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Program Director - Prospects Youth Employment Program, Liberia

Monrovia (Liberia)


Prospects is an urban youth employment and entrepreneurship portfolio funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Chevron Ltd, and various foundations, which takes a holistic approach to economic empowerment for young Liberians. The portfolio includes a range of programs seeking to engage young people across a broad youth demographic (from out-of-school vulnerable adolescents to university graduates), taking a human-centered approach to the design of various components:

  • A workforce development and entrepreneurship program delivering a range of services - including trainings, apprenticeships, cash grants, among others - to 8,000 'work-ready youth' and private sector businesses. Operating through Mercy Corps-administered one-stop centers and multiple partnerships.
  • A psychosocial program targeting 5,400 vulnerable youth which supports self-help groups to implement their own Group Development Plans through a bottom-up approach. Groups explore their own problems and select and implement microprojects which build core life skills.
  • A social enterprise called New Day providing information services (initially via a newspaper) which link young people to opportunities, and backend HR services to employers.
  • A range of funding and capacity building partnerships with NGO- and Government-institutions to implement youth employment interventions; and
  • Research and learning on youth employment issues and programming in Liberia, and influence of policy and other stakeholders based on these findings.


The Program Director has overall leadership, strategic, and operational responsibility for the Prospects portfolio. The PD is an innovator and strategic thinker with the ability to be hands-on in the day-to-day management of a leading-edge youth employment program. S/he will ensure effective coordination with donors, Partners, Government representatives, and other stakeholders and will be responsible for identifying and developing new funding opportunities, including the development of Phase III of the program.


Program Strategy

  • Provide overall strategic direction to the program, and ensure that program deliverables are attained across a breadth of program pillars.
  • Take an adaptive management approach to develop and innovate new processes, activities or services to improve impact.
  • Lead the development of the proposal and implementation plan for an anticipated 2-year Prospects Phase III. While Phase II has focused on piloting and ascertaining impact of different components, Phase III will have a particular focus on transition and sustainability.
  • Lead strategy for handover and collaboration with Government and/or other service providers and private sector partners

Methodological development

  • Lead and support in design of a range of workforce development services, including developing and engaging consultants to develop curricula, designing services such as apprenticeships, links to microfinance, and young professional networks, and designing delivery processes in Mercy Corps-run Youth Opportunity Centers and with partners.
  • Supporting the Social Business Manager in development of business model and capacity building of partner private sector companies.
  • Collaborate with Psychosocial Manager to support program promoting pre-employment skills for vulnerable youth through a youth-led community-based program.

Relationship Management

  • Ensure effective coordination and collaboration with program partners, including private sector actors, national and international NGO partners and Government entities, and consistently cultivate new relationships.
  • Ensure that an effective communication strategy is in place to share program progress and successes with program donors, HQ, Government and other stakeholders.
  • Develop strategies to ensure capacity building and skill transfer to national partners and stakeholders.

Budget and Operational Management

  • Develop, manage, and revise program budgets worth over $7m shares across multiple donors. Ensure rigorous accountability to donor rules and regulations and that all spending is donor-compliant and program-effective.
  • Work collaboratively with support departments (finance, logistics, and HR) to ensure effective and timely delivery across 3 Mercy Corps program offices and 4 Youth Opportunity Centers in 3 Counties.
  • Ensure that effective program management tools are in place, and that the project is delivered on time, on scope and on budget.

M&E and Learning

  • Support the Results, Learning and Research Manager in the evolution Prospects' innovative M&E and learning systems.
  • Promote influence based on findings from the Prospects program to local and international stakeholders, as well as to Mercy Corps internally.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at Conferences, technical working groups, and seminars related to youth employment and empowerment.

Staff Management and Training

  • Create an environment conducive to high performance, learning, adaptive management and innovation.
  • Oversee staff development and capacity building, with a focus on mentoring of senior team leads.
  • Facilitate trainings to increase Mercy Corps staff technical and management skills.


  • Provide detailed reports for internal and external use, and ensure high quality and timely donor reporting.

Business Development

  • Design and write proposal for Prospects Phase III, building on learning from Phase II with a greater focus on transition and sustainability
  • Identify opportunities to develop new activities or additions to Prospects

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 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 programs.


Direct supervision of PROSPECTS project team (50 national and 2 expatriate staff)


REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Director of Programs

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Other country Program Managers, HQ technical support unit, operations and finance team in the country and field offices.


  • 4 years of experience managing employment or economic development programs, ideally with a focus on youth.
  • Expertise in strategic planning and management across complex multi-component programs or portfolios.
  • Human-Centered Design approach to workforce development, social enterprise, livelihoods, or employment.
  • Experience in managing teams and budgets.
  • Experience engaging the private sector, government- and local partner-focused capacity building, and community level programming.
  • Excellent relationship management skills.
  • Excellent report writing skills and speaking skills and an excellent communicator.
  • Excellent computer skills, including all Microsoft applications.
  • Strong understanding and experience of donor policy and procedures.
  • Excellent English writing skills are required.
  • Experience in Africa preferred.


  • Innovator.
  • Ability to step back and see the big picture, while getting stuck into detailed delivery processes as required. A doer.
  • Capacity building approach to staff management, and proven experience in developing effective teams
  • Proactive approach to relationship cultivation and management.
  • Demonstrated problem solving skills.
  • Strong organizational and managerial skills.


The position will be based in Monrovia, Liberia and will require some travel outside the capital to urban centers (20%). Security is good and Mercy Corps staff travels throughout the country to program sites. Monrovia and towns in outlying areas are generally safe though nighttime travel and activities should be considered carefully. Life in Monrovia is still basic but very comfortable, with a vibrant expatriate community and supermarkets with western goods at western prices. This is an accompanied post, with an American school catering to most grades.

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: Monrovia (Liberia)
  • Grade: Mid level - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Social Affairs
    • Labour Market Policy
    • Youth
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Social Affairs
    • Labour Market Policy
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Youth
  • Closing Date: 2016-02-29

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