Senior Environmental Safeguards Officer

Mercy Corps

Nairobi, , KE


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.

Program / Department Summary

USAID’s Office of Food For Peace recently awarded funding to a Mercy Corps-led consortium of Kenyan and international partners for a 5-year Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) in Turkana and Samburu Counties. Through a phased approach that emphasizes evidence gap analysis, as well as partnership, learning, and co-creation with government, civil society, communities, and the private sector, this program aims to drive sustained reductions in acute malnutrition in both counties.

The Mercy Corps’ NAWIRI consortium brings together the global leadership, research capacity, technical expertise, and implementation experience necessary to partner with local institutions to test, adapt, and scale evidence-based solutions. The program requires a robust county-centered design with government leadership, active engagement from communities, the private sector, and civil society. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties.

General Position Summary

The Senior Environmental Safeguards Officer will be responsible for tracking environmental compliance of program implementation which includes, working with the program team to identify the potential environmental impacts from proposed activities and identification of strategies to prevent and reduce those impacts considering Kenya´s national regulations, USAID 22 CFR 216 and ADS201. S/he will provide technical support to the development and review of mandatory USAID environmental compliance processes, climate change requirements as well as provide advice on environmental safeguards, climate adaptation and sustainability of the program interventions (protection, rehabilitation of natural resource conservation, yield and sustainability) and follow up on implementation through the development of environmental monitoring systems.

Essential Job Functions

  • Responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of the supplemental Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), Environmental Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (EMMP), Environmental Status Report (ESR). Climate Risk Management (CRM), and Water Quality Assurance Plan (WQAP).
  • Provide technical backstopping during the implementation of NAWIRI, supporting in addressing a variety of environmental issues at all the stages of the implementation of the program. Work with Technical Leads to review project and activity plans, design, cost, and bid documents to ensure environmental factors and mitigation measures are integrated, and project documents and environmental documents are in harmony
  • Work with project and partner staff on integrating environmental donor strategies, program priorities, and technical requirements into development activities
  • Assist and train the program staff on environmental management, specifically focusing on strengthening institutional capacity, improving environmental quality and the sustainable management of natural resources, and promoting equitable solutions in managing commons such as climate change, sustainability, biodiversity conservation and others
  • Support the process of any required environmental assessments from full Environmental Impact Assessments and Audits (EIA/EA) to more limited environmental reviews for activities that require environmental review.
  • Support in the development process of environmental safeguard guidelines and environmental mitigation measures to be used by NAWIRI staff and partners in the plan and implementation process of the project activities.
  • Prepare guidelines, tools and notes for use in the project based on relevant environmental policies, acts and regulations/directives of the Government of Kenya, USAID 22 CFR 216 and ADS 201.
  • Undertake quarterly environmental monitoring and evaluation of program activities against environmental regulations and standards. Lead on developing and delivering a series of spot checks to ensure that proposed mitigation measures are properly implemented in line with the guidelines and unforeseen environmental and human health impacts are minimized. Prepare report (quarterly, field monitoring) on the safeguard risks with appropriate actions to be taken and ensure that timely actions are taken;
  • Develop environmental documents including IEE amendment, pesticide evaluation report and safer use action plans (PERSUAP) for NAWIRI (when required) and ensure that they are implemented accordingly.
  • Provide technical assistance and deliver capacity building training to NAWIRI, Government and partners’ staff on environmental sound design and management (ESDM) and climate risk management to close knowledge/skill gaps and minimize the likelihood of risks and ensure the sustainability of the project.
  • Compile quarterly, biannual and annual reports on safeguards related issues and deliver to the program as part of the M&E report;
  • Prepare annual environmental status reports (ESR) to be submitted to the donor before the submission of PREP
  • Contribute to review of project theory of change (TOC) using evidence from the environmental monitoring assessment and results.
  • Facilitate the preparation and updating of environmental safeguard lessons/results by USAID’s requirements
  • Ensure that all the required environmental indicators are properly aligned and tracked with the overall M&E plan.
  • Develop an environmental monitoring system scorecard system that cut across all program units and work with project M&E staff on coordination of IPTT and EMMP monitoring
  • Contribute to maintaining relationships with donors, peer organizations and other institutions, participate in forums in the area of environment to collect and share best practices.
  • 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 towards 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.
  • 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

No supervisory responsibility.


  • Reports Directly To: Water Systems Advisor
  • Works Directly With: Strategic Learning Lead, Research Design Lead, Institutional Strengthening Lead, Social Dynamics Lead, the M&E team, partner agencies, local government, USAID and support departments (Finance, HR and Operations). Coordinates with HQ Program Performance team and the Technical Support Unit (TSU)

Knowledge and Experience

  • Degree in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Planning and Management, Natural Resources management, Environmental Health and Environmental Engineering or related field. Additional experience may substitute for some education.
  • Technical Training in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), climate risk and vulnerability, biodiversity conservations, natural resource management and environmental audit and sustainable livelihoods a plus.
  • Minimum of 3 years relevant work experience, ideally with an international NGO, with relevant field-based experience in environment safeguarding sector.
  • Registered with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to undertake EIAs
  • Experience in undertaking Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
  • Knowledge of technical principles and concepts in environment safeguarding. Thorough knowledge and understanding of Kenya environmental laws, procedures and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of capacity strengthening best practices.
  • Strong relationship and networking skills with ability to influence and get buy-in from people not under direct supervision and to work with individuals in diverse geographical and cultural settings
  • Strategic, analytical, problem-solving and systems thinking skills with capacity to see the big picture and ability to make sound judgment
  • Good technical writing skill
  • Proficient analytical skills that demonstrate an understanding of the current concepts, priorities, and issues in program monitoring, data collection, and evaluation.
  • Highly developed written and oral communications skills as well as strong interpersonal communication to ensure effective coordination within USAID.
  • Advanced computer skills and experience developing data management systems.
  • Team player who takes initiative and is a problem-solver.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, multitasking and organizational skills

Success Factors

A successful Senior Environmental Safeguards Officer will work as integral part of the technical assistance team to ensure that environmental and climate issues are properly considered and addressed, and that operations are supported in order to comply with USAID’s safeguard policies during program design, re-design and implementation. S/he will be a self-starter who can work independently or in a team setting, take initiative in tasks and self-learning, and be proactive in communication while forging productive relationships with colleagues throughout the agency. S/he must have a deep interest in Mercy Corps’ programs and a commitment to the goals of the organization. S/he needs to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks, often under intense deadline pressure. S/he will demonstrate creativity and flexibility, as well as a proven ability to learn quickly and be accountable for results. Even temperament and a good sense of humor appreciated.

Applications should be submitted on or before 22nd April, 2020.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis  . Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
Mercy Corps does not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process.