Mercy Corps

Shelter Advisor

Mercy Corps

Job Description


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 present in Nigeria since 2012, focusing its interventions on adolescent girls’ empowerment, Economic Development and conflict mitigation. With the insurgency spilling over from the northeast of Nigeria and causing displacement of millions of individuals, Mercy Corps has decided to address the rising humanitarian needs among displaced households and vulnerable host communities by starting its humanitarian program in July 2014. The current program aims to assist populations affected by the crisis in North-East Nigeria. With funding from humanitarian donors including OFDA, FFP, and private contributions the humanitarian program has been focusing on food assistance, non-food items distribution, protection, livelihoods support, WASH, nutrition, shelter and Capacity Building of humanitarian response actors. Mercy Corps is now planning to scale up and expand its humanitarian response to reach more beneficiaries with additional and varied assistance in a wider geographic area, including northeast of Maiduguri.

General Position Summary

The Shelter Advisor is a key technical position for Mercy Corps Nigeria’s emergency response to the humanitarian crisis in North East Nigeria. The position has strategic and technical responsibilities, including matrix responsibility of all Shelter programs and activities implemented by Mercy Corps and funded by different donors. The Shelter Advisor provides technical leadership and indirect supervision to relevant program staff. S/he is responsible for overseeing program implementation and ensuring achievement of program objectives in compliance with Mercy Corps, donor requirements and international standards.

S/he actively participates in relevant humanitarian Coordination at state level and ensures field staff participates in coordination meetings at sub-office level. S/he plays a key role in program development, proposal writing, and shaping Mercy Corps’ overall program strategy for emergency and transitional programming in Shelter.

Essential Job Responsibilities


In close collaboration with every office management structure including the team leader and Operations Manager:

• Oversee and ensure that procurement is completed, documented and delivered to end-user in a timely manner, ensuring that items procured meet specifications of the end-user while adhering to donor and Mercy Corps procurement guidelines.

• Oversee all aspects of asset as well as stock management for the Shelter commodities, including ensuring sound transfers between sub-offices or to the program implementation sites

• Ensure quality and accuracy of the BoQs and Contracts, Cost estimates and any other project-related documentation needed for procurement. Managing the tendering process and monitoring contractors’ progress and quality of work. Ability to resolve field and construction issues

• Create a master plan for Shelter clusters to ensure safety of residents, functionality, and protection of the natural environment

• Ensuring that land ownership is cleared and no Shelter or other related infrastructure is constructed on disputed land.


• Provide leadership and management of all aspects of Shelter Design" id="link" class="link">Program Design, planning, implementation, quality and accountability.

• Participate to the elaboration of technical design on Shelter interventions for program proposals and budgets as requested.

• Build the capacity of all national Shelter team members with special focus to more senior positions, in Program Management,

• Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities needs for Shelter and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines.

• Integrate community approaches, gender and disablement sensitivity, Do No Harm/protection mainstreaming, environmental sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.

• Establish, manage and coordinate work plans for all program activities, including making adjustments in response to any changes in the security situation in close coordination with the field management structure.

• In collaboration with Project Manager, manage the Shelter program budget, tracking of program spending and financial obligations, verification of monthly budget-vs-actual reports, estimation of projected spending and submission of monthly cash forecasts, etc.

• Manage the monitoring and evaluation system for all Shelter program activities, including the planning and execution of any required evaluations, to ensure that accurate and timely information is available. Document lessons learned and best practices and integrate into program activities as appropriate.

• Conduct regular field visits to all program sites in order to ensure that shelter programs are adapted to local needs, provide quality control assurance, and to conduct regular audits of program activities.

• Provide regular internal and external reports on program status, as required.


• Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.

• Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.


• Develop and maintain working relationships and coordinate with relevant international and local agencies active in the Shelter working group and related coordination platforms.

• Document and communicate program implementation experience and lessons learned to support coordination and learning efforts.


• Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.

• 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.


• 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Shelter program staff.


Reports Directly To: Head of Technical Unit

Works Directly With: Operations, Finance, Program Managers, Technical advisors, and others

Knowledge and Experience

• BA/S in engineering, management, international development or other relevant field. Related MSc or MAs is a key asset.

• 5-7 years’ experience successfully managing programs and teams in the field, preferably in Africa. Program experience should include program implementation, M&E, needs assessments, reporting and proposal development and budget monitoring required

• Experience with Shelter programs with a view on sustainable infrastructure, Cash-for-Work programming required

• Experience working with local stakeholders required

• Good organizational, program management skills and the ability to anticipate program needs.

• Ability to effectively represent the organization and its interests to a diverse range of stakeholders, including local and international government officials, local Civil Society Organizations, donors, other international organizations, the media and the community.

• Demonstrated proficiency with the MS Office software (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is required, with strong focus on Excel.

• Ability to analyze databases resulting from surveys

• Excellent oral and written English skills are an advantage, with local languages skills a bonus.

• Proven experience in working in insecure environment and through Remote Management.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will be conscientious, with an excellent sense of judgment and commitment to integrity. S/he will have strong understanding of the long-term implications of humanitarian work and the importance of incorporating the development of civil society and local partners into activities.

S/he will be able to interact productively with partner and peer agencies, and demonstrate effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational, and prioritization skills.

Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required. S/he will have interest and ability to travel and work in remote environments and awareness of and sensitivity to multi-cultural international development work and ability to train and facilitate dialogue among a diverse group of individuals with various skill sets and working styles.

Finally, s/he will be able to creatively problem-solve, juggle multiple priorities under tight deadlines, and to calmly and diplomatically deal with unexpected and sudden events impacting program operations. Patience, tenacity, dedication to improving aid delivery and a good sense of humor are key for this role.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Maiduguri (Borno State, Nigeria) and it requires up to (50%) travel to other field locations where humanitarian programs are implemented and the main office in Abuja.

Considering the frequent travel from/to different field locations, this position will require flexibility in terms of accommodation and logistics. Housing in the field will be in hotels or guesthouse where available. Security in the field locations require additional vigilance and accessibility will be reassessed continuously. Access to good medical services in the north east is limited. Phone communication, internet, electricity and water is available, but can be erratic. The location is eligible for hardship and R&R benefits. Given the nature of the humanitarian response, working hours require flexibility and working through weekends/evenings might be necessary.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit 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.

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