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Agriculture and Livelihoods Program Manager (RFSA Purpose 1 Lead) - Kasai, DRC


  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Kasai
  • Grade: Mid level - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Food Security, Livestock and Livelihoods
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed

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 operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 400 people working in North and South Kivu, with the overall country goal to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu and South Kivu. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo. With funding from humanitarian donors including USAID, FCDO and UN-donors, the humanitarian portfolio continues to expand in order to provide multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps plans to scale up and expand its humanitarian response to reach more beneficiaries with additional and varied assistance in a wider geographic area. All Mercy Corps interventions in DRC are implemented in a conflict and gender sensitive manner.

General Position Summary

The Agriculture & Livelihoods Program Manager/Purpose 1 Lead will lead interventions aimed at improving agriculture productivity (crops and livestock) and developing and sustaining on-farm, off-farm and/or non-farm livelihoods, from self-employment to small business creation, as part of a multi-year USAID Resilience Food Security Activity valued at up to $105 million. S/he will manage staff, resources and partnerships to ensure that the Activity meets its Purpose 1 targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. In particular Purpose 1 focuses on strengthening livelihoods and increasing incomes that ensure vulnerable households are able to meet basic food and nutrition needs in addition to becoming more economically secure. The Agriculture and Livelihoods Program Manager should be a technical expert in agriculture system programming (crop and livestock), able to combine a strong understanding of market dynamics and private sector engagement with climate smart considerations. S/he should also have an in-depth understanding and experience working with all supporting functions of livelihoods including supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship; facilitating livelihoods resilience and diversification strategies; linking with financial services; and supporting a vibrant market system for both agricultural inputs and outputs and alternative employment. The Agriculture and Livelihoods Program Manager will lead the Refine & Implement phase for Purpose 1 and, based on learning, develop/adjust intervention strategies and training curricula to ensure that quality standards are met in the implementation of activities, based on donor regulations and Mercy Corps' high quality programming standards.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and vision

  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative perspectives are feeding into strengthening the humanitarian portfolio.
  • Develops strategies for improving climate-smart agriculture production and increasing opportunities for livelihood creation and expansion, including on and off-farm.

program Management

  • Provide hands-on field support for the implementation of agriculture and livelihoods activities.
  • Advise country program teams in the design, development and implementation of related components.
  • Oversight of Purpose 1 (agriculture and livelihoods) activities implemented by sub awardees
  • Develop Purpose 1 related program documentation (ie Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP), quarterly and annual reports, Pipeline and Resource Estimation Proposal (PREP))
  • Organize regular coordination meetings with Purpose 1 team.
  • Ensure the team adopts and tracks program quality standards
  • Ensure the program meets the donor requirements.
  • Ensure that beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
  • Produce written reports on agriculture and livelihoods activities, capturing the impacts of activities.
  • Work closely with local authorities and communities to ensure integrated planning and implementation that is complementary and collaborative.

Team Management

  • Create and maintain a work environment based on mutual respect, where accountability is encouraged, alternative viewpoints are welcomed, the team strives for excellence, and is conducive to professional growth. Encourage a strong team spirit.
  • Promote and instill a focus on capacity building, deepen understanding and ownership of individual roles, and strengthen performance management systems through the implementation of a comprehensive staff training plan.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback through regular individual interviews and performance reviews.
  • Structure, recruit, and induct team members, working to ensure that team structure and staffing reflect the project's vision for gender equality and ensuring that staff are prepared to succeed and familiar with agency systems, procedures, and protocols.
  • Provide ongoing supervision, leadership, support, guidance and mentoring directly to program staff.
  • Support the development of national staff in line with program goals, so that national staff increasingly make decisions and take on management roles.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

  • Support the development of a strong learning agenda to build evidence on agriculture and livelihood approaches and share/disseminate with appropriate stakeholders
  • Help develop/track key indicators in agriculture and livelihoods in Kasai province and consider relevance for advancing Mercy Corps’ programs and strategy
  • Take part in collaboration, learning and adaptation (CLA) events with the team and relevant program stakeholders in accordance with USAID’s CLA toolkit.
  • Contribute to the design and implementation of robust CLA approaches and processes, ensure use of existing evidence to promote performance improvement, collaboration, learning and adaptation, and identify solutions to promote data-based decision-making among program and technical staff.
  • Contribute to knowledge-sharing, lessons learned and best practices documentation to build an understanding of programmatic results and impact in relation to desired outcomes.
  • Contribute to regular donor reporting.

