Tvet / private sector engagement lead

***This position is contingent on Mercy Corps being awarded funding. It is anticipated to begin in Oct, 2024.

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.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. We promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives, as well as providing emergency relief in times of crisis, moving quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by Afghanistan, since 1986 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of development programs and humanitarian assistance tailored to the specific needs of the country and of those communities where we work.

Presently, we work in three provinces, with a portfolio of programs aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods, combating natural resource degradation, expanding access to vocational training, providing access to water and sanitation facilities, promoting hygiene and providing emergency response MCPA and winterization.

Program/ Department Summary

Mercy Corps is seeking a Component Lead to be part of the Senior Management Team of the anticipated USAID Afghanistan Integrated Youth Activity (AIYA) program. This is a $62 million, 5-year program in Afghanistan which, if awarded funding, will be implemented by a consortium, in which Mercy Corps will be a subaward, managing activities under Objective 1: youth complete market-relevant post-secondary education and training opportunities. AIYA aims to empower Afghan youth, particularly girls and young women, by equipping them with market-relevant technical and soft skills within the agricultural value sector and its related value chains. This initiative seeks to enhance income, food security, and economic resilience among participants. The overarching goal is to improve learning outcomes and livelihood opportunities for young women and men.

The Component Leadwill guide the design and implementation of activities under Objective 1: Youth complete market-relevant post-secondary education and training opportunities. S/he will provide leadership and guidance to the program team in implementing market-oriented vocational skills programming. S/he will develop strategic relationships and coordinate with the relevant de-facto government departments. The program, under the leadership of the Component Lead, will apply the Market Systems Development (MSD) approach to skills development, identifying key opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment that are constrained by a shortage of skilled labor and working through partnerships with market actors to improve and increase access to post-secondary learning opportunities.

General Position Summary

Mercy Corps is seeking a Market Systems Development (MSD) Component Lead to guide the technical design and implementation of Objective 1 within the USAID-funded AIYA programme. The role will work closely with the COP, DCOP and the rest of the AIYA Senior Management Team to ensure that all of the AIYA interventions across approaches are coordinated, complementary (both in terms of results and approach), and contribute in mutually reinforcing ways to the program’s strategic objectives.

The Component Lead will support staff to apply the MSD framework to identify value chains or cross-cutting areas within the agricultural sector and its related value chains where there is a significant shortage of skilled and professional labor, to undertake a systems labor market assessment to identify opportunities for sustainable change to post-secondary education and training, design and implement a portfolio of interventions through partnerships with market actors, monitor results, adaptively manage strategy based on findings, and report to relevant stakeholders.

S/he will guide and mentor programme staff to apply the MSD approach in a way that is appropriate to the context and geared to achieve program objectives. S/he will manage staff, resources and partnerships to ensure that within the component, the program meets its targets and deliverables on-time and within budget. A key focus of the role will also be to build MSD capacity in the program team and to work closely with the COP and DCOP to ensure that MSD principles are applied across the program.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Provide strategic and technical leadership for Objective 1 and its connections to the other objectives; work closely with the Consortium SMT to ensure strategic coherence across objectives.
  • Support the team to design, deliver, and adaptively manage a portfolio of interventions that is appropriately balanced in terms of risk and impacts
  • Lead period updates to market system analyses and intervention plans to improve impact, based on ongoing monitoring


  • Lead systems labor market and skills market assessments and analyses, and lead the development of a vision for systems change, and the design of a well-balanced portfolio of interventions to sustainably improve post-secondary education and training for Afghan people, especially girls and women
  • Ensure timely and effective iteration and implementation of interventions, and achievement of targets, on time, on scope and on budget for Objective 1 activities
  • Ensure key principles – including MSD, social inclusion, youth protection and participation, and resilience principles – are applied in a technically rigorous way to achieve program objectives and ensure program quality
  • Lead a regular strategic review process for Objective 1 activities, facilitating adaptive management of interventions based on findings from monitoring and research, in partnership with leads from other objectives.
  • Coordinate with procurement, logistics, security, administration and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support field activities.
  • Ensure all interventions and program activities adhere to Mercy Corps’ program standards.


  • Providing training and capacity building on MSD to AIYA program staff and other relevant stakeholders where needed, drawing on the support of others (such as consultants and technical support teams) where required
  • Contribute towards communications, research, monitoring, evaluation and learning strategy and plans, including by identifying key learning needs,, supporting development of reports, case studies and learning outputs, and disseminating learning from the program to a wide and relevant range of stakeholders


  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations, provide constructive feedback and support the professional development of AIYA team members, to improve performance and reach objectives
  • Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary.
  • Collaborate with support functions within (and, where relevant, beyond) Mercy Corps to ensure the program and team are resourced to maximize program quality.


  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors private sector actors, skills providers, and other stakeholders.
  • Coordinate with the defacto government departments
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.

Supervisory Responsibility

Number of direct reports is to be determined. This role will have supervisory responsibility for program team members mandated to deliver Objective 1.


Reports Directly To: Mercy CorpsDirector of Programs for Afghanistan

Works Directly With: COP, DCOP, Country Director, Directors of Programs, Consortium Leads, CARM team, MEL team, Protection and Safeguarding team, Operations team, Finance team, Security team, TRaQ team, Evidence and Learning team

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

  • At least 7 years of experience advising or managing MSD programs, at least 5 years in senior advisory or management roles on MSD-related projects in the field
  • USAID prior experience, ideally working on skills / workforce development programs
  • Deep understanding of MSD methodology, frameworks and their application
  • Relevant experience in vocational education and training programming, especially MSD programming in vocational skills education and training
  • Proven knowledge of skills systems, including who relevant actors (including but not limited to TVET institutions) are, how delivery mechanisms present opportunities and drive inclusion or exclusion, and what constraints to quality provision are.
  • Experience with digital skills education and training is preferred
  • Relevant qualifications to Masters level are preferred, but relevant experience is more important.
  • Demonstrated ability to build staff capacity as well as excellent team and interpersonal relationship skills, especially in a cross-cultural setting, required.
  • Strong strategic leadership skills, including an ability to see how activities ‘add up’ to a coherent set of objectives
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively with team members is required; consortium experience is preferred
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, while also being able to see the ‘bigger picture’ of a large and complex portfolio
  • Proven experience in building relationships with market actors, including private sector organizations
  • Evidential experience in a fragile state country context to develop and strengthen institutional capacity and sustainability and to mentor and build capacity of key individuals responsible to technical and strategic outputs
  • Previous experience working in Afghanistan, and/or knowledge of the region is strongly preferred
  • Experience of working in ways that align with the Positive Youth Development framework preferred
  • Experience working in an insecure environment and security knowledge is strongly preferred
  • Experience coordinating with other international agencies and government bodies required
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills in English; Dari/Pashto preferred

Success Factors

A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members and other stakeholders of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. This position requires an ability to think creatively about changing norms that lead to greater opportunities for economic growth at household, community and institutional levels. S/he will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in Kabul, with regular travel to field offices throughout Afghanistan. The security situation is volatile and may spike into acute periods of insecurity. S/he is expected to follow all security protocols including limited movement when necessary. A certain international standard of medical care is available in Kabul, however for serious cases, evacuation is required, and therefore staff must be able to be 24 hours away from medical care. All offices have internet connectivity and communication is reliable. Accommodation is shared housing, equipped with generators and heating, with cooks and cleaners provided by MC.

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.

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.

How to apply

Please send your motivation letter and CV to

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