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Strategic Resilience Assessment Manager at 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 exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by building secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps has been present in Nigeria since 2012, focusing its interventions on adolescent girls’ empowerment, economic development and conflict mitigation. Since 2014 Mercy Corps has been implementing humanitarian programs to address the needs among displaced households and vulnerable host communities. As Mercy Corps continues our humanitarian response deeper within North East Nigeria to reach more beneficiaries with additional and varied assistance, we are realigning our strategy to build in longer-term recovery and socioeconomic development. Central to the strategy realignment is a focus on integrated programming that addresses the root causes of the crisis, and that deliberately seeks to build resilience to future shocks and stresses. Mercy Corps is investing in a resilience approach as a core strategy to contribute to stability and inclusive development in the Lake Chad Basin region, with North East Nigeria as a pivotal anchor.

 

At the same time, the wider community of humanitarian actors and donors responding to the crisis in North East Nigeria are increasingly recognizing the need to integrate recovery and resilience building as part of the response, and are calling for a stronger understanding of how to address underlying issues that could compromise stability and development in the long term. More evidence about what can build resilience will contribute significantly to a more informed collective understanding, complementing critical existing plans for recovery, and provide the building blocks for more strategic design of assistance for the North East among donors, government and NGO actors.

 

To build an evidence base towards informing this wider strategic design, Mercy Corps and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) are conducting a participatory Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) in two states of North East Nigeria. The assessment findings will then form a theory of change for resilient recovery and development, including strategic axes of intervention and investment.

 

General Position Summary

 

The Strategic Resilience Assessment Manager (STRESS Manager) will provide overall technical leadership, management and strategic vision to the design and implementation of a one-year STRESS encompassing Borno and Yobe States. S/he will manage the overall assessment process and ensuing strategy development, applying Mercy Corps’ STRESS methodology to lead research and analysis that will inform the identification of a theory of change for resilient recovery and development in Borno and Yobe States. S/he will manage assessment resources, including one dedicated staff, as well as partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders to ensure that the STRESS process achieves its objectives with high technical quality, on time and within budget, and in a way that builds broad ownership of findings. S/he will be the primary technical lead for all STRESS activities and production of final deliverables. S/he will ensure accountability to Mercy Corps’ policies and donor rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders.

 

In addition, the STRESS Manager will play a central leadership role in externally representing the case for a resilience approach in North East Nigeria and as part of a more comprehensive response to alleviating the crisis and building stability in the greater Lake Chad Basin region. In line with this role, s/he will share strategic vision, engage in external representation and advocacy as appropriate, and lead the development of communication materials to do so.

 

Job Responsibilities

 

ASSESSMENT DESIGN, Management and Technical quality

 

  • Develop the technical design of each phase of the STRESS process, adapting Mercy Corps’ STRESS methodology to be contextually appropriate, incorporate realistic participation and capacity building of stakeholders, and be structured in a way to build from iterative learning to deliver incremental results
  • Oversee the development of an integrated Data Collection and Research Plan to answer assessment questions in line with the overall STRESS Scope of Work
  • Design and implement qualitative and quantitative data collection tools; oversee planning for primary data collection; train enumerators; ensure technical quality of primary data collected
  • Design specific scopes of work for specialized studies, oversee recruitment and manage consultants/firms carrying out studies, and ensure the technical quality of deliverables
  • Facilitate workshops at key points in the STRESS process to solicit input from stakeholders and advance with agreement at each phase
  • Develop an integrated Analysis Framework incorporating data from various data collection streams, lead analysis efforts to produce key findings, and update analysis throughout the STRESS process as new information comes in
  • Consult key findings from analysis to produce all final STRESS deliverables

     

Strategy Development

 

  • Lead a collaborative process to develop a Theory of Change based on STRESS findings
  • Based on the Theory of Change, coordinate the production and validation of proposed recommendations for strategic intervention areas relevant for the wider community of humanitarian actors, donors and key government officials responding to the North East Nigeria crisis, ensuring strong buy-in and engagement
  • Support Mercy Corps Nigeria in strategy development for integrated programming in the North East

     

General project Management

 

