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Director, Regional Resilience Initiatives – Horn of Africa, Kenya

Nairobi (Kenya)


Mercy Corps is a leading global relief and development agency saving and improving lives in the world’s toughest places. In more than 40 countries, we partner with local people to put bold ideas into action, help them overcome adversity and build stronger communities. We help communities survive and move beyond emergencies. When natural disasters strike, economies collapse or conflict flares, Mercy Corps is there. Working with communities, we leverage local capacity 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.

In the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Region, Mercy Corps is a leader in innovative programming that is widely recognized by donors and policy makers for evidence-based solutions that build resilience. Resilience in the Horn is a regional priority that involves using an integrated approach that is operationalized through strategic-level assessments of country contexts, adaptive design and management of new and existing programs, and rigorous measurement, research and learning efforts. Through a long-term portfolio methodology to its programming, Mercy Corps has increasingly and systematically integrated a resilience approach as a pathway to sustain development gains. Recognizing that the ESA Region is plagued by a series of interconnected and complex shocks and stresses that increase vulnerability, Mercy Corps focused on how we need to work differently and build capacity in people, institutions and systems to better prepare for and recover in the short-term, while mitigating their risk and exposure over the long-term.


Reporting to the Regional Program Director, the Director of Regional Resilience Initiatives will develop, coordinate, manage, and support a strategic portfolio of resilience efforts in the Drylands of Africa. Although not constrained by boundaries, the geographic focus will be primarily Northern Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Other parts of the region will also have focus for key interventions for agency learning.

The Director will influence regional strategy, direct assessments, design research, share lessons, build partnerships, advance thought leadership and oversee resilience programming. S/he will develop and grow the region’s resilience portfolio, with a focus on building stronger regional impact, innovation and influence. Specifically, s/he will manage the Rockefeller’s Global Resilience Program (GRP) and is tasked with identifying and building new strategic partnerships with key peer organizations, governments, donor agencies, private sector actors and research/academic institutions to influence regional outcomes. To promote learning, s/he will serve as the agency’s focal point for resilience in East Africa, working with Country Directors, country teams, technical support teams and partners to build capacity as well as share lessons learned and good practices across programs and countries. Finally, s/he will pursue global funding opportunities that not only raise the profile and quality East Africa’s regional resilience work, but also strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio that is guided by a long-term strategy.


Strategic Guidance and Thought Leadership:

  • Develop, grow and communicate a clear strategic vision while actively guiding and evaluating its implementation and impact utilizing Mercy Corps’ Resilience Approach.
  • Work closely with Country Directors to understand diverse and complex contexts to identify critical and strategic areas of focus for resilience.
  • Ensure strategic thinking in resilience directly informs and contributes to Mercy Corps’ global resilience priorities.
  • Provide innovative avenues for testing global theories that will deliver new resources to scale results.
  • Keep abreast of new thinking, research and innovations, with particular focus on regional priorities.
  • Identify internal and external opportunities for raising the Region’s voice and influence.
  • Work closely with the Research and Learning, Policy and Advocacy and Thought Leadership and Communications teams.
  • Provide regular and timely updates on regional resilience strategy to SLT, Executives and Board of Directors.

Regional Resilience Portfolio Management and Development

  • Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of the GRP program development, implementation and management.
  • Support staff to ensure robust and thoughtful delivery of program goal.
  • Develop, manage and support existing and emerging resilience programs and initiatives that strategically link into one cohesive Resilience Strategy.
  • Provide technical and management guidance to key programs (BRACED, GIRL, GHG, and PRIME for example)
  • Recruit, develop, manage and support country-level or short-term, flexible resilience technical resources

Team Capacity-Building and Technical Support

  • Deliver technical support and mentoring to in-country program managers and technical resource personnel/teams in conducting systemic vulnerability and capacity assessments, incorporating adaptive management practices in their work, and incorporating resilience measurement.
  • Lead teams through Mercy Corps’ Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) processes as STRESS Leader and/or strategic advisor as appropriate.
  • Develop capacity-building strategy, including support visits, training workshops and designing/disseminating tools and resources.
  • Facilitate a strong regional community of practice to support and grow regional priorities on resilience.

