Mercy Corps

Senior Technical Advisor (Growing Agriculture and Incomes in Syria)

Mercy Corps

Job Description


Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.

Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been implementing emergency, life-sustaining, and resilience activities in Syria since 2012. Mercy Corps partners with a range of strategic institutional donors to deliver at high quality and a large scale. The evidence and learning component of Mercy Corps’ work and relationships with donors is critical to a meaningful impact on the lives of vulnerable people in Syria.

Mercy Corps is seeking a Senior Technical Advisor (TA) for Market Systems Development (MSD) for the USAID Growing Agriculture and Incomes in Syria (GROW) Activity. This five-year, $30-$45m contract is expected to strengthen agriculture markets in non-regime held areas of Syria. The Activity is expected to increase the earnings of small and commercial farmers by reducing constraints to production, strengthening private sector engagement, improving market access for farmers, and increasing economic opportunities for women and youth in agricultural value chains.

General Position Summary

The Senior TA for MSD will be responsible for MSD technical leadership and capacity-building for the GROW program team. S/he will guide implementation strategies in coordination with the Deputy Chief of Party and other leaders. The position will guide staff, providing them with technical assistance; and ensuring that common strategies and approaches are applied consistently in all communities. S/he will coordinate closely with the MEL team to ensure that systems are in place to track, analyze and report results. The selected candidate will keep abreast of the latest research and evolutions in the field of market/value chain development and integrate new ideas and approaches as appropriate, seek additional technical assistance as needed and ensure effective working relationships with collaborating agencies.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Provide a general framework describing the components (core exchange, supporting functions, and rules) of a functioning and inclusive market system, and work with the team to apply the principles to evaluate and diagnose specific sectors.
  • Building on market system diagnostics, support the team to set the vision for systemic change within selected market sectors. Collaborate with intervention leads to design, prioritize and implement:
    • Sector specific intervention strategies
    • Partnership strategies
    • Feasibility checks for each intervention.
    • Guide strategy and planning for the implementation of the Results Framework, coordinating closely with the DCOP, Program Implementation team, Partnerships Team, and MEL team.
    • Identify opportunities for advancing the technical vision of the program in line with its systemic change objectives, and lead the decision-making process for ensuring any gaps are addressed using a systems-change approach.
    • Guide the facilitation of market actors, providing strategic inputs in meetings and workshops with government, NGOs, private sector, and community partners to revise plans and promote partner acceptance/buy-in.
      Program Management
      • In cooperation with the Program team, support the development of work plans and guide the successful implementation of livelihoods and market systems development activities, ensuring that work plans are followed so activities are on time, target and within the approved budget, and program deliverables to achieve desired impact.
      • Provide technical guidance on livelihoods and market systems development and ensure that interventions are responsive to stakeholders and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plans.
      • Ensure that interventions are evidence-based and adhere to adaptive management principles.
      • Contribute to quarterly, semi-annual and annual reporting.
      • Conduct and/or update market assessments, involving direct stakeholders as well as public and private sector actors working within the target value chains and market systems.
      • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and Capacity Building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
      • Support the facilitation of planning meetings and workshops with other NGOs, private sector, and community partners to revise plans and promote partner acceptance/buy-in.
        • In coordination with the MEL team, monitor the implementation of activities through regular field visits and assessments to ensure program quality and impact. Document approaches, successes and lessons learned.
        • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, Administration and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.
        • Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites.


          • 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.
          • 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.
          • Engage in the recruitment and induction of appropriate staff for implementation.
            • Ensure the team understand the different components of MSD frameworks and support them to apply these frameworks in a technically rigorous way to different sectors.
            • Identify key learning needs and scope for case studies and learning documents.
            • Closely support the development of learning documents, playing a key writing and development role as assigned.
            • Work with regional MSD advisor to identify training needs and capacity gaps.
            • Provide day-to-day MSD coaching to members of the GROW team.


              • 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.


                • Work Collaboratively with MEL team to ensure monitoring & evaluation plan i fit for purpose , and reflect all internal and donor requirement from market systems perspectives
                • Facilitate and support the production of at least one learning brief each year, and organize learning events
                • Manage joint initiatives with private sector partners adaptively, monitoring KPI’s very regularly to know what is working and what is not, adapt initiatives and either stop those that are not working or take to scale those that are.


                  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our participants 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.


                    Number of direct reports is to be determined.


                    Reports directly to: GROW Deputy Chief of Party

                    Works directly with: Program Team, Technical Advisors, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit

                    Knowledge and Experience

                    • Master’s degree in agriculture, economics, or business administration;
                    • Minimum of five (5) years of demonstrated experience with USG or other similar development projects focused on market systems and livelihood development, preferably with an understanding of the Syrian or similar context
                    • Demonstrated ability to work and coordinate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders, including national and local government, donors, community-based organizations, and the private sector;
                    • Strong technical experience in market system approach to development.
                    • Spoken and written proficiency in English; Arabic encouraged, but not required

                      Success Factors
                      The successful Market Systems and Livelihood Advisor will be familiar with delivering facilitation-based interventions and the particular challenges of market systems development in the Middle East. S/he will have capacity to manage relationships with different stakeholders particularly of private sector. The position requires an ability to think creatively about improving opportunities for inclusive market development to promote sustainable livelihoods. A heavy emphasis will be placed on coordination with other actors implementing in the areas of intervention. S/he will have the capacity to spark innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to programming and to inspire groups to collaborate closely to implement high-quality programs.

                      S/he will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, Problem Solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.

                      Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

                      The position is based in Amman, Jordan and it requires up to 30% travel to other regional Mercy Corps hubs, including Gaziantep, Beirut, and Erbil. This is an accompanied position. Housing is individual accommodation, and staff enjoy unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office.

                      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.

                      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.

                      Ongoing 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.

                      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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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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