Program Manager – DREAMS Project: Kampala,Uganda

Mercy Corps


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

We help people overcome poverty and conflict. Working with communities, we leverage local logic to help people transform their lives. To grow more food, earn higher incomes and ultimately advocate for their needs. We see global challenges as an invitation to pioneer innovative, sustainable solutions. During our 34-year history, our work has improved more than 170 million lives in more than 115 countries around the world.

Mercy Corps has been present in Uganda since 2006, focusing its interventions on economic and agricultural development, food security and nutrition, governance, conflict management and humanitarian response. With funding from USAID, DFID, private individuals and private foundations including MasterCard, Mercy Corps has been able to work together with communities in Uganda to respond to the needs of our target population, which is focused on youth, adolescent girls and rural poor. In 2017, Mercy Corps had an impact on almost 1 million beneficiaries in Uganda through our work focusing on building resilience and enabling economic growth, improving opportunities to attain better health and nutrition, and improving governance and conflict management. Common themes include community engagement, inclusive development, gender, and working in partnership with local government, the private sector and civil society actors.

Program/ Department/ Team Summary

Mercy Corps Uganda promotes and uses market system development approach. 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 will be a high ranking Mercy Corps staff solely dedicated to the program and will be expected to represent Mercy Corps in programmatic excellence, leadership, vision and core values. S/he will be responsible for leading a multi-disciplinary and multi-location team delivering all project activities in Mercy Corps geographies of the West Nile region and Kampala.S/he is responsible for taking technical leadership of market systems strengthening and financial inclusion in all project areas focusing on growth sectors such as micro and small enterprise development aimed at increasing resilience and livelihoods of refugees. S/he will support overall project expansion, growth, management and planning, donor reporting, coordination of inputs from knowledge partners, and other stakeholders. He/she will be responsible for M&E, financial and operational management, and project management of the Mercy Corps teams. 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.

This position requires key skills in relationship management within the team, with partner organizations, donors, stakeholders, and community members; and project management. The Program Manager will also be a member of the MC Economic and Markets Development (EMD) Team, which uses market systems development to stimulate economic growth to create wealth and jobs for the poorest while maximizing investment from the private and public sectors. As a member of the EMD team, the Programme Manager will contribute analytical thinking and innovative approaches and will support integration and harmony of approaches across all Mercy Corps Uganda market-driven programming. The EMD team is also expected to contribute up to 20% of its collective time towards new program development.

Essential Job Functions

The Program Manager is responsible for management and implementation of MC’s thematic areas of markets and financial systems development. Key job functions include the following:


  • 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.

Overall Program Management

  • Organize market assessment validation and activities planning workshop which will involve all key stakeholders.
  • Advise/guide the project team to develop detailed plan for implementation of selected activities, including roles, timeframe, desired outcomes
  • Develop, implement, monitor progress of work plans that can be adaptively managed
  • Facilitate key relationships within the four market systems.
  • Ensure that market systems work captures and responds to up-to-date information about market developments within respective market systems and global best practices for Economic & Markets Development.
  • Manage all required documentation and reporting required by the lead agency
  • Regularly visit field activities to assess progress and provide formal and informal feedback

Team Management

  • 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.


  • 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.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations related to emergency programming.
  • Draft and/or review scope of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

Influence & Representation

  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.


  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.

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 Beneficiaries

  • 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

Technical Advisors, program coordinators


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

Works Directly With: Technical Advisors, program Coordinator, Field Operations Team, Country Operations Manager, Country HR Manager and Country Finance Manager

Knowledge and Experience

  • Deep understanding and mastery of Markets4Poor approach and Economic & Markets Development facilitation including coaching, relationship building, communicating, entrepreneurialism/business understanding and innovating.
  • Familiar with all aspects of the relevant financial inclusion in a market systems including key actors, micro-financial institutions (MFIs), banks, Insurances, information service providers, inputs suppliers, producers, traders, intermediary and terminal markets governance frameworks (formal and informal); and all support markets and functions;
  • Masters degree in economics, business administration, agribusiness, or other related field, or commensurate private sector or field experience is required
  • MA/Sc or equivalent in finance, economics or related field;
  • Minimum three to five years’ mid to senior-level field leadership experience;
  • Demonstrated success in programs related to market systems strengthening, financial inclusion, private sector development, marketing and value chain programming;
  • Prior experience working with pastoralist communities, in the Horn of Africa or elsewhere, required;
  • Demonstrated ability to function as a social entrepreneur and proven success with building, managing and leading a team of professionals and the ability to function as a team player among peers;
  • Proven ability for project and financial management;
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational, prioritization skills;
  • Ability to work comfortably, effectively and creatively in areas of variable security;
  • History of working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO and NGO partners in complex environments;
  • A dynamic, “outside-the-box” attitude is required, with proven ability to think and act creatively in challenging environments;
  • Effective English language verbal and written communication skills;
  • Multi-tasking, organization and prioritization skills
  • Fluency in Somali is required

Success Factors

The successful Market Systems Team Lead will be a self-starter able to work in ambiguous situations. S/he will be a tolerant, flexible and able to work in difficult and stressful environments while following procedures. S/he will be highly effective at building teams, problem solving, and capacity building of national staff. S/he will also have the skill to engage, motivate and encourage staff to bring creative solutions to development issues, identify opportunities for increased impact, and pursue project objectives.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Program Manager is an accompanied position and is based in Uganda, WestNile region with 40% travel to domestic sites. Travel to other locations for regional representation may be required. At times evening and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines and at times of shocks and stresses.

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

  • Seniority level

    Entry level

  • Employment type


  • Job function

    Project Management and Information Technology

  • Industries

    International Affairs, Nonprofit Organization Management, and Program Development