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Regional Program Development Manager & New Initiatives- Africa

Edinburgh | London

PROGRAM/DEPARTMENT SUMMARY:[Describe overview of job mission]

There is a continuous need and desire to increase capacity to respond to Program Development opportunities in West, Central and North (WCN) Africa in order to increase our impact, influence and innovation as a region. Mercy Corps has a New Initiatives team that focuses on: 1) highly strategic submissions, particularly (though not exclusively) to institutional donors and 2) initiatives that enhance overall agency proposal processes and competitiveness. Team members are tasked to provide additional "person power" on specific, high priority efforts by assisting with all or some of the following: assembling a proposal team; executing team planning; undertaking on-site participatory assessment and design work; extensive writing; providing high-quality reviews and edits; and more. Examples of the types of strategic, agency-wide initiatives that the team has supported include: preparation and promotion of a proposal tool kit for improved planning; maintenance of a roster of proposal consultants; and organization of action reviews of proposals. With all of its activities, New Initiatives works in a highly collaborative manner with the agency as a whole, particularly the program operations team and country teams.


The Program Development Manager will be a member of the New Initiatives team cover the WCN Africa region and, as such, will work particularly closely with the Regional Program Director (RPD). His/her primary focus will be on program development including 1) tracking the pipeline of potential new business opportunities for the region and supporting the RPD and Country Directors (CD) in priorizing and preparing for them; 2) leading and supporting program development efforts throughout the region; 2) helping to enhance the overall state of practice vis-à-vis proposal processes within the region and 3) enhancing donor relations, with a particular emphasis on helping to diversify the agency's funding base in the region. In addition he/she will be responsible for helping implement various other activities within the WCN Africa region that are part of the New Initiatives work plan.


Program Development/Diversifying Funding

  • Program/Proposal Design and Development: Responsible for leading and supporting all aspects of the development of strategic proposals throughout the WCN Africa region in English and French. Supported by the Regional Program Director and New Initiatives team, s/he will apply the agency's best practices in proposal development efforts. Special emphasis is on supporting proposal development for 1) large or highly strategic proposal opportunities 2) complex or multi-country efforts; 3) opportunities requiring extensive partner negotiations.
  • Strategic Pre-Positioning: Will lead and support efforts that help Mercy Corps' WCN Africa's programs to more pro-actively influence donor planning and access funding. In addition to the representation activities described below, this may include activities such as 1) support for targeted assessments that will help create funding opportunities or increase competitiveness of the agency in solicitations; or 2) facilitating strategic planning sessions with country programs.
  • Build Regional Capacity: Through team-work during actual proposal efforts, mentoring or tailored training activities, the Program Development Manager will help build capacity of Mercy Corps' staff within the region to work on proposals and run strong proposal and program development processes.
  • Contribute to Activities that Raise Overall Agency State of Practice: As a member of the NI team, the Program Development Manager will spend a small portion of his/her time supporting agency-wide initiatives that enable Mercy Corps to more efficiently produce competitive submissions. (e.g. developing improved reference materials for proposal writers, contributing to efforts that capture learnings and results from our programs, and/or assisting with networking activities). By being involved in these types of agency-wide activities, the Program Development Manager will also help provide a link for flow of important information and idea-exchange between the WCN Africa region and the agency overall.


  • Donor Representation: Responsible for proactively establishing, developing and nurturing relationships with donors in WCN Africa. Will work closely with the RPD and Country Directors in this regard.

Organizational Learning: As part of Mercy Corps' agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities.

Accountability to Beneficiaries: Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards 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: RPD with dotted line to Director, New Initiatives

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Regional Program Director for WCN Africa, HQ-based Program Officers for WCN Africa, Country Directors within the region and their teams, and other members of the TSU as appropriate.


  • 5-7 years experience in program design and proposal development in a wide variety of sectors and geographic locations.
  • Exceptional written and inter-personal communication skills an absolute must. Proven ability to work productively with a wide variety of stakeholders to run both participatory process and also meet tight deadlines with an emphasis on producing quality products. Strong writing skills required.
  • At least 2-3 years' experience in field-based program and staff management.
  • Native-level spoken and written English and French fluency required
  • Bachelor degree required, International Development or Business Science preferred.
  • Experience with a wide range of donors including European institutional donors. Familiarity with other donors, including corporate donors, a plus.
  • Strong representation and relationship-building skills including professional representation (e.g. donors, partner agencies, host governments, etc.
  • Experience working in field programs strongly preferred.
  • Ability to lead teams, handle negotiations and facilitate planning processes.
  • Ability to work effectively under tight deadlines and in sparse working environments.
  • Regional knowledge of WCN Africa.
  • Strong negotiation skills and experience developing and negotiating multiple-partnership arrangements for proposal development
  • Strong understanding of personnel and staffing requirements for USAID and other institutional donor proposals.
  • Experience developing budget and cost proposal submissions for USAID and/or other institutional donors.


The successful Regional Program Development Manager &New Initiatives- West, Central and North Africa will demonstrate strong communication skills and strong analytical skills, including causal design principles. S/he will have the ability to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment.

S/he will also show the ability to work independently, take initiative, and spend time in environments with significant restrictions to personal movement and some operating risks.

Able to live in and respect Africa's cultural environment.

LIVING CONDITIONS/ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS: Position will be based in a Mercy Corps office, and will be required to travel significantly throughout WCN Africa, including areas with potential security risks such as DRC and CARas well as periodic trips to Mercy Corps HQ support offices in Portland and Edinburgh. This position can expect up to approximately 40% travel time.

Strict adherence to Mercy Corps security policies and procedures will be required as will respect for local cultural norms and traditions.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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.

Please follow this link to apply:

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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  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Edinburgh | London
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Management, Administration and Finance
  • Closing Date: 2015-12-30

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