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Policy Advisor – Global Policy and Advocacy

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 Global Policy and Advocacy 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 communities living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

The Position

The Policy Advisor will support Mercy Corps’ advocacy priorities related to international humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding policy. Specifically, the 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. The Policy Advisor will assist U.S. policy team members in drafting and helping to pass relevant legislation and engaging key Congressional and U.S. government policymakers to advance priority policies. They will track and analyze policy initiatives, including through working groups with partner agencies to advance joint coalition advocacy and campaign initiatives at domestic and international fora, including the United Nations. They are a natural communicator who accepts direction and guidance, and works closely with the GPA team to implement advocacy activities in collaboration with Mercy Corps’ global field leadership, internal teams, and other coalitions and stakeholders. The Policy Advisor may also be asked to assist team members with the following activities to raise Mercy Corps’ profile on policy positions: staffing for external events and panels; developing written policy documents for external dissemination; supporting Mercy Corps’ grassroots advocacy efforts; and liaising with Mercy Corps field and HQ teams.

Essential Responsibilities 


  • Assists U.S. Policy and Advocacy team members in implementing Mercy Corps’ policy priorities in conflict-affected countries.
  • Supports Mercy Corps’ U.S. Policy and Advocacy team members to implement influence strategy regarding humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding policy.
  • Provides support to Mercy Corps’ U.S. Policy and Advocacy team members as additional needs arise.


  • Assist with specific advocacy tasks as directed by a member of the U.S. Policy and Advocacy team :
    • Implement policy-focused advocacy and outreach strategies, in cooperation with Mercy Corps colleagues and partner agencies on Mercy Corps’ Pathway to Possibility priority outcomes: food security, peace and governance, economic opportunity, and water security
    • Draft policy documents in support of policy and advocacy goals:
      • In cooperation with the Media Relations and Digital teams, support written products for use with various audiences including policymakers, web visitors, and the general public
      • For public dissemination, support the drafting of policy briefs, op-eds and case stories
      • Draft internal information and messaging for Mercy Corps staff.
    • Help track legislative developments on Capitol Hill, including the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and annual appropriations bills
    • Monitor action alerts and legislative initiatives from colleague agencies, advocacy organizations and coalitions, and think thanks
  • Research and analyze select policy issues, including emerging areas of interest to Mercy Corps and the US government.
  • Attend policy relevant think tank, NGO partner, and other meetings and provide summaries of key discussion points


  • Assist in building and maintaining relationships with U.S. Government officials, including from the Departments of Defense and State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and Congress
  • Support Mercy Corps representation in public forums, think/policy tank panel discussions and briefings, and relevant international and multilateral institutional events
  • Contributes to written pieces including policy pieces, thought leadership and other external facing communications

Supervisory Responsibility

None, except for occasional interns.


Reports Directly To: US 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; 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 

  • Bachelor’s degree in international relations, development, public policy or related fields of study, Masters degree in a relevant field is preferred.
  • 2-4 years’ relevant experience in the public policy and international development arenas.
  • 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
  • Experience working in the U.S. Congress and/or the U.S. Executive Branch agencies is preferred.
  • Experience with international relief and development fieldwork, and familiarity with emerging development and humanitarian issues is preferred.

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

The position is based in Washington, DC. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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.

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