Alternative Livelihoods Inclusive Markets Advisor Vacancy-MC/Feb242020/01031
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.
Mercy Corps began working in Kenya in 2008 and has to date built a robust and diverse portfolio of programs aimed at sustainably improving the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict. To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen resilience, market and governance systems, address the root causes of conflict, and equip vulnerable populations- in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized social groups- with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, productive, and drive the development of their communities. Mercy Corps Kenya also collaborates with Mercy Corps teams and partners in neighbouring countries to implement a number of multi-country and cross-border programs.
Program / Department Summary
USAID’s Office of Food For Peace recently awarded funding to a Mercy Corps-led consortium of Kenyan and international partners for a 5-year Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) in Turkana and Samburu Counties. Through a phased approach that emphasizes evidence gap analysis, as well as partnership, learning, and co-creation with government, civil society, communities, and the private sector, this program aims to drive sustained reductions in acute malnutrition in both counties.
The Mercy Corps’ NAWIRI consortium brings together the global leadership, research capacity, technical expertise, and implementation experience necessary to partner with local institutions to test, adapt, and scale evidence-based solutions. The program requires a robust county-centered design with government leadership, active engagement from communities, the private sector, and civil society. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties.
General Position Summary
The Alternative Livelihoods and Markets Advisor will be responsible for providing leadership, technical oversight and ensuring direct management for all activities related to livelihoods and market systems development under the NAWIRI activity. S/he will define implementation strategies in coordination with the Deputy Chief of Party, technical, research and learning leads. The position will train staff, providing them with technical assistance; and ensuring that common strategies and approaches are adapted and implemented with consistent quality in all communities. S/he will coordinate closely with the Research, Learning and M&E Leads to ensure that systems are in place to track, analyze and report results. This position will be responsible for the growth of alternative (non-farm) livelihoods and employment as well as strengthening local markets systems to reliably deliver affordable nutritious foods and health supplies into rural communities. The Alternative Livelihoods & Markets Advisor will work closely with the Social Dynamics Lead to understand the livelihood, employment and market opportunities and challenges unique to women, youth and adolescents and adapt activities accordingly and the Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor to address household economies more holistically than traditionally siloed livelihoods and micro-businesses.
Livelihoods across Samburu and Turkana are diverse and further diversifying as stability and investment spreads across Kenya’s northern arid lands. Although some communities and households are able to benefit from growth and change, others are struggling to find a place in the increasingly diversified economy. The Alternative Livelihoods and Markets Advisor plays a pivotal role in expanding the evidence base on the role of alternative livelihoods in community and household resilience as well as the impact of seasonal and idiosyncratic shocks to micro-business (entrepreneurship) and long-term resilience.
Essential Job Functions
VISION AND STRATEGY
Support the Technical Director and Deputy Chief of Party (DCoP) by providing vision and strategy to the program’s alternative livelihoods and market systems approach and how it integrates into the overall technical direction and implementation.
Forge strong, institutional linkages and maintain a productive working relationship with USAID, Government of Kenya, the CRS consortium, PREG Partners, and other relevant partners in economic and market-related activities.
Assist in defining and analyzing NAWIRI practices and priorities across all partners; identifying opportunities for integration and synergies within other sectors such as nutrition, health, water systems, and governance.
Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed; promote and model a culture of learning and adaptive management.
Ensure that cross-cutting aspects of the program such as nutrition, gender equity, social inclusion, youth, climate adaptation, and resilience are included and well integrated into the economic and market development strategy and activities.
Contribute technical expertise that feeds into a dynamic community of practice of NAWIRI staff and partners; sharing best practices across all NAWIRI areas and workstreams, while seeking opportunities to build NAWIRI staff’s capabilities.
Collaborate with different program components including research, implementation, monitoring & evaluation (M&E) and learning to drive overall effectiveness and coherence of program strategy from inception to scale up..
Represent NAWIRI at all relevant economic and markets-related meetings/workshops and other stakeholder meetings as requested.
Upon start-up, review all program documents and relevant literature including county plans and priorities.
Lead economic and markets approaches through sharing technical knowledge and collaborating with research and technical leads to support learning agenda based on technical expertise, county priorities, and gaps in knowledge and understanding.
Collaborate closely with NAWIRI Research and Learning teams to adapt learning agenda as needed based on incoming information.
Use Learning and Evidence Gaps to develop and scale implementation strategy, approaches and activities; integrating market systems into additional technical areas as needed.
Assist in activity budgeting and target setting.
Design and lead implementation of all market analysis.
Develop and train in use of business and market analysis tools and templates that evaluate seasonal risk and recovery costs.
