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 present in Zimbabwe since 2002, leading innovative programming focusing on evidence-based solutions that have lasting impact and build resilience. Resilience building is an agency priority and involves using a systems-based approach that builds on proven solutions, accesses new ideas and information, and integrates multiple sectors and partnerships to strengthen food security and livelihoods, economic development and climate change adaptation. Zimbabwe continues to experience recurrent environmental, economic and social shocks that affect the wellbeing of its communities and undermine development investments. Mercy Corps puts resilience at the core of its strategy to contribute to the wellbeing of Zimbabweans by building communities’ capacities and strengthening systems and institutions.
General Position Summary
The Director of Programs for Zimbabwe is a key leadership and management position for Mercy Corps and works closely with the Country Director to set the overall strategic direction of the program portfolio. S/he is responsible for management oversight of a portfolio of resilience building programs, building and sustaining motivated and creative cross-cultural teams, ensuring technical quality and cross-program synergies and fundraising strategically. S/he builds and maintains strong relationships with all agency stakeholders, and ensures a productive and thoughtful work environment between the Programs and Support teams. S/he plays integral roles in strategy development, proposal development, evidence building and use, as well as communications, influence, accountability, and overall quality assurance and will partner with the Country Director to develop and implement an integrated portfolio of programs.
S/he will be directly responsible for providing strategic leadership and management as well as in-depth technical guidance and mentoring in resilience approaches to our growing portfolio of complex, resilience-focused programs in Zimbabwe. S/he will partner closely with lead program managers, technical officers and advisors, and monitoring and evaluation team to ensure resilience-thinking supports design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes within and across programs, and supports greater impact.This will include programs supported by donors such as FCDO, BHA, UN agencies and other donors and cooperating partners. In addition to strengthening technical approaches in resilience, s/he will be responsible for guiding teams and capturing program successes, failures, and lessons-learned, and facilitating adaptive management and reflective processes to ensure learning improves programming. S/he will directly manage and oversee resilience research and learning program components. S/he will help in program scale up or expansion by eliciting new funding, increasing visibility and communicating the impact of our programming to donors and partners. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders on resilience building in Zimbabwe.
The successful candidate will be a progressive, strategic thinker, someone able to work outside the lines and inject new ideas and critical thinking skills into our work. S/he should be a strong leader, committed to gender and social diversity, and will serve as a model for strong leadership not only to Mercy Corps’ project leads, but also support staff, partners, and other stakeholders.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY AND VISION (5%)
● Working with the Country Director, the senior management team (SMT), and other team members, maintain a central role in developing and communicating MC's overall program strategy and priorities in Zimbabwe, ensuring alignment with MC's regional priorities, country strategic objectives, and the agency's core technical approaches.
● Serve as a member of the Senior Management Team, helping to guide Mercy Corps Zimbabwe’s human resource and operations management policies and strategies.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (30%)
● Work closely with the Country Director to drive a business development strategy to ensure the portfolio remains fully funded and aligned with country strategic objectives
● Proactively identify new business opportunities and translate these into concepts that further Mercy Corps’s strategy in Zimbabwe
● Lead the development and coordination of concept notes and funding proposals, which may include lead writing or working closely with business development teams and consultants, and work closely with all Zimbabwe departments to ensure the development of high-quality proposal submissions.
● Ensure that knowledge management of key program documents, publications, evidence and other resources is well organized, and materials are packaged for external distribution.
● Work closely with the Regional Program Team in MC Support Offices in Edinburgh and Portland to keep donor, grant and information tracking databases up to date with most current proposals, concept notes, partnership agreements and reports.
SPECIFIC PROGRAM MANAGEMENT (60%)
The DoP will provide direct oversight to the effective delivery of Mercy Corps’ growing portfolio of resilience programming. This portfolio includes the following programs:
The Director of Programs will be responsible for the overall leadership, technical direction, and management of a multi-donor funded resilience research and knowledge management hub, the Resilience Knowledge Hub under the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) in Zimbabwe. S/he will work closely with UNDP, the umbrella lead, to manage this project; coordinate with multiple stakeholders who are implementing ZRBF projects across the country; and establish productive partnerships with the government of Zimbabwe at various levels for the successful implementation of the project.
● Lead the development and execution of a hub-wide resilience-building strategy to guide knowledge generation and application in program implementation in close collaboration with implementing partners.
● Provide support on programmatic and operational matters ensuring the program produces the highest possible impact and remains in line with the overall strategy
● Responsible for the preparation of the program annual plan and leading the administration of the plan/budget throughout the fiscal year.
The Director of Programs will be responsible for the technical leadership on resilience and oversight of Mercy Corps’ scope for the BHA funded Resilient Food Security Activity (RFSA), Amalima Loko, in the Matabeleland North province of western Zimbabwe. S/he will work in close collaboration with the Consortium Lead CNFA to contribute to improving food security through increased food access and sustainable watershed management using the resilience approach.
● Provide technical leadership on resilience building and integration of resilience principles into programming for the consortium
● Facilitate integration of gender and youth components in resilience-focused programming.
● Catalyze resilience measurement solutions within the consortium, and provide and/or source and coordinate technical assistance to enable teams to rigorously test, refine and adapt program strategies to understand what builds resilience in Zimbabwe
● Provide support to the Resilience Lead on programmatic and operational matters ensuring program produces the highest possible impact and remains in line with the overall strategy
The Director of Programs will be responsible for the technical leadership on resilience and oversight of Mercy Corps’ Urban Food Security and Resilience Building program in Manicaland Province in Eastern Zimbabwe.