  • Oversee STRESS start-up and ongoing assessment management and administration, ensuring mechanisms for effective adaptive management are in place and utilized regularly
  • Lead the development of an overall detailed implementation plan for the STRESS process and ensure its delivery on time with major milestones
  • Oversee development of an appropriate mechanism for community follow-up once findings are completed
  • Supervise assessment staff and provide managerial and programmatic oversight partners, sub-grantee and any contracted firms
  • Document processes and achievements to ensure best practices are captured and disseminated
  • Produce and share written reports on STRESS progress, capturing incremental results, and ensuring donor reporting guidelines are adhered to
  • Conduct frequent field visits as necessary to ensure quality oversight of activities
  • Ensure close coordination and information sharing with other Mercy Corps programs, proactively developing knowledge management products related to conducting a STRESS in contexts facing humanitarian crisis and recovery

     

Capacity Building

 

  • Develop a strong approach to building the capacity of Mercy Corps Nigeria staff, STRESS partners and key stakeholders through the STRESS process. Ensure their regular and realistic engagement in the process while also strengthening their practical understanding of resilience.
  • Promote a culture valuing mutual respect, learning and adaptive management, accountability, and constructive and open communication

     

Finance & Compliance Management

 

  • In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management) needs of the STRESS are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policy and with the maximum benefit to the project.
  • Monitor adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations, including those of the Government of Nigeria.

     

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT, Influence & Representation

 

  • Lead the design and implementation of an effective participatory stakeholder engagement plan which builds ownership and capacity for collaboration amongst the primary STRESS stakeholders: Mercy Corps Nigeria, partner organizations, key donors, Government of Nigeria authorities, colleague agencies and other priority local private sector and civil society institutions
  • Oversee development of a strategic communications and influence plan to share regular updates and build visibility of the STRESS process
  • Lead the socialization of the STRESS with Government of Nigeria stakeholders, ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required
  • Liaise with and represent program to cooperating sponsors
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events in the field, in close coordination with the Country Director

     

Security

 

  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country
  • 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

 

National Project Manager, as well as partnerships with international and national partners. Potential oversight (dotted line) of other staff identified to support this.

 

Accountability

 

Reports Directly To: Country Director

 

Works Directly With: Deputy Country Director, Director of Humanitarian Programs, Director of Gender Programs, Director of Conflict Programs, Finance Director , Operations Staff, HQ Regional Program Team, Technical Support Unit and Partner Organizations

 

Knowledge and Experience

 

  • MA/S or equivalent experience in International Development, or related field, with coursework in qualitative research and quantitative analysis.
  • Some experience working with, and demonstrated understanding of, the concepts of resilience and systems-thinking approaches strongly preferred.
  • 3-5 years of relevant international experience with positions of progressively greater responsibilities; program management experience preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience designing and managing complex, integrated assessment and research processes in challenging environments, and while working to deadlines
  • Demonstrated experience designing, training, and implementing qualitative and quantitative data collection tools, such as focus group discussions, participatory rural appraisals, and key informant interviews.
  • Excellent qualitative and quantitative data analysis and synthesis skills
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners.
  • Demonstrated skill in managing teams and programs of work
  • Shows assertiveness and ability to be flexible in a fast paced, dynamic environment
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • Strong computer literacy with a full knowledge of office applications

     

  • Success Factors

     

    The successful STRESS Manager will combine exceptional research design and analysis skills with experience managing processes that require strong buy-in and engagement of diverse stakeholders. S/he will be adept at driving forward activities in a collaborative manner. S/he will have an ability to approach complex development challenges through a systems-thinking lens and have an ability to think creatively about improving food security, community development and resilience. The STRESS Manager will have proven experience working within a cross-cultural team and can demonstrate approaches to integrating capacity building in activities. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail as well as 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. The successful STRESS Manager must be comfortable operating and traveling in a sometimes volatile security environment and therefore, changing plans and program tactics accordingly.

     

    Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

     

    The position will based primarily in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria and it requires frequent travel (40%) between other field locations in Borno and Yobe state and to Abuja from time to time to meet with important partners and stakeholders. Considering the frequent travel from/to different field locations, this position will require flexibility in terms of accommodation and logistics. Housing in the field will be in a shared guesthouse. Security in the field locations require additional vigilance and accessibility will be reassessed continuously.

     

    Access to good medical services in northeast is limited. Phone communication, internet, electricity and water is available but might be erratic.

     

    The location is eligible for hardship and R&R benefits. Given the nature of the humanitarian response, working hours require flexibility and working through weekends/evenings might be necessary.

     

    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.

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