Kenya: COP, Livestock Market Systems Development Activity

23 April 2017 | Mercy Corps


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Mercy Corps is seeking candidates for the Chief of Party (COP) who will lead the implementation of an expected five-year USAID-supported  Feed the Future (FtF) Livestock Market Systems Development Activity that will support a livestock and market systems program in Kenya’s Arid Lands. Mercy Corps has been present in Kenya since 2009, focusing its interventions around four objectives: 1) peace and conflict management; 2) livelihood/market systems; 3) governance (particularly at the county level) and 4) youth employment/employability (including the social and economic development of adolescents). The four objectives serve to increase community resilience to drought and other shocks and stresses, and to decrease fragility with a particular focus on Kenya’s Arid Lands.  Mercy Corps’ vision for change requires the private sector, government and civil society to work together to create meaningful and sustainable change.


The Livestock Market Systems Development Activity will support USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative and specifically will improve households’ income, productive assets and resilience to drought and other shocks. Illustrative objectives are likely to include: diversified livelihood options, increased inclusiveness of value chains, improved nutrition, improved capacity to peacefully manage conflicts, and community-based natural resource management.




The Chief of Party (COP) will manage all aspects of program including meeting the objectives of the project while providing overall technical, administrative, operational, and logistical management of the project, with a focus on achieving the results defined in an associate award, which will be overseen and connected to a Leader with Associate (LWA). The COP is responsible for developing a strong, coherent program vision and initiating innovative strategies across the program. The position requires significant long-term experience in pastoral systems and livestock issues in the region, and strong leadership, communication and ability to work collaboratively with the LWA lead.





Strategy and Vision

  • Provide strategic vision, leadership and overall responsibility for all aspects of the program’s development, implementation, and management.
  • Outline and maintain a strategic plan for the implementation of program activities, including finalizing target areas/activities, methods of operation, and means of evaluation.


Program Management

  • Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of program implementation, development and management. Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners, and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic plan. 
  • Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites.
  • Coordinate with program and finance and administration staff to ensure operational systems are in place to support field activities including logistics (transport, warehousing and asset management), procurement, security, administration and human resources.
  • Coordinate regularly and closely with the LWA lead agency and ensure our project activities are sequenced well and build on each other’s activities.



Coordination and Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, private sector, donor, NGO and other relevant events in the field, in close coordination with the Country Director. 
  • Ensure project activities are working to support and help achieve relevant county government objectives, while strengthening their capacities.
  • Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.


Team Management

  • Create a work atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellent personnel at all levels.
  • Implement, and ensure all staff are effectively using the performance planning and management system, establishing performance expectations and regularly providing constructive feedback. 
  • Promote accountability by conducting staff annual performance reviews with direct supervisees, and ensuring that supervisory staff do the same.  
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.



  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that ensure the safety and security of the team in all aspects of its work. 
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.


Organizational Learning


As part of Mercy Corps’ agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities.


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.



Direct supervision of: Deputy Chief of Party,  Finance and Grants Manage rand TBD.




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:  Kenya Country Director


WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Other program managers in-country, HQ Program Operations Team members, Technical Support Unit team members in HQ, LWA lead agency.




  • MA/S or equivalent in business, agriculture, social science, management, international development or other relevant field.
  • 10-15 years of overseas experience including five years in a senior management position.
  • Strong understanding of U.S. government compliance issues
  • Prior experience as a Chief of Party or Deputy Chief of Party
  • Proven experience managing a large, complex team in multiple field offices.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English, including report development, writing and editing.
  • Strong management skills, with good understanding of relevant cross-cultural issues.
  • Proven technical experience in pastoralist livelihoods, livestock development, conflict mitigation, and natural resource management.
  • Previous experience in Kenya or the Horn of Africa is preferable.




The successful COP will combine exceptional management skills and experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships.  He/she will be proactive communicators and work with consortium members to plan, share and ensure activities are well sequenced with one another and build on each other’s work to strengthen impact.  He/she will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the region. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural team and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. S/he will have demonstrated skills in managing programs in challenging insecure environments. 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 in all situations.




This position will be based in Nairobi which is an accompanied post. There is unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are many international schools in Kenya. Staff have a high degree of access to services (medical, electricity, water, etc). This position requires approximately 50% travel regularly by road and air to project offices in often insecure environment.


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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