Water Utility Finance and Operations Director - (French Fluency required)

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 24 January 2020
  • Congo, The Republic of
  • Closing on 23 February 2020
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Job Description

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.

ABOUT MERCY CORPS IN THE DRC

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of over 300 people working in Eastern DRC. The overall country goal is to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo. All Mercy Corps interventions in DRC are implemented in a conflict and gender sensitive manner.

PROGRAM SUMMARY

In 2008, Mercy Corps and USAID launched a project to rehabilitate and extend the municipal water system of Goma, which was degraded by decades of mismanagement and partially destroyed by lava flows from a 2002 volcanic eruption. The project was extended through financing from the EC Water Facility, the DFID Global Poverty Alleviation Fund, and private donors. In 2013, Mercy Corps signed a new $60M (USD) grant agreement with DFID to scale-up the Goma water project and extend it to the city of Bukavu. The programme, named IMAGINE, integrates infrastructure investments with governance, behaviour change, gender and water service delivery components with the aim to reduce diarrhea rates in children under 5-years.

The general approach of the IMAGINE programme is to link infrastructure investment with service delivery improvement. The programme involves designing, rehabilitating, extending and constructing city water and sanitation infrastructure as well as working to reform management structures to ensure that operations are managed profitably and sustainably. Building on the success of an earlier public-private pilot for the management of a water network extension north of the city of Goma, extensive studies were carried out to determine how to scale up the pilot, professionalise the service and ensure robust contracting. The outcome of these studies led Mercy Corps to facilitate the establishment of a dedicated DRC water utility company (Congo Maji Sarl) and a UK charity named Enterprise for Impact (E4i). The latter owns the former and, in doing so, the service delivery model is effectively a mission driven not-for-profit social business. The division of roles and responsibilities between Congo Maji and E4i are defined. Congo Maji is a water utility operator in the DRC, while E4i ensures the corporate governance of Congo Maji and provides Congo Maji with technical and management assistance. E4i is also chiefly responsible for determining strategy and providing future development opportunities for Congo Maji and any future ventures.

Technical Assistance TO E4I / CM

The Water Utility Finance and Operations Director WUFOD) will be providing technical support to Congo Maji Sàrl through a common agreement with E4i. The reason for Mercy Corps supporting this position is due to the following factors: Firstly, the financing of the position is initially linked to the IMAGINE programme, which is managed by Mercy Corps. Secondly, E4i is a new entity and it will take some time for the organization to establish and put in place the systems that would enable it to operate independently to the highest standards.

Congo Maji is seeking an experienced utilities based manager to bring utility level experience to this role; to assist in the development and maturity of Congo Maji’s operations; and to prepare the organization for the next stage in the development of CM as a utility service provider.

GENERAL POSITION SUMMARY:

The WUFOD is responsible for the implementation of Congo Maji’s strategy and will generally lead on all financial and operational aspects of the service provision, to ensure an effective and efficient delivery of potable water.

ESSENTIAL JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:

Business Management including:

  • Ensure management systems (procedures, forms, etc.) are correctly utilised use within the structure together with a focus on continuous improvement;
  • Supervise employees, assess training / development needs, set objectives and monitor results. Adapt the structure according to needs;
  • Manage litigations if needed;
  • Implement the strategy as defined by CM/E4i leadership. Act as a focal point on the ground, while in daily contact with the international hierarchy. Provide for different reporting needs;
  • Recommend utility based solutions that align with CM operations;
  • Provide continuous analysis of the technical and commercial factors affecting the water sector.

Operations Management, including:

  • Meet contractual and relational requirements resulting from ongoing partnerships;
  • Responsible for the achievement of the company’s business objectives;
  • Analysis, implementation of correctional measures and monitoring of the various performance indicators;
  • Management of needs and technical implications related to the conduct of Congo Maji Sàrl’s activities;
  • Understand water network engineering plans and integrate those plans into the effective and efficient operation of the utility company;
  • Understand implications of utility provider (REGIDESO) approach in the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation and propose alternative and mitigating operational approaches
  • Timely delivery of the various reports.

