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Program Manager - EUTF: Jigjiga, Ethiopia Vacancy in Ethiopia

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 15 Oct 2021

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 has been operating in Ethiopia since 2004. In partnership with civil society organizations, private sector, and the government, Mercy Corps Ethiopia has reached more than five million Ethiopians with interventions to save lives and build secure livelihoods. Our programs emphasize market-driven solutions, reinforce social bonds, and help communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Currently in six regional states – Afar, Gambella, Oromia, Somali, Amhara and South Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) – Mercy Corps Ethiopia is driven by the mission to contribute the emergence of a peaceful, resilient, and prosperous Ethiopia which is inclusive of youth and women. Our strategic directions focus in promoting inclusive and dynamic markets; promoting peace and social cohesion through strengthening formal/informal governance structures and citizen engagement; improved natural resource governance; and integrated humanitarian response.

Program Summary

In May 2019 Mercy Corps will begin implementation of the EUR 10 million, 44-month ‘*Strengthened Socio-Economic Development and Better Employment Opportunities for Refugees and Host Communities in the Jigjiga Area*’ program, with funding from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF). The program is being implemented in partnership with Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

Globally, and in Ethiopia, Mercy Corps is a leading practitioner of market systems development (MSD) approaches to poverty reduction, with particular expertise in implementing MSD programs in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. This program will apply our market systems expertise to refugee and host community contexts in the Jigjiga area, with the objective of finding durable solutions to the protracted refugee situation. This program is part of a broader portfolio of markets and refugee programming for Mercy Corps in Ethiopia.

The program has three objectives / outcomes:

  1. Increase the ability of the local/regional economy to create jobs for various skills as per existing and/or potential economic value chains;
  2. Increase demand-driven skills of the labour force in the area of intervention;
  3. Refugee and host communities experience improved social integration and access legal rights

General Position Summary

The ‘Program Manager’ will have overall responsibility for management of the EUTF-funded program in Jigjiga. This is an exciting opportunity to manage a large portfolio of MSD programming, and a unique opportunity to become a leading expert in applying MSD approaches to refugee contexts.

This is a new program, so the Program Manager will be responsible for building the program team and spearheading the design of programming from the start. This will include recruiting the program team, leading market assessments and analysis, developing the detailed program design, and leading implementation of interventions.

As Program Manager, this position will require cross-agency leadership and close coordination with DRC team members. As a new innovative area of programming, which is also a global priority for Mercy Corps, the program is expected to generate significant learning that will inform similar programs in Ethiopia and in other countries. The Program Manager will be responsible for putting in place a robust M&E system for the program, and managing a learning agenda, working closely with the program MEL team and the Country MEL Manager. The Program Manager is expected to play a lead role in maintaining close working relationship with government authorities at the Regional Level, and with donor representatives from EUTF. They will also play a lead role in representing Mercy Corps’ work externally, through participating in relevant coordination and learning events.

Mercy Corps is seeking an experience and entrepreneurial leader with past experience of managing market systems development programs.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and vision

● Support the Director of Programs and the Durable Solutions Director to develop a vision and strategy for applying market systems development approaches to refugee and host community contexts

● Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome;

Program management

● Lead the conceptualization, implementation and continual improvement of Mercy Corps’ EUTF-funded program in Jigjiga;

● In coordination with senior program team members, lead program start-up, management, administration and close-out. Ensure implementation is on time, target and budget.

● Lead assessments and analysis across all target locations (including needs, markets and conflict), drawing on external technical expertise as needed;

● With support from the Director of Programs and the Durable Solutions Director, develop detailed program designs based on assessment outcomes;

● Build and maintain an excellent working relationship with DRC, our partner in implementation, based on trust and close coordination;

● Lead the process of developing partnership frameworks to support program implementation, partner agreements and ensure partner capacity building;

● Coordinate, manage and motivate the program team, ensuring they have clear objectives / individual work plans as part of performance management, and receive meaningful feedback on their performance;

● Ensure that the program is managed adaptively, through periodic reflection exercises and use of MEL data;

● Submit high quality reports to donors;

● Build and maintain close relationships with key government partners in Jigjiga, at all levels;

● Monitor work and targets closely to ensure that the program is able to provide maximum benefit to our beneficiaries within its timeframe;

● Work closely with the program team and partners ensuring we adhere to humanitarian principles, Mercy Corps’ gender policies, Do No Harm principles and beneficiary accountability standards;

● Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities;

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

proposal development

● Support the design of new proposals working on market-based approaches in refugee and host-community contexts, including participating in design workshops;

● Work closely with field teams to influence their engagement and support of program pre-positioning, development and implementation.

