Advancing Peace in Complex Crises Senior Advisor -TSU

Website Mercy Corps



Location: Washington, DC, United States

Position Status: Full-time, Regular

Salary Level: HQ 6 : Minimum Starting Salary : $76,000 commensurate on experience.

Duration: Ongoing

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 

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject-matter experts help set agency strategy and provide consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to field offices worldwide, in some of the world’s toughest places. TSU team members lead research, foster organizational learning, represent Mercy Corps to external audiences, and develop partnerships. The TSU is also integral to global business development and revenue.

The Position 

Recognizing that violent conflict is the leading cause of suffering and extreme poverty, Mercy Corps distinguishes itself among leading international aid and development agencies by working to address the root causes of conflict in the world’s most difficult places. With Mercy Corps’ focus on reducing fragility and building community resilience and well-being, the Peace and Conflict team, as part of the broader Peace and Governance team, is a leading agency voice that both amplifies the peace and conflict work of our global peacebuilding leaders and contributes to program excellence and the lasting impact of our work. Since the late 1990s, Mercy Corps has implemented more than 100 conflict management programs in more than 40 African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Latin American countries.

The Advancing Peace in Complex Crises (APCC) Advisor position focuses on providing expert technical support and capacity building to Mercy Corps field teams on our APCC approach, which seeks to advance peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. The support includes program design and development, advancing key technical initiatives, network and partnership development, representation at key sector forums and events, helping to monitor and improve program quality and relevance, staying current on industry innovation and best practices, writing competitive proposals for submission to donors, delivering training, and disseminating information to internal and external partners. The advisor will also coordinate cross-agency matrixed teams, share and build the capacity of others, and help integrate their technical areas with others.

The Senior Advisor is conversant in a range of peace and conflict tools and approaches, contributing to overall technical quality in peacebuilding and peace integration across the team’s priority themes: Advancing Peace in Complex Crises (APCC); implementing the gender, peace & security agenda; building social cohesion across communal and identity lines; and addressing the governance-related causes of conflict. In particular, the Senior Advisor will provide expertise and influence around Mercy Corps’ APCC approach. The Senior Advisor will drive thought leadership, technical tool development, knowledge management, program design, and program support for APCC and will advance the overall vision for Mercy Corps’ work in this area, in close coordination with other TSU leaders and across TSU teams. The Senior Advisor will also lead and incubate other priority technical areas, including mediation and negotiation and peace/market systems integration, as agreed with the team.