● Provide technical leadership on execution of a program-wide resilience-building strategy based on a blend of cash transfers and community-based resilience activities CBRAs to guide knowledge generation and application in program implementation in close collaboration with implementing partners.
● Provide support to the Team Leader on programmatic and operational matters ensuring program produces the highest possible impact and remains in line with the overall strategy
Within this portfolio of Resilience programs, and any new resilience programs that Mercy Corps leads, it is anticipated that the DOP will provide the following management functions:
CAPACITY STRENGTHENING - RESILIENCE
● Working closely with programs, drive forward a vision to build the resilience strategy for Mercy Corps in Zimbabwe, tailoring regional resilience priority areas and competitive advantages to grow and leverage Mercy Corps’ platform towards building the agency’s resilience distinctive in Zimbabwe
● Look across programs to identify and foster opportunities to test resilience theories of change, increase evidence and learning, and advance research priorities to build Mercy Corps’ thought leadership
● Provide technical support and mentoring to program managers and team members in applying a resilience approach, ensuring high-quality, impactful implementation in resilience, documentation of lessons and taking initiatives to scale
● Identify capacity-building needs and opportunities in resilience for Mercy Corps staff and program partners, to support an integrated resilience approach across programs
● In line with country and regional strategies, develop or support development of innovative high quality concept papers and proposals to increase funding for resilience programs, and support other prepositioning for new programming and target areas.
PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
● Oversee program start-up, ongoing program management and partner coordination ensuring mechanisms for adaptive management are in place and utilized regularly.
● Support the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from strategic work-plans, and ensure project delivery is on time, scope and budget.
● Produce written research papers, training materials, and reports on program activities and impact.
● Oversee efforts to design effective M&E systems for the program, ensuring linkages with Mercy Corps’ internal M&E systems.
● Ensure close coordination, dialogue and information sharing among consortium partners, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
● Recognize and act on opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed
● Assist with the recruitment, selection, orientation and training of project team members and consultants
● In partnership with the Country Director work to motivate, empower and guide teams towards excellence.
● Set a team culture that values learning and adaptive management in support of an ongoing resilience approach in programming across project partners
● Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
● Manage technical teams towards achieving programmatic excellence and country and agency strategies.
● Work with operations team members, the Country Director, and the Finance & Compliance Manager to make sure that adequate operational support is in place for project/ program success.
● Supervise and manage all program partnerships to ensure sound coordination in the context of an overall program strategic and resilience-building framework.
REPRESENTATION, PARTNERSHIPS AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP (5%)
● Facilitate liaising and maintaining strong relationships with UNDP, BHA, FCDO and other donors and partners, jointly identifying priorities and opportunities for influence and demonstrating impact
● Ensure that all programs produce professional quality reports and communications materials; that publishable results are disseminated strategically and effectively; and that Mercy Corps is a thought leader in its strategic technical areas.
● Represent Mercy Corps Zimbabwe in strategic internal and external high-profile and program events and conferences, including with donors, higher-level government stakeholders and multilateral institutions in close coordination with the Country Director.
● Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
● Connect our thought leadership and influence agenda to representation and outreach efforts to support business development efforts
● Coordinate research dissemination and participation in appropriate learning and policy forums on resilience. Support country teams to identify and participate in opportunities for external representation and thought leadership. Identify strategic partners for resilience building in collaboration and facilitate outreach and coordination efforts
● Promote resilience work within the organization and cultivate participation in communities of practice
● Maintain effective external relations with partner and donor agencies, national and local government officials, media and general public.
● 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.
Direct Reports-Team Leader Resilience (RKH and Amalima Loko), Team Leader-Urban Resilience, MEL and CARM Coordinator.
Reports Directly to: Mercy Corps Zimbabwe Country Director and with dotted line reporting to the Chief of Party (Amalima Loko).
Works Directly with: Resilience program specialists, Team Leaders, HR, Operations and Finance team, Regional Food Security and Resilience Senior Advisor, Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director, Global Resilience Team, and partner organizations
Knowledge and Experience
● Advanced university degree in rural development, agricultural economics, environment studies, agriculture, development studies or other closely related field.
● At least 10 years of relevant experience in resilience-related projects, portfolio management, research, SBC, DRR, livelihoods, NRM, climate adaptation and mitigation.
● At least 5 years of relevant or associated management experience in similar resilience-related knowledge generation and application projects/programs; strong preference given to candidates with prior experience in Africa.
● Prior experience and knowledge of USG (USAID OFDA/FFP), FCDO, EU, ECHO and UN OCHA grant management including regulations, procedures and requirements.
● Familiarity with key International Humanitarian Standards and Partnerships such as Sphere Project, Core Humanitarian Standards, Humanitarian Accountability and Partnership, ALNAP and IASC.
● Experience building relationships and engaging in high level representation to institutional donors, corporate/foundation partners, Government stakeholders, etc.
● Proven experience in resilience capacity building tools/training development and implementation
● Demonstrated ability to build network or community of practice”; work across multiple projects to identify cross-learning opportunities Extremely strong writing skills, including past experience generating substantive written products; excellent verbal communication skills
● Demonstrated proficiency and experience managing grants funded by EC, UN, DFID and other public and private donors, government grant and financial management requirements.
● Exceptional program and project conceptualization and design skills.
● Successful and proven negotiation, communication, organization, and prioritization skills and experience.
● Ability to handle multiple issues at one time, including emergency situations.
● Must be adaptable to and comfortable with shifting priorities.
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