Job Details


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 

With funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), Mercy Corps’ Nawiri Program is leading a consortium of Kenyan and international partners on a five year journey to sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition in Turkana and Samburu Counties of Kenya. Through a phased approach that emphasizes evidence gap analysis, as well as partnership, learning, and co-creation, the program takes a robust county-centered design with government leadership, active engagement from communities, the private sector, and civil society. Mercy Corps’ 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. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties.

General Position Summary

The Nawiri SSBC for Nutrition Resilience Advisor will provide strategic leadership in the design, development, and execution of a coherent SSBC for Nutrition Resilience Strategy that crosscuts all areas of the project. During the first phase of Nawiri, s/he will ensure the program’s research and learning agenda is designed and routinely iterated to build a robust evidence base for informing strategic investments for driving social, structural, and behavioral change. This will include championing a determined search for interventions that address social and structural determinants of persistent acute malnutrition that are both amenable to change and scalable, with particular attention to identifying opportunities for testing modifications to existing interventions or platforms. Working across all program areas, and in close collaboration with the Learning and Research Teams, s/he will support the Nawiri team to routinely analyze emergent findings of research and learning activities through a systems lens with focus on implications for risks and opportunities related to SSBC. The SSBC for Nutrition Resilience Advisor will also provide technical support across all of Nawiri’s strategic learning areas that will be reflected in Nawiri’s SSBC for Nutrition Resilience strategy and approach.

The SSBC Advisor will report directly to the Deputy Chief of Party and provide strategic and technical guidance across the program, ensuring teams work in harmony to produce desired program results. The SSBC for Nutrition Resilience Advisor will have dotted technical support lines to SSBC personnel and functions embedded within implementing teams at the county levels.

Nawiri recognizes that while biology and physiology are important contributors to an individual’s health and nutrition, the social determinants that underlie human interaction–including knowledge, attitudes, social and cultural norms and conventions, and behaviors–are critical for shaping health and nutrition outcomes at the individual, family, and community levels. These social determinants and their evolution are themselves influenced by the complex interplay of structural factors including political and economic systems, culture, conflict, and climate change. In-line with our core mandate of understanding and addressing the complex causality of persistent acute malnutrition, Nawiri elevates Social, Structural, and Behavior Change (SSBC) to a strategic level, above any single sector, implementing team, or stakeholder group. This birds-eye, systemic view is required in order to identify the critical junctures or entry points within the dynamic system where integrated investments are likely to generate the greatest impact on enabling vulnerable groups to take greater control over and improve their nutrition resilience. 

Essential Job Functions


  • Support the Deputy Chief of Party (DCoP) by providing vision and strategy to the program approach and how SBCC integrates into the overall technical direction and implementation.
  • Forge strong, institutional linkages and maintain a productive working relationship with USAID, Government of Kenya, the CRS consortium, PREG Partners, and other relevant partners in economic and market-related activities.
  • Assist in defining and analyzing Nawiri practices and priorities across all partners; identifying opportunities for integration and synergies within other sectors such as nutrition, health, water systems, and governance.
  • Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed; promote and model a culture of learning and adaptive management.
  • Ensure that cross-cutting aspects of the program such as gender equality, social inclusion, youth, climate adaptation, and resilience are included and well integrated and cut across all activities
  • Collaborate with different program components including research, implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and learning to drive overall effectiveness and coherence of program strategy from inception to scale up.


  • In close collaboration with all Nawiri stakeholders, lead in the design, development, execution and iteration of a risk-informed SSBC strategy for improving nutrition resilience that is evidence-based, tailored to local realities, and responsive to risk and opportunities.
  • Provide SSBC technical leadership for Nawiri consortium members and county partners, including frequent travel to Samburu and Turkana to provide on-site capacity building and technical assistance.
  • Lead in the identification and development of innovative approaches for changing the attitudes, perceptions, and practices around decision-making for health and nutrition outcomes, at multiple levels and scales (e.g. individual, HH, community, public and private sector institutions, etc.)
  • Develop comprehensive behavior change tools and SBC campaign activities using evidence-based theories and methodologies, in close collaboration with external stakeholders.
  • Support in the design community-level interventions that target caretakers of children, household and community decision makers, farmers, and community members at large to increase demand for nutritious, diverse, and safe diets.
  • Provide oversight of SBC activities implemented by Nawiri partners.
  • Manage the work of external agencies (research firms, advertising agencies, public relations experts, production vendors, community mobilizers, and/or consultants hired by the program) to assist with SBC. This includes building capacity of local implementing partners to implement quality and successful SBC work.
  • Ensure that SBC materials are pre-tested, proven effective, and used efficiently.
  • Work with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager to measure and document progress and impact of SBC activities.


