri program activities in Turkana and Samburu counties, and ensuring effective program operations.
S/he will work in close partnership with the Chief of Party, the Technical Director, and the Monitoring and Evaluation Lead to drive the program’s strategic approach and ensure strong technical models – as led by the Technical Director – are translated into high quality operational plans and interventions.
As a de facto Implementation Director s/he will directly manage, guide, and mentor Field Directors, and operationalize systems, structures, and processes that enable high quality, decentralized program implementation tailored to the local context at sub-county and village level.
She will hold team members accountable against implementation workplans and results that sequence, layer and integrate technical interventions, while working closely with the Strategic Learning Advisor to foster a culture of reflection, learning and adaptive management.
S/he will work closely with the Systems Strengthening Advisor to nurture and build local partnerships that advance program objectives and sustainability.
The DCoP will work closely with different departments and support functions to ensure program systems effectively support Field Directors and implementation teams to advance technical excellence, monitoring and evaluation and research across the broad spectrum of USAID Nawiri’s technical areas, including nutrition, food security, health, governance, gender, youth, climate change adaptation, resilience, market systems development, financial inclusion, and institutional capacity building.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP and GUIDANCE
- In partnership with Chief of Party and Technical Director, provide overall strategic vision, implementation guidance, and leadership to the Nawiri program team and partners
- Prioritize and organize implementation and operational actions and resources to achieve objectives that contribute to the program’s overall purpose of reducing persistent acute malnutrition sustainability.
- Ensure program vision, implementation modalities, and operational mechanisms are consistently communicated and internalized by all program team members, partners and stakeholders; facilitate by-in across partners and stakeholders
- Keep abreast of contextual factors affecting program implementation and operations; draw on knowledge and expertise across the team and the wider agency to shape program pivots
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed; promote and model a culture of learning and adaptive management.
- Coordinate with Technical Director to operationalise strategic linkages and coordinate across technical, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and learning teams at implementation level, to further technical excellence, learning and impact, and ensure coherence of program components.
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Manages the consolidated consortium workplan and is responsible for execution and tracking of work plans, ensuring the program is on time, on scope, and on budget, and that program plans are well coordinated with operational support functions (procurement, people and culture, etc.). Ensure that the program work plan consistently is adaptive to learning and contextual changes.
- Develop and implement systems, structures and processes for effective, high-quality implementation of the Nawiri program across four purposes and all technical components.
- Put in place operational models that facilitate sequencing, layering and integration of program activities at the sub-country, village and county-level.
- Support Field Directors to design and opertaionalize appropriate systems, policies and procedures to manage work planning, staff and activity time division and site allocations and plan for operational scale up to all 35 wards (HR/logistics/work planning etc) to maintain consistency in quality across all target locations.
- Create and follow effective stakeholder management plans, ensuring sound and proactive communications between Mercy Corps Kenya, partner organizations, Mercy Corps headquarters, USAID, private sector, government authorities, and implementing agencies.
- Lead the development of, and manage program performance against, quarterly implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work- plans;
- Work with the Technical Director and Monitoring and Evaluation Lead to ensure that implementation plans reflect the highest technical standards, learnings, and include effective monitoring, learning and adaptive management measures.
- Ensure Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards are fulfilled in program implementation based on the organization-wide guide.
- Liaise with Mercy Corps’ support departments (Finance, Operations, HR etc.) for operational support of the program.
- 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.
- Oversee performance of consortium partners and sub-grantees, including overall management of partners’ MoUs and contracts
LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
- Ensure adaptive management, learning and reflective practices against workplans are adopted across the implementation team and facilitate improved decision-making.
- Inform M&E and Strategic Learning systems to ensure the program is generating relevant information that is being used for ongoing learning, program analysis and decision-making while also capturing results at the output and impact level.
- Inform and actively participate in pause and reflect sessions, sense-making workshops and ongoing program adaptations; ensure program data is used for learning and decision making
- Oversee the scheduling and production of formal and informal reports on all aspects of the program in a timely and efficient manner.