Work closely with the Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor to develop tools and templates that model household economies under different scenarios and evaluate seasonal risk and recovery costs or opportunities.
Provide direct training and other capacity-building assistance to NAWIRI staff, field teams and partners.
Develop and implement a comprehensive staff training series to build team capacity in the area of market systems.
Develop and use tools and materials that increase knowledge and understanding of market systems with NAWIRI staff and local partners.
Identify, assess and on-board relevant stakeholders/implementing partners/key market players for collaboration with NAWIRI interventions & implementation.
Provide technical advice to program managers (including quality control monitoring visits) and trainings/workshops as required.
Coordinate closely with Institutional Strengthening Lead to strengthen the technical knowledge, information analysis, prioritization, budgeting and cross-sectoral integration of relevant county government officials and local organizations.
Develop approaches and/or models to increase private sector investment and participation in community-level market systems for economic growth and year-round supply of affordable nutritious foods.
Facilitate the development and execution of context specific solutions to improve collaboration, coordination and performance;
Work with Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) partners to strengthen linkages with other actors to enhance organizational learning which directly impacts staff performance and productivity.
In the event of a natural disaster, integrate market systems approaches into response activities.
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
Coordinate with the NAWIRI team in the Nairobi and county offices to build systems that promote participant accountability by ensuring that those most impacted by market-related issues are represented during program-facilitated community dialogue events, assessments and activities.
Collaborate with county leadership and lead county-based markets and labour staff to ensure that communities are informed about our programs and what we do, are aware of their entitlements, are comfortable giving feedback and that feedback is used to improve the quality of our programs.
Develop plans to mentor and coach colleagues to build their capacity to enable them to develop high quality reports and other documents.
Coordinate with NAWIRI M&E teams to integrate the use of market systems tools for monitoring and evaluation.
Provide technical support and advice to NAWIRI and partner leadership on the strategic planning, development, implementation, evaluation, and reporting of economic growth and market-related activities, particularly those that contribute to the strategic objectives of the program.
Collaborate with NAWIRI learning team to develop and maintain a culture of learning between programs through consistent sharing during reflection points and through analysis and interpretation of M&E data, processes and systems.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING
Collaborate with M&E team to development and implement a relevant monitoring and tracking systems.
In coordination with the Learning team, manage the institutional knowledge within the NAWIRI program and contribute to wider knowledge management;
Lead reporting, planning and budgeting of water systems activities under the guidance of the DCoP.
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 projects.
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.
Technical oversight of field based activities undertaken by NAWIRI staff and partners.
Reports Directly To: Deputy Chief of Party, NAWIRI
Works Directly With: Strategic Learning Lead, Research Design Lead, Institutional Strengthening Lead, Social Dynamics Lead, the M&E team, partner agencies, local government, USAID and support departments (Finance, HR and Operations). Coordinates with HQ Program Performance team and the Technical Support Unit (TSU)
Knowledge and Experience
Advanced degree in economics, business, marketing or entrepreneurship and/or development-related field such as community development or public administration.
A minimum of 5 years experience in a technical role on an international development program related to alternative livelihoods, market development or entrepreneurship.
More than 2 years experience working in rural economies in the ASAL counties highly preferred.
Experience on a USAID-funded program preferred
Experience in marketing, business development and access to finance; public and private sector development;
Very good professional experience in market systems development and facilitation; experience in facilitating stakeholders’ engagement including assessment of incentives and capacity (attributes and gaps), specifically facilitating private sector involvement.
Hands-on experience plus a certificate from an internationally recognized market systems development training program preferred.
Demonstrated expertise and ability to investigate and provide consultative services on a broad range of technical questions and policy issues including business/enterprise development, feasibility studies, business development services (BDS), market facilitation, investment incentives and finance service delivery and policy reform.
Proficient analytical skills that demonstrate an understanding of the current concepts, priorities, and issues in program monitoring, data collection, and evaluation.
Experience in the design or implementation of formative or implementation research with qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methodologies required.
Highly developed written and oral communications skills as well as strong interpersonal communication and team building skills to ensure effective coordination within USAID and effective advocacy of Agency positions externally with both specialist as well as non-specialist audiences.
Advanced computer skills and experience developing data management systems.
Team player who takes initiative and is a problem-solver.
Effective verbal and written communication, multitasking and organizational s
Ability to manage priorities autonomously
A successful Alternative Livelihoods and Markets Advisor will be a master trainer with the ability to effectively build capacity across team members and partners. S/he will have demonstrated ability to follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. The Alternative Livelihoods and Markets Advisor will have proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative and be accountable for results.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.