Technology for Development (T4D) Advisor (Data Scientist) - The Hague

Information Technology The Hague, South Holland


This role's preferred location is The Hague. It is also open to other Mercy Corps HQ locations. Candidates must have the right to work in the location at the time of appointment.

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

The senior advisor position is assigned to the Technology for Development (T4D) team.T4D’s vision is a world of digital inclusion and opportunity where the ethical use of technology and data empowers

secure, productive and just communities. Our mission and purpose is to drive sustainable field program impact through responsible applications of existing and emerging technologies.

General Position Summary

Oversee and provide strategic direction to the Data-Driven for Decision Making initiative, under T4D. Focusing on helping field teams to explore, design, adapt and integrate innovative methods to harness ”big data” to complement traditional data sources with real-time, high-frequency, low-cost data for program decision making, research and policy purposes. Improve development and humanitarian assistance programs targeting, and performance, applying a variety of technical data science skills in data management, analytics, visualization, programming, and statistical modelling. Actively participating in partnership development activities, represent T4D and Mercy Corps at key sector forums and events, helping to monitor and improve program quality and relevance, staying current on industry innovation, trends and best practices, delivering training, and disseminating information to internal and external partners. Participate in matrixed teams, build the capacity of others, and help integrate new and innovative methods for data-driven for decision making with other T4D initiatives, field programs relevant activities, and support to other Mercy Corps teams.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Program and Proposal Development

  • Provides expert technical support and capacity building to Mercy Corps field teams, Mercy Corps Programs, Technical Support Unit (TSU) teams (e.g Agriculture, Environment, Financial Inclusion,etc…), Humanitarian Leadership Response (HLR), and others, in the area of Data-Driven for Decision making, helping them to explore, adapt and integrate innovative methods to harness - ethically and responsibly - data generated by our programs and new “big data” sources.
  • Helps identify and define requirements for data-driven innovation use cases relevant to Mercy Corps field programs, in support of Mercy Corps compass objectives, and in collaboration with Technical Support Unit expertise areas.
  • Utilizes the latest emerging technologies in “Big Data” analytics and AI enabled methods, statistics modelling, data preparation, integration, visualization, to facilitate data driven programmatic decision-making, program quality assurance, and the development of relevant and impactful data-driven products (e.g early warning and rapid response mechanisms, real-time awareness of displacement visualizations, real-time evaluations and measurement of behaviour change).
  • Improve Mercy Corps’ capacity to distill, analyze, and operationalize disparate and often contradictory data sets in real or near real-time, to help predicting risk, anticipate conflict and displacement, measuring (and targeting) humanitarian response and access, tracking recovery and resilience, prescribe policy action, often in Fragile, Conflict and Violence (FCV) and other settings.
  • Provide technical expertise that leads to effective agreements and collaboration between Mercy Corps and technology companies (known in this position description as Technology Partners) for the purposes of enabling this role. Manage partner relationships from design, deployment, delivery and maintenance of data-driven innovation solutions. Function as the operational focal point in the Mercy Corps - Palantir Technologies (Philanthropy Division) relationship and other technology partners identified (e.g Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Tableau,...)
  • Act as a catalyst to build local data-driven innovation ecosystems, between Mercy Corps field teams and other relevant local partners and stakeholders. Expand existing portfolio of data-driven tools and methods, beyond the context of humanitarian analysis, and into other key Mercy Corps programmatic areas such as Agriculture Development, Environment and Climate Resilience or Food Security interventions.

Program Quality

  • Help maintain standards of program delivery that apply agency priorities and comply with relevant regulations and requirements.
  • Take leadership in identifying and addressing program quality needs. Collaborate with field leaders to problem solve.
  • Ensure that all aspects of data responsibility, protection, sharing, privacy and ethical manipulation, are upheld by all partners.

