Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate Program
Vacancy: Technology Product Manager
The AgriFin Accelerate program will operate in three African countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia) utilizing a market ecosystem approach, working with carefully selected partners to build sustainable models, where farm and crop management tools and financial services are “bundled” in affordable, unified platforms on mobile phone channels to promote mass uptake commercially.
The program involves three interrelated components that seek to address low farmer productivity and capability, and improve institutional ability to deliver appropriate products and build ecosystems to drive scale.
We work with farmers, banks, mobile network operators, MFIs, research institutes and other ecosystem players in well-defined partnerships to sustainably bundle services, leveraging the offer and outreach of all partners, while increasing the range of services, access points and value for farmers.
The program works with partners to identify, prototype, test and scale successful mobile-enabled services for smallholders, with a key focus on expanding access to financial services, using a rapid iteration approach to product development and client-centric design techniques.
We are presently looking for a committed and dynamic individual to take up the position of a Technology Product Manager
General Position Summary: The Technology Product Manager (TPM) will provide technical support and direction related to technology on all technical assistance and partner engagement with AgriFin Accelerate program partners across all three countries, including banks, MFIs, insurance companies, mobile-network operators, and agribusinesses.
The TPM will assist with new digitally-enabled product development and delivery designed to enhance the financial inclusion of small-holder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.
These products can include both information and technical services, with a major focus on financial services including payment systems, digitally-enabled insurance, savings and lending.
Working under the direct supervision of the Deputy Program Director and closely with the Program Director, Country Managers, and Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Manager, the TPM will tailor program assistance to the needs of each Agrifin Accelerate partner engagement with a strong focus on technology-based partners.
The TPM will identify innovative technology companies providing services in the SHF arena and work to understand their models, incorporate them into program work as feasible and to provide leading technology partners with specialized support to foster their growth and expansion.
The TPM will engage with partners to develop program strategies and partner roadmaps, ensuring their specific needs are met; identify and support external consultants as needed; and work with the Digital Farmer Capability Hub manager to support the development of applicable capacity building plans across the program partners.
Essential Job Functions:
- Lead program learning in best practices and innovation in technology to ensure that the full program team across all countries are informed and working optimally.
- Support the external learning and communications agendas around innovations for partners and ecosystem players.
- Conduct ongoing desk review of global best practice as well as ongoing learning meetings with program stakeholders related to the use of technology, working in coordination with country managers.
- Prepare field reports, social media postings and blogs for mass communication regarding the technological aspects of the program.
- Take the lead in identifying potential partners in the technology arena, working with strategic partner Dalberg to complete due diligence on partners to identify institutional strengths, weaknesses and capacity for program implementation and ultimate scale.
- Lead in identifying technology partners to qualify for additional technical support, including sponsored cohorts at relevant accelerator facilities, designed to increase technology partner internal capacity, institutional development and access to resources to support growth.
Support for Financial Products, Services and Channel Development:
- Engage in the development of all partner relationships and product roadmaps related to technology.
- Provide technical support to these engagements across all program countries, liaising directly with the Deputy Program and Country directors.
- Lead design sessions which drawing on rapid product iteration approaches and support Country Managers to identify technical consultants as needed in this area and provide support and oversight for consultants as required.
- Provide direct capacity building for partners as feasible.
- Assist in the development of technology partner business and work plans as needed, reviewing research, operational manuals, product and technology specifications and financial statements to do so.
- Work with program partners to design interface of systems and design pilot project to test usability, value proposition and business cases and identify additional areas where partners require support, assisting in finding solutions when possible.
- Engage with program technology partners to ensure that adequate marketing strategies and resources are in place, including go to market plan, market entry & scaling, customer acquisition branding, incentive & commission structures, advertising and risk mitigation strategies.
- Support the initiative to identify alternative data sources to drive the development and expansion of products and services, including conducting research, identifying and selecting prospective data partners and framing and implementing pilot tests of alternative data with partners maintaining integrity and confidentiality of all information.
Technical Support for Market Assessments, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning:
- Work with country managers to structure and implement market assessments to drive meaningful financial product and service development, with a special focus on incorporating supporting technologies and relevant companies such as payment platforms, MNOs and messaging services.
- Ensure that market assessments focus on the “pain points” of small holder farmers related to technology adoption to guide product and service development to overcome the barriers for the small holder farmers so they can increase their access, usage and utility of services.
- Ensure that research targets leading and alternative technology companies to provide services to smallholder farmers.
- Support the work of the Digital Farmer Capability Lab Manager in all efforts to develop capability building materials for SHF related to the delivery and adoption of digitally-enabled financial services and channels, ensuring the highest standards of technical information are incorporated.
Program Representation and Stakeholder Engagement:
- Serve as a representative for the program in matters related to technology-related services for SHF.
- Proactively engage with program stakeholders to inform coordination and collaboration, including payment platforms, specialized data processors, technology hubs, accelerator programs, technical messaging platforms, mobile network operators and others.
- Actively support program planning and reporting efforts related to technology-related service delivery for SHF.
- Provide partnership recommendations with existing technology companies.
- Ensure that programming works within Mercy Corps’ M4P rubric.
- Assist the program in developing and supporting partner inception and subsequent design workshops related to technology, supporting around mapping design processes and defining roles, responsibilities and budgets related to technology.
- Provide technical leadership within the team in the technology sector, including regular trips to the radial offices to support Country Managers and Program Officers to build their capacity in the sector.
Organizational Learning: 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.
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: N/A
Reports Directly To: Program Director
Works Directly With: Technical teams, Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Manager, Digital Farmer Capability Lab Manager, Communications Manager, Finance staff.
Knowledge and Experience:
- BA/S or equivalent in information technology, engineering or related field of study preferred
- 5 years’ experience in relevant technology implementation, including 2 years in a senior management position
- Minimum 2 years’ experience in digitally-enabled financial services
- Strong understanding of the technology and mobile-for-development sectors in emerging markets, with understanding of and experience with improving technology-enabled services for smallholder farmers a plus
- Evaluating and building partnerships
- Product Management or Business Analyst experience
- Experience with product and service design preferred
- Strong written and oral communication skills in English, including report development, writing and editing
- Experience in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia preferred
The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the three diverse countries which Agrifin Accelerate operates.
S/he will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations.
S/he will be a tolerant and flexible individual able to work in difficult and stressful environments and follow procedures demonstrating cultural sensitivity with diverse stakeholders.
S/he will be a team-player with a positive attitude toward problem solving and conflict resolution. Commitment to learning, open communications, impeccable professional standards of ethics and ability to manage successful partner relationships are essential.
The successful candidate will be focused on team-building and open collaboration; be a strategic thinker and maintain a sense of humor.
The TPM must be willing to travel regularly to Mercy Corps field offices and project sites.
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.
How to Apply
Interested candidates who meet the above required qualifications and experience should submit a cover letter, detailed curriculum vitae (CV) listing three professional referees (including a recent supervisor) to email@example.com on or before Friday 11th March by 4.00pm.
The email subject line must clearly show the job title.
Applications without the right subject heading will be automatically disqualified.
Please do not attach any certificates.
(Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We will only get in touch with shortlisted candidates)
NB: Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate Program does not charge any fee at any stage of the recruitment process