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Program Advisor – Market Systems Ukraine and MENA/Europe


  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Kyiv
  • Grade: Senior level - Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Sustainable trade and development
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2024-04-15


Two years after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine started, more than 6.3 million refugees have left the country and there are nearly 3.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine. The economic costs of the war have been tremendous: the industrial, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors have all suffered due to the destruction of property and disruption of domestic and international trade routes. Ukraine’s vital agricultural sector has been heavily impacted by the ongoing war, including for the predominant smallholder producers, leaving producers to salvage harvests, find new markets for their products, and plan for future growing seasons amidst uncertainty and incomplete information.

Mercy Corps has been supporting affected household, small and medium-sized agricultural producers since the beginning of 2023 in Chernihiv, Sumy and Poltava oblasts. Support includes cash grants to farmers designed to support them in adapting their agribusinesses to the new reality they face. In addition, in November 2023, Mercy Corps launched the Ukraine Agriculture Support Program (UASP), which aims to increase economic stability and self-sufficiency, and facilitate early recovery for smallholder subsistence farmers and small and medium sized farming enterprises in 12 oblasts of Ukraine, out of which 5 eastern and southern oblasts (Kharkiv, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson) are priority areas. In parallel to direct aid provision, Mercy Corps will guide and inform evidence-based programmatic design and implementation through ongoing agricultural research, operational and applied learning, context analysis, and specific market assessments, leading to further employing market systems development approaches.

Purpose / Project Description:

Through collaboration with the Technical Support Unit (TSU), UASP seeks to understand market system dynamics across conflict-affected areas of Ukraine by identifying constraints and opportunities to enable market systems to strengthen economic coping, facilitate market recovery, and increase livelihood opportunities for conflict-affected communities.

Consultant Objectives:

The consultant will help UASP’s transformation from an early recovery programme to a more markets-based intervention to provide systemic interventions in Ukrainian agriculture and business sectors, thus contributing to long-term recovery and development of the Ukrainian economy. The role supports market systems analysis, research, program development and implementation, with a focus on supporting the evolution of Mercy Corps resilience programme portfolio applying market systems principles in the Ukraine response and supporting learning through this process. The position will provide senior advisory support to the UASP program and ensure the synthesis of market systems analysis and evolution of technical approaches across grants within the resilience portfolio. The position has the explicit mandate to support the team’s ability to conduct analysis, design, and in time, implement market system approaches. S/he provides a supportive role to programme leaders to help maintain technical quality and builds capacity of the program team to deliver the intended results. S/he also ensures that lessons from these programs are documented and inform programming in other geographies as well as the global strategy.

Consultant Activities:

  • Provide close technical assistance to target projects to ensure that they apply market systems principles in their analysis and evolve program implementation strategies on the basis of evidence from studies and MEL data;
  • Partner with Resilience Program Lead, PaQ unit and UASP Programme Manager to translate program learning into tangible adjustments to intervention strategies. Review and support the development of core documentation (SOWs, market analysis plans, tools, reports, concept notes, etc.) of (programs) to ensure quality and support improvement;
  • Serve as technical quality assurance focal point, ensuring quality standards and experimentation, and working with leadership to improve plans and deliverables as needed;
  • Provide leadership and strategic vision to technical components of (programs) as relevant including workplan development, market analysis, strategy development, and/or program/intervention (re)design.
  • Provide training for incoming staff on MSD and tactics for applying market systems principles in fragile contexts;
  • Identify ongoing opportunities for staff upskilling and work with project leaders to implement professional development initiatives;
  • Coach, advise, and support program staff and intervention managers, in collaboration with program leaders;
  • In close partnership with program leaders, create a work atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of MSD skill sets at all levels.
  • Support the development of learning agenda and key research questions for UASP, building on existing internal and external evidence base;
  • Support and co-develop plans for market systems analysis and research products in line with the Ukraine market systems learning agenda and research questions, including methods and methodological considerations;
  • Provide linkages between researchers and individuals across Mercy Corps and more globally, on Market Systems Development (MSD), bringing in knowledge from MSD practitioners, expanding the UASP team’s ability to triangulate and compare evidence and identify key gaps;
  • Where additional external consultants or contractors are engaged, provide support to the MSD Technical Coordinator in the development of Scopes of Work, selection of consultants or contractors, review of deliverables and advice on progress and results, among other possible areas of support.
  • Provide technical oversight, backstopping, and quality control to market systems analysis and research products, also ensuring these follow ethical standards;
  • As needed, lead write up of briefs, blogs, and other content for both internal and external audiences;
  • Provide key support and input into the UASP Evidence Steering Committee.
  • Ensure that lessons, experiences, and tools from target projects are fed back into Mercy Corps’ Global Strategy and tools related to Markets in Crisis.
  • Support outreach and dissemination of lessons learned to internal and external stakeholders in Ukraine and globally;
  • Encourage systematic opportunities to use data for learning and improvement, and to focus on learning lessons throughout the life of the program.
  • Support the promotion and showcasing of the UASP project across Mercy Corps
  • As needed, leverage lessons from UASP to provide targeted support to other Mercy Corps programs

Consultant Deliverables:

The consultants deliverables will include:

  • As relevant completed draft documents, collaborative inputs, and technical review on MSAs, such as SOWs, assessment design documents, technical reviews, data collection plans and tools, and other related deliverables as agreed upon by consultant and MC team
  1. Outputs from capacity strengthening and mentorship initiatives (e.g. training and workshop outputs)
  2. Drafts, inputs, and reviews as a part of intervention design activities
  3. Drafts, inputs, and review of strategy documents and plans
  4. Contributions to learning agenda and research questions and plans
  5. As relevant, other outputs related to technical quality assurance
  6. Learning and influence products and contribution to dissemination activities
  7. Contributions to regional and global strategies
  8. Inputs to the UASP Evidence Steering Committee

Other deliverables tailored to specific program needs and regional priorities will be agreed on an ongoing basis.

Timeframe / Schedule:

The consultancy will cover a period of up to 60 days over six months, to begin April 1, 2024.

The Consultant will report to:

Director Market Systems and Technical Director Middle East, with a dotted line to the Ukraine Resilience Program Lead

The Consultant will work closely with:

Ukraine team, Key TSU teams.

Required Experience & Skills:

  • 7-10 years of experience of increasingly proficient management and/or technical support in MSD programming and/or private sector experience, with at least one job experience in a globally well-reputed MSD project.
  • Proven experience assessing markets and working with private sector partners
  • Experience working across different geographies, including Africa, and more specifically in fragile environments.
  • Strong ability to understand and manage multiple stakeholders and complex relationships at multiple levels of the organization.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • A proven proactive approach to work and self-driven leadership.
  • Fluency in English is required, with strong written and oral communication skills.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. 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.

To apply:

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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