- Under the guidance of the M&E team and Strategic Learning lead, input into semi-annual and annual program workshops with all program partners to discuss lessons learned, review TOC and make necessary adaptations
- Input into documentation of achievements/impact, lessons learned and challenges of innovative program components of the program.
- Oversee the production of written weekly and quarterly reports on program activities, capturing the impacts of activities and highlighting challenges.
- Oversee the program implementation team, ensuring that all staff and consortium members are following work plans, activities are on schedule, and project deliverables are completed as planned.
- Foster capacity development of team members as relevant to program objectives and team members’ career goals
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and achieve objectives.
- Ensure high quality performance management systems for each team member to 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.
- In collaboration with the Technical Director, hire and facilitate effective onboarding for program team members as necessary.
FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE
- Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies; manage implementation budgets in compliance with donors regulations while applying financial flexibility to meet program needs.
- Monitor program activities to ensure 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.
- Review budgets and program expenses based on approval authority limits.
- Work with the Program Team on proper budget management, including forecasting and procurement planning and track status
- Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
INFLUENCE AND REPRESENTATION
- Lead the socialization of the program with Government stakeholders, USAID, Technical Steering Committee ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required.
- Contribute to program visibility and advocacy work by assisting in the dissemination of program research and learning information. Represent Mercy Corps in forums with the broader humanitarian and development community.
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
- Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote best practices within the program.
- Communicate effectively across teams and partners to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
- Work closely with the country team’s security focal point 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.
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 toward 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.
- Ensure that Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) is operationalized within the Nawiri program. Designate a CARM focal point for the program.
- Develop a CARM sensitization plan for feedback channels, in coordination with CARM and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) teams, to ensure the harmonization of messaging.
- Ensure that program stakeholders are proactively informed of the program CARM feedback channels.
- Ensure that appropriate action is taken for all programmatic feedback Grades 1-4 and that it is appropriately incorporated into program activities and overall implementation strategy.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PARTNERS
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our partners 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: Samburu and Turkana USAID Nawiri Field Directors
Reports Directly To: Chief of Party
Works Directly With: Technical Director, Monitoring and Evaluation Lead, Strategic Learning Lead, Research Design Lead, Institutional Strengthening Lead, partner agencies, local government, USAID and support departments (Finance, HR and Operations). Coordinates with HQ Program Performance team and the Technical Support Team.
Knowledge and Experience
- Master’s degree or equivalent experience in a relevant field such as social sciences, development studies, nutrition, public health, food security, agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural economics etc.
- At least seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in the successful implementation of international development activities working on programs of a similar scope and scale, with preference given to Food for Peace or Livelihoods programs. At least three (3) years must be in senior program management, including overseeing program implementation in ASAL counties of Kenya
- Strong budget management experience is a must.
- Seasoned partnership management experience is required.
- Demonstrated excellent team management skills are required.
- A strong passion for innovation, influence and sustainable impact to scale.
- Demonstrated systems thinker and ability to think outside of the box in the implementation of a unique program with experience in adaptive management and using research as part of program implementation.
- Prior experience of working on USAID-funded programs preferred and knowledge of USAID regulations
- Prior experience in awarding and managing sub-grants to local organizations to promote Nutrition, governance and gender goals.
- Demonstrated technical understanding of resilience and climate change adaptation, and the practical relevance to the program’s aim of sustainably reducing persistent acute malnutrition.
- Demonstrated ability to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, and to liaise with donors and HQ.
- Fluency in written and spoken English.
A successful DCOP will be a master coordinator with the ability to manage and bring all program aspects to part in order to drive impact.
S/he will have demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
S/he will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details within a complex and sensitive setting.
The most successful Mercy Corps team 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 position is based in Nairobi with up to 80% regular travel to field locations by road and air. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on short term assignments.
Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ 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.
Apply online at https://bit.ly/3vfvYOl
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
Mercy Corps does not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process.