Build Evidence Base for Resilience

  • Lead and support design and completion of strategic country and multi-country research initiatives that measure and analyze the impact of Mercy Corps’ resilience programming.
  • Develop strategic learning and thought leadership communications products in line with influence and thought leadership strategy.
  • Work in collaboration with peer agencies, government and regional institutions, research institutions and donor agencies to document,disseminate and amplify sharing of evidence.
  • Collaborate with Resilience Advisors from other regions to share learning, resources, and to influence the global resilience dialogue.
  • Support the regional roll out of Tola (an open-source software built internally to improve how we use program data) and integrate the platform into resilience programming.

Representation, Partnerships and Outreach

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with global and regional donors and partners that contribute to regional portfolio development, influence and impact.
  • Develop regional partnership strategy and identify strategic implementation, research and private sector partners in collaboration with the Regional Program Director, Country Directors, and country teams.
  • Represent Mercy Corps and ESA resilience programs at external events to build voice, brand and influence.

Learning, Innovation, and Impact

  • Coordinate the work of the ESA Resilience Hub to build a shared platform for the regional resilience work.
  • Connect to other regional Mercy Corps Resilience Hubs to shape and influence global dialogue.
  • Design and oversee the implementation of a strategic research and learning agenda to document and promote good practices and lessons learned.
  • Work with country teams to set priorities and facilitate access to resources to develop learning documents, evidence-based research, and impact studies that demonstrate the impact of our work.
  • Promote country teams’ work within the organization and cultivate participation in communities of practice and other internal forums around resilience building.


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.


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.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Resilience Officer/Hub Team, GRP Staff

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Regional Program Director – ESA

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Country Directors, Desk, country program teams, Global Resilience Leads, HQ (Technical Support Unit, Monitoring & Evaluation, Research and Learning Teams)


  • MA/S or equivalent experience in agriculture, economic development, environmental management, governance or other relevant international development field required.
  • Minimum of 5-7 years experience in program design, implementation, research, monitoring, evaluation, learning and cultivating strategic partnerships.
  • Experience in international development and humanitarian assistance in East Africa drylands preferred.
  • Thorough understanding of resilience thinking required, with an understanding of Mercy Corps’ approach to resilience a plus.
  • Strong understanding of food security, youth, peace building, financial services, livelihoods and/or environmental programs a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability for providing strong support to research, M&E, and learning efforts.
  • Proven experience in coordinating teams, negotiating and influencing others to get results without formal supervisory authority.
  • Strong representation, presentation, networking and facilitation skills. Proven ability to synthesize key messages and communicate complex subjects/topics effectively to multi-stakeholder groups.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multitasking, organizational, and prioritization skills.
  • Ability to deliver professional presentations and produce branded marketing/communication materials.
  • Demonstrated ability to transfer knowledge to diverse audiences through training, mentoring, and other formal and non-formal methods.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a diverse, geographically spread team.


The successful candidate will apply a strong combination of strategy development, program leadership, management, coordination, and relationship-building skills with an outstanding ability to advance innovative, impactful programs, and drive learning and thought leadership within the region, and globally With a high capacity to deliver results under tight deadlines with multiple priorities, the Resilience Director will have the ability to think ahead and decide on course of action, ensuring that the required resources to implement are available to achieve high-quality outcomes. Commitment, flexibility and openness to new practices, concepts, ideas and change for continuous improvement will serve the position and team well. Public relations skills are integral success factors in this position. Excellent negotiation and communication skills will foster the development of donor and partner relationships.


This position is based in Nairobi, Kenya, with frequent travel (at least 40%) to multiple field locations within East Africa in both secure and insecure environments. When in the field the team member will need to able to work in remote settings and possibly over weekends and/or evening as required by the schedule. The location is accompanied. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are several reputable international schools in Kenya. Staff have a high degree of access to medical, electricity, water, etc.

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.

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: Nairobi (Kenya)
  • Grade: Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position - Mid/Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Disaster Management (Preparedness, Resilience, Response and Recovery)
    • Environment
    • Operations and Administrations
  • Closing Date: 2016-04-30

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