Emergency Programing Senior Advisor - Technical Support Unit

Programs Washington, District of Columbia Anywhere, United States


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 Emergency Programming (EP) Senior Advisor is a position on the Implementer Led Design, Evidence, Analysis, and Learning Activity, a global Leader with Associates (LWA) award funded by the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and implemented through a consortium led by Save the Children in partnership with Mercy Corps, TANGO and the Kaizen Company. IDEAL’s goal is to improve the overall effectiveness of BHA-funded development and emergency food security activities by: 

    • Improving the capacity of BHA implementing partners (IPs) in design and implementation of essential elements of quality programming including sequencing and layering of interventions, sustainability planning, social and behavior change, social cohesion and social accountability;
    • Ensuring consistent use of data for decision making and application of adaptive management best practices; and improving coordination and collaboration among stakeholders around common goals. 

Mercy Corps is responsible for providing technical thought leadership on IDEAL in advancing the effectiveness of BHA funded activities related to emergency programming (among other focus areas). This includes assessing capacity gaps and programming priorities for emergency food security in emergency response and recovery efforts,  formulating engagement strategies for implementing partners working in humanitarian settings and BHA and integrating technical thought leadership for emergency programming across all of IDEAL’s content focus areas (CFAs).   

Essential Job Responsibilities  
The EP Senior Advisor will serve as the lead manager for emergency programming activities on IDEAL including strategy development, capacity strengthening, knowledge sharing, and development of learning resources. Specific functions include:


  • In coordination with IDEAL partners and associate awards, assess and validate strategic priorities for advancing technical and operational capacity in emergency programming; 
  • Develop milestones and work plans to advance technical and operational capacity in emergency programming across IDEAL’s Theory of Change;
  • Provide leadership and guidance for IDEAL’s technical advisory panels (TAPs) on improving the quality and impact of emergency programming;  
  • Work with IDEAL consortium team members to identify and mobilize technical experts who can provide short-term technical assistance in critical subject areas as needed.
  • Regularly review and ensure application of best practices for adaptive management in advancing emergency programming workstream milestones and workplan;  
  • Drive a vision that supports all consortium and implementing partners to better analyze and support quality of emergency programming in complex risk environments.


  • Work with relevant teams both within Mercy Corps and IDEAL to identify and capture promising practices and lessons learned across IDEAL’s CFAs related to emergency programming; 
  • Maintain effective knowledge management systems for content related to emergency programming in alignment with field-level priorities and learning opportunities across targeted programs;  
  • Provide support to region-specific content development and dissemination initiatives related to emergency programming, including identifying opportunities for partnership with other USAID-funded learning mechanisms to advance learning in relevant programming aspects; 
  • Liaise with colleagues at IDEAL to gather ideas, identify presenters and provide input in the planning and execution of knowledge sharing meetings specifically related to emergency programming; 
  • Facilitate peer to peer collaborative learning and IP linkages with relevant communities of practice for emergency programming; 
  • Provide technical oversight of design of Requests for Applications (RFAs) and management of awards under IDEAL small grants program related to emergency programming.  


  • Work in consultation with IDEAL consortium and implementing partners to develop a capacity building plan in topics related to emergency programming in line with the needs and contexts of targeted programs;  
  • Identify and advocate for resources required to update and adapt technical content, knowledge and skills building processes for emergency programming to meet the needs of targeted programs;  
  • Oversee content and process adaptation, development and dissemination for knowledge products related to emergency programming and ensure all capacity-building materials reflect key lessons-learned and best-practices in pedagogy and adult learning, and are of highest relevance field practitioners;
  • Facilitate the roll out of innovative content and processes and where appropriate, directly deliver trainings and knowledge dissemination to advance improved application of best practices in emergency programming across targeted programs;
  • Develop scopes of work and help identify qualified consultants to advance quality of emergency programming.  


