Strategic Learning Manager at Mercy Corps Nigeria

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 collaborate to put bold solutions into action – helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.

Mercy Corps has been present in Nigeria since 2012, focusing its interventions on humanitarian assistance, economic development and conflict mitigation. With the ongoing insurgency in Northeast Nigeria causing the displacement of millions of individuals, Mercy Corps started its humanitarian response in 2014 to address the rising humanitarian needs. As the crisis has persisted, Mercy Corps’ strategy has also expanded to address the root causes of the conflict and seek to build the long term resilience of communities with integrated programs focusing on governance, the recovery of markets and livelihoods, social cohesion and social protection, youth empowerment, and local conflict management.

All Mercy Corps interventions in Nigeria are implemented in a conflict, protection and gender-sensitive manner. The Nigeria team is headquartered in Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with offices throughout Nigeria. With a strong and growing team of over 300 staff, Mercy Corps is currently serving over 600k beneficiaries across the country. With the vision of a Nigeria in which all people are empowered, engaged, resilient and secure, Mercy Corps Nigeria’s country strategy focuses on the root causes of conflict, governance, humanitarian needs, and market systems development.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Strategic Learning Manager

Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Position Status: Full time and Regular
Supervisory Responsibility: None
Reports Directly To: Program Quality & Development (PaQ) Director
Works Directly With: Country MEL Manager, PaQ Manager, Nigeria Crisis Analytics Team Lead; Communications team (Manager/Director); Grant focal points, Program Leads, CoPs & PMs, support departments

General Position Summary

  • The Strategic Learning Manager is a key member of Mercy Corps Nigeria’s Program and Quality (PaQ) team.
  • As the overall lead for an ambitious country-wide research and learning agenda, they will be responsible for designing, implementing and delivering on several key quality objectives and learning outcomes for the country portfolio aimed at improving both the quality of programming and Mercy Corps’ position as a thought-leader in Nigeria.
  • The role will work in close collaboration with the Program Quality (PaQ) Manager, Global and Regional Research teams, PaQ Manager, Country MEL Manager and broader Program team to ensure program learning and research is being systematically captured, analyzed and acted upon for improved program impact and representation.
  • This collaboration is meant to translate into an increased impact of Mercy Corps’ Nigeria programming, the improved integration of country-level assessments (MEL, Program) and data into dedicated research outputs, and improved coherency between the various research initiatives across the country portfolio.
  • The role will be the key focal point for mapping, articulating and developing a centralized resource that tracks and support Mercy Corps Nigeria research objectives and priorities across the country portfolio. In focusing on strategic lessons learned, s/he will identify key priorities for program adaptation and support teams in strategizing to support the change process.
  • Moreover, the role will consider information generated from the country CARM and act as a liaison between program teams and PaQ team to consider how feedback correlates with needs related to program standards.
  • Finally, the Strategic Learning Manager will work closely with Mercy Corps Nigeria’s Crisis Analytics Team, Global Research support unit and Communication team to ensure both the steady and quality dissemination of research, learning and other external-facing outputs, and to inform MCN programming.

Essential Job Responsibilities
Research and Learning:

  • Develop and implement strong, evidence-based research and learning agenda for Mercy Corps Nigeria, ensuring the diverse range of data being collected across teams are being used to good effect to support both a culture of adaptive management and help position Mercy Corps Nigeria as a thought leader in the field
  • Develop and maintain a consolidated database and mapping of ongoing research initiatives across the country, including a tracking system that should be regularly updated.
  • Work closely with the PaQ Director, PaQ Manager, MEL Manager, Program leads NCAT Team Lead to discuss and track new research opportunities.
  • Act as the conduit between Mercy Corps Global- and Regional-led research and learning initiatives and the Mercy Corps Nigeria country team to ensure coherence and coordination
  • Support the Country MEL Manager in ensuring the quality, timeliness, and utility of program review assessments and products; both in the design of data collection tools, data analysis, and the writing and dissemination of quality reports
  • Identify key internal and external audiences, and country / regional fora, key events, conferences and speaking events to support uptake, visibility and dissemination of research findings.
  • Collaborate closely with the communications team to showcase Mercy Corps Nigeria research and contribute to increased visibility in relation to research and impact.
  • Coordinate with program MEL team to ensure integration of research fieldwork into program MEL activities and timelines.
  • As needed, act as a liaison between HQ research teams and MCN program teams to coordinate in-country research activities.

