Technical Director Africa Region – base flexible to Mercy Corps locations in Africa and HQ

Expected start July 2020

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

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 resilience, strengthening market systems, enhancing access to finance and economic opportunities, and promoting youth employment and empowerment. Mercy Corps continues to position itself as a key and credible partner with the many 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.

General Position Summary

The Senior Africa Technical Director for Africa is a senior leader providing significant technical direction and programmatic quality support to Mercy Corps 15+ 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 the Mercy Corps’ Program Management @ Mercy Corps and the agency’s quality standards to ensure that the teams are driving transformational impact in the region through executing programs that are of the highest quality, with the latest technical interventions, program designs and generating documented evidence.

Essential Job 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 Strategic Compass.
  • 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 Senior Program officers who manage the Regional Program Team who manage all grant administration in global offices (RPT), 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 and donor policies and procedures, including rollout of new initiatives and standards.
  • Fill in as needed for Regional Director and for field leadership during vacations/home leave and or leadership gaps as necessary.


  • 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 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.


  • Work closely with the Senior Program Officers to coordinate the flow of information between country programs, the regional management team, relevant HQ departments and donors;
  • Supervise the SPOs and ensure they are managing overall desk support to the region;
  • Ensure that the RPT team are effectively managing the regional grant portfolio and administration of all grants
  • Ensure that the RPT team are monitoring programs, including ensuring regular check-ins with country teams on contractual, legal and financial requirements (such as co-financing/match, BvA, etc.);
  • Supervise the new business development team members in the region and ensure that promising funding opportunities for country programs and regional initiatives, in line with country strategies receive the required human (TSU, NI etc) and financial (Pro-dev) resources 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 correcting gaps, including:
  • MEL policy
  • TOLA
  • [email protected]
  • 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 publicize program innovations and success stories.
  • Help to ensure timely and targeted communication and information flow 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.

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: Regional technical advisors (TSU), regional MEL advisors, Senior Program Officers (RPT team),


Reports Directly To: Regional Director, Africa

Works Directly With: Deputy Regional Directors, Country Directors, Country-level Senior Management Teams, Headquarters based TSU, MEL, and Program Quality teams, and other HQ departments such as communications, fundraising, learning, etc.

Knowledge and Experience

  • 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 support functions and/or, direct program development and implementation;
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, and to solve complex problems at an organizational level;
  • Detailed understanding of the finance, operations and administration mechanisms that support a grant/project implementation life cycle;
  • 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 proficiency and experience with US, UK, EU, UN and other public and private donors, government grant and financial management requirements;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the critical humanitarian and development issues in the 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

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. Public relations skills are integral success factors in this position. Excellent negotiation and communication skills will foster the development of donor and partner relationships. 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 location 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.

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.


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