Senior Advisor- Learning, Emergency Food Security Programming; USA

Location: Portland, Or, Washington, DC or remote Position Status: Full-time, Regular Minimum Starting Salary: $76,000.00

Current unrestricted US work authorization is required at the time of application for this position.

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

The Senior Advisor – Learning, Emergency Food Security Programming is a position on the Implementer Led Design, Evidence, Analysis, and Learning Activity (IDEAL), a global Leader with Associates (LWA) award funded by the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and implemented through a consortium led by Save the Children (SCUS) in partnership with Mercy Corps and TANGO. IDEAL’s goal is to improve the overall effectiveness of BHA-funded development and emergency food security activities by advancing knowledge, peer-to-peer learning, and capacity development in three key areas: 1) Data and Decision-making; 2) Adaptive Management; and 3) Humanitarian, Development and Peace Coherence.

Mercy Corps is responsible for providing technical and thought leadership on IDEAL related to emergency programming across all workstreams, including data for decision-making, adaptive management, and working at the nexus of humanitarian, development, and peace programming. This includes assessing capacity gaps and programming priorities for emergency food security in emergency response and recovery efforts, formulating engagement strategies for implementing partners working in humanitarian settings, and integrating technical thought leadership for emergency programming across all of IDEAL’s content focus areas (CFAs).

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Serve as a senior technical expert on emergency programming across IDEAL consortium
  • In partnership with workstream leads, develop and drive a coherent strategy for advancing the quality of BHA emergency programming in line with IDEAL’s results framework and workstreams (data, adaptive management and HDP); actively promote vision, including rationale and modalities, across IDEAL stakeholders. Identify key themes and modalities for implementation.
  • In coordination with IDEAL partners and associate awards, assess and validate strategic priorities for advancing technical and operational capacity in emergency programming, which could include but are not limited to layering resilience interventions in cash assistance, systems approaches in emergency programming, leveraging better data for targeting and monitoring, and advancing emergency response through local responders.
  • Promote a vision and coherence around emergency programming across associate awards
  • Identify key milestones and manage work plans to advance emergency programming as related to data for decision-making, adaptive management and programming across the HDP nexus, in partnership with IDEAL workstream leads.
  • Lead concept note and activity implementation plan design and development for each emergency programming activity, with clear rationale and activities;
  • In partnership with Team Lead, develop scopes of work and provide technical oversight to short-term technical assistance and consultancies to advance emergency programming activities and deliverables;
  • Actively draw on Mercy Corps’ technical expertise, research and knowledge products in developing strategies, workplans and concept notes
  • Provide technical review and sign off of all deliverables related to emergency programming;
  • Actively provide high quality expertise on emergency programming across IDEAL’s workstreams;
  • Identify strategic opportunities for collaboration on emergency programming with other Associate Awards


  • Work in consultation with IDEAL consortium and implementing partners to identify and drive strategic opportunities and processes for capacity strengthening in topics related to emergency programming, in line with strategic vision, identified themes, and needs of partner programs
  • Oversee development and/or adaptation of capacity-building content related to emergency programming and ensure all capacity-building materials reflect key lessons-learned and promising -practices in pedagogy and adult learning, and are of highest relevance field practitioners;
  • Facilitate roll out of capacity-building content through agreed upon processes, including through training delivery and knowledge dissemination to advance improved application of promising practices in emergency programming across targeted programs;


  • Work with relevant teams both within Mercy Corps and IDEAL to identify and capture promising practices and lessons learned across IDEAL’s CFAs related to emergency programming, in line with IDEAL’s workstreams;
  • Partner with SCUS team to ensure knowledge management systems for content related to emergency programming in alignment with field-level priorities and learning opportunities across targeted programs;
  • Provide support to content development and dissemination initiatives related to emergency programming, including identifying opportunities for partnership with other USAID-funded learning mechanisms to advance learning in relevant programming aspects;
  • Liaise with colleagues at IDEAL to gather ideas, identify presenters and provide input in the planning and execution of knowledge sharing meetings specifically related to emergency programming;
  • Facilitate peer to peer collaborative learning and IP linkages with relevant communities of practice for emergency programming;
  • Ensure all material produced is to the highest technical standards.
  • Nurture a network of technical practitioners, including within Mercy Corps, to advance technical leadership and capacity strengthening in emergency programming.
  • Facilitate knowledge capture and sharing across BHA associate awards,


