Beirut Emergency Response Project Officer

Beirut, Beirut Governorate, Lebanon | Full-time

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.

Mercy Corps has been present in the Middle East since the 1980s and currently works in Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Working in Lebanon since 1993, Mercy Corps is committed to generating positive opportunities for women, men, boys and girls from Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian communities, with a strong focus on engaging youth.  Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping build secure, productive and just communities. Our programs focus on four sectors:  Economic Opportunities, Governance and Social Stability, Youth and Humanitarian interventions. The Mercy Corps Lebanon team consists of over 180 staff working across six offices throughout Mount Lebanon, South Lebanon, Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley.

The Program / Department / Team

Following the tragic explosions in Beirut of August 4, 2020, numerous lives were lost, thousands wounded and hundreds of thousands rendered homeless. The infrastructural damage has been devastating. Lebanon is also experiencing a debilitating confluence of financial, political, economic, COVID-19, and social crises as the central government struggles to respond. The social and economic consequences of the events from October 2019 have seen tens of thousands of businesses close, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and the increasing struggle of the majority of the population to afford even the basic necessities of food, medicine, and shelter. Lebanon’s economy is on the verge of collapse.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the main economic drivers in Lebanon, representing 97 percent of the total enterprises, employing more than 51 percent of the working population, and are mostly family-owned. Mercy Corps’s Beirut Response Program seeks to support blast-affected MSMEs to protect, maintain and grow MSMEs to protect the livelihoods of those they employ, and ensure their continued provisions of basic goods and services to the neighborhoods in which they work. Mercy Corps particularly focuses on poorer and lower middle class neighborhoods, already struggling prior to the explosions and struggling to survive, yet vital to the survival of their neighborhoods to get back on their feet.

Even before this explosion struck, Lebanon was facing a crisis on multiple fronts. Home to the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world, the financial woes are stark with the Lebanese Pound having lost 80% of its value since October and the country in hyperinflation for the last two months. Lebanon is also experiencing an escalation in COVID-19 cases, with around 200 new cases reported every day. This explosion comes at the worst possible time for Lebanon and adds yet another setback that will deeply affect people’s ability to cope.

The primary objectives of the program are to:

  1. Assess immediate urgent needs of blast-affected MSMEs in Beirut for rapid response interventions allowing quickest possible reopening and resumption of services.
  2. Provide targeted, unrestricted recovery grant support to identified MSMEs to contribute to losses suffered from the blast and accumulated during the past year of financial and economic crises, as well as COVID-related shutdowns.
  3. Explore the scaling of geographic and programmatic breadth and width of the program for greater humanitarian and economic impact.
  4. Build the foundation for a broader-based Phase II program design that effectively transitions from emergency response to recovery to larger scale, market systems-based development.

The Position

The Project Officer will support the Project Manager in field implementation and coordination of MSME support activities in blast affected areas in Beirut to ensure the project adequately assesses, documents, scores, selects, and supports micro and small businesses at risk of shutting down permanently, struggling to stay or reopen, or overburdened with new debt and blast-related expenses. Working closely with the PM, MEL and PaQ teams, the MSME Officer will work closely with selected MSMEs to achieve key deliverables in the Beirut Blast Response project, and will provide ongoing monitoring of businesses supported. Attention will be paid to ensuring adapted approaches which respond to barriers to employment for women, youth and Syrians, as well as working with the team to collect information supporting the design and creation of a longer-term, development-oriented economic development program, branching out from Beirut across Lebanon.

Essential Responsibilities

Project Implementation:

  • Lead on data collection and/or verification for MSMEs under the framework of the “Rapid Response Assessment”, including MSME identification and validation based on pre-set criteria;
  • Provide day-to-day support and coordination, including administrative, financial and logistical support. Troubleshoot any administrative problems and report any challenges or bottlenecks to the Supervisor;
  • Lead a team of enumerators for MSME data collection and assessments when needed;
  • Participate in team planning and coordination meetings and trainings;
  • Support the Supervisor in conducting periodic risk assessments to update implementation plan accordingly;
  • Support monitoring and evaluation efforts to document project progress, targets, and impact to inform other internal reporting;
  • Assist in filing and record keeping of project activities;
  • Coordinate with the MEL team and the Mercy Corps PAQ team as needed.

Project Coordination for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Support

  • Facilitate field coordination of assistance to identified MSMEs;
  • Ensure that all support-related interventions are in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor international norms and standards, national laws and policies, technical standards and organizational policies;
  • Liaise with selected MSMEs on a continuous basis as needed.

Coordination and Representation

  • Liaise with local officials including municipalities, local NGOs and INGOs, project partners, key community leaders, MSMEs, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure successful deliverables and build solid community relationships;
  • Develop and maintain working relationships and coordinate with relevant international and local agencies active in the livelihoods and economic development sector in close collaboration with the Supervisor;
  • Represent Mercy Corps at local coordination meetings, where relevant and as instructed by the Supervisor.

Other

  • Ensure all activities are gender sensitive and follow Mercy Corps’ Gender Equity Policy;
  • Apply Do No Harm standards to ensure activities do not have detrimental effects on vulnerable communities;
  • Contribute to monthly reports and other ad hoc reports when needed;
  • Participate in internal office coordination and planning meetings and workshops;
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and not jeopardize its humanitarian mission;
  • Other assigned tasks, as necessary.

Accountability to Beneficiaries

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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Enumerators 

Accountability

Reports Directly To: Project Manager

Works Directly With: Operations, Finance, PaQ Team, M&E Focal Points, and Partner organizations

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

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.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • BA/S or equivalent in social science, management, economics, international development, or other relevant field;
  • Two to three years of progressive experience and proven high level of competence in working in humanitarian economic and market development, research and/or development-related programs, ideally in emergency relief and/or post-conflict settings;
  • Proven ability to successfully implement livelihoods or economic development programming, particularly around business support;
  • Experience carrying out technical assessments or surveys with a team in one or more of the following: Needs assessment, Value Chains, or Socio-Economic Research;
  • Experience with relief and socio-economic development work across a range of stakeholders including Private Sector, NGOs, and Local government is preferred;
  • Proven ability to conduct outreach to network of MSMEs, government officials, and NGOs, and community members/leaders;
  • Deep knowledge of Lebanon, in particular its displacement context, protection threats, economic challenges, social stability and resilience mechanisms, relevant to internal conflict preferred;
  • Proven track record in staff and stakeholder training and capacity building;
  • Strong leadership and communication skills and sense of humor;
  • Ability and interest to work with a multi-ethnic team in a culturally appropriate manner; and
  • Proficiency in English essential
  • Proficiency in Excel is required

Success Factors

A successful candidate will have the ability to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment with a capacity to promote new approaches to programming and inspire groups to collaborate closely to implement high-quality programs. S/he will have proven ability to learn quickly, take initiative, and be accountable for results.  Ability to work independently and as part of a team, with curiosity about and sensitivity to new cultures, a desire and ability to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, and a great sense of humour.

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.

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. 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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