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Snap Plaza 8th floor, Bole Next to The Millennium hall. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Job Description:
 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 present in Ethiopia since 2004 working to drive bold and transformative ideas, working closely with government, the private sector and civil society actors to build a more resilient country, ensuring that programs are responsive to and influenced by participants and stakeholders. With the launch of Mercy Corps Global Strategy, Pathway to Possibility, the country office is poised to operationalize its three-year strategy with a vision to enhance the resilience of climate- and conflict-affected communities through market systems development for improved livelihoods, access to food, and safe and clean water to thrive in the face of crises. In Ethiopia, our strategy focuses in the four outcome areas: 1) Economically marginalized populations have improved and diversified livelihoods, income, and assets; 2) Pastoralists, farmers, and households have access to sustainably produced, safe, nutritious food; 3) Social cohesion and inclusive governance processes are built in crisis-affected communities; and 4) People have equitable, sustained access to clean water and sanitation for domestic and productive use. Currently, we operate in six regional states – Afar, Gambella, Oromia, Somali, Amhara and South Ethiopia. Working with a diverse base of donors that includes United States Agency for International Development (USAID), European Union, GAC, Hilton Foundation, United Nations (UN), JOA, Sweden, EKN, and other foundations, Mercy Corps Ethiopia empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. 

Position Title: Program Specialist

Duty Station: Abala

Open Position:  1

Program / Department Summary

The Ethiopia-Netherlands Seed Partnership (ENSP) is a bilateral programme between Ethiopia and the Netherlands in international trade and development cooperation. The goal of the proposed extended programme  ENSP+ is to ensure the delivery of quality seed of new, improved, and adapted varieties to one million farming households across the country for food security, nutrition, and resilience to shocks and stresses. ENSP+ will be implemented in Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambelia Somali regions, which are more prone to shocks and stresses. Once conditions allow, activities will commence in Tigray as well.

The program will have four components that are Private sector development, Innovation & empowerment, Responding to seed insecurity, and Enabling seed sector transformation. Mercy Corps Ethiopia will be leading the third component of the program that mainly deals with Responding to seed insecurity. The ESNP + programme will be implemented over four years period from 2023-2027.

General Position Summary

The ENSP+ Program Manager is responsible for the overall management of ENSP + program. He/she responsible for providing strategic and technical guidance, provide guidance on programme planning and  implementation, ensure effective implementation of all activities and quick response to challenges, monitor and analyze the program environment and progress, using applicable monitoring and evaluation and risk management tools and advise on timely adjustments and corrective measures as necessary. Additionally, he/she is in charge of representing the program during all phases of execution, including participation in consortium engagements

The Program Manager is responsible for the strategic planning and overall managemen of the program and reports to the Director of Programs, with dotted line technical/programmatic reporting to the Chief of Party of the Resilience in Pastoral Areas (RiPA) program who provides overall guidance and supervision.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and vision

  • Work closely with the Country Director, DOP, RIPA COP and other senior program team members to implement the ENSP + program vision and strategy.
  • Lead the development of the ENSP+ detailed implementation strategy.
  • Ensure all ENSP+ team members have a clear understanding of the program strategy and their role in contributing towards its delivery.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are considered.

 Program management

  • In coordination with Mercy Corps’ country leadership team and program team members, lead the management, administration and closeout of program. Ensure implementation is on time, target and budget.
  • Lead assessments and analysis across all target locations (including needs, Context analysis/ CAT, seed security assessments), drawing on external technical expertise as needed.
  • Lead the process of developing partnership frameworks to support program implementation, partner agreements and ensure partner capacity building.
  • Work with partners (including ENSP+ consortium members, government sector offices at different levels and locations, private sector actors, community representatives) in a flexible and creative to achieve the best possible results for all segments of the targeted communities.
  • Coordinate, manage and motivate program teams across all implementation locations, ensuring they have clear objectives / individual work plans as part of performance management, and receive meaningful feedback on their performance.
  • Mentor program team members (program and M&E) reporting directly to this position, ensuring their ability to manage across programs in each of the target geographies.
  • Ensure that the program is managed adaptively, through periodic reflection exercises and use of MEL data.
  • Submit high quality reports to donor and stakeholders.
  • Monitor work and targets closely to ensure that programs are able to provide maximum benefit to our beneficiaries within program timeframes.
  • Work closely with 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
  • Cultivate and nurture donor relationships and strategic partnerships that positively impact Mercy Corps ability to influence program strategies and proposal design, as well as strategic partnerships that result in stronger and impactful program development efforts.
  • Help to identify new funding opportunities for agricultural/seed programs.
  • Support the design of new proposals working on agriculture/seed programs including participating in design workshops.
  • Support writing/review of concept notes and proposals.
  • 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 working in the portfolio.
  • Oversee the documentation and filing systems for all programs in the portfolio 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.
  • Lead the identification of program issues, challenges and risks, with in the team and lead appropriate recommendations and implements them.
  • 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, consortium lead 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 programs implementation.
  • Ensure proper logistics, administration, human resources and transport needs of the programs are conducted within Mercy Corps policy.
  • Manage program budgets as the primary budget holder.
  • Exercise sound judgment to ensure projects’ expenses are reasonable, allocable and prudent. Ensure all projects’ 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

  • Ensure that program teams are 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 Team Lead to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are being achieved. Advise on suggested improvements, as required.
  • 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 related events and contribute to thought leadership on seed system in Ethiopia and globally.
  • Identify and nurture strategic partnerships with other organizations and institutions working on seed systems.
  • Understand and aware GDI related priorities of the country office and contribute for the realization of priorities (continually work to understand and be aware of the gender diversity and inclusion priorities of the country office and contribute in the execution)
  • Promote gender equal and inclusive workplace culture in a day-to-day interaction with a team member, partners and program participants.
  • 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.

 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.

Job Requirements:

Knowledge and Experience

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in a field related Agriculture, Rural development, Agricultural economics, Agri business, Cooperative business management or any other relevant field 
  • Minimum of 5 years’ work experience with NGO and/or profit-making agribusiness working with vulnerable, marginalized communities
  • Proven experience in applying market-based approaches to increase access to agricultural inputs including collaborating with private sector national and international actors to achieve sustainable and scalable solutions for hard-to-reach communities.
  • Proven experience supporting innovative agricultural value chain development through market system approach with specific focus on seed system strengthening.
  • Strong experience working in emergency and conflict sensitive situations and locations.
  •  Demonstrated success building, managing and leading a team of professionals in a fast-paced challenging environment with high standards for success.
  • Strong writing, communication, organization, prioritization and negotiating skills.
  • Excellent and proven 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.
  • Strong project 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.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will possess excellent leadership skills, with the ability to maintain a broad perspective. He/she will undertake innovative and creative approaches, be agile in the conceptualization of new program ideas, and will be well versed in strategic thinking and planning - including openness to test new ways to work with private sector actors. The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the complex cultural, political, security and social environment of Ethiopia. They will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations. They 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 national staff team-members; be a strategic thinker, have strong skills in design monitoring and evaluation of development programs and maintain a sense of humor.

Job Category:
AgricultureBusiness DevelopmentEconomics
Agriculture, Business Development, Economics
Full time
Full time
Abala, Afar
Mercy Corps Ethiopia Mercy Corps Ethiopia

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