Water Security Team Lead – Ethiopia at Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps Nigeria

Position: Water Security Team Lead – Ethiopia

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.

Mercy Corps has been operating in Ethiopia since 2004. In partnership with civil society organizations, academic institutions, private sector, and the government, Mercy Corps Ethiopia has reached more than five million Ethiopians with interventions to save lives and build secure livelihoods. Our programs emphasize market-driven solutions, reinforce social bonds, and help communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Currently in six regional states – Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromia, Somali, and South Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR), and in Dire Dawa Administration and the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa – Mercy Corps Ethiopia is driven by the mission to contribute the emergence of a peaceful, resilient, and prosperous Ethiopia which is inclusive of youth and women. Our strategic directions focus in promoting inclusive and dynamic markets; promoting peace and social cohesion through strengthening formal/informal governance structures and citizen engagement; improved natural resource governance; and integrated humanitarian response.

The Program

Mercy Corps has been operating in Ethiopia since 2004, working in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas in five regional states – Somali, Oromia, Afar, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples, Amhara – and the capital city of Addis Ababa. We engage in both development and humanitarian work, and seek to integrate approaches, programs, and geographies as much as possible. Our partners include government, academic institutions, development and private sector actors, civil societies, and communities. Mercy Corps envisions contributing to the emergence of a peaceful, prosperous, and resilient Ethiopia which is inclusive of youth and women. Our strategic focus in the country includes promoting dynamic and inclusive markets; natural resource management; peace and social cohesion, and humanitarian responses.

Mercy Corps’ Resilience in Pastoral Areas (RIPA) program is a five-year USAID-funded initiative that aims to improve the resilience capacities of households, markets, and governance institutions across 22 woredas in the Somali, Afar and Oromia regions. RIPA includes a Crisis Modifier component that allows us to pivot our approach and respond to humanitarian needs in ways that support, not undermine, long-term development and resilience objectives. In relation to this, Mercy Corps is planning to implement an $9 million Crisis Modifier that aims to identify and catalyze resilient water supply and systems in Shabelle Zone of Ethiopia. This ‘Water Security Crisis Modifier’ is expected to have four main components: 1) Develop new water sources and supply systems that are resilient to drought, through river offtake and treatment and/or deep boreholes; 2) Support natural resource management innovations to improve water usage for rangelands and other productive purposes; 3) Promote professionalization / privatization of water services management; 4) Improve access to water for productive use.

The Position

The Water Security Team Lead will provide overall leadership and management of all aspects of Mercy Corps’ ‘Water Security Crisis Modifier’. The Team Lead will be responsible for supervising all start-up activities of the program, building a high-performing team, setting quality performance targets and ensuring adherence to technical standards, best practices, and donor guidelines. The Team Lead will ensure effective partnerships with government, private sector actors and communities, and will have oversight for multiple technical consultancies. The Team Lead will possess a strong program management background including ability to manage multiple diverse stakeholder relationships.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Set the strategic direction for the program by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve program objectives.
  • Manage the program adaptively, with flexibility to adapt the strategy depending on technical assessments and feedback from stakeholders.


  • Oversee program startup and ongoing program management and administration of teams in Addis and Shabelle Zone of Somali Region.
  • Review and analyze existing and evolving institutional, policy, legal, and regulatory framework for water services as it relates to the government of Ethiopia’s plan for water supply and sanitation investments and align Mercy Corps water security program activities accordingly.
  • Support the institutionalization of water service delivery models in line with cluster standards and prevailing government regulations in Ethiopia.
  • Lead implementation of all technical components of water infrastructure projects in full coordination with other staff members.
  • Manage the technical team including the Senior WASH Engineer, Regional Water Security Manager, Water Security start-up manager (STA), consultants, and contractors, and provide overall supervision and monitoring of engineering designs and construction activities in the field. Provide support to team through constructive feedback and coaching to ensure implementation is on track. Organize workflow and ensure that duties or delegated tasks are clearly communicated and carried out.
  • Ensure that all minimum program/ construction management standards are met and that strong structures are in place for smooth completion of the projects.
  • Work closely with the technical team to develop timely and realistic plans.
  • Conduct frequent site visits to provide construction management supervision including oversight of work onsite, materials testing, report development, verification of quantities.
  • Build capacity of service providers to participate in governance dialogues and to become advocates for good governance in the management and implementation of business plans to ensure a favorable enabling environment for expanded and improved service delivery.
  • Work with the Senior WASH Engineer, Mercy Corps headquarters infrastructure team, Mercy Corps Crisis Response Start-up Advisor, and Mercy Corps Water Security Regional Manager based in Gode to coordinate and communicate with local authorities, program third party monitoring consulting firm, donor, and other implementing partners to avoid overlapping and obtain all necessary no objection certifications.
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and not jeopardize its operations in the field.
  • Working closely with Mercy Corps Ethics Team to support them to conduct spot checks to ensure infrastructure projects are as per technical documents and donor guidelines are followed.
  • Lead QA/QC process ensuring all technical reviews are conducted according to best practices.
  • Other duties assigned by the RIPA Chief of Party.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Integrate community approaches, gender sensitivity and capacity building into all activities as appropriate.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, target and within budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.


  • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & 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.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.


  • Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.


  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Represent Mercy Corps programs with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.


  • Adherence of gender minimum standards
  • Allocate budget for GESI related activities and staff capacity building on GESI.
  • Make sure GESI issues are properly reflected during program management.
  • Support the organization’s commitment to age and gender inclusive team building process.
  • Promote an inclusive and equitable workplace culture.
  • Support Staff Capacity Building on Increase staff knowledge of GEDSI
  • Coordinate with GEDSI Technical Team Improve gender-responsiveness of program /Project MEAL system.
  • Increased commitment to Gender Equality Diversity and Social inclusion.

Supervisory Responsibility

Direct supervisory responsibility for:

  • Water Security Manager (Gode)
  • Senior WASH Engineer
  • Water Security Start-Up Manager (STA)


Reports Directly To: RIPA Chief of Party

Works Directly With: RIPA Component Leads, RIPA CLA and MEL team, Mercy Corps global water and infrastructure experts

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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills

  • At least 5 years of senior program management experience in water-related sectors is required, including experience of implementing medium/large water infrastructure projects.
  • A Masters’ degree in Water/Civil Engineering, Urban Planning, Water Utility, Public Health, Business Management or other relevant social science.
  • At least 8 years’ experience working on water and sanitation sector programs at international or national level.
  • Experience of private sector development in relation to water services or other sectors is preferred.
  • Clear understanding of the key performance indicators of a public utility will be preferred.
  • Experience in working on urban water supply systems; small towns water supply systems, community-based water supply and sanitation program implementation and operation essential.
  • A good understanding of operational challenges of water service providers in Ethiopia – with specific focus on the drought affected regions of Ethiopia.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience strengthening policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks for improved WASH services.
  • Must have excellent English writing and communication skills.

Success Factors

A successful candidate will have the ability to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment with a capacity to spark innovative approaches to programming and inspire groups to collaborate closely to implement high-quality programs. S/he will have proven ability to learn quickly, take initiative, and be accountable for results, with an ability and willingness to remain mobile for short-term and/or long-term as necessary within the region, based on programmatic needs. An ability to work independently and as part of a team, with curiosity about and sensitivity to new cultures, a desire and ability to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, and a great sense of humor.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is an accompanied position and housing is available in family accommodation with good freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are several international schools in the city and staff have access to basic services (electricity, water, sporadic internet, etc). Medical facilities are basic with international clinics able to provide emergency services. This position requires up to 50% travel by road and air to field offices in often insecure environments.

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.

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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.

How to apply



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