Senior Policy Advisor - Policy and Advocacy

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Country: United States of America
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 27 Mar 2021

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.

The Program / Department / Team

The Global Policy and Advocacy (GPA) team advances policy changes to achieve transformational impact in the countries where we work. In support of Mercy Corps’ global mission, the GPA team’s work benefits Mercy Corps’ field programs. The U.S. Policy and Advocacy team focuses on the United States government and select multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank to change, influence and improve relevant policies, practices and decisions affecting vulnerable communities living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

The Position

The Senior Policy Advisor will lead Mercy Corps’ policy portfolio related to climate and the U.S. foreign assistance budget. This Senior Advisor will also oversee policy and advocacy policy issues related to sub-Saharan Africa. The Senior Policy Advisor will seek, in collaboration with Mercy Corps’ GPA team and relevant internal teams, to drive U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance reforms in order to advance Mercy Corps’ global goals. Specifically, this will include drafting and helping to pass relevant legislation and engaging key Congressional leaders, as well as working with the United States government, particularly with national security, humanitarian, and peacebuilding experts, to advance key policies. They will track and analyze policy initiatives on climate adaptation issues, including through working groups with partner agencies to advance joint coalition advocacy and campaign initiatives at domestic and international fora, including the United Nations. The Senior Policy Advisor will also be responsible for raising Mercy Corps’ profile on policy positions including: representation at external events, panels; developing written policy documents for external dissemination; supporting Mercy Corps’ grassroots advocacy efforts; and liaising with and traveling to Mercy Corps field and HQ teams.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Shapes legislation and policies relevant to Mercy Corps’ mission to help people build secure, productive, and just communities.
  • Develops and leads the Global Policy and Advocacy team’s portfolio on climate, U.S. foreign assistance budget, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Develops strategies regarding influence and policy issues with relevant field teams in support of country-focused advocacy efforts.


  • Develops and manages the climate, budget, and Sub-Saharan Africa advocacy portfolios by:

  • Implementing policy-focused advocacy and outreach strategies, in cooperation with Mercy Corps colleagues and partner agencies

  • Drafting policy documents in support of policy and advocacy goals:

  • In cooperation with the Media Relations and Digital teams, support written products as appropriate for use with various audiences, including policymakers, web visitors, and the general public.

  • For public dissemination, draft policy briefs, op-eds and case stories.

  • Draft internal information and messaging for Mercy Corps staff.

  • Tracks legislative developments on Capitol Hill, including the annual appropriations act and any supplemental foreign assistance funding legislation.

  • Leads advocacy efforts through collaborative work within the NGO sector and among other NGO, governmental, and private partners.

  • Publishes and speaks publicly, when appropriate, to advance thought leadership on climate adaptation issues and to elevate the importance of Mercy Corps’ work throughout Africa.

  • Researches and analyzes selected issues through a variety of means, including field visits.


  • Represents Mercy Corps with the US Administration and Congress as well as at public forums, think/policy tank panel discussions and briefings, and relevant international and multilateral institutional events.
  • Builds and maintains strong relationships with senior level USG officials, including State Department, USAID, and Congressional staff.
  • Contributes to or leads on written pieces including policy pieces, thought leadership and other external facing communications.


  • Engage and support countries across the region to ensure that adequate risk management systems are in place;
  • Collaborate with country leadership to support preparedness and response to major disruptive events;
  • Engage with country teams on the internal audit process to track findings and ensure country team compliance with IA findings and recommendations;
  • Engage with country level Ethics and Assurance managers as well as the global Ethics and Assurance department to track and analyze trends and needs across countries;

Supervisory Responsibility

None, except for occasional interns.


Reports Directly To: Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy

Works Directly With: Global Policy and Advocacy Team; Washington DC office staff; Research and Learning Team; Media Relations Team, Digital Team; Matrix Root Causes of Conflict Team; Regional and Country Teams; and Technical Support Unit.

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

  • Graduate degree in international relations, development, public policy, law or related fields of study.
  • 5 years of relevant professional experience working on climate, foreign assistance budget, and/or Africa policy issues.
  • Professional experience in humanitarian, development, and national security sectors.
  • Strong political and strategic skills, with a demonstrated ability to advance policy priorities including through coalition work.
  • Proven ability in researching, analyzing, and reporting on policy issues.
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to effectively gather and utilize large amounts of information from various sources towards clear policy goals.
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity, skill and experience in working diplomatically and effectively within different cultural settings and in public relations and correspondence with a wide variety of public constituents

Preferred Qualification

  • Experience working in the U.S. Congress and/or the U.S. foreign affairs executive government agencies
  • Experience with international relief and development fieldwork, and familiarity with emerging development and humanitarian issues
  • Proficiency in one or more foreign languages, particularly French and Arabic
  • Expertise and experiences working on Africa development and foreign policies.

Success Factors

Ability to build and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, peer groups, officials and relevant stakeholders. Motivation to seek out and establish new relationships. Motivation to find new solutions to pernicious policy problems. A clear understanding of Mercy Corps’ mission and collaborative style of operation. Ability to work simultaneously on multiple tasks in a fast paced, sometimes stressful environment and meet deadlines under those conditions. Ability to work as part of a team and coordinate with both HQ and global personnel. Computer literate with strong organizational skills. Ability to operate with a significant degree of autonomy within agreed upon parameters. Flexibility, commitment to transformative change, and sense of humor.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Washington, DC with the expectation of travel up to 20% of their time to field locations that may include insecure or harsh environments. Mercy Corps Policy and Advocacy team members will work remotely until at least September 1, 2021, and no global travel is required before that time. 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.

How to apply:

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