Finance, Operation and Compliance Management

  • Collaborate with program, finance and administrative staff.
  • Ensure that program resources are used efficiently, effectively, and transparently towards meeting desired results.
  • Management and monthly monitoring of the budget, including monthly budget forecasts, and control of coherence of spending.
  • Monitor adherence to grant and sub grants agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations, including those of the government of DRC.
  • Prepare procurement plan and assist with the preparation of tenders.
  • Work with HQ technical advisors to develop SOWs for technical consultants, as required.

Influence & Representation

  • Participate actively in coordination meetings with relevant clusters and working groups in Kasai province
  • Manage effectively partner relationships in the design, implementation and monitoring of activities
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.
  • S/he will be responsible for coordinating activities with the local government, local partners, key stakeholders, and other international NGOs.

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.
  • Provide in-country and remote training and support for Mercy Corps team members, partners, and others.

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.


Supervises Directly: Purpose 1 team

Reports Directly to: Deputy Chief of Party

Works Directly with: Purpose 2 Lead, Strategic Learning Advisor, M&E Lead, Gender, Youth and Social Inclusion Lead, Activity team members, PaQ team, finance, administration and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ and regional Technical Support Unit and partner organizations

Knowledge and Experience

  • A master's degree in a relevant academic area—e.g., agrobusiness or agronomy—plus five years of relevant field-based experience with increasing technical responsibility leading to senior level expertise are required; or An undergraduate degree in a related field and eight years of relevant field-based work experience with increasing technical responsibility leading to senior level expertise.
  • At least 5 years of continuous experience with technical design and implementation of agriculture and livelihoods programming, including demonstrated experience leading large scale agriculture and livelihoods programming intended to improve food, nutrition and economic security through agricultural production and household resilience.
  • Technical expert in agriculture programming (crop and livestock), including seed systems, market systems, and environmental and cultural constraints to agriculture.
  • Technical familiarity with programming focused on savings and capital and income generating activities (IGAs).
  • Demonstrated experience implementing interventions for the development and enhancement of sustainable livelihood interventions including on-farm, off-farm, and/or non-farm livelihoods, from self-employment to small business creation.
  • Demonstrated experience creating effective private sector linkages.
  • Experience providing technical guidance and support to the development of livelihood strategies/approaches, and developing modules and programming on livelihood creation and expansion.
  • In-depth understanding of all components of livelihoods including selection, planning, and management of small businesses; livelihoods resilience and diversification strategies; market linkages; and private sector engagement
  • Demonstrated ability to network and engage with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated capacity to lead the collection, analysis and utilization of information from a broad range of sources.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational and prioritization skills.
  • Fluent oral and written French skills required.
  • Professional proficiency in English and Tshiluba is preferred.
  • Experience with USAID and US government regulations and program administration, management and reporting procedures and systems is preferred.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Previous experience in DRC is highly advantageous.

Success Factors

The successful Program Manager will have strong consultative skills, and a high degree of comfort in discussing agricultural techniques and livelihood issues, often in complex scenarios. This person will develop trust easily with field teams, other Mercy Corps leadership and external partners. This person should be an excellent written and verbal communicator able to represent Mercy Corps at public events. This person should be extremely well organized and capable of tracking multiple competing priorities. The successful person will be skilled at reducing complexities to clear and understandable non-technical terms with a focus on practical next steps. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

Mercy Corps offers a competitive benefits package for positions based in the Kasai province, which is an unaccompanied duty station. Tshikapa is the capital of the Kasai Province, a lively rural city of 971,000 inhabitants where humanitarian actors are present. In the city center water and power are quite stable thanks to the cash power system and hotels, small restaurants, shops and banks are reasonably accessible. There are 3 main hospitals which provide adequate health care services, with evacuation options to Kinshasa or surrounding areas as required. Telephone landlines, internet and mobile network capacity exist but are frequently at a less than optimal level. The temperature is often between 30-35 degrees.

Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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 Mercy Corps' policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Mercy Corps Diversity Statement

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.

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