  • Represent IDEAL’s emergency programming activities across IDEAL stakeholders, including other associated awards and BHA,
  • Identify appropriate networks and develop productive relationships with stakeholders and platforms focused on improving the quality and impact of emergency programming;
  • Liaise with donor contacts and subject matter specialists in emergency programming;
  • Participate in events and leverage collaborative activities organized by relevant networks such as the Cash Learning Partnership (CALP), Global Food Security Cluster and Small Enterprise Education Promotion (SEEP) Network to advance IDEAL’s objectives;
  • Represent IDEAL’s work around emergency programming at industry events as needed.

Supervisory Responsibility

Consultants and short-term assignments. In addition, the position may have temporary supervisory responsibility over assigned program staff, consultants, interns and/or volunteers.


Reports Directly To: IDEAL Director

Collaborates Closely With: IDEAL’s Food Security Technical Officer, Program Officer; Mercy Corps Food Security and Resilience; Mercy Corps Senior Director, Global Resilience and Resilience Sr. Knowledge Management Advisor; IDEAL consortium partners and program and technical focal points of IDEAL’s other consortium members and IDEAL’s associate awards. In addition, work with other members of Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit to draw on a diverse body of expertise to advance capacity in emergency programming.

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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills

  • M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to international development, sustainable development, or other field are preferred;
  • 5+ years of experience in emergency programming or humanitarian assistance with at least three years of experience programmatic experience on emergency food security and resilience related activities;
  • Experience providing technical leadership in design and implementation of funded activities strongly preferred;
  • Proven proficiency in program management and previous experience supervising direct reports.
  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural communication and networking skills as well as the ability to sell ideas, get buy-in and win support;
  • Expertise in facilitation and capacity building and experience in getting research and evidence into use and demonstrating project impact;
  • Proven ability to work cooperatively with internal and external stakeholders;
  • Solid writing, editing, training and program design experience;
  • Ability and willingness to travel and work independently, occasionally in harsh environments for up to 40% of the time is required;
  • Familiarity with technical and programmatic requirements of USAID and other major donors around emergency food security programming is strongly preferred;
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required; French fluency strongly preferred.

Success Factors

A successful candidate for the Senior Advisor will be a self-starter who demonstrates enthusiasm to improve the quality and impact of programming to meet the needs of the world’s most vulnerable populations before, during and after times of crisis. S/he will demonstrate creativity in approaching their work and willingness to test new ideas and iterate. This role is ideal for someone strong in cross-cultural communications and someone who shows perseverance in the face of challenges. A key success factor for this role is the ability to engage with a variety of stakeholders ranging from donor representatives to consortium partners. This role requires someone who is able to work with ambiguity yet find way to offer tangible solutions. It also requires ability to lead and provide direction for assigned direct-reports. Understanding field dynamics that are impacted by low-connectivity and language limitations is important. We are seeking an individual who is flexible in a non-hierarchical environment and a multi-tasker with the proven ability to organize and prioritize competing priorities. This individual will have the ability to communicate effectively with team members of varied experiences and work styles, follow procedures, and meet deadlines.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

Pending restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the position will be co-located between Mercy Corps office in Washington D.C. and to Save the Children’s offices in Washington, D.C., and requires 25-40% travel both within the US and internationally. The Senior Advisor – will travel to field sites that may lack amenities or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed.

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.

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 and have signed on to theInteragency 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 toMercy 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.

As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. This is done following the conclusion of recruitment and prior to assuming full employment.

Our screening process is designed to be transparent and completed in partnership with new Team Members. You will have the opportunity to disclose any prior convictions at the conclusion of the recruitment process before the check is initiated. We ask that you do not disclose any prior convictions in your application materials or during the recruitment process.

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 is necessary to ensure not only the safety of our workforce, but the ongoing functionality of the organization.

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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