Partner Accountability Advisor - Safeguarding

Safeguarding Portland, Oregon Washington, District of Columbia




Regular / Full-time / Exempt / Portland, OR or Washington, DC

Current unrestricted authorization to work for any U.S. employer is required

Starting salary, based on experience, will be between $56-61K


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 Program / Department / Team

Mercy Corps’ safeguarding team is a key part of the Mercy Corps People Team and fundamental to our mandate to do no harm while delivering aid and implementing our programs. The Global Safeguarding Team is bolstered by a global network of focal points, investigators and co-investigators working at the country and regional level to mainstream safeguarding and raise awareness about individual rights and responsibilities of our team member, participants, partners, volunteers and many others who are a part of the critical work we do.


The Position

At Mercy Corps, Safeguarding is a holistic term that encompasses our prevention and response work on issues involving Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Beneficiaries, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and Child Safeguarding. The Mercy Corps Safeguarding Team engages with key stakeholders in leading the humanitarian and development sector to prevent and improve responses to safeguarding violations.


This new position will support the global organization’s safeguarding efforts, particularly around donor and partner accountability, and will contribute to the agency’s strategic vision by working to monitor, advise on and improve the safeguarding systems, capacity and awareness of our various partners, which include sub-recipients, partner organizations, contractors, outside experts, consultants and other organizations or individuals that act on behalf of or at the direction of Mercy Corps. This role will also serve to assist in clearly articulating Mercy Corps’ safeguarding systems, approach, mechanisms, and key updates for donors.  


Essential Responsibilities


  • Assisting and advising partners on the implementation of safeguarding practices and standards that meet funder expectations
  • Leading and project managing requests for information from UN and North American donors, and collaborating with the Safeguarding Advisor  on requests from European donors
  • Participating in the cross-operational Global Safeguarding Task Force with key team members from across the organization, providing leadership that fosters a cohesive and collaborative technical approach to safeguarding
  • Identifying key events and working groups where Mercy Corps strategic involvement is important and coordinating representation to strengthen safeguarding across the humanitarian sector
  • Cultivating networks in colleague agencies to facilitate exchange of ideas and collaboration across the sector, identifying potential areas for innovation and influence
  • Working with Human Resources and program teams to develop safeguarding protocols for onboarding casual workers, day laborers, consultants and volunteers
  • Tracking the status of efforts related to partner accountability, capacity building and training efforts



  • Increasing partner clarity and awareness surrounding safeguarding standards and expectations
  • Leading on communicating safeguarding standards with our partners, including sub-grantees, volunteers, consultants, contractors, and daily workers
  • Creating partner-specific training content and developing models for delivery, including remote or in person training; Assisting with our Train the Trainer model; Supporting our Safeguarding Focal Points to deliver training content developed with your oversight and review
  • Providing technical input and leading in the evaluation of safeguarding policies and procedures of our sub-recipient partners for completeness and effectiveness
  • Working with the Safeguarding Team on various oversight reports, including internal Board reports, the externally published Annual Safeguarding Report, and other various internal communications



  • Adapting resources and tools to the context of our diverse range of partners
  • Providing technical support on safeguarding program requests or document review requests


Supervisory Responsibility




Reports Directly To: Director of Safeguarding

Works Directly With: MCG People team, MCG and MCE Compliance, Global Safeguarding team


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

  • 3-5 years of professional experience with safeguarding principles, including an understanding of investigations best practice, survivor-centered principles and capacity building for partners.
  • Advanced degree in social sciences, humanities, gender, law, international relations or another applicable field is preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience adapting agency-specific safeguarding content including training, policy, awareness raising and communications tools for use by agency partners.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, effective organizational and interpersonal skills; excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience in a training, facilitation or support role delivering content to diverse audiences.
  • Experience working in humanitarian aid or development, either living overseas or spending a significant amount of time in foreign countries is strongly preferred.
  • Deep understanding of and experience with donor, regulatory and sector-wide standards, expectations and rules regarding safeguarding.
  • Strong command of the ongoing critical discourse on macro-level intersectional power dynamics within the international aid sector and how it can influence micro-level safeguarding issues.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Clear understanding of best practice in ethics management and accountability.
  • Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response is preferred.
  • Spoken and written English fluency required; fluency in French or Arabic is a significant plus.

Success Factors

The successful Partner Accountability Advisor has awareness and passion for the critical role of safeguarding on our work. They possess a sustained lens of cultural humility in seeking and creating best practice in the context of insecure and opaque environments with a broad spectrum of cultures, languages and education levels. They have an abiding sense of empathy for the stakeholders, participants and survivors we serve, and for the difficulties that INGOs and our partners face in carrying out this work. They consistently navigate difficult circumstance with a calm demeanor and reach understandings and resolutions in a methodical, analytical and empathetic manner. They persist in moving complex problems forward and strive to make substantial improvements in a timely yet methodical manner. The Advisor leads by example and motivates a diverse array of stakeholders, tempering technical expertise with a desire to learn from a place of equity.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Portland, Oregon or Washington DC and it requires up to 30% travel, which may include travel to insecure locations where amenities and freedom of movement are limited.


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. 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. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.