South Sudan: Food Security and Livelihoods Manager

9 March 2017 | Mercy Corps


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DFID awarded Mercy Corps to implement a Resilient Communities through Viable Economic Recovery (RECOVER) program in South Sudan. This program has been designed to respond to the specific needs, along with the complexity and diversity of shocks and stresses faced by targeted communities and the resultant vulnerabilities these create for women, men, girls, boys and youth. The program will meet households’ immediate needs, whilst strengthening their capacities, safety nets and enhancing positive coping strategies to enable communities to better cope with adapt to and manage shocks and stresses. The Food Security & Livelihoods Program Manager is a member for the technical oversight and planning unit that works under the supervision of Director of Programs for South Sudan related to this program. This position includes, developing tools for assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, capacity building of Mercy Corps staff, reporting, and evaluation of the program and preparing periodic reports back to donors, as well as close coordination with other Mercy Corps programs.


Mercy Corps began programming in Sudan in 1985, and has been operating in states of what is now South Sudan since 2005; operations have continued since the independence of South Sudan in 2011. We have been working to meet people’s immediate needs, and with communities, to build local capacity and promote economic development, especially with the eruption of violence in December 2013. Mercy Corps South Sudan’s priority areas are food security and livelihoods (focusing on cash assistance, market-based solutions in agriculture and economic development), WASH and Education. Mercy Corps has been implementing project which combine agricultural, economic development, WASH, Education and other humanitarian interventions to tackle the convulsive crises affecting vulnerable communities. Mercy Corps has worked to build relationships with local government and other actors, which has enhanced our understanding of local contexts and the multiple stakeholders involved. With the Peace Agreement and formation of a Transitional Government, Mercy Corps is expanding and intensifying multi-sector programming to rural areas in Rubkona and Panyijiar Counties, especially areas inaccessible in 2014 and 2015.


 Strategy and Vision

  • Provide program technical guidance, coordination, supervision and monitoring designed to meet program objectives, deliverables and goals.
  • Lead the development of a sectorial strategy based on a strong contextual understanding of South Sudan and in line with Mercy Corps values
  • Design viable strategies that are both respectful with the local culture and sensitive towards the population.
  • Provide technical input for Mercy Corps’ food Security programs
  • Ensure inclusion of national technical staff and other key stakeholders into strategy process.
  • Promote the development of a holistic strategy through creating linkages with other sectors strategies (NFI, WASH, Protection).
  • Contribute to the technical and operational advocacy strategies of the mission, region, and headquarters.
  • Contribute to policy discussion among Senior Management Team as applicable.


Grant Cycle Management and Design

  • Support the Mercy Corps team in identifying additional opportunities for medium and long-term programming.
  • Contribute to design of new proposals based on sectorial and general knowledge.
  • Integrate the use of community approaches in the design, implementation, and maintenance of project.
  • Participate in planning and design efforts as requested.
  • Develop and provide reports and databases as required by Director of Program.
  • Work with Finance to develop and to manage program budgets to ensure appropriate spending in accordance with donor commitment.
  • Lead Food Security and Livelihoods aspects of technical assessment in coordination with other thematic areas and/or other external sector agencies.
  • Develop realistic work plans per grant in conjunction with Grants Manager, sector leads and the Director of Programs.
  • Ensure provision of program quality in all aspects of design, planning, and implementation of Food Security & Livelihoods interventions.
  • Ensure the mainstreaming of core protection principles through design and planning of sector interventions.


