Mercy Corps

Program Manager (Food Security, Livelihood and Cash)

Mercy Corps

Job Description

*Position will be dependent on confirmation of successful funding allocation*

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, Bambari and Bangassou, 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 has come from a range of donors including BHA, the European Commission, UNICEF, OCHA, AFD and private foundations. By addressing a number of overlapping and associated needs within a wide range of sectors, Mercy Corps CAR takes an integrated approach to ensure the greatest possible impact.

General Position Summary

The Food Security and Livelihoods Program Manager (FSL) will be based in Bambari, as the key project lead of the potential upcoming BHA-funded of EMERGE II, which goal is to save lives and prevent human suffering among food-insecure, displaced, returnee and host households in Ouaka Prefecture of the Central African Republic. The FSL Program Manager will lead on the implementation of all the activities while facilitating and supporting the program assessments (baselines, market assessments, and PDMs). This FSL program will mostly be implemented through Cash Transfer modalities (electronic vouchers), targeting approximately 7,200 households in the Ouaka prefecture for both food security and Agriculture outcomes. They will ensure that the direct and indirect FSL intervention is of the highest technical quality while integrating all Mercy Corps minimum standards and ensuring that monitoring processes are in place, that reporting is high-quality and timely, and that the program is continually assessed and solutions quickly put in place for any changes in local context, working in close coordination with the Bambari Head of office and the support team. They will ensure effective implementation and communication on the progress of the program to local authorities and other humanitarian actors in Bambari.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and Vision

  • Contribute to the development of Mercy Corps Food Security, Livelihoods and Cash strategies based on a strong contextual understanding of the Ouaka and in line with Mercy Corps values.
  • Design viable strategies that are both respectful with the local culture and sensitive towards the population.
  • Ensure inclusion of national technical staff and other key stakeholders into strategy development process.
  • Promote the development of a holistic strategy through creating linkages with other sectors’ priorities.

Design and Planning

  • Lead the EMERGE II team through the overall planning process, while identifying and contributing to the FSL design of additional opportunities for short, medium and long-term programming.
  • Integrate the use of community approaches in the design, implementation, and maintenance of projects.
  • Develop realistic and quality work plans in conjunction with relevant Department leads and the Director of Programs.
  • Ensure the mainstreaming of core protection principles through design and planning of sector interventions.
  • In collaboration with the Head of Base, ensure an advance planning of support aspects needed in the implementation of the program

Program and Technical Implementation and Coordination

  • The FSL-C Program Manager is responsible for the implementation of Mercy Corps’ EMERGE II interventions and ensuring that the highest technical standards are respected for all of the conditional and unconditional cash transfer programs, cash-for-work, and agricultural activities.
  • Ensure that all agricultural interventions are planned in a very timely manner and in accordance with the seasonal calendar
  • Lead all FSL aspects of technical assessments in coordination with other thematic areas and/or other external sector agencies.
  • Develop needs assessment strategies, design interventions and contribute to building the capacity of Mercy Corps staff, as well as project stakeholders in FSL programming.
  • Provide technical oversight to the field teams and mentor senior staff in the design of FSL activities, including cash transfer modalities, farming methods and income generating activities.
  • Supervise and monitor the implementation of FSL activities, ensuring that all activities are compliant with the grant and Mercy Corps requirements.
  • Work with the Director of Programs to identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with donors and other stakeholders.
  • Participate in training of FSL staff (officers and assistants) to ensure they have solid understanding of key program documents and tools, including MEL tools
  • Working closely with the Head of Office and MEL Manager to develop and deliver upon an integrated implementation plan throughout the program and oversee the development of weekly and monthly work plans in line with the program implementation plan.
  • Lead the implementation of FSL program, engaging local authorities, and existing government extension workers like agriculture and livestock extension workers.
  • Liaise regularly with communities/municipalities and ensure community participation especially youth and women in all steps of project cycle.
  • Participate in and lead monthly Budget versus Actual meetings with the program team.
  • Work with logistics/procurement and programming staff to select service providers for food and livelihoods services including private sector providers.
  • Produce timely reports for internal use on the status of on-going programming; and contribute to donor reporting.

Program Impact and Program Management

  • Prepare procurement plans based on project cycle for FSL activities and infrastructure rehabilitation works.
  • Manage grant budget lines related to technical areas of specialization (conditional, unconditional and agricultural inputs vouchers).
  • Work very closely with the MEL Unit to translate assessment criteria to tools and methodology for monitoring and evaluation of interventions related to the program.
  • Provide technical input and indicators to the MEL Unit to be incorporated into tools and formats as needed.
  • Enhance internal and external compliance through supporting incident reporting mechanisms when needed.
  • Maintain and coordinate reporting and documentation of all FSL activities.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and program participants’ accountability standards.

Team Management

  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with Career Development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
  • Lead, and manage staff under direct line management, ensuring that they have clear objectives and receive meaningful feedback on their performances.
  • Develop internal capacity in implementing cash transfer, income generating activities and market Analysis activities.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.


  • 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

All FSL Program Team (Project Officers and Project Assistants).


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs Works Directly With: Head of Base, all others Program Managers, MEL Unit, HQ Technical Support Unit TSU), Operations Team, Human Resources and Finance Teams

Accountability to Partners

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our Partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participating communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Ability to work across departments to achieve results in a short period of time.
  • BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, international development or other relevant field. MA/S preferred.
  • A minimum of 3 to 5 years experience of managing humanitarian programs in food security, livelihoods and cash.
  • Strong experience in food security, livelihoods and agricultural programming, in additional to cash transfer programming is essential, particularly with vouchers and electronic vouchers
  • Experience managing humanitarian relief and/or transitional programs in areas affected by insecurity and conflict.
  • Previous experience working in Francophone Africa is strongly preferred.
  • Experience supervising staff, starting up programs and working in difficult environments.
  • Experience managing programs in Community Development, Food Security, Cash Programming, Livelihoods and Agriculture.
  • Knowledge of BHA (FFP) requirements, guidance and compliance is essential.
  • Excellent knowledge of Mercy Corps structure, resources and processes
  • Previous experience of liaising and coordinating with the UN, national and donor governments and NGOs is an advantage..
  • Strong organizational and work-planning skills.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.
  • Strong management skills with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Solid knowledge of and experience with security protocols is essential.
  • Fluency in written and oral French and English is required.
  • Knowledge and experience of the CAR context, is an advantage.

Success Factors

The successful FFP Programs Start-up Lead is an effective leader that can build and motivate a team of people from a variety of departments under pressure and with limited time. They are very well organized, communicate clearly and use strong interpersonal skills to navigate challenging organizational politics situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position will be based in Bambari, Central African Republic and may require up to 50% travel to the field sites and other Mercy Corps field offices. This position is unaccompanied for spouses and/or children and includes hardship allowance and R&R benefits.

The security situation in CAR can be very volatile with pockets of violent outburst in various areas of the country.

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 may have shortages at times.

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.

Ongoing Learning In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 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.

Equal Employment Opportunity Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

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