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Mercy Corps has responded to nearly every global emergency over the past 20 years. Since 1979, we have provided $3.7 billion in lifesaving assistance throughout the world. Each year we infuse millions of dollars into local economies through small business loans and grants to provide livelihoods for the world’s most vulnerable people. We are empowering more than 100,000 youth trapped by violent conflict to overcome the profound stress of war and become change makers in their communities. We are powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
Eastern Africa Nationals are highly encouraged to apply.
Drawing on our global experience working at the nexus of humanitarian response and protracted conflicts, Mercy Corps leads the Frontier Finance initiative to solve tough challenges at scale and contribute to cross cutting SDGs. Mercy Corps will accelerate the delivery of demand-driven, viable business models in fragility-affected regions to ultimately benefit displaced populations and host communities by facilitating private sector providers into targeted markets. We will apply market facilitation principles and expand access to finance businesses supporting/employing these populations, with a focus on digital delivery and bundled services. This will include exploring new partnerships, including blended finance and innovative financing mechanisms. This investment will allow Mercy Corps to test market-based products and partnerships, build/strengthen new partnerships, secure long-term investments and funding, and ultimately build the business case and clear finance models for working with both displaced populations in fragile and frontier markets. We will use a ‘lean’ approach - iterative and incremental to understand the actual needs of different segments of displaced persons, host communities, and businesses.
General Position Summary
The Director, Frontier Financial Services for Displaced Populations will be field-focused and will launch and quickly accelerate the delivery of demand-driven, viable financial models and products in fragile and frontier markets. The role is to be based regionally focusing on East Africa, while also having a global mandate by providing input, learnings, advice into other regions pursuing the same initiative and help with global representation.
The position will draw on Mercy Corps’ global experience working at the nexus of humanitarian response and protracted conflicts. You will use a market-level approach and a focus on digital channels and related services to impact displaced populations, host communities, and service providers operating in fragile markets. Mercy Corps has initially prioritized scalable market sectors - energy and agriculture - alongside Sharia-compliant financial services. Investments will be multi-country and cross-border focused on humanitarian crises where opportunities exist to demonstrate scalable business models and leverage Mercy Corps existing on-ground presence. In East Africa, this will initially include Somalia and the multi-country South Sudan refugee crisis.
The role will be a strong leader in Mercy Corps’ reaching its commitment to facilitate usage of improved financial inclusion to at least one million displaced persons, relevant host community members, and persons living in fragile environments by 2020. You will use a ‘lean’ approach - iterative and incremental to understand the actual needs of the different segments of displaced persons, host communities, and businesses while simultaneously building a business and evidence case for their engagement.
The role will also work closely with Mercy Corps country teams to pilot new initiatives and integrate financial services into existing programs and help identify related pipeline investment opportunities for Mercy Corps Social Venture team.
This role will contribute to strategic discussions (internal and external); support project documentation, including pilot designs with country teams; advise on monitoring tools; maintain coordination with key advisors supporting programme quality initiatives related to financial services and identity programming; recommend opportunities for research and evidence building to broaden impact; and reinforce stakeholder communication, including with senior leadership and policy advocates.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Strategy and Vision
- Develop regional strategy and quickly and continually raise funding to capitalize finance solutions, including blended finance, to seed the design and prototyping of financial tools and channels (both digital and non-digital).
- Set direction and quickly strengthen partnerships at the regional level with payment and technology companies, financial service providers, impact investors, institutional donors, foundations, research institutes, UN agencies, peer organizations, and host country governments.
- Continually identify new opportunities for strategic partnerships to finance and expand the initiative to understand, and to build on Mercy Corps unique strengths and competitive advantages.
- Conduct continual landscape analysis of actors and funding in this rapidly evolving sector and communicate/ continuously adjust strategy with respective technical teams.
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Understand other Mercy Corps programming contexts and objectives in order to identify integration opportunities with Mercy Corps fieldwork.
- Technical Advisory
- Cultivate and manage external partnerships for technical assistance, provide technical assistance, and mentor Mercy Corps country teams and partners, including, but not limited to:
- Traditional financial services providers (banks, microfinance institutions, Islamic finance providers), trade finance and agricultural actors, as well as digital platforms.
- Digital ID providers, mobile network operators, money transfer/remittance providers, payments companies, investment funds, ‘pay-as you’ providers, agricultural and energy finance players, and social enterprises.
- Explore partnerships in peer-to-peer digital payments, diaspora investments, and crowdfunding platforms.
- Engage with Mercy Corps country teams on market systems data collection processes / systems
- Coordinate with Mercy Corps’ Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) Unit and Technical Support Unit (TSU) to maximize capacity building strategies, programmatic learning, guidance development, and research opportunities
- Support program implementation and expansion activities, including partner coordination, pilots, and regional training workshops
- Conduct field visits to prepare for and manage pilots, capacity building efforts
- Thought Leadership, Influence and Representation
- Ensure Mercy Corps is seen as a critical influencer in financial inclusion for both fragile situations and for displaced populations. Build external visibility on relevant technical areas and lead external representation efforts
- Capture and disseminate insights from Mercy Corps programming for internal and external communications
- Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, local NGOs and civil society organizations and academic institutions
Understand donor pool and contribute to shaping donor views on the evolving context and its impact on Mercy Corps programming
- 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.
Reports Directly To: Regional Director with dotted line to Lead - Financial Services in Crisis/Displaced Populations.
Works Directly With: Deputy Regional Director, Mercy Corps teams at the country, regional and global level, including fundraising, technical support units, research & learning, Innovations Team, and the Social Ventures Team
Knowledge and Experience
- Relevant Master’s degree preferred.
- At least 10+ years proven, field-based track record of progressive management/ leadership positions in management consulting, investment, financial services, market systems development in an emerging/frontier market or challenging contexts.
- Significant experience living and working in a frontier market, preferably in East Africa for a minimum of 5-7 years.
- Significant experience working in formal and informal financial sectors, especially with digital financial services and experience working in agriculture and energy sectors, Islamic finance, and the digital ID space, especially in Africa.
- Strong regional contacts with financial institutions, UN, investors, institutional donors, social enterprises, foundations, and corporations engaged in this sector will be a priority so we can build on existing value and supply chains.
- Experience with Lean / Adaptive / Agile processes would be a plus.
- Ability to build partnerships with strong and/or high potential service providers will be key.
- Proven experience working with individuals and teams to quickly build, test, and scale business models, and jointly identify and prioritize key challenges.
- Strong organizational skills and a demonstrable track record of results and securing funding, with experience successfully structuring and coordinating a number of relationships and high value projects simultaneously across multiple countries.
- Proven ability to navigate cross-cultural relationships.
- A deep understanding of the complexities of the challenges low-income communities face, and the current efforts to solve them.
- Demonstrated experience applying DCED standards, the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach and conducting political and market analysis
- Fluent in written and spoken English, and ideally Swahili and/or French.
- Entrepreneurial mindset and ability to build influential partnerships quickly, self motivate.
- Exceptional project management skills.
- Customer centric outlook, proven experience with human-centered design thinking and approaches.
- Highly-developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching, especially with a market systems mindset.
- Ability to work across multiple countries and to influence throughout the agency and lead cross-agency learning. Ability to understand incentive structures and engage/persuade senior-level executives and other stakeholders.
- Cultural knowledge, sensitivity, and respect and ‘Do no Harm’ mindset.
- A strong empathy with the mission of Mercy Corps.
Method of Application
Interested and qualified? Go to Mercy Corps career website on jobs.jobvite.com to apply