  • Identify appropriate networks and develop productive relationships with stakeholders and platforms focused on improving the quality and impact of emergency programming;
  • Liaise with donor contacts and subject matter specialists in emergency programming; 
  • Participate in events and leverage collaborative activities organized by relevant networks such as the Cash Learning Partnership (CALP), Global Food Security Cluster and Small Enterprise Education Promotion (SEEP) Network to advance IDEAL’s objectives; 
  • Represent IDEAL’s work around emergency programming at industry events as needed.  


  • As assigned, provide core program management functions, such as managing the workflow of activities, reporting and partnerships;  
  • Work with internal support teams to manage budget and ensure donor compliance for activities related to emergency food security programming or any other assigned activities. 
  • Provide supervisory oversight and support for assigned direct-reports
  • Take on the responsibilities for leading Mercy Corp’s team under IDEAL in lieu of the Food Security Team Leader, when requested. .  

Supervisory Responsibility 
Supervises IDEAL’s Emergency Programming Specialist. In addition, the position may have temporary supervisory responsibility over assigned program staff, consultants, interns and/or volunteers. 

Reports Directly To: Food Security Technical Team (FSTT) Team Leader/Senior Technical Advisor for Food Security under IDEAL

Collaborates Closely With: IDEAL’s Food Security Technical Officer, Program Officer and Regional Facilitators; Mercy Corps Food Security & Nutrition team including the director and technical advisors for Food Security and Nutrition; Mercy Corps Senior Director, Global Resilience and Resilience Sr. Knowledge Management Advisor; IDEAL consortium partners and program and technical focal points of IDEAL’s other consortium members and IDEAL’s associate awards. In addition, work with other members of Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit to draw on a diverse body of expertise to advance capacity in emergency programming. 

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.

Required Knowledge and Experience  

  • M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to international development, sustainable development, or other field are preferred;  
  • At least ten years of experience in humanitarian assistance with at least three years of experience working directly on emergency food security and resilience related activities; 
  • Experience providing technical leadership in design and implementation of USAID’s former Office of Food for Peace (now BHA) funded activities strongly preferred;
  • Proven proficiency in program management and previous experience supervising direct reports.
  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural communication and networking skills as well as the ability to sell ideas, get buy-in and win support; 
  • Expertise in facilitation and capacity building and experience in getting research and evidence into use and demonstrating project impact; 
  • Proven ability to work cooperatively with internal and external stakeholders; 
  • Solid writing, editing, training and program design experience;
  • Ability and willingness to travel and work independently, occasionally in harsh environments for up to 40% of the time is required; 
  • Familiarity with technical and programmatic requirements of USAID and other major donors around emergency food security programming is strongly preferred; 
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required; French fluency strongly preferred. 

Success Factors  
A successful candidate for the Emergency Programming Senior Advisor will be a self-starter who demonstrates enthusiasm to improve the quality and impact of programming to meet the needs of the world’s most vulnerable populations before, during and after times of crisis. They will demonstrate creativity in approaching their work and willingness to test new ideas and iterate. This role is ideal for someone strong in cross-cultural communications and someone who shows perseverance in the face of challenges.

A key success factor for this role is the ability to engage with a variety of stakeholders ranging from donor representatives to consortium partners. This role requires someone who is able to work with ambiguity yet find way to offer tangible solutions. It also requires ability to lead and provide direction for assigned direct-reports. Understanding field dynamics that are impacted by low-connectivity and language limitations is important.

We are seeking an individual who is flexible in a non-hierarchical environment and a multi-tasker with the proven ability to organize and prioritize competing priorities. This individual will have the ability to communicate effectively with team members of varied experiences and work styles, follow procedures, and meet deadlines. 

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions  
Pending restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the position will be co-located between Mercy Corps office in Washington D.C. and to Save the Children’s offices in Washington, D.C., and requires 25-40% travel both within the US and internationally. The EP Senior Advisor will travel to field sites that may lack amenities or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed.   

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. 

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.