Job Title: Senior Program Advisor: Market System Development for Employment – UNGO Jobs

Countries: Kenya, Uganda
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 16 May 2022

Location: Can be based in any Mercy Corps country offices in Africa or Europe, for people with legal right to work in those countries

* Those who had applied to the previous posting are not required to reapply*

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’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject-matter experts help set agency strategy and provide consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to field offices worldwide.

Mercy Corps’ youth employment work is at an exciting moment. It currently includes a portfolio of roughly 40 programs globally, and is focusing around two technical areas; (a) Market system development (MSD) approaches to youth employment; and (b) engagement with ‘jobtech’ or digital solutions to employment. For each of these areas, the TSU maintains a ‘Portfolio’ of programs adopting these approaches, which benefit from increased technical assistance, research, and support.

General Position Summary

The role supports three of the programs in the ‘MSD4E Portfolio’, including on-going programming in Ethiopia, new programming in Liberia, and potential programming in Zimbabwe. The position will provide senior leadership of the program’s technical components and ensure the synthesis of technical approaches across the three program countries: Liberia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe. The position has the explicit mandate to ensure that programs are adopting best practice MSD methodologies in line with Mercy Corps’ global MSD4E strategy and supports key milestones during the program cycle for quality. S/he provides a supportive role to project leaders to help maintain technical quality and builds capacity of the program team to deliver the intended results. S/he also ensures that lessons from these programs are documented and inform the global strategy.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Program Quality Support to Project Start-up and Implementation

  • Provide close technical assistance to target projects to ensure that they apply best practice MSD methodologies as applied to employment programming
  • Assume responsibility for translating program learning into tangible adjustments to intervention strategiesReview core documentation (work plans, reports, concept notes) of target programs to ensure quality and support improvement
  • Serve as technical quality assurance focal point, ensuring quality standards, and working with leadership to improve plans and deliverables when they fall short.
  • Provided leadership and strategic vision to technical components of the three programs including workplan development, market and labor assessments, partnership selection and management, and overall sector strategy.

Training & Coaching

  • Provide training for incoming staff on MSD and MSD4E approaches
  • Identify ongoing opportunities for staff upskilling and work with project leaders to implement professional development initiatives
  • Coach, advise, and support project staff and intervention managers, in collaboration with project leaders.
  • In close partnership with project leaders, create a work atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellent MSDE personnel at all levels.


  • Support the development of learning agenda for the target projects
  • Lead write up of briefs, blogs, and other content for both internal and external audiences
  • Support research projects led by the Research and Learning team on target programs.
  • Oversee integration of best practices, standardization, dissemination of lessons learned to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Encourage systematic opportunities to use data for learning and improvement, and to focus on learning lessons throughout the life of the program.

Contribution to Global MSD4E Strategy

  • Ensure that lessons, experiences, and tools from target projects are fed back into Mercy Corps’ Global Strategy and tools

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Africa Technical Director

Works Directly With: Global Senior Advisor for Employment (MSD4E Lead), Program Managers/Team Leaders of target programs

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.

Knowledge and Experience

  • 5+ years of experience of increasingly proficient management and/or technical support in MSD programming, with at least one job experience in a globally well-reputed MSD project.
  • Proven experience assessing markets and working with private sector partners
  • Experience working across different geographies, including Africa, and more specifically in fragile environments.
  • Strong ability to understand and manage multiple stakeholders and complex relationships at multiple levels of the organization.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • A proven proactive approach to work and self-driven leadership.
  • Fluency in English is required, with strong written and oral communication skills.

Success Factors

The Senior Program Advisor must be a proactive, demonstrated, self-starter, with ideas, energy and analytical ability to drive strategy and change. S/he needs to have meaningful experience working on high-quality MSD programming, and a passion for sharing this experience with others. S/he will need extremely high emotional intelligence to manage a program quality role across three programs, as well as cross-cultural communication skills. They will understand the pain points and nuances of the application and operationalization of MSD in post-conflict/thing markets and be able to support team members in dealing with day-to-day challenges. They will understand the realities of safeguarding and fraud/corruption in a MSD program and be able to support teams to manage these realities.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position requires international travel to target programs at least 30-50% time, where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed.

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.

How to apply: