Senior Program Manager at Mercy Corps

Project Management jobs, Senior level jobs, NGO jobs,

Senior Program Manager

General Position Summary

  • The Senior Program Manager is a key member of the Sauti senior management team. S/he will be the Head of Office in Mombasa, with supervisory responsibility for programme and operational staff in the Mombasa office, ensuring programme and operations run smoothly, managing risks and ensuring integration of activities, and that all consortium members are speaking to government and communities with one unified voice.  They will directly manage the operationalization of systems, structures, and processes that enable high quality, decentralized program implementation tailored to the local context. The Senior Program Manager will lead the program’s localization agenda at that county level and below, including capacity strengthening support and oversight of program partners and engagement with local institutions on institutional strengthening approaches critical for long-term sustainability of the interventions. The Senior Program Manager will work closely with the Chief of Party to drive the program’s strategic approach and ensure strong technical models are translated into high quality operational plans and interventions, and with the MEL Manager to ensure monitoring and evaluation systems are developed that track and assess programmatic impact and support adaptation and learning.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Works closely with the Chief of Party (CoP) to develop and guide overall strategic and technical vision and drive the program’s innovative, evidence-based, adaptation approach.
  • Ensure program vision, implementation modalities, and operational mechanisms are consistently communicated and internalized by all program team members, partners and stakeholders; facilitate program buy-in across partners and stakeholders.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed; promote and model a culture of learning and adaptive management.
  • Operationalize strategic linkages and coordinate across technical, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and learning teams at implementation level, to further technical excellence, learning and impact, and ensure coherence of program components.


  • Manage and oversee program activities in the selected counties working in close collaboration with key project stakeholders, including local government officials, community-based organizations, researchers and other implementing agencies on the ground.
  • Lead in the structuring of local partner roles and responsibilities, oversee their activities and provide continuous technical support as required.
  • Ensure programme implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective MEL systems to reach desired impacts, and to facilitate learning and adaptation.
  • Provide regular situational awareness, and updates on changes in context and opportunity, feeding into strategy shifts, and programming priorities.
  • Inform and actively participate in pause and reflect sessions, sense-making workshops and ongoing program adaptations; ensure program data is used for learning and decision making.
  • Ensure that programme implementation is responsive to communities and governments and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Work with the COP to engage with key governmental partners and policy makers in ways which influence policies and issues and build capacities relating to P/CVE.
  • Inform and actively participate in pause and reflect sessions, sense-making workshops and ongoing program adaptations; ensure program data is used for learning and decision making.


  • Support the establishment of County Advisory Groups, led by local CSOs, and provide strategic guidance to the development of annual workplans reflecting local priorities.
  • Work with the COP to develop tailored partner capacity assessments, drawing on Mercy Corps’ existing Organizational Capacity Index approach and others.
  • Support the development of institutional strengthening plans for partners that respond to organisational and programmatic priorities, and which draw upon a range of capacity development approaches.
  • On the basis of the findings and plan, provide strategic programme guidance and technical support for the partner capacity building portion of the programme, through provision of support to field staff and partner organisations as required, in coordination with the Deputy Team Lead.


  • Work closely with the MEL Manager, and consortium partners, to ensure that effective M&E systems and processes are embedded within the programme implementation unit and that data is collected, analyzed, and used to inform ongoing adaptation of programme strategies and delivery approaches.
  • Supports information systems and procedures to ensure easy access to and utilization of evidence collected and processed by the program team.
  • Work with the MEL Manager to ensure programmatic reports are produced in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Contribute to shaping the programme’s research and influencing agenda, working with relevant Sauti team members to integrate and advance research, learning and advocacy


  • Establish leadership, direction and personal credibility of Mombasa based staff; implement and maintain a clear chain of authority and accountability;
  • Supervise and provide “hands on management” of programme teams and provide support and training in all their activities. Assist in the development of their professional skills and conduct staff reviews as appropriate.
  • Oversee the development of programme and staff work plans with an emphasis on excellence and achievement, encourage a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation and ensure regular one-to-one sessions and performance reviews to review progress and resolve any concerns or issues;
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback to staff and partners through regular coaching and annual performance reviews, and ensure that supervisory staff do the same in a timely manner. Implement, and ensure all staff are effectively using, the performance planning and management system, establishing performance expectations and regularly providing constructive feedback.
  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Participate in the hire, orient and lead team members as necessary


  • In conjunction with the COP and the Operations Director in Nairobi, ensure Mombasa field operations are running smoothly and team members are getting the support and guidance
  • they need. Ensure full compliance with Mercy Corps systems.
  • In collaboration with the COP, Operations Manager and Regional Security Advisor monitor security developments and report to Mercy Corps Senior Management as per the Mercy Corps Kenya security procedures and protocols;
  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Maintain close cooperation with the Finance and Procurement teams and other staff to ensure maximum benefit to the programme and full compliance with all the established operational, administrative and financial policies and procedures;
  • Exercise sound judgment to ensure programme expenses are reasonable, allocable and prudent. Ensure all programme funds are spent in accordance with donor rules and regulations.


  • Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies; manage implementation budgets in compliance with donors regulations while applying financial flexibility to meet program needs.
  • Monitor program activities to ensure adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and other relevant regulations, including those of USAID and the Government of Kenya.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Safeguarding and Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.
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  • Lead the socialization of the program with Government stakeholders, and local partners ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration as required.
  • Contribute to program visibility and advocacy work by assisting in the dissemination of program research and learning information. Represent Mercy Corps in forums with the broader humanitarian and development community.
  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote best practices within the program.
  • Communicate effectively across teams and partners to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.


  • 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.
  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.


  • 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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

  Project Officer

  • Grants and finance Officer
  • Oversight and management of local CSO partners


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Country Director, Director of Programs, Program Managers, Finance Director, Operations Director, People & Culture Director, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit.

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S in Peacebuilding, Conflict Resolution or other related field required; MA/S is strongly preferred.
  • A minimum of 7 years’ experience, including 3 years in a senior management position.
  • At least 4 years’ experience working on countering violent extremism programming, conflict mitigation and resolution, and/or violence reduction and prevention programs preferred
  • Previous experience in capacity strengthening of local CSOs, and community-based institutions.
  • Experience managing locally-led, innovative and evidence-driven programming is critical
  • Experience working with a diverse range of community members to discuss sensitive and delicate topics in a conflict-sensitive manner.
  • Strong skills and a track record in strategic visioning, leadership, and inspiring teams.
  • Prior management experience within USAID funded programs is beneficial
  • Effective personnel management, coordination, and decision-making skills, with proven ability to be accountable for all components of the program.
  • Competent in building networks, strong problem-solving skills, and ability to influence with effective listening, persuasion, negotiation and other techniques.
  • Persuasive written and oral communication in English and Swahili, including report writing; competency in a relevant local language beneficial.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness managing a diverse team of staff, consortium partners and local implementing partners, building a cohesive and results-oriented team to deliver impact
  • Excellent writing and reporting skills.
  • Excellent verbal and inter-personal communications skills.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity, skill, and experience working within different cultural settings and navigating public affairs and communications on sensitive issues.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is an asset.


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