Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq’s goal is to work with civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate needs and reduce longer-term vulnerabilities of communities within Iraq. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) providing humanitarian assistance to conflict affected populations to meet basic needs, maintain human dignity and facilitate self-empowerment; (2) supporting income-generating opportunities that transition individuals and households from financial dependency towards financial independence while facilitating market-system approaches; (3) working with young females and young males to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society, as well as access to education, psychosocial support, and economic opportunities; and (4) promoting reconciliation and foster trust across community divisions by strengthening conflict management and prevention mechanisms and enhancing social cohesion.
Mercy Corps Iraq is implementing an agriculture program that aims to improve the business environment, and improve access to financial services as well as reactivate the agriculture value chains in the area of Al Hamdaniya in Ninewa governorate. Mercy Corps is seeking a MSME and Financial Inclusion Advisor for the program seeking to contribute to the agricultural and rural economy recovery in Nineveh Governorate, Iraq. The agricultural sector in Nineveh has been largely disorganized by the conflict: structuring public infrastructures such as irrigated perimeters, slaughterhouses, markets etc. have been either damaged and/or plundered, as were private equipment and assets (orchards, poultry houses, feed production units…). Although rehabilitation and recovery costs may be modest, access to financial resources is a challenge both for the government, due to a comparatively low priority on agriculture in reconstruction efforts, and for farmers, whose capital has been depleted. The same can be said for all micro and small enterprises that are part of the economic fabric of rural areas and therefore contribute to the overall rural development of the governorate.
Efforts toward agricultural and rural economy recovery must therefore target the rehabilitation of both the public and the private (at micro and small enterprise levels) infrastructure through an integrated approach, while also taking into account the social and cultural complexity of Nineveh. In response, three main objectives have been identified in support of rehabilitating, reconstructing and supporting the overall economic recovery of Nineveh district:
- Facilitate access to finance for agricultural and other MSMEs in rural areas and smaller urban areas of Nineveh Governorate (Mosul city excluded), so that they can re-start their activities.
- Contribute to the rehabilitation, on demined areas, of irrigated perimeters and other collective public infrastructures that have a structuring impact on the agricultural value chains.
- Strengthen social cohesion, through the increase of intra and intercommunity economic interactions and, if relevant, through dedicated activities.
General Position Summary
We are seeking a MSME & Financial Inclusion Advisor who would strongly support and advise the Agriculture Consortium Manager, and Financial Inclusion Manager in the implementation of activities related to facilitation of agriculture and business revival, capacity building of partner financial institutions, actors in select agricultural sectors and MSMEs in rural and smaller urban areas to support the reactivation of economic activities in Nineveh district. Specifically, we anticipate the Advisor will have to achieve the following specific objectives:
- Increase the number of MSMEs in the Ag sector and their ability to avail and manage business finances and credit services sustainably
- Support Financial Institutions’ ability to lend to market actors in selected value chains through establishment of loan guarantee fund and diversified products and services
- Facilitate the linkages between MSMEs and business development service providers
ESSENTIAL JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
Strategy & Vision
- Identify opportunities for the design and development of concept notes and proposals for further programming and portfolio expansion in agriculture and financial inclusion sector.
- Provide technical support to the Financial Institutions & Department of Agriculture of Ninewa in developing its future strategy and policies for the financial service sector in the governorate linked to agriculture.
- Contribute to the technical and operational advocacy strategies of the mission, region, and HQ.
- Assess the institutional capacity of partner financial institutions and provide technical assistance based on the identified gaps.
- Assess the MSMEs capacity and provide capacity building support based on the identified gaps.
- Support in capacity building of business development service providers in agricultural sector
- Ensure that implementation of partnership with Financial Institutions is responsive to agriculture sector and MSMEs needs; consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic objectives; and complies with donor regulations and policies.
- Oversee program startup and ongoing implementation on the partnership and support to Financial Institutions (include but not limited to Loan Guarantee Scheme, and Mobile Money Provider).
- Support team members to comply with PM@MC minimum standards.
Coordination & Representation
- Support the Agriculture Consortium Manager, Financial Inclusion Manager in the supervision and implementation of value chain financing and business development.
- Develop and maintain effective working relationships with all stakeholders – including consortium partners, NGOs, government officials, clusters, UN agencies, and community based organizations – to enhance cooperation and coordination.
Design & Planning
- Support Financial Inclusion Manager in overseeing the design, planning, implementation and documentation of access to finance and MSME promotion programming to help program participants build resilient capacities to shocks and stresses.
- Provide technical support to financial Inclusion Team in the design and implementation of access to finance activities, especially the credit guarantee scheme and mobile money.
- Support Agriculture Consortium Manager and Financial Inclusion Manager in relevant technical areas and team building.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally to team members aimed to improve team capacity.
Finance & Compliance Management
- Ensure compliance with donor regulations and Mercy Corps policies.
- Support the Financial Inclusion Manager to manage the program budget to ensure that spending is donor-compliant and program-effective.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership and agency’s global standards.
- 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: Agriculture Consortium Manager
Works Directly With: Financial Inclusion Manager, Agriculture Manager, PERMA Program team, MEL Team, Reporting & Program Development Manager. Coordinates with Regional Advisors and HQ Regional Program Team.
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor degree or equivalent in development, economics, finance, banking, or related field. Masters is a plus.
- 7 years professional experience in financial service sector working with varying market actors (particularly MSMEs or those in the Ag sector)
- Previous experience structuring guarantee facilities with formal banks.
- Experience in providing technical assistance to financial institutions such as microfinance institutions or banks.
- Experience in MSMEs and Ag sector lending activities, specifically in organizing and delivering financial product development and diversification programs.
- Team management and/or coordination experience
- Excellent writing, presentation and communication skills.
- Fluency in spoken and written English. Arabic is preferred.
- Computer literacy including ability to use the advanced functions of MS office to create reports and customized spreadsheets for financial analysis and management reporting purposes.
The successful candidate will have an in depth knowledge of economic development, banking and/or formal and informal financial services. S/he will develop innovative delivery channels for financial and non-financial services. S/he will have strong management skills and demonstrate strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps. S/he will have the ability to multi-task, set priorities, and work under tight deadlines within a complex team. S/he will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, assume leadership, and make solid decisions while working remotely from country leadership.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position will be based in Mosul with frequent travels to Erbil. This position is unaccompanied. This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Travel within Iraq is required to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s offices and programs. This will include the Iraqi Kurdish Region, Center and South Iraq. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.