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Program Director – Youth Impact Lab – Jordan and Kenya, Mercy Corps

  • full-time job
  • Jordan
  • Posted 4 days ago

Mercy Corps

Program Director – Youth Impact Lab – Jordan and Kenya

Mercy Corps
Amman, Jordan


Mercy Corps and are launching a three year global youth employment and innovation initiative to stimulate creative, technology-oriented solutions to the global unemployment challenge. Focusing on youth ages 15-24, this initiative will operate in two strategic regional hubs, Jordan and Kenya, serving the Middle East and East Africa respectively. The initiative seeks to strengthen dynamic ecosystems that foster demand-driven skills, creative job matching, and new work opportunities, while leveraging technology-driven solutions, so that vulnerable populations, specifically youth, can secure safe, decent, and equitable work. This initiative aims to think big, take risks, and test bold solutions by approaching under and unemployment through a business-oriented technology lens. While the program will operate in Kenya and Jordan, we will strategically plan for regional replication and expansion beyond these two countries.



Mercy Corps is seeking an entrepreneurial leader to build this initiative with a focus on achieving significant impact. S/he will be in charge of developing bold and creative technology-based solutions to the youth employment challenge, with a particular emphasis on e-learning and digital job matching. The Director will have access to the substantial resources of Mercy Corps’ hubs in Kenya and Jordan, but will need to develop and implement a strategy for how best to tap into these resources in order to maximize the impact of this new initiative. The Director will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision to the implementation and scale of the program, managing resources and partners to ensure that the program meets its objectives on-time and within budget. S/he will coordinate with Mercy Corps’ country/regional offices based in Kenya and Jordan to ensure successful integration, manage the development of bold and creative technology based solutions to youth under and unemployment, including e-learning and digital job matching. He/she will frequently liaise and coordinate with key stakeholders,, other implementing partners, companies, foundations, NGOs and government partners.



Design, Innovation, and Implementation:

  • Lead 3 month inception phase that includes the recruitment of core project staff, the formalization of key organizational/institutional partnerships, the design of the project’s methodology, approaches, and targets, and the finalization of the Year-1 workplan.
  • Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of program development, implementation and management.
  • Foster an innovative and entrepreneurial culture within the program team and approach
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to the needs of youth, business partners, employers, and tech partners, and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic plan.
  • Ensure adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations.
  • Manage and work closely with Mercy Corps Kenya and Jordan teams to ensure that the initiative is implemented successfully. This will involve frequent travel to meet with staff and strategic partners, and to oversee implementation of the initiative.
  • Collaborate with Mercy Corps’ Social Ventures team to identify and collaborate with innovative, scalable social enterprises working in the youth training and employment sectors.
  • Manage team, including country leads, while cultivating experience in testing new tech solutions to job matching and youth employment.
  • Develop centralized systems, tools and materials, including program implementation strategy.
  • Develop close and productive working relationships with all project participants and stakeholders including the primary stakeholders, operations departments, private sector and NGOs – all parties required to establish a shared vision of the project and achieve objectives.
  • Ensure activities promote gender equity, conflict sensitivity, and environmental awareness.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.


Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) and Reporting:

  • Facilitate the efforts to design effective MERL systems including the development of key indicators that will cut across country-specific solutions, and organizing the information so that it can be easily accessed by program management and reported out to key stakeholders.
  • Lead thoughtful research initiatives focused on potential of job matching solutions, employment in fragile contexts, and/or other research priorities as identified by Mercy Corps and
  • Oversee the scheduling and production of formal and informal reports on all aspects of the program in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Ensure that MERL focus generates practical information that can be used for ongoing program decision-making while also capturing results at the impact level.
  • Document lessons learned from the program and prepare periodic case studies and beneficiary stories.
  • Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to disseminate lessons learned and program achievements through events, conferences, digital and media channels.
  • Draw on best practices and lessons-learned to draft a comprehensive plan for program expansion beyond Jordan and Kenya, including identification of potential partners and resources.


Coordination, Partnership Development and Representation:

  • Facilitate development of a governance structure and communication protocols as well as development of milestones and timeline for the two and a half-year program period.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at relevant events in the field and in meetings with, potential partners and program investors, including corporations, foundation and government entities.
  • Coordinate activities with participating Mercy Corps HQ staff and country programs, donors, business partners, sub grantees, local government and other implementers.
  • Develop strong internal communication protocols to ensure alignment internally to meet program goals.
  • Facilitate workshops for effective work planning and capturing of lessons learned.
  • Coordinate with Mercy Corps’ corporate partnerships team and to devise methods to meaningfully leverage Google’s employees, technology, voice and other assets to support program objectives.


Program Support Operations

  • Coordinate with program and finance and administration staff to ensure operational systems are in place to support field activities including logistics, procurement, security, administration and human resources.
  • Maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs, as well as segregation of duties while ensuring effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures.
  • Oversee budget management of Impact Labs partners and sub-grantees/sub-contractors.
  • Ensure all consultant and sub-grant agreements are properly structured, ensure that detailed specifications are prepared in a timely, objective, fair and transparent manner, including the reporting responsibilities and administration of terms and awards.


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 Program Participants and Partners

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

ACCOUNTABILITY: Director of Economic Opportunities (Jordan)

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Country Director, Jordan

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Kenya and Jordan country leads/managers, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, etc.

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Regional Program Directors, East and Southern Africa and Middle East; Jordan and Kenya Country Directors; Senior Youth Employment Advisor, MERG Technical Support Unit; Senior Director of Social Ventures; Director of Corporate Partnerships; leadership; local, regional, and global business partners, peer agencies and implementing partners.



  • BA or BS or equivalent in business administration, social science, management, international development or other relevant field; MBA and/or MA preferred.
  • 7-10 years of private sector and/or field management experience including 3 years in a senior management position, preferably at a regional/cross-country level.
  • Demonstrated experience with and strong understanding of working with private sector partners.
  • Experience working with T4D and the technology sector required.
  • Previous international work experience in Africa and/or the Middle East required.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English, including report development, writing and editing.
  • Strong project management skills, including working with local partners and program start up activities.
  • 5- 7 years of experience managing and/or advising employment and/or private sector focused projects.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Willingness to take risks, test new solutions, and transform the global youth employment landscape.



The successful Director will be a bold and big and systems thinker, combining exceptional business acumen, management skills and experience in forging and maintaining donor and partner relationships. S/he will have the mindset and approach of a social entrepreneur, seeking creative solutions to challenging social problems and ensuring that these solutions are implemented effectively. He/She will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs within the current and future program structure of Mercy Corps in the designated regions. 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. The Director will also have strong experience and aptitude for technology for development (T4D), which is a significant component of the program.



The Director will be based in Amman, Jordan, with up to 30% travel to Kenya, the US, and other East Africa and Middle East strategic geographies. The location is accompanied and will reside in individual housing. Amman is a modern city with a nice climate, access to excellent schools and diverse entertainment options.  In general the security environment is calm and good medical services accessible.


Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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 Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.


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