Mercy Corps Agriculture / NRM Capacity Strengthening Specialist Job in Nairobi, Kenya

Mercy Corps

Vacancy Announcement: Agriculture / NRM Capacity Strengthening Specialist 

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.

Mercy Corps began working in Kenya in 2008 to address the societal wounds following the 2007 post-election violence. Since that time, Mercy Corps has built a robust and diverse portfolio in Kenya that is working to address structural causes of poverty and injustice and to strengthen systems that enable men, women and children to access opportunities, participate in and contribute to peaceful democratic processes, and thrive in the face of ecological and social change.

To do this, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen market and governance systems, address the root causes of conflict, and equip vulnerable populations- in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized communities- with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, productive and to drive the development of their communities.

We work closely with the private sector, civil society and governance structures at local and national levels to facilitate change and ensure that opportunities are inclusive of all Kenyans.

Position: Agriculture / NRM Capacity Strengthening Specialist

Location: Nairobi

Program / Department Summary: The Strengthening Capacity in Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Environment (SCALE) program is a five year Associated Award funded by the USAID Office of Food for Peace (FFP) through the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program led by Save the Children US.

SCALE is designed to further improve the impact, sustainability, and scalability of FFP’s programming in agriculture, natural resource management, and livelihoods in emergency and development settings.

Specifically, the program will focus on sustainable and climate sensitive approaches that foster resilient agricultural systems, and enhance income opportunities within or outside agricultural systems. This program is managed through the Agriculture Technical Support Unit (TSU).

General Position Summary: The SCALE Capacity Strengthening Specialist will coordinate with the program director to lead capacity-strengthening activities for the SCALE program in agriculture, natural resource management and off-farm livelihoods for both emergency and development settings.

She/he will be responsible for implementing a sustainable capacity strengthening strategy adapted to the needs of staff (from different FFP implementing agencies and USAID missions) at different levels and disseminated via different methods, while ensuring the coordination of activities with other agencies and implementers as well as other knowledge and learning program activities.

A key component of this position will be to develop sustainable learning systems throughout the life of the program, including a capacity measurement system to evaluate uptake and results.

Essential Job Functions:

1. Strategy & Vision

  • Contribute to the development and adjustment of a distinctive strategic vision for improved capacity strengthening across multiple agencies and countries.
  • Contribute to industry work in agriculture, NRM and off-farm livelihoods by using a systems-based learning approach: incorporate and share key scientific and development research, build strong networks of partners at the field level, establish sustainable learning mechanisms to enhance program impact.
  • Build external visibility on relevant technical areas.

2. Program Implementation

  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to FFP implementing partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Ensure delivery of capacity-strengthening activities on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Contribute to influential analysis and derive new insights from field assessments and industry learning; incorporate those results, best practices, and industry principles into the program.
  • Identify and develop contracts for specialist support during program implementation.
  • 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 all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.

3. Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Measurement

  • Implement activities to assess and document the impact of technical capacity strengthening and interventions.

4. Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps regulations.
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

5. Representation, Thought Leadership and Partnership Development

  • Identify, build and manage strategic partnerships with USAID, networks and stakeholders.
  • Represent SCALE and Mercy Corps with different stakeholders, in relevant practitioner and learning networks and at key events, as well as through developing industry wide training curricula, papers, conference presentations, and online fora.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall program targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Actively engage in internal relationship building.
  • Work with the team to maintain a strong roster of consulting resources to fill technical needs that are not available in house.

6. Security

  • 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.

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 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: N/A.


  • Reports Directly To: SCALE Program Director
  • Works Directly With: SCALE Collaboration and Learning Specialist and other SCALE part-time staff, Agriculture and other relevant TSU, Save the Children BRIDGE and WASH associate award staff, and IDEAL staff

Knowledge and Experience

  • Advanced degree at master’s degree level or above or at least 6 years of work experience related to agriculture or international development.
  • A minimum of 3 years of experience leading capacity strengthening activities for international development and emergency projects, preferably complementary to food security and food aid commodity programs.
  • Expertise in natural resource management, off-farm livelihoods, behavioral change methodologies, and monitoring and evaluation of agriculture activities to improve data collection and analysis along with reporting preferred.
  • Experience developing capacity strengthening content, adult-learning tools, and leading training or learning events.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide capacity strengthening to multiple end users to achieve improved agricultural program results.
  • Demonstrated ability of working with multiple stakeholders and networks to build learning opportunities.
  • Experience working directly with USAID at HQ and field level preferred.

Success Factors

  • The successful applicant will balance in-depth technical expertise in the agriculture sector with implementation of capacity strengthening activities.
  • Strong knowledge of adult learning mechanisms, integrated learning models, and organizational or institutional learning is essential, as well as practical implementation of programs to ensure learning and uptake is grounded in practical reality.
  • The successful applicant will have the drive and confidence to innovate, and a true ambition to build knowledge as a means to improve program quality.
  • Strong networking, listening, communication and negotiations skills are essential to the success of this role.
  • He/she will be self-motivated and able to think creatively about achieving capacity strengthening objectives for a global, multi-organizational target audience.
  • 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 and detailed Curriculum Vitae (CV) listing three professional references (including a recent supervisor) to on or before 12th November, 2018.

The email subject line must clearly show the job title.

Applications without an appropriate subject heading will be automatically disqualified.

Please do not attach any certificates.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

NB: We do not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process

Agriculture and Agribusiness, Community Development, NGO and UN
Updated: November 4, 2018 — 11:44 am