Team Building and Management

● Lead and manage recruitment and training of all team members for the program, working closely with Mercy Corps’ Human Resources Department;

● Oversee the documentation and filing system for the program, and ensure that information is organized according to the reporting and auditing needs. Ensure required levels of confidentiality;

● Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that ensure the safety and security of the team in all aspects of its work;

● Develop the capacity of the program team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development;

● Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback

● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

Finance and Operations Management

● Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations related to programming and operations.

● With support of the Operations Manager, ensure adequate operational systems are in place to provide for program implementation;

● Ensure proper logistics, administration, human resources and transport needs of the program are conducted within Mercy Corps policy;

● Manage the program budget as the primary budget holder;

● Exercise sound judgment to ensure program expenses are reasonable, allocable and prudent. Ensure all program funds are spent in accordance with donor rules and regulations. Work with Director of Programs to forecast expenditure surpluses and deficits to enable adjustments;

● Strictly follow Mercy Corps’ Fraud and Prevention guidelines.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

● Recruit, manage and support capacity-building of MEL team members working on the program, with support from the Country MEL Manager;

● Ensure that the program team is continually gathering and digesting operating environment data and activity reports, and that teams are holding frequent activity review sessions to continually re-examine the relevance and impact of their programming;

● Coordinate and share information with the Director of Programs and Durable Solutions Director to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are being achieved. Advise on suggested improvements, as required;

● Working with the MEL team, develop a Learning Agenda for the program, and support successful execution of learning and impact studies;

● Ensure program teams have community complaint and feedback mechanisms in place and that complaints and feedback being received are responded to within a timely manner.

policy, advocacy, Representation

● Represent Mercy Corps at academic events, conferences, media forums, and other events; contribute to thought leadership on Durable Solutions in Ethiopia and globally;

● Identify and nurture strategic partnerships with other organizations and institutions working on durable solutions for refugees;

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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Program team


Reports Directly To: Durable Solutions Director / Director of Programs, Mercy Corps Ethiopia

Works Directly With: The program team member; program managers working on the durable solutions portfolio in other geographies; Country-level Finance, Operations and HR Managers; Country MEL Manager

Knowledge and Experience

● Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to economics, international development, business management or subject with relevance for market systems development are preferred;

● At least 10 years’ experience working in international development;

● At least 5 years’ experience of working on market systems development programming, including:

o Undertaking market assessments and writing market assessment reports

o Participating in the design of MSD programs and supporting proposal development

o Supporting development of robust results measurement systems, measuring impact on beneficiaries and system change

o Demonstrating strong theoretical and applied knowledge of the field of expertise.

● At least 5 years’ of senior-level leadership and team management experience;

● Practical field experience working in refugee contexts or fragile contexts is preferred;

● Demonstrated success building, managing and leading a team of professionals in a fast-paced challenging environment with high standards for success (with limited burnout).

● Strong writing, communication, organization, prioritization and negotiating skills.

● Excellent coordination and representation experience is needed, especially in building and maintaining strong/productive relations with implementing and strategic partner agencies and government agencies;

● Excellent MEL, data analytics and quantitative skills are strongly preferred;

● Strong financial management experience required.

● Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required;

● Fluency in English is required. Somali language skills is desirable.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will possess excellent leadership skills, with the ability to maintain a broad perspective. He/she will undertake innovative approaches, be agile in the conceptualization of new program ideas, and will be well versed in strategic thinking and planning. The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the complex cultural, political, security and social environment of Ethiopia. He/She will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations. He/She will be a tolerant and flexible individual able to work in difficult and stressful environments and follow procedures. The successful candidate will be focused on team-building and capacity-building of team-members; be a strategic thinker, have strong skills in design monitoring and evaluation of development programs and maintain a sense of humor.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Jigjiga, Ethiopia, and will require frequent travel to Addis Ababa and refugee sites.

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.

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.

How to apply:


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