Safeguarding Advisor - Partner Accountability

Safeguarding Washington, District of Columbia Portland, Oregon


Location: Portland, OR or Washington, DC

Position Status: Full-time, Exempt, Regular

Salary Level: HQ5

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 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 assist in clearly articulating Mercy Corps’ safeguarding systems, approach, mechanisms, and key updates for donors.   

Essential Responsibilities


  • Lead on the roll-out of a global process for assessing, monitoring and capacity building of subrecipient organizations
  • Assist and advise country teams to be able to assess partners’ compliance with minimum safeguarding standards 
  • Work with compliance team members in the US, Europe and in our country offices to ensure robust safeguarding practices are incorporated into our subaward processes as well as ongoing monitoring of subrecipient organizations
  • Work with the Procurement & Logistics teams to ensure safeguarding is incorporated into procurement practices and identify procurement partners with additional safeguarding assessment and capacity building needs
  • Work with Human Resources and program teams to develop safeguarding protocols for onboarding casual workers, day laborers, consultants and volunteers 
  • Collaborate with Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation teams to develop safeguarding guidelines for MEL activities involving externally contracted enumerators
  • Track the status of efforts related to partner accountability, capacity building and training efforts



  • Lead and project manage requests for information from non European institutional, government, UN and foundation donors; collaborate with Mercy Corps Europe team members on requests from European donors
  • Stay abreast of and providing guidance on major donor safeguarding standards
  • Provide technical support regarding donor requirements on project proposals and design


  • Participate in 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
  • Engage with teams working on strategy, governance, localization, learning and GDI to ensure that the safeguarding partner accountability efforts are informed by these workstreams
  • Identify key events and working groups where Mercy Corps’ strategic involvement is important and coordinating representation to strengthen safeguarding across the humanitarian sector
  • Provide guidance to country offices on safeguarding coordination and external engagement at the country level
  • Cultivate networks in colleague agencies to facilitate exchange of ideas and collaboration across the sector, identifying potential areas for innovation and influence


  • Increase country teams’ clarity and awareness surrounding safeguarding standards and expectations for our partners, including sub-grantees, volunteers, consultants, contractors, and daily workers
  • Training program, compliance and procurement staff on assessing, monitoring and capacity building partners on safeguarding
  • 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 support to country teams on the evaluation of subrecipients’ safeguarding policies and procedures
  • Working with the Safeguarding Team on various oversight reports, including internal Board reports, the externally published Annual Safeguarding Report, and other various internal communications


  • Developing guidance and tools to support partners in the development of safeguarding systems and compliance with safeguarding standards
  • Adapting existing 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: Global Safeguarding Team; Ethics and Compliance Department, 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 

  • At least four years of professional experience in development/humanitarian sector, gender based violence and/or safeguarding field; including a deep understanding of safeguarding principles, 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 Spanish is highly preferred.

Success Factors 

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

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 is necessary to ensure not only the safety of our workforce, but the ongoing functionality of the organization.