Technical Director: The Apolou Activity – Moroto, At Mercy Corps

About Mercy Corps
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.

The Program Summary
Mercy Corps implements high quality- analytical work in tough environments and have been operating in Uganda since 2006 and currently manage a range of programs in Acholi, West Nile and Karamoja sub-regions with funding from a host of donors. In October 2017, Mercy Corps was awarded a 5 year USAID/ Food for Peace- funded program working in 4 districts in Karamoja (Amudat, Moroto, Kotido and Kaabong), the Apolou Activity. The Activity goal “improved food and nutrition security” has four purposes with cross cutting themes of gender and youth and resilience:

Inclusive and effective governance contributes to food and nutrition security

Improved health and nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women, children under five, and adolescent girls

Reduced incidents of WASH related disease

Improved livelihoods and incomes support household food security

Apolou is implemented by a consortium of actors led by Mercy Corps, including Save the Children, Whave Solutions, three local partners (KAPDA, NARWOA and Riam Riam) and Tufts University’s Feinstein International Centre (FIC).

The Position (General Position Summary)
The Technical Director (TD) will work directly with the Chief of Party (CoP) to help provide overall technical leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the five-year $41 million dollar USAID/ Food for Peace (FFP) Development Food Security Assistance Program (DFSA), titled “Apolou”, and the $5 million “Resilience Challenge Fund” program funded by the USAID Bureau of Resilience and Food Security. The Technical Director will overall accountable and providing leadership to the multi-sectoral technical team to ensure the program remains sequenced, layered and integrated, and that resilience and sustainability remains front and center across all program approaches. S/he will manage and lead technical managers, officers and advisors, and work in close coordination with the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning team to ensure resilience-thinking supports design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes within and across

Programs, leading to greater impact. The Technical Director will lead the technical team and be a part of the Apolou Senior Management Team, and play an instrumental role to deliver high quality and relevant programming which are contextually grounded. In addition to strengthening technical approaches, s/he will be responsible for guiding teams and capturing program successes, failures, and lessons-learned, and facilitating adaptive management and reflective processes to ensure learning improves programming. S/he will directly manage and oversee the resilience research and learning program components, working closely with the MEL team.

S/he will also be tasked to support the CoP with identifying and building new strategic partnerships with key peer organizations, government and donor agencies, private sector actors and research and academic institutions in resilience, and represent the program as directed in regional, national and international forums. S/he will adopt an act- learn- innovate strategy: act –capture evidence through action, creating evidence base for what works and what does not to build resilience; learn – develop rigorous research and learning agendas; and innovate – drive new business and activate partnerships for innovative resilience-focused programming.

Essential Responsibilities

● Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.

● Oversee the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans for the program.

● Lead the development of a program-wide resilience-building framework to guide coordination and integrated implementation.

● Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.


● Directly manage the technical team that comprises of the purpose leads, technical managers, coordinators and officers to ensure technical leadership is provided to the field implementing team for successful implementation

● Together with the Implementation Director, lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic work- plans, and ensure the delivery of the same.

● Document processes and achievements to ensure best practices are captured and disseminated. This will include the continual re-evaluation of program activities and information, with resulting activity adjustments in keeping with on-going learning.

● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

● Ensure effective and compliant allocation of resources towards meeting objectives

● Support the CoP manage the Mercy Corps Technical Support Unit (TSU), national and international consultants as needed to accomplish objectives of selected components

● Support the Program Quality Manager on developing and documenting monthly, quarterly and annual reports capturing program impact, influence and innovation. .

● Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.

● Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and, ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.

Coordinate with the Implementation Director as a program focal person representing all program staff to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented in a coordinated fashion according to schedule, budget and quality.

● Coordinate with the Partnership & Quality Manager to ensure sound coordination in the context of an overall program strategic and resilience-building framework with the consortium partners.

● Coordinate with Human Resource (HR) team to support the recruitment process by providing orientation, professional development and ongoing training of staff so that they have the quality and technical capacity necessary to ensure the successful implementation of activities.

● Work with the Implementation Director to ensure program strategies and activities represent global good practice in market facilitation, health & nutrition, WASH and governance.


● Work closely with Managers to set team capacity-building priorities to ensure integration of resilience approaches into program design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and learning.

● Facilitate processes with team members that allow for integration of resilience approaches to improve sector-based and cross-sectoral programming, and get to impact

● Adapt and develop context and program-specific guidance, tools and trainings to advance the integration of resilience-thinking and action into program systems, to support sustainable impact

● Coordinate and deliver support visits, training workshops and sharing/designing tools and resources that facilitate team capacity-building in resilience

● Provide technical leadership and mentoring to program managers and team members in ensuring high quality, impactful implementation in resilience, documentation of lessons and taking initiatives to scale.

