Resilience Learning Award (RLA) Team Lead – Baidoa, Somalia

  • Contract
  • Baidoa

Mercy Corps

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program / Department / Team (Program / Department Summary)

Mercy Corps has been present in Somalia since 2005, with current programming in Somaliland,Puntland, Hirshabelle, Galmudug, Jubaland, South West State and Banadir. Our programming spans multiple sectors and is framed by a high-level strategy for advancing resilience and peace. Seeing ability in vulnerability, we work with and through local communities, including IDPs and returning refugees, to address immediate needs of crisis-affected populations while supporting and strengthening systems that facilitate collective advancement towards long-term and inclusive socio-economic growth, peace, and prosperity. Grounded in core resilience principles of systems thinking, partnership and facilitation, and adaptive management, Mercy Corps’ approach encourages crisis-affected populations, the private sector, government, and civil society to work together towards meaningful and lasting change.

The international community has awoken to the reality that the traditional aid architecture is largely incapable of delivering solutions to today’s humanitarian crises and that new ways of working are required. Yet the “how” of action that will drive lasting results for peace and wellbeing in protracted crisis contexts like Somalia has remained largely elusive. The Baidoa Resilience Partnership, launched in 2018 by USAID, positioned USAID as thought leaders in this space, promoting resilience as a collective imperative that transcends traditional funding, program, and sector siloes to advance pragmatic solutions to the world’s most pernicious challenges.

Mercy Corps is seeking a Team Lead for the Somalia Resilience Learning Activity (RLA), an ongoing two-year opportunity funded by USAID that has prospects of further extensions to 2024. As a largely autonomous component of a larger regional learning award lead by ACDI/VOCA, the Somalia RLA is designed to leverage USAID’s previous investments in the Baidoa Resilience Partnership to advance collaboration, learning, and adapting (CLA) across actors and funding streams for sustained reductions in humanitarian need. The RLA is now also planned to extend to Mogasishu and parts of the Lower Shabelles.

Through the Somalia RLA, Mercy Corps will work closely with USAID, implementing partners, and other stakeholders to collectively analyze what they do and how they do it, surfacing findings to enable the replication and amplification of promising practices within and beyond Baidoa/ Mogadishu/ Lower Shabelle, enhancing USAID and other donor’s return on investment in Somalia.

The Position(General Position Summary)

The Team Lead will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation of the ongoing Somalia RLA program that is now in its second year with prospect further extension to 2024. S/he will manage the program staff, resources and partnerships to ensure that the program meets its milestones on-time and within budget. The Team Lead will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps’ policies and USAID rules and regulations. S/he will be the primary point of contact with USAID Somalia, ACDI/VOCA, relevant government entities, implementing organizations, local partners, and other stakeholders. He/She will report to the Mercy Corps Somalia Director of Programs (DOP) and coordinate closely with the ACDI/VOCA COP and teams for the larger regional award.

Essential Responsibilities


● Engage closely and continuously with USAID Somalia to co-create a strategic vision for the Somalia RLA that is both pragmatic and aspirational and will catalyze change towards a new way of working in Somalia that places the resilience imperative front and center.

● Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of program implementation, development and management. Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners, and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic plan.

● Maintain a strategic plan for the implementation of program activities, including finalizing activities, methods of operation, and means of monitoring and measuring for success.

● Work closely with Mercy Corps implementing teams and partners to surface, model, and promote the replication of new ideas and promising practices, growing the evidence base on what works and what doesn’t for building resilience in protracted crises

● Work closely with Mercy Corps Somalia senior management and program teams within and outside Baidoa to inspire an internal transformation within Mercy Corps Somalia from an organization that implements activities to one that inspires and influences other implementing agencies and donors to adopt new, more efficient and effective ways of working towards lasting solutions in protracted crises.


● Oversee program start-up, management, and administration, including a detailed co-design process with USAID Somalia.

● Ensure program implementation is on time, target and budget, using innovative systems to achieve and measure success.

● Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate. Certify all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.

● Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.

● Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.


● Develop the capacity of the Somalia RLA team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.

