Program Manager-DREAMS at Mercy Corps Uganda

Program Manager-DREAMS at Mercy Corps Uganda 

Location: Yumbe

Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

Deadline:  5th August, 2021

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps in partnership with Village Enterprise and IDinsight will be implementing a market Systems Approach project called Delivering Resilient Enterprises and Market Systems (DREAMS) for refugees. DREAMS provides an innovative solution that will drive refugee self-reliance. Working in Uganda and Ethiopia – home to 10% of the world’s refugee population – DREAMS will provide 150,000 of the most vulnerable refugees with the security and dignity that comes from providing for one’s family. The program will integrate two proven models – Graduation and Market Systems Development – layering these approaches in a new way that will ensure that the poorest refugee households are able to improve their income and well-being significantly.

General Position Summary

The Program Manager will be tasked with managing innovative and high impact integrated graduation and Market Systems Development project targeting poor refugee households to be able to improve income and well-being with a possibility of transforming a growing humanitarian crisis into an opportunity for hope, enabling millions of the most vulnerable refugees in the world to achieve and sustain financial autonomy and better support their families. S/he is responsible for the overall management and coordination of a Market Systems Development approach focusing on growth sectors such as micro and small enterprise development aimed at increasing resilience and livelihoods for refugees. S/he will lead, coordinate and manage all activities related to the implementation of the markets systems component of the program ensuring the programs are on time, on scope and on budget.

A market systems development and resilience approach is at the core of Mercy Corps Uganda’s programming strategy and as such, the Program Manager will be responsible for overall program performance and quality, ensuring that the program is catalytic and in building resilience of refugees, majority of whom are women. The program manager should have refined skills and experience in Market System Development Approach and team leadership.

Essential Job Responsibilities


 Provide leadership and strategic vision in all aspects of the program’s development (inception phase) and implementation.

Lead the day-to-day activities of the program.

Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcome.

Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives and impact.

Lead assessments and analysis to identify areas for program improvement.


Manage all program activities, including providing support to micro and small business enterprises, developing market linkages and value chains, building the capacity of local producers, and supporting micro-projects.

Provide management oversight over the implementation team, including development of work plans, sector result chains, intervention designs, growth structure, sustainability, vision, monitoring implementation and impact, ensuring that program deliverables are completed on budget and on time.

Jointly with the project teams, lead actor identification of specific markets in the project area and develop shared value and sustainable partnerships.

Work closely with implementing and other local partners and develop strategies to promote their organizational development and capacity-building in integrating market systems development approach in their approaches

Together with the implementing partners and other Mercy Corps team members, lead field level inquiry of the project learning agenda.


Work with Monitoring and Evaluation team to develop monitoring systems, provide regular high-quality reports on program activities to demonstrate progress of activities and lessons learned.

In collaboration with the Country Director, Director of Programs and Technical Support Unit, ensure research, monitoring, evaluation and analysis are integrated into program implementation to promote adaptive management and a culture of constant program improvement.

Support the design and implementation of relevant surveys, need assessments, data and information collection for on-going monitoring and learning.


Develop and nurture culturally sensitive internal and external relationships and networks to ensure optimum communication and program success.

Explore, evaluate and present innovative funding opportunities that support the country strategy.

Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with donors, government partners, consortium partners, sub-grantees, and other stakeholders.

In coordination with the Country Director and Director of Programs, partake in representation role on specific coordination working groups or forums.


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

Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.

Lead capacity development initiatives for project team members through trainings, mentoring and coaching to ensure there is a cohesive understanding of market systems and project implementation approaches.

Guide program team and work with M&E staff to develop, document and implement adaptive management practices that lead to improved quality and responsive implementation.

Work with program and M&E team to ensure high quality measurement on key performance indicators for Graduation and Market Systems Development (MSD).


Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies.

Monitor and adherence to grant agreements, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and other relevant regulations, including those of the Government of Uganda.

Work closely with support functions in Uganda, regional and headquarters to ensure highest compliance and program performance.

Work with Program officers on proper budget management, including forecasting and procurement planning.


Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.

Proactively ensure the well-being of team members and ensure they are aware of policies to help manage insecure environments.


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.

Supervisory Responsibility:

Program Officers and Monitoring and Learning Coordinator


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

 Works Directly With: Country Director, Program team, consortium partners, Technical Support Unit, regional teams and work closely with Operations, Finance and Human resources functions from inception to close out of the program

Knowledge and Experience

BA/S or equivalent in a relevant field; an advanced degree is preferred.

5-7 years practical field experience implementing SMEs, livelihoods or related sectors.

Implementation and management experience in developing countries through market system based approaches.

Experience managing and empowering teams in Market Systems Development with demonstrated evidence of continued learning and adaptation

Experience in livelihood programming in a refugee set up

Demonstrated strong theoretical and applied knowledge of livelihood and market systems development programming and familiarity designing assessments.

Prior experience in developing partnership with both private and public actors as part of program implementation in achieving projects desired goals.

Previous experience working in complex programming, in volatile and insecure environments applying a market system based approaches.

Strong writing and report development skills.

Must be able to work independently while being a strong team player.

Demonstrated experience working effectively with local and national governments, INGO and local NGO partners;

Strong oral and written English skills required.

Success Factors

The Program Manager will have an excellent understanding and experience in Market System Development with focus in refugee set up and youth programming. S/he has a combination of team leadership, program development and implementation skills with the ability to work across a wide range of stakeholders. The Program Manager has the ability to communicate the program’s activities to a wider audience and play a critical challenge function to the technical team as well as bring a positive approach to the job, embracing challenges as opportunities to innovate.  Work well under pressure in a fluid operating and security environment.