Water Systems Infrastructure and Performance Manager

Mercy Corps

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo 🇨🇩

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.

The Program

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 400 people working in Eastern DRC, with the overall country goal being to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps DRC’s key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development; 4) Support peacebuilding and local governance. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo.

In October 2020, Mercy Corps started the five-year USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems Activity, with a budget of $32 million to be implemented in 4 locations across North and South Kivu. Building on the successes of Mercy Corps’ IMAGINE program, and those of other WASH actors in Eastern DRC, USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation Systems Activity (SWASSA) has brought together a consortium of 3 international partners (Mercy Corps, TetraTech and Sanergy) to focus on water and sanitation. In partnership with USAID and in line with Development Objective 2 of USAID’s DRC Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), SWASSA aims to show that it is possible to achieve genuinely sustainable increases in access to clean water by implementing contextually relevant, performance-based contractual models for water service delivery in collaboration with state and local entities including Territorial (ETDs) and Provincial Administrations. The consortium of international partners works interconnectedly, leveraging their expertise in different areas to ensure the success of the Activity. Led by Mercy Corps, Tetra Tech will focus on the design of the infrastructure and market system delivery plan; and Sanergy provides the technical expertise in sanitation. 

The Position 

Mercy Corps is seeking a talented professional with experience in the development of water supply infrastructure and service delivery. The Water Systems Infrastructure and Performance Manager will lead activities to assess water system infrastructure and operational reliability of utilities and water service providers. The Water Systems Infrastructure and Performance Manager will also engage in a wide variety of technical activities aimed at expanding and improving water service delivery, including the development of drinking water service delivery systems, the development of new contractual models with Decentralized Territorial Entities (DTEs) and Water Users Associations (ASUREPs), and capacity building and training for private water service providers.

The Water Systems Infrastructure and Performance Manager plays a key role in the Activity management team. they will be responsible for setting strategy, ensuring quality implementation and overseeing all infrastructure, sanitation, and environment activities. They will be responsible for ensuring compliance with USAID’s regulations, working closely with relevant partners (Sanergy and Tetratech) and supervising a team of approximately 20 people. In addition, They will work closely with the Chief of Party to identify potential delays and resolve key risks for infrastructure, sanitation and environment, ensuring that the program is delivered on time. The Water Systems Infrastructure and Performance Manager is expected to manage his/her team in an empowering and collaborative manner, with a focus on capacity building. He/she will be responsible for risk mitigation, crisis management, health and safety, with an emphasis on adherence to gender and safeguard best practices.

Essential Responsibilities

TEAM AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where accountability is promoted, alternative viewpoints welcomed, the team strives to achieve excellence, and is conducive to professional growth. 
  • Manage the Infrastructure, Sanitation and Environment team members with a focus on empowerment and capacity building.
  • Design and implement appropriate systems and processes to ensure infrastructure, sanitation and environment work is completed within budget and schedule.
  • Monitor, track and escalate incidents as appropriate, ensuring there is a robust system for flash reporting that the team adheres to.
  • Develop program implementation plans for infrastructure, sanitation and environment in collaboration with the team, and monitor the implementation, program quality, and impacts of these activities.
  • Ensure effective communication and collaboration with the Chief of Party including key risks, progress, and finances, to ensure overall project objectives and donor obligations are met;
  • Ensure that all minimum program management standards are met and that strong structures are in place, including risk and issue management.

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • The Infrastructure Manager will be responsible for all infrastructure interventions across 5 sites: Goma, Mugunga/Lac Vert, Beni, Uvira and Kavumu.
  • Establish and develop strong and productive relationships with the contractors, engineer and infrastructure team to ensure that the design aspects of the program are implemented to good standards that meet industry standards/regulations
  • Responsible for contract administration and interpretation of contracts against variations.
  • Regular review of infrastructure design documents. He/she will work closely with the project engineer and design consultant.
  • Perform various types of analysis, including actual infrastructure condition and cost, cost recovery and financial models, and basic performance measures such as non-revenue water and other key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Provide guidance for planned infrastructure investments, including analysis of trade-offs between design options and short and long-term operating costs and commercial viability.
  • Work on infrastructure planning and oversight, including design and construction bidding, procurement support, and QA/QC.
  • Liaise with international/local short-term technical assistance by providing guidance on specific improvement activity areas.

