Mercy Corps recruits 01 Regional Research Manager

Mercy Corps recruits 01 Regional Research Manager – East Africa – Multiple East Africa Locations

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.

Program/Department Summary

This position is within Mercy Corps’ Research and Learning team. Mercy Corps is committed to generating and using evidence to understand and improve our impact, and to enhance the humanitarian and development community’s ability to address the world’s most complex challenges. The Research and Learning team advances Mercy Corps’ ability to influence major debates and decisions affecting our work, and to deliver high impact programming by supporting the generation and use of high quality evidence. Our external influence and internal learning are most effective when underpinned by substantive research on issues where we have expertise and a credible voice. Questions on types of policies and programs can best strengthen the resilience of populations affected by recurrent and protracted crises are major priorities for our research, technical, and program teams around the world. Mercy Corps has secured major donor grants to examine these questions, and to ensure the evidence generated is used to inform major programming and policy decisions and debates.

Mercy Corps’ portfolio of program research and impact evaluations is growing, including in Africa, where our work includes an array of short-, medium-, and long-term studies that employ rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods. This includes thematic emphases on issues related to agricultural and pastoral markets and livelihoods, and the evaluation of innovative programs and policies that hold potential to increase agro-pastoralist resilience to recurring shocks and protracted crises and conflict.

Position Summary

As Mercy Corps’ research portfolio in Africa grows, so does our need for regionally-based technical and managerial research capacity. The [East Africa] Research Manager will play a strategic role in Mercy Corps, managing and providing technical guidance on select studies in the region, coordinating between the global Research and Learning team and regional, country, and program teams, and external research partners. A key part of the role will be identifying and managing new opportunities to research innovative program activities, particularly related to agro-pastoral and pastoralist livelihoods, livelihoods in transition, conflict and resilience. At least 50% of the Advisor’s time will be dedicated to research management, coordination, and technical guidance under the Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) program, while the remaining 50% will be in support of other Mercy Corps research programs and studies. The research supported by this role will be used to inform Mercy Corps’ regional strategies, program development, and debates and decisions among donors, government agencies, and other key humanitarian and development actors.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Identify research opportunities and partnerships that respond to priority topics and questions, and which connect to Mercy Corps’ field programming and national and regional strategic plans and SPARC research priorities.
  • Be responsive to immediate technical assistance requests shared by the donor via SPARC leadership.
  • Support the design of studies, including defining research questions, and developing data collection methods, instruments, and analysis plans
  • Lead the research execution, including identification and recruitment of researchers, implementation to ensure quality and timeliness of the fieldwork, partners, and of the overall research project activities, outputs and reports.
  • Draft and manage project budgets in close coordination with Mercy Corps country, regional, and global finance teams.
  • Develop strong relationships and coordinate closely with regional and country leadership, technical support teams, and program teams to ensure research plans are aligned with agency and field-based research priorities and program opportunities.
  • Develop and maintain strategic research relationships with relevant local and/or regional research institutions, and keep abreast of emerging research initiatives and opportunities in the region.
  • Map an evolving portfolio of program innovations–new business models, policy practices, technologies, behavioral insights, or ways of delivering products and services–that if evaluated, show high potential to contribute to better policies and programs in support of pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods and resilience.
  • Support the identification of criteria and process for selecting program innovations for research and evaluation.
  • Identify and recruit local, regional, and international organizations with experience implementing relevant research and evaluations in SPARC contexts, to lead innovation evaluations.
  • Continuously monitor research partners’ progress and quality, providing technical feedback on outputs throughout each evaluative project cycle.
  • Identify key internal and external audiences, and country / regional fora, key events, conferences and events that provide opportunities to advance awareness and use of our research findings among target audiences in the region
  • Translate research findings into appropriate external products to support evidence-based influencing activities, and deliver presentations or other communications on our research to external audiences in the region.
  • Actively use research and evidence to inform internal regional strategies, new proposals, and program learning

Supervisory Responsibility

Research consultants and external partners


Reports Directly To:  Senior Director of Research and Learning

Works Directly With: Technical Director for the Africa Region, SPARC Innovation Research Lead, Country Directors, Program Directors and Program Managers, as well as members of Mercy Corps Technical Support Unit.

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 

  • Master’s Degree in international development or other relevant social science
  • 5-10 years of experience working in international development or humanitarian aid, with at least 2-3 years in research, strategy or monitoring and evaluation role(s).
  • Experience working with digital technologies, social entrepreneurs,or other innovations/innovators on socio-economic development
  • Experience conducting research in fragile, conflict affected contexts.
  • Experience in research or programming on resilience, agricultural recovery, pastoralism, conflict management, and/or market systems development.
  • Demonstrated skills with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate research findings, verbally, visually, and in writing in English
  • Experience translating research into actionable recommendations and practice.
  • Experience developing and managing project budgets and research partners or consultants.

Success Factors 

  • Ability and willingness to travel at least 30% of the time.
  • Excellent analytical skills, and ability to communicate complex concepts in clear ways
  • Excellent on-line communication skills and experience using multiple communication platforms.
  • Superb organizational skills and show initiative to identify and solve problems
  • Capable of multitasking, rapid decision-making, and work under time constraints
  • Must be able to work with diverse teams (country, language) and sectors (e.g. natural resources, economics, sociology, digital technology)
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing conditions and requirements
  • Self-motivated and able to work without close supervision
  • Strong team player with demonstrated interpersonal skills

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position will be based in one of our East Africa office locations, with expected travel of up to 30% within East Africa.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/short term assignment 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.

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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