Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps AgriFin (MCA) consists of a group of AgriFin programs supported by multiple donors in Africa and Asia applying a unified approach to harness the promise of digital technology to address the inclusion gap for smallholder farmers (SHFs) who lack access to affordable, accessible, demand-driven products and services that drive higher productivity and income for farm families. The ecosystems required to serve smallholders are both complex and fragmented. Market actors are often hampered by lack of strong understanding of smallholder needs and are therefore unable to design impactful products, channels and other relevant services for them. At the same time, farmers often lack the information, trust and capacity to access and productively utilize new products and tools. AgriFin addresses this service gap by leveraging farmer-centric design, product development and testing, business modeling and go-to-market planning and a range of other tools to support carefully selected partners to innovate through digital technology to reach and transform lives of smallholder farmers, with a strong focus on reaching women and addressing the specific risks of climate change.
Mercy Corps launched the original AgriFin Mobile program in 2012 (funded by the Swiss Development Corporation) in Asia and Africa, as well as subsequent iterations of the program, including AgriFin Accelerate (funded by the MasterCard Foundation), and AgriFin Digital Farmer (funded by the Gates Foundation) across East and Southern Africa. Since 2012, the AgriFin programs have scaled to work with more than 150 partners in 10 countries, reaching more than 16 million farmers with services that we have helped our partners to design, test and scale. MCA just launched its latest program iterations: AgriFin Digital Farmer 2, funded by the Gates Foundation and Bayer Foundation to reach at least 5 million farmers; as well as AgriFin4Women in India with the Walmart Foundation; in addition to a range of development programs with GIZ focused on Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria, as well as three states in India. MCA’s primary target group is unbanked smallholder farmers living on less than $2.50 per day.
Three Outcomes Contribute To The Achievement Of MCA Goals
Outcome 1: Market actors expand, improve and continue to offer high-impact DFS products and services that are tailored to address the expressed needs of SHFs;
Outcome 2: Farmers increase capability to access and utilize demand-driven, high impact technology-enabled financial products and services relevant to SHFs;
Outcome 3: Ecosystems around both suppliers and farmers emerge supporting provision of digital financial and informational services to SHFs that are used at scale.
The program’s core innovations are: 1) a rapid iteration engagement model to drive innovative, client-centric product development; and 2) our work with partners to develop “bundles” of mobile-enabled services offering farmers affordable access to digital financial and market informational services. Specific focal areas for innovation will include the use of digital technology to educate and inform farmers, tech start up acceleration, the use of new and alternative data to support financial service design, and the use of human centered design techniques to ensure product development is directly informed by the needs of farmers, particularly women and youth. The program will follow an ecosystem and market facilitation approach supported through partnership activities and dissemination of evidence-based learning to ecosystem actors, with a strong gender focus.
The program is expanding to new countries and focus areas, while placing a heavy focus on learning and impact generation with its subsequent dissemination to the ecosystem, requiring a great deal of strategic positioning, relationship management and coordination both inside Mercy Corps and across ecosystem stakeholders.
General Position Summary
The Director will set a bold, transformative and global vision for Mercy Corps’ AgriFin programing and skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps AgriFin team. The MCA Program Director (PD) will be responsible for implementation of the overall group of MCA programming, including formulating and managing program inception phases, leading relevant market research and partner development, followed by conceptualizing and leading project development and associated learning with carefully selected program partners. The PD will be responsible for leading the MCA Senior Management team and hiring senior management to manage project implementation on a day to day basis, as well as key consultant experts to support project implementation across countries of implementation. The PD will be responsible for leading the establishment and successful performance of the program in focal countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and India, as well as special projects in other countries (Zimbabwe, Rwanda, etc.), as agreed with program donors.
The Program Director will be responsible for overseeing the performance of all MCA programming, as well as ensuring that a strong cross-learning, monitoring and evaluation stream of activities is consistently applied, ensuring staff development to work at international best-practice levels. The Program Director will ensure the highest standard of learning and communication of learning both internal to Mercy Corps and externally to key stakeholders both regionally and internationally, taking the lead in engaging with leading communities of practice and key strategic partners, including World Bank, CGIAR, CGAP and AGRA. The Program Director will be responsible for managing program budgets and developing program reports to donors, as well as leading business development to crowd in funding around the MCA model and to drive consistently high quality development of program learning, publications, representation and events. MCA’s PD will align programming efforts and seek synergies with relevant programming throughout Mercy Corps in the countries of AgriFin operation.
Essential Job Responsibilities STRATEGY & VISION
- Formulate and plan, in consultation with key internal and external stakeholders, a clear vision of present and future program goals and strategies which can be clearly communicated to team members, program participants, international partners, governmental counterparts, and donors.
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome, heard and acted upon.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve goals and objectives.
- Explore, evaluate and present new project funding opportunities that leverage impact and integrate initiatives and activities, support and direct related fundraising activities with both institutional and private donors.
- Evaluate country specific program priorities and contribute to regional and global strategy development and prioritization.
LEADERSHIP & CULTURE
- Commit to preserving an organizational culture of trust, transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion across the team and global organization.
- Uphold a culture of integrity through ethical decision-making, safeguarding and compliance with the Code of Conduct.
- Lead by role modeling self awareness to foster an environment of mutual respect, diversity and inclusion so that all team members are included, supported and can thrive.
- Create a culture of accountability for highly effective communication systems and relationships to ensure every voice matters.
LEAD PROGRAM ACTIVITIES
- Support AgriFin programming to identify key breakthroughs and partnerships in digital technology for agriculture and smallholders, including focal areas of climate change, digital financial inclusion, digitally enabled productive services and market access, last mile delivery channels and uses of digital data itself to drive scale, impact and viable services.