Essential Job Responsibilities 

  • Manage select agency-wide, multi-country strategic proposal opportunities
  • Lead write and review proposals and concept notes for funding from donors including foundations, corporations and US, European, and UN agencies.
  • Gather/analyze data and complete assessments to determine community needs and priorities and Mercy Corps’ competitive advantage for funding.
  • Work with programs, country/regional teams, and technical support units on prepositioning and development of strategies.
  • Work with other TSU members on the design and support of multi-sectoral programs that encompass elements of broader agency goals such as resilience, food security, and youth development.
  • Stay informed of relevant strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups. Work with Mercy Corps to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence such materials.
  • Lead complex, competitive proposals and large integrated teams following Mercy Corps’ best practices in proposal development, team management, and the appropriate sectoral area.
  • Cultivate and nurture donor relationships and strategic partnerships that positively impact Mercy Corps ability to influence program strategies and proposal design, as well as strategic partnerships that result in stronger and impactful program development efforts.
  • Work closely with field leaders to influence their engagement and support of program pre-positioning, development and implementation.
  • Participate as an active, integrated member of the team providing technical support to a portfolio of field programs including those in complex crisis environments.
  • Support effective interventions in the areas of the assigned team’s focus, using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking.
  • Help maintain standards of program delivery that apply agency priorities and comply with relevant regulations and requirements.
  • Build capacity with Mercy Corps staff and partners to better design and implement programs.
  • Take leadership in identifying and addressing program quality needs. Collaborate with field leaders to problem solve.
  • Help set strategies and execute plans to address agency-wide program quality needs together with the Peace & Conflict Director.
  • Support strategy development and implement key sub-sector initiatives, such as APCC.
  • On behalf of the Peace and Conflict team, lead coordination and collaboration with other TSU teams, such as APCC.
  • Advance, through relationship-building and representation, Mercy Corps’ profile in other priority areas, such as resilience in protracted crises
  • Work with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team and the field to ensure that monitoring and evaluation is practical and reflects best practices.
  • Contribute to agency-wide initiatives such as the research agenda around Thought Leadership priority topics.
  • Provide in-country and remote training and support for Mercy Corps staff, partners, and others.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the shared incentives and values that will entice partners to connect and work across sectors, both internally and within field projects.
  • Support new and ongoing programs with best practice advice and assistance on assessment, implementation, research, and evaluation needs.
  • Conduct assessments; write case studies, learning documents, short articles, and blogs; and develop internal and external dissemination plan for all products.
  • Nurture partnerships with universities, research institutions, and other organizations to produce case studies, assessments, and other learning documentation, as well as enhance program quality.
  • Develop and cultivate a sustainable community of practice to support cross-regional learning and localized peace and conflict expertise
  • Represent Mercy Corps at academic events, conferences, media forums, and other events; contribute to thought leadership in area of expertise.
  • Identify and nurture strategic partnerships with other organizations and institutions.
  • Establish Mercy Corps as a prominent agency in APCC.
  • Cultivate strong partnerships and external collaboration related to APCC.
  • Develop and implement a targeted policy and advocacy agenda with assistance from other Mercy Corps teams.
  • Present concepts and ideas to donors, partners, and peer organizations that influence them to drive innovation and positive change.
  • Supervisor interns and consultants, as needed, including:
    • Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
    • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives.
    • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
    • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
    • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.

Supervisory Responsibility

The position has supervisory responsibility over interns and/or consultants.


Reports Directly To: Director, Peace and Conflict TSU team

Works Directly With: All other TSU teams, HQ, and country teams

Knowledge and Experience 

  • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to APCC, broader peacebuilding and relevant technical certifications are preferred.
  • 5+ years of experience providing increasingly proficient technical support in the relevant field of expertise that includes:
  • Preparing writing and analysis on proposal development.
  • Producing and publishing influential articles and blogs.
  • Leading all aspects of large and complex proposals and managing integrated proposal teams.
  • Developing and delivering training curricula.
  • Demonstrating strong theoretical and applied knowledge of the field of expertise.
  • Using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking.
  • Practical implementation experience, typically over the course of at least 2 years, that includes:
  • A combination of successful temporary duration assignments (under two weeks), longer-term assignments (two or more weeks), and/or living in a peace & conflict program implementation location for an extended period.
  • A number of emergency response assignments or other crisis response work that demonstrates the ability to successfully adapt support and assistance methodologies to real-world complexities.
  • Managing and implementing successful programs on the ground.
  • Delivering Capacity Building curriculum or other processes for country program teams.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Familiarity with major donors such as USAID, DFID, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
  • Fluency in English is required, and fluency in Arabic and/or French is a major asset.

Success Factors 

The Senior Advisor will demonstrate significant experience managing programs, further enhancing their ability to adjust technical theories to meet real world complexities. The Senior Advisor should have the proven ability to influence donors, partners, and peer organizations toward innovative programs and best practices. Through experience managing all aspects of large or complex proposals, the Senior Advisor will be able to advise and coach other Mercy Corps staff on how to adjust their methodology. The Senior Advisor must take a lead role in building and maintaining external relationships as well as demonstrating the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts. All TSU positions require strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills, and a level of emotional intelligence proficiency that quickly builds and maintains productive relationships across teams. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions 

This position is intended to be located in Washington DC, United States. The position requires travel at least 30% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must be able to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evenings as required by the schedule, and in settings with limited infrastructure, food options, and living conditions.

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.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

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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