Senior Advisor for Ethics and Risk (SAER)

Ethics & Compliance Lviv, Ukraine


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’ Ukraine crisis response seeks to meet the humanitarian needs of vulnerable Ukrainians and other conflict-affected people where they are: displaced inside Ukraine, refugees in Poland, Romania and Moldova, or trapped behind frontlines. We aim to reach 500,000 vulnerable people with multi-purpose cash assistance, in-kind humanitarian support, and protection services across four countries. Almost all of our impact will be delivered in partnership: with Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian and Moldovan civil society organizations through a granting program that matches humanitarian action with capacity strengthening, and with peer international NGOs through a consortium in Ukraine.


General Position Summary

The Senior Advisor for Ethics and Risk (SAER) will serve as the Mercy Corps Ukraine Response focal point for ensuring compliance with Mercy Corps’ Code of Ethics and ethics policies and procedures. S/he will assist the response in developing and implementing robust risk management and ethical compliance policies and process. The SAER will ensure that the Response Risk Management Committee has a solid mandate and terms of reference and ensure that it is an effective oversight mechanism. In addition, s/he will examine, review, and analyze records, reports, financial information and management practices across the response to ensure compliance with laws, regulations and Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and will investigate potential violations of the Code of Ethics with an emphasis on fraud and corruption working in partnership with key stakeholders. The Senior Advisor will assist the country/response management team in developing, implementing and monitoring effective financial and operational controls over activities and offices to mitigate risk.

Essential job functions

Ethics and Risk strategy

  • Assist the Ukraine response in crafting an over-arching strategy for risk management and ethical compliance, and in assuring that policies and processes underpinning that strategy are robust
  • Act as a key focal point in consultation and coordination with organizational stakeholders in ethics, risk and compliance.

Code of Ethics Incident Response:

  • Following Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures, serve as focal point for the internal reporting of any allegations of Code of Ethics violations, including fraud and corruption.
  • Liaise with the Headquarters Ethics team, and other teams as needed, in the resolution of all reported fraud and corruption incidents.
  • As agreed with the Headquarters Ethics department, conduct inquiries and investigations to determine the facts, circumstances and scope of any fraud and corruption allegations.
  • Collect, analyze and document the results of fraud and corruption investigations and communicate observations and recommendations with the collaboration of the response management team, as appropriate.
  • Prepare final reports to fully document the investigation and resolution of incidents. Reports will be reviewed by Headquarters Ethics team.
  • Liaise with program teams in implementing the country Community Accountability Response Mechanism (CARM). Respond to Code of Ethics violation referrals received through the CARM.


Code of Ethics Training and Awareness:

  • Assist the response management team with the implementation of new Headquarters or country Code of Ethics policies and procedures, acting as a catalyst for change and acceptance and supporting smooth implementation.
  • In coordination with established on-boarding processes, assist with the on-boarding of new team members to ensure awareness and understanding of Code of Ethics policies. Conduct and/or coordinate regular anti-corruption, fraud prevention and other Code of Ethics trainings for response staff and partners.


Internal Controls:

  • Assist the response management team in determining effective and efficient solutions to operational issues that ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ policies and donor regulations, mitigate the risk of fraud or corruption, and also facilitate the achievement of program objectives.
  • Assist program, operations and finance teams with implementing standard procedures or, as necessary, developing and documenting enhanced procedures for high-risk program activities, in particular those providing a direct financial benefit to participants (e.g. vouchers, cash distributions), requiring high value procurement, or the distribution of in-kind goods.  
  • In coordination with the response management team and program managers, maintain the Risk Register to identify key risks and document strategies to mitigate these risks. Manage the quarterly update process and ensure communication of action plans.
  • In coordination with relevant teams, perform periodic internal control reviews of financial, procurement, human resource, and logistics procedures. In coordination with program and monitoring and evaluation staff, conduct field reviews of program activities to ensure that adequate controls are in place and are functioning properly. Communicate findings and work with the relevant departments to correct weaknesses and improve controls as needed.
  • As agreed with the program and finance teams, advise on the development of monitoring plans for partners, including subrecipients, key vendors and other partners that must adhere to ethics policies. In coordination with relevant teams, perform periodic compliance reviews of partners.
  • In coordination with the response management team and HQ Finance, assist with the follow-up and resolution of external audit or Mercy Corps Internal Audit findings.
  • Perform other related special projects and duties as determined and assigned by management.


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 towards 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 Senior Advisor for Ethics and Risk will manage any identified ethics and risk field staff across the Ukraine response.



Reports Directly To: Ukraine Deputy Response Director

Works Directly With: Headquarters Ethics team (with authority for Code of Ethics reporting and investigation matters); Response Senior Management team, other program and operations team across the response, plus relevant departments at HQ including Finance, Compliance, and Program Accountability & Quality.


Knowledge and Experience

  • Sc. university degree in finance, accounting or a related business field is required; and an advanced degree is a plus
  • 5 years+ related work experience with a not-for-profit organization implementing international programs or other reputable private sector entity
  • Strong background in compliance systems and internal controls
  • Relevant experience in fraud investigation or auditing. Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) designations are strongly preferred
  • Solid understanding of a wide-range of ethics violations, including fraud, corruption and human trafficking in humanitarian and/or development settings; Understanding of best practice in ethics management and accountability within INGOs, including best practices for investigations of ethical violations
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully working with administrative and program staff at all organizational levels
  • Solid organizational and research skills with a broad understanding of various program sectors and activities
  • Demonstrated experience in financial and operational data analysis
  • Advanced computer skills in MS Office programs, particularly Excel
  • Fluent written and oral communication in English.

Success Factors

The successful Senior Advisor for Ethics & Risk will possess an exemplary professional standard of ethics as well as the willingness and ability to enforce compliance with Mercy Corps’ internal policies and procedures and external regulations. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact effectively with internal and external stakeholders on sensitive and confidential matters is necessary along with the ability to navigate difficult circumstances with a calm demeanor, in an analytical and methodical manner. A demonstrated ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and process information in support of changing program activities is necessary. A broad understanding of humanitarian and development programs coupled with the ability to analyze financial operational data and clearly present conclusions and recommendations is essential.  

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all locations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Poland or in the Eastern Europe region. Accommodations are being defined and access to services – medical, electricity, water, etc is in place but may change depending on the situation. This position requires travel to surrounding countries, as security permits. Given the emergency context, this position requires exceptional work schedules, including evenings and weekends.


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.