Technical Director – Various Locations, Kenya at Mercy Corps

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Technical Director – Various Locations, Kenya at Mercy Corps,

Technical Director – Various Locations, Kenya at Mercy Corps

Technical Director – Africa Region

Programs Africa – Various Locations, Kenya



Location: Any Mercy Corps office location in Africa

About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.
The Program
Mercy Corps’ programs in Africa are undergoing both momentous humanitarian crises and significant development challenges that offer the opportunity to empower people to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Moreover, Africa is also characterized by a high rate of urbanization and a massive youth population. Against this backdrop Mercy Corps’ focus in Africa has been on responding to ongoing humanitarian needs, while promoting good governance and conflict resolution, enhancing food security and resilience, strengthening economic opportunities and market systems, advancing water security, and promoting youth employment and empowerment. Mercy Corps continues to position itself as a key and credible partner with donors, government authorities and civil society actors, enhancing our ability to contribute to the process of positive change across the continent. Mercy Corps looks to actively engage and partner with an ever growing and innovative African private sector to achieve greater and sustained impact. We are also keenly aware that executing our current and future programs on scope, on budget, on time and to a high level of technical quality across our portfolio is critical, while we continue to develop new approaches and leverage innovations to accelerate our impact and influence in the region. Mercy Corps requires an astute navigator able to steer our team and efforts toward ever-improving results for what represents one of the agency’s largest and most complex portfolios. Powered by the belief that a better world is possible, Mercy Corps seeks an inspiring, creative and focused leader to further the impact, influence, and innovation of Mercy Corps’ humanitarian and development efforts in the region.
The Position
The Technical Director for Africa is a senior leader providing significant technical direction and programmatic quality support to Mercy Corps’ 17+ country programs and initiatives across the continent. S/he works closely with the Regional Director (RD) and Deputy Regional Directors (DRDs) to ensure transformational change occurs through the combination of: programmatic impact in our communities; the ability to influence change makers at local and global levels; and a restlessness to innovate in search of better solutions. S/he will collaborate with the RD to build and sustain a cohesive regional management team ensuring the Africa portfolio is positioned for excellence in all programmatic functions across country teams. The Technical Director coordinates with program departments at the country, regional and headquarters levels to ensure that our program portfolio is of the highest quality and standards and that programs receive the support that they need. The Technical Director will champion Mercy Corps’ Program Management @ Mercy Corps and the agency’s quality standards to ensure that teams are driving transformational impact in the region by executing programs that are of the highest quality, with the latest technical interventions, program designs and generating documented evidence. The Technical Director will also be the primary representative for the region with the global Technical Support Unit, Program & Quality Unit, as well as other technical and quality initiatives, ensuring that the Africa region is strongly represented in global conversations and the global agency understands and is responsive to the technical and program quality needs of our programs.
Essential Responsibilities
  • Work with the regional team to articulate an ambitious and compelling regional strategy for Mercy Corps in Africa.
  • Contribute to the development of country level strategies that align with the regional strategy and Mercy Corps’ global Pathways to Possibility (P2P).
  • Act as a key partner for the RD/DRDs to achieve an effective regional management team that delivers programmatic excellence and significant impact and influence in the region.
  • Work with regional and HQ teams to develop regional research and learning priorities that are connected to regional and global strategic priorities.
  • Supervise the regional technical support team (TSU) and the regional Program and Quality (PaQ) (CARM, MEL) team to work together as a cohesive regional program support unit to deliver technical support to Country teams.
  • Ensure that regional program support team members have a deep understanding of their roles and are connected to relevant stakeholders across the agency to inform and promote agency strategies and best practices.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create a work environment of respect where team members strive to achieve excellence and team culture is positive, transparent and focused on staff wellbeing.
  • Assist with the on-boarding of senior team members, ensuring they are set up for success and familiar with agency systems, procedures, and protocols.
  • Ensure sound performance management and staff access to high quality learning opportunities, with a special emphasis on national team member development.
  • Support country leadership in adhering to Mercy Corps’ technical and programmatic policies and procedures, including rollout of new initiatives and standards.
  • Develop systems to identify support needs of country teams and ensure that programs access quality, relevant and timely support from TSU and other regional support team members.
  • Assist in the administration of regional TSU team members work plans and budgets throughout the fiscal year.
