Food Security & Livelihood Technical Advisor - CAR
Bangui (Central African Republic)
About Mercy Corps
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.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operational in the Central African Republic (CAR) since September 2007. With offices in Bangui, Bouar and Bambari, Mercy Corps works to integrate short-term humanitarian assistance with programs to strengthen community resilience and support market-led economic development, with a cross-cutting accent on governance and gender. Mercy Corps takes a sustainable approach to its programming, seeking to change behaviors and create institutions to foster long-term development in the sectors of protection and gender-based violence, civil society capacity building, water/sanitation, social cohesion and socioeconomic activities. Funding comes from a range of donors including USAID, the European Commission, OFDA, UNHCR, and private foundations. By addressing a number of overlapping and associated needs within a wide range of activities, Mercy Corps in CAR takes an integrated approach to ensure the greatest possible impact.
The Food Security and Livelihoods Technical Advisor (FSL TA) will be based in Bangui, as a member of the Team Leader of the Food Security and Livelihoods team, the FSL Technical Advisor will play a key role in providing direction and technical support in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Mercy Corps Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) strategy and all Mercy Corps FSL interventions and in establishing strong relationships with stakeholders (Government, Clusters, local partners etc.). S/he will be required to regularly visit project sites or provide remote support to monitor and report on the quality of FSL program interventions. The position holder will take overall responsibility in regular reviews and implementation of Mercy Corps FSL strategy.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
- Develop and provide oversight of the Food Security and Livelihoods sectoral strategy for CAR.
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Lead the development of FSL sector strategies and frameworks in accordance to the overall country strategy.
- Supports Mercy Corps CAR's integration into cross-Mercy Corps resilience working groups and integrates resilience concepts into country strategy and workplan
- As a strategic leader, actively participate in management meetings and countrywide strategy sessions.
- Actively identify and engage new strategic partnerships through collaboration platforms and clusters, and ensure a clear process of conducting due diligence and handing identified partners and projects to program teams for implementation.
Technical and Program Excellence
- Provide high quality technical advice in the implementation of all Mercy Corps Livelihoods and Food Security activities, including Food for Peace (FFP) program, both in the development of proposals and completion of project activities in the field
- Ensure program adherence not only to USAID guidelines but also to internationally accepted technical norms and standards of practices for Livelihoods and Food Security related activities.
- Monitoring the quality of the implementation of the FFP activities and other Livelihoods and Food Security related activities and advise the project teams how to further improve the quality and impact of delivered services to beneficiaries.
- Provide regular written/oral program progress updates to the M&E Manager and Director of Programs.
- Conduct and support participatory needs / vulnerability & capacities assessments of affected communities, ensuring active participation from beneficiaries, to assess the current needs and gaps and where Mercy Corps can make a valuable contribution for the beneficiaries. If necessary, make arrangements for technical studies.
- Provide input into and ensure that all donor reporting requirements on program impact are met and assist staff and partners in setting up reporting and tracking systems to provide such information in an efficient and timely manner.
- Represent Mercy Corps in Livelihoods and Food Security cluster meetings, government meetings and other coordination mechanisms and coordinate with other actors how to efficiently and effectively cooperate on Livelihoods and Food Security related activities in the program areas we have projects running.
- Prepare cost estimates and prepare/organize the necessary technical documentation for Livelihoods and Food Security related projects, such as drawings, specifications, bills of quantities, invitation and instructions letters, training manuals.
- Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
- Contribute to the improvement of the working environment and team spirit, taking initiatives of cohesion activities based on learning and motivation;
- Train/Provide technical to assistance government workers in good farming practices, seed selection, seed storage and preparation of compost to help them to increase production yields.
- Coaching, training and capacity building of relevant Mercy Corps staff and partners.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives
- Conduct project site visits to provide hands-on training to field staff on food security, cash transfer, agriculture, market systems and resilience methodologies.
- Design and develop a training curriculum for staff (and community members) in setting up community gardens and good farming practices.
- Ensure guidance is given to the Livelihoods and Food Security project teams on how to apply any sector approaches decided by the Livelihoods and Food Security cluster or government
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
- 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.
Reports Directly To: Director of Programs
Works Directly With: FSL Program Manager (Bambari), all others Program Managers, MEL Unit, Senior FSL Advisor (TSU), Operations Manager, Human Resources and Finance Managers.
Knowledge and Experience
- Degree in Agriculture, Agronomy, Horticulture, Economics, Nutrition or similar field
- Fluency in written and spoken French
- Three years of experience of humanitarian food security and & livelihoods programming; experience in cash transfer programming and entrepreneurship is essential
- Demonstrated experience in managing a team in an insecure humanitarian context
- Excellent time management skills
- Strong experience in data collection and analysis, experience in Emergency Market Mapping & Analysis (EMMA) is a plus.
- Strong experience in field work and community mobilization; and in training groups of beneficiaries
- Computer skills
- Strength in interpersonal, communication and presentation skills. Previous experience of liaising with the USAID, national and donor governments and NGOs as advantage.
- Flexibility and willingness to change work practices and hours, and capability to work in insecure environment.
- Proven FSL in Emergencies experience
- Prior experience working in CAR or similar contexts
- Prior experience implementing an FFP project
- Knowledge of USAID rules and regulations
- Ability to adjust to last-minute changes and demonstrate cultural sensitivity as well as a keen interest in forwarding the principles and values of Mercy Corps in the communities of intervention.
- Fluency in written and verbal English and French required
The successful FSL Advisor will have the ability to multi-task, set priorities, and respond to multiple deadlines within a complex team. S/he will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, assume leadership, and make solid decisions while working remotely from country leadership. S/he will have an ability to work independently, take initiative in tasks and self-learning, and be proactive in communications and development of professional relationships. S/he will be able to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment with demonstrated sensitivity to the people and issues in the region. S/he will demonstrate exceptional interpersonal, relationship and cross-cultural communication skills especially in high stress environments are essential for success. S/he will be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps; have the ability to creatively problem-solve, to juggle multiple priorities under tight deadlines and to calmly and diplomatically deal with unexpected and sudden events impacting program operations with patience, dynamism, tenacity and a good sense of humor.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position will be based in Bangui, Central African Republic with up to 40% travel to Mercy Corps field office in the North, West and South East of the country. This position is unaccompanied for spouses and/or children and includes hardship allowance and R&R benefits.
Recent increases in violence around the capitol and areas to the north and west has led to a more fluid and less stable situation on the ground. Hospitals and access to quality health care are very limited. Malaria is prevalent. It is estimated that 7-8% of the population may be HIV positive. Suitable group housing is available, but electricity and clean water are sometimes sporadic as well as the Internet.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/STA 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