Full Time
Posted 5 months ago

Full Job Description

Location: Washington, DC

Position Status: Full-time, Exempt, Regular

Salary Level: Minimum Starting Salary for this role will be $76K commensurate on experience

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 TeamThe 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 PositionThe Senior Policy Advisor will lead Mercy Corps’ policy portfolio primarily related to climate policy (adaptation and mitigation) and water security (access to clean water and sanitation). This Senior Policy Advisor will also oversee country and regionally focused policy and advocacy issues, as appropriate . 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, as informed by the organization’s ten year strategy. Specifically, this will include drafting and helping to pass relevant U.S. legislation and engaging key Congressional leaders, as well as working with the U.S. government, particularly with national security, humanitarian, development and peacebuilding experts, to advance key policies. S/he will track and analyze policy initiatives relevant to the climate policy and water security portfolio, 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 through: 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


  • Collaborates with Global Policy and Advocacy staff as well as appropriate technical and research teams to develop Mercy Corps overall strategy on influencing policy and practice regarding climate change and water security issues.
  • Leads strategy development for the U.S. Policy and Advocacy team’s portfolio on climate change and water security.
  • Develops strategies regarding influence and policy issues with relevant field teams in support of country- and region-focused advocacy efforts, primarily focused on increasing community resilience to climate change’s impacts, and increasing water security.


Develops and manages the climate, water, and other 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 hearings, authorizing bills and the appropriations process.
  • Shapes legislation and policies relevant to Mercy Corps’ mission to help people build secure, productive, and just communities.
  • Leads advocacy efforts through collaborative work within the NGO sector and among other NGO, governmental, and private partners. May also be called on to help lead internal Mercy Corps policy coordination through matrix teams.
  • Engages substantively with Mercy Corps’ climate matrix team, working across multiple internal teams to develop global policy priorities for the portfolio.
  • Publishes and speaks publicly, when appropriate, to advance thought leadership on climate adaptation and water policy issues and to elevate the importance of Mercy Corps’ relevant programming and research.
  • 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.
  • Supports Mercy Corps senior leadership’s engagement on climate issues at high level events, through media engagement, and other fora, including through drafting remarks, developing policy positions, and providing staffing assistance.

Supervisory Responsibility

None, except for occasional interns.


Reports Directly To: Senior Director of Policy and AdvocacyWorks Directly With: Global Policy and Advocacy Team; Washington DC office staff; Research and Learning Team; Media Relations Team, Digital Team; Climate Matrix Team, Regional and Country Teams; and Technical Support Unit.

Accountability to Participants and StakeholdersMercy 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

  • Bachelors degree in international relations, development, public policy, law or related fields of study.
  • 5+ years of relevant professional experience working on climate change, water security, and/or development 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

  • Graduate degree in international relations, development, public policy, law or related fields of study.
  • Experience working in the U.S. Congress and/or the U.S. foreign affairs executive government
  • Experience with international relief and development fieldwork, and familiarity with emerging development and humanitarian issues.
  • Proficiency in one or more foreign languages, particularly French, Spanish or Arabic.

Success FactorsAbility 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 ConditionsThis position is based in Washington, DC with the expectation of travel up to 10-15% of his/her time to field locations that may include insecure or harsh environments. Mercy Corps US Policy and Advocacy team members are expected to be based in Washington, DC, with opportunities for periodic remote work, as appropriate. 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.

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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.

As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. Any offers of employment or continued employment are dependent on the successful completion of the screens which include, but are not limited to our Background Check and Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme processes,

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.

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

Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based Employees

Mercy Corps has determined that, in an effort to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Mercy Corps employees working in the United States, all U.S.-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, regardless of prior COVID-19 infection status.

This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.

For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment. Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations. Failure to comply may impact your employment. Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided.

Job Features

Job Category

Climate change Job

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