Senior Advisor (Water)

Mercy Corps
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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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

Mercy Corps is seeking to hire a senior water advisor who has a broad range of experiences working across relevant water approaches including: integrated water resources management, water governance, water service provisioning, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation, and infrastructure.

Mercy Corps has a strong portfolio of water programming covering a wide spectrum of activities including market development for water management technologies and services, water source protection, watershed management, emergency service provision for vulnerable population, and water infrastructure development.

This highly strategic position, will take the lead in harnessing this initial portfolio and driving a growth agenda as it pertains to water programming across the agency. Specifically, it has been created to help achieve two institutional objectives 1) develop a unified vision for a significantly expanded 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.

This position will also provide strategic technical support to high impact water programs and countries deemed strategic water growth geographies. This support includes program design and development, network and partnership development, representation at key sector forums and events, writing competitive proposals for submission to donors, capacity building, and technical influence amongst internal and external partners, and helping ensure program quality and relevance.

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

  • Develop a unified vision for this broad water portfolio
  • Establish and drive a business development strategy to build this portfolio in priority geographies
  • Develop strategic partnerships, integrating Mercy Corps into existing and new consortia, in order to address them.
  • Lead engagements and collaborations across senior management, resource development, communication and other technical teams.
  • Grow Mercy Corps voice and visibility in the water sector broadly, by representing at key events and engaging influential stakeholders.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.


  • 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

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

  • Broad experience in a range of water related technical areas including integrated water resource management, water governance, water service provisioning, emergency WASH, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation, and infrastructure.
  • 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.
  • 10 years of experience providing increasingly proficient technical support in the relevant field of expertise that includes:
    • Drive the development of new and ambitious agency visions and strategies
    • Developing and managing, and measuring progress of business development strategies.
    • Strategic partnership development
    • Preparing writing and analysis on proposal development.
    • Producing and publishing influential articles and blogs.
    • Demonstrating strong theoretical and applied knowledge of the field of expertise.
    • Using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking.
  • Practical experience, that demonstrates an understanding of the challenges of working in a variety of complex humanitarian and development contexts.
  • Delivering Capacity Building materials or other relevant processes
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Fluency in English is required; fluency in a foreign language preferred.