Implementation and Programs Coordination

  • Supervise and monitor the implementation of the Food Security & Livelihoods activities, ensuring that all the activities are compliant with the grant requirements.
  • Work with Director of Programs to identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, donors, and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Participate in cluster working groups and meetings on food security/livelihoods/early recovery.
  • Develop surveys, need assessments, data and information collection, design interventions accordingly for on-going food security or livelihoods programs to build the capacity of Mercy Corps staff, as well as project stakeholders.
  • Provide technical oversight to the field teams and mentor senior staff in the design of Food Security & Livelihoods activities.
  • Communicate grant work plans related to Food Security & Livelihoods to senior technical staff and to the Director of Programs.
  • Work with DFID grant holder and other relevant grant holder to ensure joint planning and grant compliance.
  • Work with the South Sudan Director of Programs to overcome implementation challenges based on practical solutions.
  • Ensure the tracking, monitoring and quality reporting of all Food Security & Livelihoods.
  • Complete budget pipeline planning, monitoring and monthly follow up in collaboration with Mercy Corps staff and in communication with the Director of Programs.
  • Ensure documentation and filing of project activities in compliance with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Understand and appropriate application of SPHERE guidelines and promotion of best practices.
  • Understand and follow Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy and Do No Harm principles.


Finance and Operations

  • Prepare procurement plan based on project cycle for FSL interventions.
  • Manage grant budgets.
  • Ensure all necessary requests (procurement requests, purchase orders, etc.) are accurately prepared and submitted on time.


Grants, Donor Compliance and Reporting

  • Ensure internal and donor compliance through a strong knowledge of DFID rules and regulations.
  • Stay informed of incidents as they arise through the field and are raised through the program coordination mechanism.
  • Enhance internal and external compliance through supporting incident reporting mechanisms when needed.
  • Maintain and coordinate reporting and documentation of FSL activities.
  • Timely preparation bi-weekly, quarterly and interim donor reports for relevant activities under the guidance of the Reporting Officer and Director of Programs.


Team Management

  • Provide technical supervision and support to technical staff.
  • Assess capacity of Mercy Corps technical staff, as well as other stakeholders, to perform functions.
  • Work with other middle and senior management staff to consider alternative ways of doing distance capacity development and learning in the Syrian context.  
  • Recruit and train of field technical staff.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Director of Programs for South Sudan


Representation and Coordination

  • Develop and maintain effective coordination with community stakeholders, government bodies/officials, civil society bodies and humanitarian partners with an eye towards long-term, cooperative and collaborative relationship-building.
  • Effectively represent Mercy Corps in coordinating bodies and other forums, especially the South Sudan FSL Cluster at field and national levels.
  • Participate in local coordination mechanisms


Safety, Security and Access

  • 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.


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, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


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.


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.


REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Director of Programs
DOTTED LINE REPORTING TO: Head of Office – Bentiu
WORKS DIRECTLY WITH:  Sector leads/ grant holders, Programs Coordination Manager, HQ-based Program Operations, Finance, and TSU staff               


  • BS/BA in International Development or related field.  MS/MA preferred
  • At least 5 years of overseas experience; from starting up programs and managing Emergency and transitional programming; with particular focus on managing projects with time sensitive deliverables in complex settings.
  • Strong experience of mentoring a team, identifying talent and building their capacity.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Knowledge of humanitarian standards and codes, including SPHERE.
  • Knowledge of participatory approaches and community sensitization and mobilization.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and communicate effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
  • Experience with the development, implementation & compliance of DFID programs.
  • Ability to effectively represent Mercy Corps and its interests to key stakeholders including host governments, and national and international NGOs.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required;
  • Previous experience in similar contexts.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational skills.


The successful FSL Manager will combine exceptional technical skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have previous experience in working in l emergency programs in insecure and conflict context S/he will have an outstanding ability to design and provide technical oversight of innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the area. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development and strong mentoring skills. The successful candidate will be able to provide technical oversight to large relief programs in an austere environment; be focused on capacity building of national staff; have strong program support skills, good information management skills and maintain a sense of humor.


This position is based in Bentiu, South Sudan with travel to deep-field locations in Rubkona County, Panyijiar and Juba.  Accommodation in Bentiu is in containers/pre-fabs and may be shared with one other person. Filtered water, food stipend and basic cooking facilities are provided. Team members must be able to be 24 hours away from secondary, tertiary and specialized medical care. The security situation will be closely monitored. Team members should expect variable levels of insecurity.
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.




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