Market System Advisor

Country: Iraq
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 13 Sep 2021

**** This assignment is for 6 months starting beginning of October 2021.

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

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 currently implements programming in WASH, education, cash, psychosocial support, livelihoods and social cohesion funded by donors that include OFDA, BPRM, Sida, AFD, GIZ and GAC.

General Position Summary

Mercy Corps Iraq is implementing the PERMA Program, funded by AFD, a market systems development (MSD)-based 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 district of Al-Hamdaniyah in Ninewa Governorate. The Market System Advisor (MSA) will support the PERMA Consortium that has two other partners with one focused on specific value chains and irrigation, and a national partner focused on embedding social cohesion across the program.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy and Vision

  • Support the MSD Consortium Manager in providing strategic leadership to the PERMA program teams to attain program goal and objectives including coaching the team on MSD principles (leveraging materials and learnings from the Africa Mentorship and Learning Scheme)

  • Draft, review and/or pre-approve partnership documents (concept notes, private sector engagement strategies, Scopes of Work/Terms of Reference, calls for proposals, etc.) prior to submission for approval by the MSD Consortium Manager.

  • Lead the design process for PERMA 2, ensuring MSD principles are applied throughout all intervention areas.

Technical Support

  • Ensure coherence of shared value partnership development approach, agriculture and social cohesion activities across all Mercy Corps programs and partners.

  • Work closely with the Component Lead (Financial Inclusion Manager, Agribusiness Manager, MEL team and partner agencies) to ensure technical direction and strategy support for PERMA teams. This includes leading technical design of MSD intervention strategy across the PERMA program, including partnership identification, cultivation, and onboarding processes.

  • Support the Consortium Manager to provide technical support to the Directorate of Agriculture in Ninewa in developing its future strategy and policies for the agriculture sector in the governorate.

  • Provide MSD-specific (in agriculture and financial inclusion sectors) technical support to Mercy Corps and its partners and ensure that the approaches are consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic objectives; and complies with donor regulations and policies.

  • Support start-up activities for PERMA 2.

Reporting and Learning

  • Support the MSD Consortium Manager to ensure that all program aspects are documented and archived according to internal/donor requirements, in close coordination with the Program Performance and Quality Department.

  • Track and regularly review consortium (TGH and PAO) agency progress and reports to ensure quality, completeness and coherence, and consolidate partner reports into donor reports on a regular basis.

  • Develop communication materials, such as learning documents and case studies.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership and agency’s global standards.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Agriculture Consortium Manager

Works Directly With: PERMA Agriculture Consortium partners, MC Financial Inclusion Team, MC Agribusiness Team

Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor degree or equivalent in agronomy, development, economics, social sciences/international studies, business or related field. Masters preferred.

  • 3+ years of work experience and strong technical knowledge in MSD approach, and in agriculture programs preferable.

  • Ability and experience translating MSD concepts to actual field implementation.

  • Demonstrated attention to detail, adherence to procedures, ability to meet deadlines as well as to work independently and cooperatively with team members.

  • Effective multi-tasking, organizational capacity and prioritization skills are necessary.

  • Previous experience living and working in challenging or insecure environments.

  • Excellent communication, writing, critical analysis and negotiation skills.

  • Fluency in spoken and written English. Arabic language skills preferred.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will be able to translate MSD concepts to a challenging post-conflict context with difficult ethno-religious divisions and fractured markets. The candidate will work with a team that is new to MSD, in terms of capacity building and monitoring support, to ensure that they are enabled to deliver MSD activities and have the necessary oversight. The candidate will understand red flags around fraud and corruption and how to manage this in the development of shared value partnership development. They will demonstrate strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps. They 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. They will be an excellent writer with the ability to continually integrate learning into program activities, as well as documentation of such learning to shape the progress of the program.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position will be based in Mosul and is an unaccompanied position. 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.

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.

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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