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.
We help people overcome poverty and conflict. Working with communities, we leverage local logic to help people transform their lives. To grow more food, earn higher incomes and ultimately advocate for their needs. We see global challenges as an invitation to pioneer innovative, sustainable solutions. During our 34-year history, our work has improved more than 170 million lives in more than 115 countries around the world.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps anticipates applying for funding for a five-year USAID Food for Peace Activity to support agriculturalists, agro-pastoralists, and pastoral households living in Northern Kenya. The program will be an integrated food security and activity with a goal of sustainably reducing levels of acute malnutrition in the target counties in Kenya.
General Position Summary
The Strategic Learning Lead will lead the program's approach to collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) and adaptive management. Working closely with the project's research and M&E teams, the Strategic Learning Lead will play a critical role in translating formative and implementation research findings (Phase 1) into an evidence-based activity design for the Phase 2 Transition Plan and for Phase 2 implementation. S/he will ensure the activity includes active, intentional, and adaptive learning within and across its activities as well as ensure collaboration and learning across other projects in the implementation area. The strategic learning lead will improve peer-to-peer learning, knowledge sharing and application, activity-based capacity strengthening, evidence and data utilization, and CLA. This position will play a key role in helping build an environment of evidence-based programming and adaptive management at all levels.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
- Work closely with M&E, research, and partner staff to develop comprehensive learning strategies and agenda during start-up, which are incorporated in annual workplans and regularly updated.
- Work with CoP and senior management team to ensure adaptive program management and CLA principles are incorporated at start-up and throughout implementation
- Participate in Senior Management Team to set strategic vision for the program, including how research will be integrated into the program design and implementation
- At start-up, develop a program-wide strategy and supportive systems/structures for adaptive management and CLA. During both the research and implementation phases, oversee the execution and adaptation of the CLA strategy.
- Ensure pilots activities and other parts of program interventions are designed to incorporate research to answer questions around what strategies to replicate, scale, or discontinue
- Support project staff and partners to implement, monitor and review pilot activities linked to the program's research agenda and to develop a culture of reflection and learning
- Lead staff and partners in regular reviews of program activities to reflect on programmatic learning based on implementation experience and monitoring data, to review and revise results chains and theories of change, and suggest programmatic changes
- Promote and nurture a culture of reflection, critical thinking and learning within the project and among project staff and partners
- Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites – spend up to 50% of time in the field.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Set a team culture valuing learning and adaptive management in support of an ongoing resilience approach in programming
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.
Influence & Representation
- Write and actively disseminate CLA experiences/lessons in case studies.
- Ensure close coordination and information sharing with consortium partners, sub-grantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
- Actively disseminate research results both in country to relevant external actors as well as regionally/globally.
- Represent the program and Mercy Corps with government, donors, and other implementing partners as directed by the Chief of Party.
- 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.
DFSA CLA Team
Reports Directly To: Monitoring and Evaluation Lead
Works Directly With: DFSA team
Knowledge and Experience
- A bachelor's degree and a minimum of five years relevant experience or an advanced degree (PhD or master's) plus a minimum of three years relevant work experience is required.
- Technical expertise and field experience in applying CLA and adaptive management principles in international development programming
- History of working effectively and respectfully with host government, NGOs, contractors and other partners
- Strong understanding of M&E and applied research
- Experience managing or collaborating with research partners
- Demonstrated capabilities of translating knowledge and evidence from research and M&E into programmatic and policy decisions
- Excellent written communications, including the ability to tailor communications to program and policy audiences at multiple levels
- Fluent English required, Swahili preferred.
- Innovative, decisive and inclusive leadership
- Propensity towards creative and insightful programming
- Excellent communication and team-building skills
- Proven experience managing and building capacity of diverse teams (expatriate and national)
- Cultural knowledge, sensitivity and respect
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The Strategic Learning Lead is based in Nairobi with 50%+ travel to implementation areas. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are numerous International schools in Kenya. Staff have a relatively high degree of access to health and utility services (hospitals, clinics, electricity, water, etc). This position requires frequent travel by road and air to field offices in less secure environments, where basic amenities are lacking (no running water, and limited electricity without generators). This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.
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 Mercy Corps' 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.
Method of Application
Interested and qualified? Go to Mercy Corps career website on jobs.jobvite.com to apply