Program Quality:

  • Support the PaQ Manager in the design and implementation of program kick-off, quarterly review and close-out meetings. Lead the discussion and capturing of lessons learned during close-out meetings; lead the design and establishment of program learning and adaptive management systems upon kick-off and during implementation
  • Ensure systems are in place and utilized for the systematic collection, recording and utilization of program challenges and lessons learned
  • Support the development and articulation of strategic research and learning approaches, partnerships, management/staffing plans, budgets and project designs for upcoming proposals
  • Build and lead a culture of learning and adaptive management.

Community Accountability Response Mechanism:

  • Work closely with the PaQ Director, PaQ Manager, Country MEL team, Program leads and the Director of Programming to better articulate and integrate CARM into discussions around program learning and adaptation.
  • Help ensure that CARM sensitization activities are included in program activity planning, implementation, and capturing lessons learned.
  • Support teams’ ability to engage with CARM feedback and adapt programming as required, both throughout implementation and during regular review sessions.

Team Building and Integration:

  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve
  • Support in recruitment, hiring and orienting new team members as necessary.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.

Influence & Representation:

  • Ensure research and learning are informing Mercy Corps Strategy, regularly updating Mercy Corps Nigeria Country leadership and ensuring outputs are built into country strategy, program design and donor outreach
  • Work closely with Mercy Corps Nigeria’s Communication team to ensure the steady and quality dissemination of research, learning and other external-facing outputs
  • Work closely with Mercy Corps Nigeria’s Crisis Analytics Team (NCAT) to ensure programme learning and research are informing NCAT strategy, outputs and planning – and vis-versa
  • Represent Mercy Corps at local, state and national-level coordination forums as required, with authorities and a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Represent Mercy Corps with donors, articulating its research agenda and coordinating opportunities

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

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.

Knowledge and Experience

  • 4 to 6 years of field experience in international relief or development programs, including demonstrable success in implementing programs in transitional environments.
  • Strong ability to work with diverse teams across locations
  • Communicates well with remote collaborators
  • Ability to clearly articulate complex ideas to diverse audiences
  • Both quantitative and qualitative analytic skills as well as an understanding of data quality standards.
  • Knowledge of research methodologies and approaches is preferred.
  • Experience collecting data in field sites
  • Manages multiple priorities and deadlines
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organization skills
  • Excellent oral and written English skills
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment
  • Knowledge of SPHERE and other humanitarian programming standards
  • Knowledge of resilience, livelihoods, conflict, and/or protection programming is a plus
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country governments, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments

Success Factors:

  • S/he will be capable of multi-tasking, rapid decision-making, have initiative, drive and a lot of energy, as well as high emotional intelligence, constructive communication skills and proven experience with capacity building.
  • S/he will be committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high impact activities at the community level.
  • 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 position is based in (Abuja, Nigeria) and it requires up to (40 %) travel. Briefly list security information, housing options, access to medical care, specific medical risks (such as epidemics), transportation options, and access to telecommunication as well as accompanied status and whether the position is eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.
  • Also, be sure to include exceptional work schedules (e.g., evenings and weekends required; 6-day workweek; etc.).
  • 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.

Application Closing Date
21st October, 2021.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

  • 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 a 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, colour, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
  • In your statement, you are encouraged to discuss any relevant experience and demonstrate your interest. Your application will be reviewed by the Mercy Corps team and shortlisted candidates will be contacted directly for interviews.
  • Mercy Corps employees represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
  • Female candidates who are qualified are strongly encouraged to apply.

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