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 are recruiting to fill the position below:
Job Title: Senior Community Engagement Officer
Reference Number: MDG / HUMOPS / 2020 / 00045
Location: Maiduguri, Borno
Employment Type: Full-time
- Mercy Corps has been present in Nigeria since 2012, focusing its interventions on adolescent girls’ empowerment, economic and market development and conflict mitigation. With the insurgency spilling over from the Northeast of Nigeria and causing displacement of millions of individuals, Mercy Corps started its humanitarian response in 2014 to address the rising humanitarian needs. With funding from institutional donors, foundations and private corporations, Mercy Corps continues to provide assistance to meet the basic needs of vulnerable populations in the areas of food security, shelter, water and sanitation, protection, and livelihoods.
- In the context of COVID-19, with severe restrictions on face-to-face contact, meeting in large groups and travel, community engagement has become an extremely challenging activity. But it remains a critically important one, especially for addressing misinformation around the Pandemic and properly respond to community needs and concerns. As a reaction to these new challenges, MC has adapted his programs to comply with the new precautions and has been looking for non-contact means to relay information and hear from communities about their needs, questions and feedback.
General Position Summary
- This role will support and monitor the rollout of 6 months initiative in which MC is partnering with Translators Without Borders (TWB) to pilot a new technology which will support community engagement through an app called “Chatbot” or “œbot” which can talk with people. This technology, also called conversational artificial intelligence (AI), will allow people to interact in conversations with a virtual avatar (personality) to answer questions, take feedback and listen to concerns.
- The Chatbot initiative will provide a new channel for Mercy Corps to engage with their teams, volunteers and more broadly in the community in three (3) different local languages, and will provide valuable information to the community as well as capturing useful insights from them. Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the bot can support two-way communication with communities on a range of topics.
- The Senior Community Engagement Officer will co-lead development, implementation and monitoring of a community engagement Chabot on COVID-19 and on other potential health-related issues that might be relevant for the local communities targeted.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Participate in the planning, implementation and review of the initiative including assessment and adaptation of improvements and innovations.
- Ensure quality and integrity of implementation, including compliance with Mercy Corps policies and Minimum Standards (PM@MC) and adherence to technical guidelines, administrative systems, and established deadlines.
- Develop and maintain an understanding of the communication challenges affecting the COVID-19 and wider humanitarian response in northeast Nigeria.
- Act as the focal point for weekly editorial meetings with TWB for the development, consolidation and localization of messaging, ensuring responsiveness to community concerns.
- Coordinate the editorial process for content curation and development within Mercy Corps and with TWB. Ensure timely inputs into the content development process.
- Lead field testing of the chatbot by the Mercy Corps teams (volunteers, community ambassadors etc), collate feedback and ensure regular integration of the feedback into the chatbot editorial process.
- Maintain open and professional relationships with the TWB team, partner humanitarian agencies and donors.
- Develop mutually beneficial partnerships with humanitarian agencies to pilot and implement the chatbot to improve two-way communication with affected communities
- Actively participate in relevant sector (health, WASH etc.) meetings and initiatives, advocating for the uptake of the chatbot for two-way communications with affected communities
- Proactively contribute to advocacy and communication efforts as needed, in close collaboration with the TWB team.
- Identify funding opportunities and network with partners and donors with a view to submit funding proposals for the sustainability of the initiative. Co-author funding proposals.
- Act as a liaison and facilitator between MC target communities and relevant authorities, building community representatives capacity to engage in effective dialogue.
- Maintain regular communications with key stakeholders to gauge perceptions, tensions, and potential triggers.
- Expand local partner networks, foster linkages to local government, health authorities, civil society coalitions and other relevant local networks including religious leaders
- Ensure the program is in alignment with Mercy Corps principles, values and the program’s strategic plan.
- Implement and model Mercy Corps philosophy of social entrepreneurship and leverage Mercy Corps best practices.
- Sustain a work environment of mutual respect you and other team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.
- Provide other team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
Influence and Representation:
- Identify, build collaborative partnerships with TWB, local authorities and other stakeholders.
- Participate in coordination meetings and workshops to the project.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- 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
- Reports Directly To Program Manager
- Works Directly WithMEL Manager, Program Quality Team (PaQ), TWB staff
Requirements, Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S in relevant field or other similar fields; MA / MS / MBA or equivalent preferred in Social Sciences, International Relations, Development or other related fields.
- Five years experience in project management, implementation and design. Previous experience in community engagement is preferable.
- Experience of developing tools and strategies for listening to and communicating with crisis-affected communities.
- Knowledge and understanding of the role of language in humanitarian response.
- Ability to work independently, flexibly and with remote teams.
- Experience in proposal writing, including conceptualizing and technical writing.
- Excellent communication, interpersonal and representational skills.
- Ability to coordinate people and processes.
- Detail-oriented, thorough, accurate, able to meet deadlines, and able to work quickly and steadily in a focused manner.
- Good organizational skills, ability to make recommendations for improvement and contribute to overall program strategy.
- Excellent English oral and written communication skills.
- Understanding of language dynamics in Nigeria is desirable.
- Understanding of Hausa, Kanuri or other languages of Nigeria is desirable.
- The successful Sr. Community Engagement Officer will be a creative self-starter with a strong sense of initiative, experienced in humanitarian response management, communication with communities and enthusiastic about the importance of increasing access to knowledge through language and technology.
- The right candidate is an energetic team player comfortable in working with teams virtually. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions:
- The position will be based in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria and requires frequent travel to other field locations as well as Abuja. Considering the frequent travel from/to different field locations, this position will require flexibility in terms of accommodation and logistics. Housing in the field will be in hotels or guesthouses where available. Security in the field locations requires additional vigilance and accessibility will be reassessed continuously. Access to good medical services in the field is limited. Phone communication, internet, electricity and water is available but might be erratic.
- The location is not eligible for hardship and R&R benefits. Given the nature of the response, working hours require flexibility and working through weekends/evenings might be necessary.
Application Closing Date
11th November, 2020.
Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should send their CV and Cover letter in one document, addressing the position requirements, reference number and location to: firstname.lastname@example.org using the “Job Title & Reference Number” as the subject of the email.
- All applications must include the position title and reference number in the subject line
- Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview
- We are an equal employment opportunity organization so women are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.