  • Provide leadership and oversight in the development of risk-informed and shock-responsive SSBC tools, materials, and communication channels.
  • Provide strategic, technical guidance and direction to the program, ensuring alignment with latest technical information, evidence and approaches in the SSBC field;
  • Oversee programmatic and technical aspects related to SSBC activities ensuring SSBC efforts are evidence-based and coordinated, and in line with the Nawiri goal and principles.
  • Function as the “lead learner” (e.g. equivalent to “principal investigator” for research) on at least one of Nawiri’s strategic learning areas; provide leadership and management in all aspects of the activity.
  • Support in the development of research and learning agenda and activities; provide strategic support across all research and learning activities, including by identifying and actioning strategic opportunities for rapidly testing and adapting innovative approaches for addressing social and structural determinants of persistent acute malnutrition
  • Transfer capacity of SSBC frameworks and approaches within the consortium and across the larger community of practice.


  • Work closely with the Systems Strengthening and Institutionalization Lead and team to cultivate county leaders’ commitments to policies and programs that support nutrition resilience and promote changes in social and structural conditions that contribute to persistent acute malnutrition.
  • Work closely with the Strategic Learning Lead to drive the learning agenda within Nawiri and other partners in Turkana and Samburu, and the wider community of practice
  • Work with other team leads to coordinate reporting to the donor
  • Represent Mercy Corps and Nawiri at strategic meetings, events, and conferences.
  • Develop case studies and other products to communicate key program learnings related to SBC
  • Contribute to the design and implementation of M&E activities, including any baseline, end-line, or other activities related to SBC.
  • Assist in the development of all program reports, work plans and budgets as appropriate.
  • In accordance with the Deputy Chief of Party, take on representation role on specific coordination forums. Communicate effectively to ensure the program is accurately represented.
  • Any other task, as identified in consultation with supervisor


  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to promote and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members. Ensure that gender specific needs and interests of program staff in relation to safety and security are identified and responded to appropriately.


  • 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 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.
  • 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 direct supervisory responsibility. The SSBC Advisor directly supports Nawiri-based behavioral change staff. Technical oversight of field based activities is undertaken by Nawiri staff and partners.


Reports Directly To: Deputy Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Strategic Learning Lead, Research Design Lead, Institutional Strengthening Lead, 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

  • A Master’s degree in Behavioral or Social Sciences, Public Health, Social Psychology, Communications, Marketing, Health Communication, Behavioral Economics, or other relevant behavioral/social science field or Bachelor’s degree with at least 7-10 years of additional relevant experience.
  • At least 7-10 years of demonstrated experience in designing and implementing SSBC activities, preferably in northern Kenya. Demonstrated success in generating and executing innovative and effective social, structural and behavior change solutions.
  • Experience applying a range of SBC approaches, including social marketing and nudges, or a willingness to learn to apply a range of new and innovative SBC approaches.
  • Knowledge and understanding of local cultural practices, social networks, and gender and age dynamics in northern Kenya
  • Experience collaborating with county officials and leaders, building community capacity and leading community mobilization.
  • Experience building capacity of civil society and/or government entities in social and behavior change.
  • Demonstrated success in building and managing relationships with various donors and implementing partners.
  • Ability to deliver quality work within deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members
  • Systems thinker with strong analytical skills; flexible and creative in planning and problem solving
  • Ability and willingness to travel to the field (Samburu and Turkana) at least 50% of the time.
  • Professional fluency in English; Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrates patience, diplomacy, tenacity, compassion, determination and a sense of humor
  • Excellent written and persuasive oral communication skills in English required.
  • Ability to travel for field missions for 30-50% level of effort as needed.

Success Factors

A successful SSBC for Nutrition Resilience Advisor will be proactive, flexible, and comfortable with the likely reality that the roles and responsibilities of this position will evolve and change as this unique program progresses. S/he will have strong technical skills combined with strategic visioning and leadership. S/he will have an outstanding ability to inspire teams to deeply understand the social determinants that underlie human interaction and integrate this understanding into activities to enhance program impact. S/he will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. With a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, the successful candidate will thrive in the evolving and changing environment. The Advisor must make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Applications should be submitted on or before 26th October, 2020 and 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.

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