Full-Time Market Systems and Livelihood Specialist – Rural Resilience
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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
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and its influence spreads across the continent. Yet, inequality and insecurity have consistently undermined Nigeria’s development. Mercy Corps Nigeria was established in 2012 to respond to these challenges. The Nigeria team is headquartered in Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with offices throughout Nigeria. With a strong and growing team of over 200 staff, Mercy Corps is currently serving over 600,000 beneficiaries across the country with programming in Lagos in the South; Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau in the Middle Belt; Kano, Yobe and Borno in the North. Programs include girls’ education and financial inclusion, community peacebuilding, market-based livelihoods and a multi-sector humanitarian response that has a strong emphasis on WASH, Shelter, Cash and Protection. With the vision of a Nigeria in which all people are empowered, engaged, resilient and secure, Mercy Corps Nigeria focuses on the root causes of conflict, governance, humanitarian response, and market systems development.
Working with a diverse funding base that includes the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations (UN), European Commission (EC), European Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), Global Affairs Canada (FKA DFATD), and several foundations, Mercy Corps empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. In 2019, Mercy Corps intends to pursue the five-year, $30 million USAID-funded Rural Resilience Activity in Nigeria’s northeast. The purpose of the Rural Resilience Activity is to sustainably move people out of chronic vulnerability and poverty. The Rural Resilience activity will enable individuals and communities to engage in strong and sustainable market systems rather than continuing to rely on humanitarian assistance, and faltering with each new shock. To achieve this purpose, the Activity will have four components and four cross cutting elements:
- Component 1: Provide up-to-date evidence for selection of market systems, livelihoods and employment opportunities that contribute to inclusive and resilient growth and improved nutrition.
- Component 2: Stimulate market systems growth and diverse economic opportunities (Pull activities).
- Component 3: Build capacity to take advantage of market systems opportunities (Push activities).
- Component 4: Sequencing, layering, integrating (SLI), and collaborative learning to improve activity effectiveness, sustainability, and scale.
General Position Summary
The Market Systems and Livelihood Specialist will be responsible for providing leadership, technical oversight and ensuring direct management for all activities related to livelihoods and market systems development under the Rural Resilience activity. S/he will define implementation strategies in coordination with the Chief of Party and leadership team. The position will train staff, providing them with technical assistance; and ensuring that common strategies and approaches are applied consistently in all communities. S/he will coordinate closely with the M&E team to ensure that systems are in place to track, analyze and report results. The selected candidate will keep abreast of the latest research and evolutions in the field of market/value chain development and integrate new ideas and approaches as appropriate, seek additional technical assistance as needed and ensure effective working relationships with collaborating agencies.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Develop team work plans and guide successful implementation of livelihoods and market systems development activities, ensuring teams follow work plans so activities are on time, target and within the approved budget, and program deliverables achieve desired impact.
- Provide technical guidance on livelihoods and market systems development and ensure that interventions are responsive to stakeholders and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan. Ensure that interventions are evidence-based and adhere to adaptive management principles.
- Alongside the Financial Services Specialist, manage Grant Facility aspect of the program to catalyze new investment in viable economic opportunities (market systems, livelihoods, agribusiness, and employment) through grants that stimulate, rather than distort market development and avoid exacerbating conflict dynamics
- Conduct and/or update market assessments, involving direct stakeholders as well as public and private sector actors working within the target value chains and market systems.
- Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
- Manage and/or coordinate with local implementing partners.
- Facilitate planning meetings and workshops with government, NGO, private sector, and community partners to revise plans and promote partner acceptance/buy-in.
- In coordination with the MEL team, monitor the implementation of activities through regular field visits and assessments to ensure program quality and impact. Document approaches, successes and lessons learned.
- Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
- Support team members in developing private sector partnerships and market facilitation activities.
- 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.
Influence & Representation
- Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Chief of Party and country leadership.
- Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
- Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
- Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.
- 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.
Program Team, exact positions to be determined
Reports Directly To: Chief of Party
Works Directly With: Deputy Chief of Party, Program Team, Technical Advisors, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit, Partner Organizations
Knowledge and Experience
- Master’s degree in agriculture, economics, or business administration;
- Minimum of five (5) years of demonstrated experience with USG or other similar development projects focused on market systems and livelihood development, preferably with an understanding of the Nigerian context including gender and youth issues;
- Spoken and written proficiency in English; and
- Demonstrated ability to work and coordinate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders, including national and local government, donors, community-based organizations, and the private sector;
- Strong technical experience in market system approach to development.
The successful Market Systems and Livelihood Specialist will be familiar with managing facilitation-based interventions and the particular challenges of market systems development in Nigeria. S/he will combine exceptional management skills and capacity to manage relationships with different stakeholders. The position requires an ability to think creatively about improving opportunities for inclusive market development to promote sustainable livelihoods. A heavy emphasis will be placed on coordination with other actors implementing in the areas of intervention. S/he will have the capacity to spark innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to programming and to inspire groups to collaborate closely to implement high-quality programs.
S/he will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. 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.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The Market Development and Livelihoods Specialist position is based in the Northeast of Nigeria with the final location to be determined according to the program design. Expats in this location are unaccompanied. 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.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.