● Assist RLA team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.

● Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.

● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.


● Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations.

● Create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor and Mercy Corps’ needs.


● Work closely with USAID Somalia to develop and maintain a strategic learning, influence, and communication strategy, including a schedule for the regular production and release of written products, to include case studies, return on investment studies, and policy briefs.

● Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with the Mercy Corps Somalia Director of Programs and Country Director.

● Coordinate activities with consortium partners, subgrantees, local government and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.


● 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.


● 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.

Human Resources, Safeguarding and Diversity

● Support country initiatives for human resources, including safeguarding and diversity, and talent development;

● Collaborate with the country people team to promote staff access to high quality learning opportunities, with a special emphasis on national team member development;

● Assist with the on-boarding of team members, ensuring they are set up for success and familiar with agency systems, procedures, and protocols.

Risk Management

● Engage and the country initiatives on risk management systems are in place;

● Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events;

● Engage with country teams on the internal audit process to track findings and ensure country team compliance with IA findings and recommendations;

● Engage with country level Ethics and Assurance managers as well as the global Ethics and Assurance department to track and analyze trends and needs across countries;

Supervisory Responsibility

The Team Lead will be overall responsible for supervising the Somalia RLA Team—anticipated to comprise a total of eight (8) staff all of whom will be based in Baidoa and Mogadishu. The number of other direct and indirect reports is to be determined.


Reports Directly To: Mercy Corps Somalia Director of Programs (DOP)

Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Somalia Program Managers, Mercy Corps’ Regional Resilience Hub, program teams in Baidoa and Mogadishu, finance and operations teams, HQ Technical Support Unit, and partner organizations. The Team lead will also liaise and coordinate with another USAID resilience program- The USAID RPM program managed by Mercy Corps.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

● MA/S or equivalent experience in humanitarian assistance, international development, or related field.

● Minimum of 5-7 years’ relevant experience, with strong preference for significant experience in Somalia.

● Demonstrated understanding and considerable experience in the following:

  • Organizational capacity development, holistic organizational learning and/or organizational development approaches such as CLA.
    • Design- and systems-thinking for more efficient and effective programming in complex crises, and strengthening capacity of others in the same
    • Forging consensus among diverse actors around a shared vision, and leading and inspiring them towards that vision
    • Innovating solutions that enable teams in protracted crises better collaborate, learn and adapt across sector and funding streams
    • Capturing, analyzing, documenting and communicating evidence and knowledge to inspire and influence change.

● Specific to Resilience:

  • Demonstrated understanding of resilience theory as it relates to the design and implementation of international assistance, including why Mercy Corps promotes resilience strategies over “resilience programs.”

  • Ability to clearly articulate and justify why building resilience in protracted crisis is not only possible and relevant, but essential for ensuring international assistance contributes to lasting solutions to today’s humanitarian emergencies.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of the evolution of the resilience agenda in the Horn of Africa, including its obstacles and enablers, and ability to articulate thoughtful analysis of how/why Somalia’s journey has differed from other countries in the region.

● Knowledgeable of USAID’s and global best practices for CLA approaches and tools; experience on USAID programs strongly preferred.

● Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain relationships with colleagues, implementing partners, donors, local organizations, and partners.

● Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English (required) and Somali (highly desirable).

Success Factors

The successful Team Lead will be a design thinker who combines innovation and enthusiasm with a deep commitment to influencing transformative change in the way international assistance is designed and delivered in Somalia. The ideal candidate is able to inspire CLA and forge consensus across implementing partners and other stakeholders with diverse and often competing agendas. She/he must be flexible and opportunistic and must model a positive challenge culture that promotes and inspires innovation and learning. S/he combines exceptional management skills with experience in maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. 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.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The ideal candidate for the Team Lead position is willing to be based in Baidoa with frequent travel (up to 20%) to Mogadishu and some travels to Nairobi for meetings and work when necessary. The location is unaccompanied and eligible for hardship and R&R benefits.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours. Team members 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. Notably all Somalia staff are expected to comply with all country security protocols as guided by the country management.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Ongoing Learning

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 elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

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