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Program Manager (Health and Nutrition) Job in Ethiopia

Position Title: Program Manager – Health and Nutrition
Primary Location: Jijiga, Somali Region, Ethiopia
Position Status: Full time, field-based, regular
Interested applicants, please apply online at

Program/Department Summary:

Mercy Corps is working in Ethiopia in close collaboration with government, other INGO’s and UN agencies to provide emergency and recovery assistance to vulnerable populations in the Degehabur, Jijiga, Afder and Shinile zones of the Somali Region. 

The Health and Nutrition Program is a strategic intervention in the Somali region that is addressing the immediate needs of children under 5 years and pregnant and lactating women through a Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Program composed of  an Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP), a Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), and stabilization centers (SC).

The health and nutrition interventions address the basic health care needs of the community through mobile clinics, including immunizations, health consultations, reproductive health, and disease surveillance. 

Mercy Corps has been operating in Ethiopia since 2004 and began its Nutrition Program in Somali Region in October 2008.

General Position Summary:

The Health and Nutrition Program Manager will provide overall leadership, management and strategic vision in the implementation of the Nutrition and Health Program, managing staff and resources to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget.

The Program Manager will supervise key program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulation. 

S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers and external stakeholders in Degehabur, Afder and Shinile. 

Responsibilities also extend to the management of security, implementation of all Mercy Corps policies/procedures, compliance/controls with regard to operational activities, and submission of monthly updates and quarterly program reports. Position requires field trips to project sites in remote areas.

Essential Job Functions:
  • Manage the emergency nutrition and health program running in Degehabur, Afder and Shinile zones according to the set budget and deadline.
  • Oversee all aspects of quality program implementation; ensure that effective program reporting, assessment, monitoring/evaluation systems for internal and external use are being maintained.
  • Provide on site supervision and monitoring of program activities as well as team performance.
  • Coordinate with program, finance and administration staff to ensure operational systems are in place to support field activities.
  • Manage and motivate an informed, skilled and efficient team; incorporate staff development strategies and performance management systems in to team building process.
  • Create a work atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellent personnel at all levels. Foster a collaborative team atmosphere which engages the stakeholders.
  • Develop positive working relationships and coordinate/collaborate with the Ministry of Health, Regional Health Bureau, relevant international and national agencies active in the target area.
  • Conduct community assessments and make recommendations on needs and vulnerabilities of the populations in conjunction with program objectives.
  • Work collaboratively to design and implement nutrition program activities using participatory methodologies involving project stakeholders, ensuring strategic sustainable development of communities and program.
  • Provided regular updates and reports to head office along with timely submission of reports as per donor requirements.
  • Represent Mercy Corps in forums related to the sector and share information with colleagues and partners.
  • Bring to note any emerging humanitarian requirement in the areas of operation to the IHR Director and support in gathering information and proposal writing.
  • Lead and implement assessments and program start-up/implementation in other regions of Ethiopia as necessary
  • Other duties as assigned.
Organizational Learning
As part of Mercy Corps’ agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities.

Accountability to Beneficiaries
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in design, monitoring and evaluation.

Supervisory Responsibility: 1 Project Officer and 3 Project Coordinators

Reports Directly To: IHR Programs Director.
Works Directly With:  RAIN Program Managers, Jijiga Head of Office, Afder Head of Office, Field Staff, Finance and other Support staff, and Health Technical Support Unit?

Knowledge and Experience:
  • An MPH or Master’s Degree in Nutrition or Health related field required
  • 5-7 years of experience successfully managing nutrition and health projects in difficult and often insecure environments in relief and/or post-conflict settings (preferably augmented with experience in community mobilization and WASH programming).
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English, including report development, writing and editing.
  • Fluency in Somali written and oral communication required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of USAID/OFDA programming and experience managing programs compliant with USAID regulations. 
  • Proven program leadership, management, project planning, organizational, interpersonal, communication, and security management skills.
  • Previous experience working in the Horn of Africa required.
Success Factors:
  • Ability to communicate, takes direction, assume leadership, and make rational decisions.
  • Diplomacy skills in managing a team with different backgrounds, abilities, and technical knowledge.
  • Ability to train and facilitate dialogue among a diverse group of individuals with various skill sets and differing work styles.
  • Contextual knowledge of Ethiopia and the often complex clan structures of Somali society.
  • Effective communication and team-building techniques.
  • Excellent organizational and strong interpersonal skills.
  • High motivation, initiative, and adaptability.
  • Ability to live and work successfully in remote, insecure, and challenging setting with limited resources.
  • Even temperament and good sense of humor.
Living Conditions/Environmental Conditions:
This position is based in Jijiga, the Somali regional capital. Jijiga is an unaccompanied location eligible for hardship and R&R.

From Jijiga, there is an airport and roads to Harar and Dire Dawa. Several UN and INGOs are present in Jijiga and it is the center for coordination of humanitarian operations for the Somali region of Ethiopia. There are periodic water shortages and power cuts at all sites. Hotels, restaurants, and banks are available in Jijiga and Dire Dawa. Telephone landlines, internet and mobile network capacity exist but are frequently at a less than optimal level.

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. Staff 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.

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