Financial Management, including:

  • Manage the finance team, be able to verify the monthly accounting (balance sheet and results, and accounting entries according to ohada accounting norms);
  • Reconcile the different systems with each other on a monthly basis;
  • Manage cash accounts (bank, cash, etc.);
  • Manage the compliance of purchases & invoicing with current procedures;
  • Manage budgets (current, review, etc.);
  • Manage reviews (audits, third party visits, etc.);
  • Timely delivery of the various reports.

Team Management

  • Supervise, hire and orient new team members as necessary;
  • Identify key technical needs as the scope of Congo Maji as water operator expands;
  • Ensure that team members are following work plans, that operational activities are on schedule;
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met;
  • Provide Finance, Operations, administration and HR teams with information, tools and other resources to improve performance and reach objectives;
  • Contribute to Congo Maji team-building efforts, help team members identify problem solving options and ensure the integration of all into relevant decision-making processes.

Capacity Building

  • Ensure increased service utility provider capacity, accountability, and adherence to service metrics and standard operation procedures;
  • Support improvements to designated service provider internal operations in critical operational areas;
  • Complete distribution management service contracts including implementation and ensuring service level agreements are maintained, customer care standards are upheld, and financial standards are followed;
  • Support to the Managing Director of Congo Maji to develop an organization with high standards of governance and integrity;
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall business targets are met;
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where Congo Maji teams strive to achieve excellence;
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and ensure that feedback mechanisms are established via regular performance reviews.

Business Outcomes

  • Develop with the Managing Director and the E4i CEO parent company representatives a strategy to significantly increase water service provision performance;
  • Contribute to the development of robust business and governance structures;
  • Set up effective implementation and operational management;
  • Develop effective and regular reporting to REGIDESO, E4i and community stakeholders;
  • Development of effective asset management based systems appropriate to the business context.

Organizational Learning:

  • 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.

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.
  • For the service provider, this will require any necessary reporting through Mercy Corps to satisfy donor requirements of which there will be more than one format

ACCOUNTABILITY:

Reports Directly to: Managing Director Congo Maji Sàrl

Report Functionally to: Business & Operations Director, E4i

Supervisory Responsibility: HR, Procurement, Finance and Technical teams.

Mercy Corps report: WSD CEO

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

  • Degree in Business Management, Water Resources Management or other degrees aligned to provision of business and utility services preferred;
  • 5+ years of proven experience as a business utility provider manager, preferably in Africa, in the water sector highly desirable;
  • Demonstrated understanding of water services delivery systems
  • Ability to lead multicultural teams in a motivating and efficient manner;
  • Strong skills in general accounting, ideally OHADA;
  • High function user knowledge of the IT tools (office suite, particularly excel). Practical knowledge of databases will be an asset;
  • Be accountable, love challenges, be willing to travel. Ability to work with a decentralized hierarchy;
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills, and ability to work under pressure;
  • French flawless fluency and excellent knowledge of English. Knowledge of Swahili would be an asset.

SUCCESS FACTORS:

The WUFSD will provide effective leadership and entrepreneurial flair tempered to the local context. S/he will have the necessary utility technical knowledge, emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills, and proven experience with capacity building. S/he will be committed to long-term programme sustainability & the delivery of high-impact activities to meet the business targets. S/he will demonstrate strong business acumen with the ability to implement and assess the risks of the chosen business model. S/he will demonstrate a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority. S/he will demonstrate adaptability, flexibility in approach and a strong sense of equity. In DRC, patience, diplomacy, tenacity, compassion, determination and a sense of humor are all success factors.

LIVING CONDITIONS/ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS:

This position is an unaccompanied post based in Goma (DRC). While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps’ sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive

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.

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About the Organization

Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over $575 million in assistance to 73 nations. The agency's programs currently reach 5 million people in more than 25 countries, including the United States. Mercy Corps is a nonprofit organization with headquarters offices in Portland (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Washington, DC, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Known for its quick-response, high-impact programs, over 95 percent of the agency's resources are allocated directly to programs that help those in need.

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