SANITATION

  • Technical focal point for the sanitation partner (Sanergy), ensuring progress against workplan and completion of deliverables.
  • Supervision of the relevant sanitation team, ensuring that Sanergy’s technical advice is applied to the implementation of the program.
  • Responsible for ensuring soundness of sanitation activity design and quality implementation.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Ensure cross program strategy aligns with USAID environmental regulations and best practice. 
  • Development of USAID required documents including: the global environmental management plan, the site-specific environmental review of factors, site specific environmental review reports and annual environmental management and mitigation report.
  • Engagement with local ACE (the Congolese Environmental Agency) and ensures program activities adherence to their standards and requirements.
  • Work closely with Environmental specialist consultants and HQ technical specialists as necessary.
  • Contribute to organisation wide learning by sharing knowledge and lessons learned on environmental regulations.

OPERATIONS, FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT

  • Ensure positive coordination with operations, procurement, finance and other support departments, to support implementation of infrastructure, sanitation and environment works.
  • Adherence to Mercy Corps and USAID processes and policies, able to balance the restrictions of policies and procedures with the reality of implementation challenges.   
  • Budgetary oversight and management for the infrastructure team budget.
  • Promote compliance with USAID regulations, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and ensure all activities are implemented accordingly.
  • Confirm that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security management priorities.

Supervisory Responsibility: North Kivu Infrastructure Lead, South Kivu Infrastructure Lead, Sanitation Manager, GIS & CAD Engineer. Dotted line supervision to Tetratech Project Engineer.

Accountability

Reports Directly To: Chief of Party 

Works Directly With: DCOP – Governance, Director of Program Controls, Director of MERL, GESI manager, Consortium partners (Sanergy, Tetratech)

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 Qualification & Transferable Skills 
Although this position is being advertised internationally, qualified national candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • Possess a Bachelor’s degree (B.A. +3) in engineering, urban planning or other relevant field;
  • 10 years or more of management experience in the water and sanitation sector and a thorough understanding of water utilities/operating service providers (public or private). 
  • Knowledge of water supply infrastructure development and finance (public and private). Specific knowledge of structuring and implementing public-private partnerships is an advantage.
  • Demonstrated experience in technical interventions such as procurement of water services, non-revenue water, metering, and local ownership of water and sanitation services.
  • Experience in managing and ensuring adherence to USAID environmental regulations inclusive of preparing and implementing ERR, EMMP, EMMR, WQAP etc.
  • Knowledge of sanitation approaches and understanding of the challenges related to sustainable sanitation essential.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with a wide range of stakeholders including contractors, host governments, private sector entities, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners.
  • Good communication and analytical skills with the ability to write well-structured technical reports.
  • Must be computer literate in Microsoft Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Experience working with donor-funded projects and various partners.
  • Certified in program management or commitment to achieve certification within first 3 months of position.
  • Fluency in English and French is required. Knowledge of Swahili is desirable.
  • Previous experience working in East Africa, or a similar context to DRC is necessary. Experience working in DRC is an added bonus.

Success Factors 

The successful Water Systems Infrastructure and Performance Manager will combine a strong collaborative working style with relevant technical expertise and a deep understanding of the challenges of implementing infrastructure projects in this kind of context. S/he should be an adept project manager, with the ability to implement quickly and accurately, troubleshooting and problem solving before issues arise, meet deadlines and process information to support the evolution of the programme. 

S/he will demonstrate adaptability, flexibility in approach, and a strong sense of equity. The successful candidate will be expected to develop and strengthen the capacity of his/her team to grow with the program, ensuring a team who are not only technically brilliant but who have an understanding of the USAID regulations and Mercy Corps minimum standards. S/he will have strong coaching and mentoring skills and be able to apply them in difficult situations with a cross-cultural team.

Due to the nature of this program, and the operating environment, the successful candidate must have a high level of internal resilience. In this program, patience, diplomacy, tenacity, compassion, determination and a sense of humor are all important factors for success.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is a non accompanied position in Goma (DRC). Individual accommodation will be provided according to Mercy Corps DRC housing policy. Goma is a provincial capital of over 900,000 inhabitants. Living in Goma is mostly comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.

Mercy Corps’ sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.

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

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.

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.


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