- Ensure AgriFin programs deliver against donor milestones and farmer outreach targets.
- Support AgriFin programming to identify key points of learning and to formulate public-facing learning documents through research activities linked to program engagements, including impact studies, case studies, blogs and events.
- Ensure gender transformational approaches and the MCA Gender strategy are applied across programmatic implementation.
- Ensure climate smart approaches and the MCA Climate Smart strategy are applied across programmatic implementation.
- Drive strategic linkages to impact investors to enable scale for MCA partners and innovation.
- Lead business development efforts to crowd in funding around the MCA model and partnerships, leveraging ongoing relationships with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GIZ, the Bayer and Walmart Foundations.
- Lead work with the AgriFin Advisory Council including quarterly meetings on AgriFin strategy and ongoing engagement with members from Google, Apple, the World Bank, etc. to benefit the program direction and implementation.
- Recruit, manage, motivate, and onboard an informed, skilled and efficient team with an emphasis on high quality impact, inclusion and achievement.
- Encourage a team culture of growth, learning, creativity and innovation by incorporating a culture of continuous feedback, development and performance management.
- Establish credibility within the team by demonstrating personal accountability, flexibility, resilience and dedication to quality programming by creating positive relationships and having composure in complex situations.
- Ensure people focused human resource systems are in place and consistent with Mercy Corps global policies, including position descriptions, team member onboarding, performance management, professional development plans and reporting mechanisms.
PROGRAM IMPACT, MONITORING AND EVALUATION AND LEARNING
- Oversee program quality and impact by ensuring programs are based on sound design principles and utilize Mercy Corps and donor required M&E systems.
- Gather evidence of program impact through robust agency standard procedures for data gathering, reporting, and evaluating program outputs and outcomes.
- Lead program team to strive for impact at country and regional level leading to sustained change based on solid systems and incorporation of learnings into programs.
- Fulfill Mercy Corps Program Management Minimum Standards.
- Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and program participant accountability standards, including an effective Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism and safeguarding mechanisms across all programs.
INFLUENCE & REPRESENTATION
- Maintain productive relationships with internal and external constituents such as private partners, national government, foundations, the private sector, etc.
- Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media.
- Lead strategic partnerships for MCA, including World Bank, AGRA, CGIAR and CGAP.
- Lead and engage in best-practice communities of practice across AgriFin programmatic areas, both inside and outside of Mercy Corps, working in coordination with program donors to identify best fit opportunities.
PROGRAM OPERATIONS AND COMPLIANCE
- Coordinate overall program budget; manage budget within approved spending levels and establish an annual cash flow plan to ensure a steady and adequate supply of funds for program activities.
- Lead engagement on behalf of the program with the AgriFin Complex Board, providing internal Mercy Corps oversight and support to the program in areas of operations and compliance.
- Build and maintain operational structures that ensure proper segregation of duties between finance, administration and logistics and fully support country programs.
- Build and maintain an environment of collaboration among program, finance, operations and human resource team members resulting in optimal support for program activities.
- Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
- Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
- Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations, policies and procedures, and the implementation of appropriate risk mitigation measures to reduce Mercy Corps’ exposure to potential risk.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our program participants 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: Deputy Director MCA, Finance and Compliance Director, Finance Director, Operations and HR Director Accountability
Reports Directly To: Regional Director, Africa region
Works Directly With: MCA Advisory Committee, Relevant Country Directors, Regional Program Director, Program-Related Consultants, and other Program Stakeholders, HQ-based Program, Operations, Finance, Regional Program Team, Compliance, Fundraising and Technical Support Unit
Knowledge And Experience
- Minimum MA/Sc/MBA or equivalent in business administration, information technology, agriculture, finance or related field required;
- Minimum ten years’ relevant working experience required; preference for experience in both private and public sector and a strong working knowledge of financial services, information technology and agriculture;
- Demonstrated ability to work at highest international technical levels of international best practice in financial inclusion, including track record of publishing relevant publications and international speaking experience;
- Demonstrated ability to develop sustainable and socially actionable business models through partnerships including extensive development of products, pricing, marketing strategies, delivery channels, SWOT analyses, financial projections and building value propositions;
- Demonstrated ability to engage with major banks, mobile networks and private sector players at the highest levels, developing and implementing successful programming related to financial inclusion and technology;
- Strong experience in developing & maintaining complex donor programs, organizational relationships & partnerships, with experience managing significant multi-country programs for major foundations;
- Proven track record of ability to lead and manage multi-million dollar grants and related programming, including work plans, budgets, reporting, HR management and commitment to deliverables and timeframes;
- Proven ability to raise resources to further develop programming;
- Deep experience with Mercy Corps or similar international non-profit agency preferred;
- Demonstrated experience with for-profit enterprise and social enterprise, experience managing project development or senior management teams;
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to
obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
- Excellent oral and written English skills required.
The successful Director will set a bold, transformative and global vision for Mercy Corps’ AgriFin programing and skillfully represent programmatic priorities of the agency to donors and regional partners while providing effective leadership to the Mercy Corps AgriFin team. The Director will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities at the community level. The role is a hands-on position and success will be determined by the level of direct engagement in program development, oversight of projects, fundraising for new projects and representing the agency to stakeholders. The successful Director should welcome multitasking and taking an active role in program design, partnership and resource development, as well as overarching strategy. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The PD is based in the capital city – Nairobi. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is family accommodation with 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 35% travel by road and air to other country offices.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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.
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 E-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.