● Identify capacity-building needs and opportunities in resilience for program partners, to support an integrated resilience approach across programs

● Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach impact.


● 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.


● Support the MEL Director in the development of a resilience monitoring and learning agenda, tied to program outcomes

● Mentor program M&E and implementing teams to implement a resilience monitoring system, to track resilient program outcomes and document lessons-learned.

● Work with program teams to develop and facilitate an adaptive management process, to reflect on resilience monitoring results, take stock of successes and failures, and make program adjustments as necessary

● Work with teams to set and oversee the delivery of research and learning priorities in resilience, in consultation with donor, including measuring resilience at systems level

● Identify opportunities for ensuring resilience programs can demonstrate evidence and deliver compelling messages on what works best for resilience,

● Oversee support systems and structures that actively cultivate learning and exchange on resilience approaches team members and partner agencies; serve as technical lead on resilience across partner agencies

● Identify opportunities to professionally document and promote best practices and lessons learned that respond to the priority research and thought leadership topics.

● Together with the MEL Director, coordinate the development of high-quality learning products, program briefs and thought pieces articulating and sharing evidence and proxy indicators of success for building resilience


● Support the team to conduct the baseline, strategic resilience assessment (STRESS), gender assessment and market assessments, midline and end line.

● In year two, after the implementation of the project starts, support communications and story-telling training for teams.

● Develop the capacity of the program teams to capture and package resilience success stories and learning according to the set resilience framework.

● Together with the MEL Director, develop a learning agenda and set up systems to monitor the learning agenda

● Facilitate documentation and dissemination of program learning

● Package resilience content and information for key internal and external audiences

● Serve as the resilience content manager for programs

● Secure additional support and resources in communications and knowledge management for resilience, as required.


● Facilitate liaising and maintaining strong relationships with donors and partners, jointly identifying resilience priorities and opportunities for influence and demonstrating impact

● Represent Mercy Corps Uganda in strategic internal and external high-profile resilience and program events and conferences, including with donors, higher-level government stakeholders and multilateral institutions.

● Connect our thought leadership and influence agenda to representation and outreach efforts.

● Identify strategic partners for resilience building in collaboration and facilitate outreach and coordination efforts

● Promote resilience work within the organization and cultivate participation in communities of practice and other


● 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 partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility
Governance Manager, Maternal Child Health Nutrition Manager, Nutrition Specialist, Livelihoods Manager, Animal Health Manager, Natural Resource Management Manager; and implementation oversight and management of the partners Save the Children and Whave.

Reports Directly To: Chief of Party, Apolou

Collaborates With: Regional Resilience Director, ESA Hub; Global Resilience team, Country Director, Program and M&E teams, Apolou Implementation Director and the Senior Management Team


Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
● MA/S or equivalent experience in agriculture, environmental management, governance or other relevant international development field required.

● Minimum seven years of experience in program management, design, monitoring and evaluation, with proven ability to coordinate and manage diverse, complex initiatives.

● Thorough understanding of resilience thinking required, with an understanding of Mercy Corps’ approach to resilience a plus. Strong understanding of food security, youth, urbanization, market systems development, and environmental programs required.

● Experience in international development and humanitarian assistance in East Africa is strongly preferred.

● Demonstrated ability to design and facilitate processes to use research and M&E to improve program learning and adaptive management.

● Strong representation, networking and facilitation skills. Proven ability to synthesize and communicate complex subjects/topics effectively to multi-stakeholder groups.

● Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational, and prioritization skills.

● Demonstrated ability to transfer knowledge to diverse audiences through training, mentoring, and other formal and non-formal methods.

● Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a diverse, geographically spread team.

Success Factors
The successful candidate will apply a strong combination of program leadership and relationship-building skills with an outstanding ability to contribute to innovation, influence and impact across a set of complex contexts and multi-sector programs. With a high capacity to deliver results under tight deadlines with multiple priorities, the Resilience Director will have the ability to strategically develop and guide a course of action for Mercy Corps’ complex resilience programs under their mandate. Commitment, flexibility and openness to new practices, concepts, ideas and change for continuous improvement will serve the position and team well. Public relations skills are integral success factors in this position. Excellent negotiation and communication skills will foster the development of donor and partner relationships.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Moroto with 40% travel to domestic sites. Travel to other locations for regional representation may be required. At times evening and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines and at times of shocks and stresses.

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