Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
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 has been working in Mali since 2012 to astrengthen the capacity and resilience of vulnerable and conflict-affected communities. With funding from USAID, UNHCR, the European Commission, and private donors, we work closely with public and private partners to jointly address humanitarian and development needs, with a focus on timely humanitarian response, rebuilding livelihoods, increasing financial inclusion, promoting opportunities for women and girls, promoting employment opportunities for youth, and supporting peace-building and conflict resolution. Through these interventions, we have supported more than 400,000 households to recover from conflict and climate shocks and to rebuild more productive, secure and just futures.
General Position Summary
The Deputy Country Director (DCD) is an innovative and visionary leader responsible for resourcefully overseeing all programming in Mali, resulting in lasting improvement in the lives of 400,000 Malians. The DCD will work closely with the Country Director (CD) and program team to develop sustainable, multi-sector programming and is accountable to beneficiaries and donors, placing a high value on innovative solutions to development issues and creative partnerships in tough environments. The DCD will ensure effective program coordination and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance and accountability in close collaboration with the operations team. The position will be based in Bamako, with regular travel to the field sites security permitting. S/he will help represent the Mercy Corps programs to donors, other NGOs and stakeholders, thematic clusters, relevant government authorities, and other program partners.
Essential Job Responsibilities
▪ Lead or support the identification of new initiatives and opportunities that respond to identified needs and the country strategy, in coordination with the Country Director and Program Managers, as well as the Africa-based Regional Program Director, Regional New Initiatives Manager, headquarters-based Senior Program Officer, Technical Advisors and other relevant staff.
▪ Support the Country Director and country team to assess, evaluate, analyze and further develop a multi-year country specific strategic plan for Mali, in line with Mercy Corps' regional strategy and priorities for West, Central and North Africa and MC global strategy.
▪ Lead or support the development of solicited and unsolicited proposals and concept notes.
Coordination and representation
▪ Establish close and productive relationships with donors, national government authorities, and cluster members (UN and NGO) in Bamako, in close coordination with the Country Director.
▪ Represent Mercy Corps at relevant coordination meetings in Bamako (GDCI/Heads of Missions, Clusters, Humanitarian Advocacy Group, etc.), and play a lead role in other advocacy and coordination bodies.
▪ Coordinate with other NGOs in Mali to consolidate Mercy Corps' comparative advantage, while identifying new strategic partnerships.
▪ Provide leadership in program coordination to ensure consistent quality, including the incorporation of cross-cutting themes, quality data analysis, lessons learned and best practices.
▪ Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and aligned with Mercy Corps' principles, values, global strategic roadmap, and Mali country strategy.
▪ Work with Program Directors and Managers to monitor adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps' policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations.
▪ Support Program Directors and Managers to oversee performance of partners, sub-grantees, and technical contractors.
▪ Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites for monitoring, quality control and program staff mentoring and coaching.
▪ Build staff capacity and ensure effective and high-quality program implementation.
▪ Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
▪ Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
▪ 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.
▪ Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.
Program Monitoring and evaluation
▪ Ensure that robust monitoring and evaluation, quality data collection and analysis systems are in place, adhered to and used as a decision-making tool, encouraging consistency across programs.
▪ Lead the roll out and monitoring of the new agency measurement system (TOLA) across all programs.
▪ Provide ongoing training and guidance to staff on M&E best practices.
▪ Ensure that donor reports produced by the Programs team effectively demonstrate the impact of Mercy Corps' program interventions, and are consistently of high quality to demonstrate progress and impact of Mercy Corps' programs.
▪ Work with Program Managers to put in place a tool for easy tracking of upcoming donor reports.
▪ Review all reports to ensure a high-quality product (in either English or French, depending on the donor).
Program Support Operations
Work closely with the Operations Manager and Finance Director to ensure that operational and financial management systems are responsive to program needs and that program staff are adhering to both donor and Mercy Corps' procedures and regulations.
Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.
Conduct him/herself professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.
Other duties as assigned.
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: National M&E Manager, Program Managers (national and expatriate) (6 direct reports).
Reports Directly To: Mali Country Director
Works Directly With: Bamako-based Humanitarian Programs Director, finance and operational staff; HQ Regional Program Team (SPO & PO); Technical Support Unit; Resource Development Department
Knowledge and Experience
▪ BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field. MA/S preferred.
▪ At least five years of overseas experience including at least three years in a senior management position.
▪ Experience managing humanitarian relief and/or transitional programs in areas affected chronic food and nutritional insecurity, climate change, cycles of drought, etc.
▪ Previous experience working in Francophone Africa is strongly preferred.
▪ Proven track record in program design, proposal writing and development, and donor reporting.
▪ Experience managing programs in relevant technical area(s) including food security in complex food/nutritional insecurity environment, agriculture, economic recovery, environment, livelihoods, financial services, gender and/or peace building.
▪ Strong M&E skills.
▪ Knowledge of major donor requirements and compliance issues.
▪ Strong management skills with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
▪ Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
▪ Skilled in partnering with private sector and civil society organizations, public/government entities, local NGOs, etc.
▪ Fluency in written and oral French and English is required.
▪ Strong knowledge and experience of the Sahel context is a great advantage.
▪ Solid knowledge of and experience with security protocols is essential.
The successful Deputy Country Director will have significant experience in coordinating and managing programs in complex areas affected by chronic food and nutritional insecurity and climate change patterns. S/he will have exceptional program development and proposal writing skills, and an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will have proven experience with cross-cultural teams, with strong leadership, communication and 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. Patience, tenacity, diplomacy and a sense of humor will contribute to success.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Bamako with travel to project areas, security permitting. Bamako is served by an international airport with daily flights to European and African destinations. Restaurants and shopping options are available but may be limited. Health care services exist but for more serious conditions, medevac to Dakar, Senegal or Europe may be required. There are international schools and Bamako is an accompanied family post. While the city has been mostly secure, recent attacks against foreigners underscore the fluidity of the situation and may require expatriate staff to adhere to security policies, such as restrictions on movement.
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.