Senior Advisor (Water)
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps alleviates poverty, suffering, and oppression and works to build secure, productive, and just communities in over 40 countries around the world. Our Program Department supports field-led work that delivers measurable impact.
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.
General Position Summary
The senior advisor position focuses on providing expert technical support and capacity building to Mercy Corps field teams in the senior advisor’s area of expertise. The support includes program design and development, 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 senior advisor will also participate in matrixed teams, share and build the capacity of others, and help integrate their technical areas with others.
Mercy Corps has a strong portfolio of water programming covering a wide spectrum of activities from emergency WASH service provision for vulnerable population, water infrastructure development, market development for water management technologies and services, and water source protection and watershed management. In addition to the roles and responsibilities described above, this new position has been created to help achieve two key objectives 1) develop a unified vision for this broad water portfolio, in line with Mercy Corps’ mission and agency priorities, and 2) drive a business development strategy to build this portfolio in priority geographies,
The senior advisor position is part of the TSU focused on Environment, Water, Energy and Climate, and will work as part of this team to achieve established cross-sector goals and strategies.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Write/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.
- Keep up to date on 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 Director.
Learning and impact
- 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 disseminate 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.
Policy, advocacy, representation
- 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.
- 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.
- As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
The position has supervisory responsibility over interns and/or volunteers (or other team members when there is no Director).
Reports Directly To: Director of Environment, Energy and Climate
Works Directly With: all other TSU teams, HQ, and field teams
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to the TSU team specialty and relevant technical certifications are preferred.
- 6 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.
- Demonstrating strong theoretical and applied knowledge of the field of expertise.
- Using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking.
- Practical field experience, typically over the course of 2 years, that includes:
- A combination of successful temporary duration field assignments (under two weeks), longer-term field assignments (two or more weeks), and/or living in a field location for an extended period to work in a country or field office.
- 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 in the field.
- Delivering Capacity Building curriculum or other processes for field teams
- Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, 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; fluency in a foreign language preferred.
The senior advisor will demonstrate significant experience with providing technical support to field programs and country offices. The individual will show demonstrated experience in developing and leading organizational initiatives. The individual should have the proven ability to influence donors, partners, and peer organizations toward innovative programs and best practices. Through significant experience managing all aspects of large or complex proposals, the individual 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 will be located in either Washington D.C. or London, UK. 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 able to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening 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.