Learning and Impact

  • Enable and facilitate a data-driven culture and provide in-country and remote training and support for Mercy Corps staff, partners, and others. Work with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team and the field to ensure that technology applied for monitoring and evaluation is practical and reflects best practices.
  • Provide technical advice to our Research and Learning team, in topics related to impact measurement innovation and other thought leadership topics. In particular in relation to the application of advanced analytics (e.g predictive analytics) and harnessing of new “big data” sources.
  • Lead webinars and workshops for internal and external audiences on the potential of new innovative approaches for data-driven decision making in development and humanitarian contexts

Policy, Advocacy, Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps at academic events, conferences, media forums, and other events; contribute to thought leadership in the technology for development space.
  • Present concepts and ideas to donors, partners, and peer organizations that influence them to drive data-driven for decision making innovation and positive change.

Team Management

  • Actively participate in discussions with other T4D initiative owners, to understand how data-driven innovation might be integrated across initiatives.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Participate in recruitment interviews as necessary.

Organizational Learning  

  • 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.

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 Technology for Development team

Works Directly With: all other TSU teams, HQ, and field teams

Skills and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a related field and relevant technical certifications are preferred.
  • 5-7 years of experience providing increasingly proficient technical support to humanitarian and/or international development organizations, in the field of data analytics. Passion for improving lives harnessing data for social good or through data-driven approaches leading to better decision making or evidence-informed policy.
  • Data Management and Systems engineering. Experience with manipulation (cleaning, integration and visualization) of complex, high volume and high dimensionality data. Data modelling, relational and non-relational databases, cloud platforms (Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure), interoperability and standardisation for data, metadata management.  Knowledge of how to work with custom APIs is highly desirable. Familiarity with open source software revision and control tools and services (e.g Git and Github) would be a nice to have. Familiarity with data science collaboration platforms like Kaggle or communities like DataKind
  • Data Analytics. Experience using Excel and/or Google Sheets for analytical purposes. Working knowledge of SQL, and experience with one of the common advanced analytics programming languages; R and/or Python, are highly desirable. Other programming expertise like Java Script or Scala is a nice to have. Interest and awareness  of different Machine Learning methods (e.g deep learning, natural language processing, tracking, image classification,...).
  • Data Storytelling and data visualisation. Working with program decision makers, policy and advocacy makers, using visualizations to bridge communication gaps. Experience with Tableau and/or Power BI tools is highly desirable.
  • Geospatial tools. Use of geospatial analysis and web mapping tools to help build evidence and make meaning of data. Experience with ArcGIS, QGIS, Carto highly desirable.
  • Human Centered Design. Experience with user research methods and user-centered design methods. Ability to understand the needs of those using analytical tools, and an awareness of qualitative techniques for understanding how information will be used in a given context.
  • Systems Thinking. Ability to integrate technology based approaches and applying systems thinking to problem identification and context assessment often in complex crisis. Experience with adaptive programing highly desirable.
  • Fluency in English is required; fluency in a foreign language (French, Arabic or Spanish) preferred.

Success Factors

Working with non-engineers to design and test data-driven products based on their needs. Able to effectively share knowledge and train others to develop their data literacy skills and understanding of the complex data-driven for decision making process. Experience with some of the following, in a crisis response scenario: incorporating social media analytics in disaster response, analytical modelling and simulation, improving information management systems of logistics and supply chain for crisis response, geospatial technologies and GIS for crisis management, Advanced Analytics for planning, foresight and Risk Analysis, community engagement. Comfortable having data-driven innovation discussions with a variety of technical profiles from technology partners and other organizations. The advisor will demonstrate experience managing programs in the field, further enhancing their ability to adjust technical theories to meet real world complexities. The individual should have the proven ability to influence donors, partners, and peer organizations toward innovative programs and best practices. Demonstrated following behaviours: Analytical Thinking, Adaptability, Conceptual Thinking, Creativity and Innovation. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is to be located in Mercy Corps The Hague office. 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 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.