  • Ensure effective human, material, financial and technical support for all country programs, in cooperation with senior staff, prioritizing resource allocation with DRD/RD as necessary.
  • Support countries to ensure high quality M&E and program performance related practices are in place.
  • Coordinate with PaQ and T4D to ensure that countries access relevant technical support.
  • Support countries with the adoption of agency MEL and program management procedures and policies, oversee efforts to conduct gap analyses and help countries develop action plans to correct gaps, including:
  • MEL policy
  • TOLA
  • PM@MC
  • Lead efforts to build the culture of adaptive management, evidence and learning in each country in the region.
  • Develop systems to ensure that all programs in the region receive support to achieve the highest possible impact and are in line with overall regional and global strategies.
  • Develop systems to ensure that Mercy Corps’ programs adhere to Mercy Corps and global best practices, policies and standards (cash minimum standards etc.).
  • Support all countries in the region to adopt and adhere to Mercy Corps’ program accountability and CARM policies.
  • Encourage a culture of learning and innovation among all Mercy Corps staff in the region.
  • Work closely with headquarters support units to ensure continuous quality improvement of field programs, and that teams are working towards achieving excellence, especially during rapid growth.
  • Ensure program coordination and information sharing within and between the regional team.
  • Support regional knowledge networks to enhance technical excellence, advance learning agendas, and support collaborative action and common programmatic approaches to fostering greater regional coherence.
  • Act as a key liaison between headquarters, the regional team and country teams to effectively prioritize technical agendas and work plans, identify and problem solve around gaps, and elevate program innovations and success stories.
  • Help to ensure timely and targeted communication and information flows that highlight Mercy Corps’ regional and global impact.
  • Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater impact.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with global and regional technical and research partners/organizations/universities that contribute to technical expertise and excellence.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at external events to build voice, brand and influence.
Supervisory Responsibility
Regional PAQ Director, Regional technical advisors (TSU), Regional PaQ Advisor, Regional MEL, and CARM Advisors.
Reports Directly To: Regional Director- Africa
Works Directly With: Deputy Regional Directors, Country Directors, Country-level Senior Management Teams, Regional Program Team (RPT), Headquarters based TSU, MEL, and Program Quality teams, and other HQ departments such as communications, fundraising, learning, etc.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills
  • BA or equivalent in international development, political or social science, public administration, business management, required and MA preferred;
  • At least 8-10 years’ field experience in senior management related to technical support functions and/or, direct program development and implementation;
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, and to solve complex problems at an organizational level;
  • Direct experience managing and supervising large teams, as well as mentoring and development;
  • Confident communication skills applicable to donor relations, media outreach, and inter-agency coordination;
  • Ability to handle multiple issues at one time, especially in emergency situations, and to organize and prioritize accordingly;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the critical humanitarian and development issues in Africa, and significant experience with the challenges of operating in the region;
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response preferred.
  • Fluent in English and French strongly preferred.
Success Factors
The successful candidate will apply a strong combination of strategy development, leadership, management, coordination, and relationship-building skills with an outstanding ability to support innovative, impactful programs. With a high capacity to deliver results under tight deadlines with multiple priorities, the Technical Director will have strong team management skills, be a strong systems thinker, and have the ability to think ahead and align teams and resources to achieve high-quality outcomes. Commitment, flexibility and openness to new practices, concepts, ideas and change for continuous improvement will serve the position and team well. A demonstrated ability to problem solve, work with diverse teams to find innovative solutions to complex challenges, and a commitment to collaborative approaches to problem solving are essential. Public relations skills are integral success factors in this position. The role also requires a deep understanding of the region, its recent history, current trends and political environment. Being a team player, a positive attitude and a sense of humor are definite pluses, along with strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and a commitment to the values and mission of Mercy Corps.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in a Mercy Corps country program in Africa. Housing is in individual housing and staff will have access to good medical services and the living situation is of a high standard. Water and electricity are present with occasional cuts. Up to 40% travel to the field to support Mercy Corps programs as requested.
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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.

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