Safeguarding Advisor - Ukraine Response

Safeguarding TBD, Poland


Location: Poland or Moldova.

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.

The Program / Department / Team

Mercy Corps has been responding to the Ukraine emergency since February 2022. Mercy Corps response program focus on multi-purpose cash intervention and other key sectors, particularly food security, livelihoods, NFIs, and protection. Mercy Corps is also supporting local NGOs and other civil society actors currently supporting displaced populations, as well as those in Ukraine sheltering in place. As Mercy Corps pursues its objectives in the region it will continue to assess the security situation in areas of potential operation, with an eye towards the logistics of possible programmatic interventions and positioning going forward.

At Mercy Corps, safeguarding is a holistic term that encompasses our prevention and response around issues involving sexual exploitation and abuse of program participants, sexual harassment in the workplace, trafficking, and child safeguarding. We define safeguarding as our responsibility to ensure team members, operations and programs do not harm those we work with or put vulnerable populations at risk of abuse or exploitation. Safeguarding is a key agency priority and a critical part of our Ukraine response. Our Global Safeguarding Team is a part of the Mercy Corps’ Ethics and Compliance department and reports to a Director of Safeguarding who reports to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO).

The Position

With support from the Global Safeguarding Team, the Safeguarding Advisor will lead efforts to prevent, detect, and deter safeguarding issues in Mercy Corps’ Ukraine emergency response. The SG Advisor will support the assessment and identification of safeguarding risks to children and adults in affected populations within Ukraine and throughout the response, and develop and execute plans to mitigate these risks, including through training and awareness raising with a rapidly growing team. 


They will be available as a reporting channel for team members and others to voice concerns and to provide immediate referrals for survivor support when necessary. The SG Advisor will provide regular updates on safeguarding and escalate any safeguarding issues to the Global Safeguarding/Ethics team. They will also input into key funding proposals to ensure that safeguarding risks are assessed and key safeguarding activities are appropriately resourced. This position will work closely with program teams to vet, monitor, support, advise on and improve the safeguarding systems, capacity and awareness of partners, which include sub-recipients, contractors, consultants and other organizations or individuals that act on behalf of, or at the direction of, Mercy Corps. 

The Safeguarding Advisor will work closely with Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism (CARM) teams to ensure that safeguarding is considered during community consultation and sensitization.

The Safeguarding Advisor will take part in multi-agency groups such as the PSEA taskforce and relevant clusters and collaborate actively with other NGOs, to identify and map survivor support resources and strengthen safeguarding throughout the response.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Work with individuals and teams throughout the response to ensure programs and operations integrate safeguarding prevention measures
  • Create and adapt existing resources and tools (both internal and external) to the response context
  • Create training content and develop models for delivery, including remote and in person training
  • Increase team member awareness and capacity surrounding safeguarding standards and expectations 
  • Increase partner awareness and capacity surrounding safeguarding standards and expectations including sub-grantees, volunteers, consultants, contractors, money transfer agencies, and daily workers
  • In coordination with CARM and program teams work to ensure communities and participants understand their rights and reporting options and build trust around response systems and survivor support

  • Lead safeguarding risk analysis and ensure activities assessed as having high safeguarding risks are actively implementing prevention measures, incl. observational checklists, supervision, training and other measures.
  • Proactively and reactively engaging with all functions to ensure minimum mitigations measures and good practices are implemented
  • Develop guidance and tools to support partners in the development of safeguarding systems and compliance with safeguarding standards
  • Work with Human Resources and program teams to develop safeguarding protocols for onboarding casual workers, day laborers, consultants and volunteers 
  • Work with CARM teams and program teams to ensure safeguarding is integrated in CARM systems and communications
  • Act as a resource to senior management around safeguarding best practice and obligations under Mercy Corps’ and donor’s Safeguarding policies and response mechanisms
  • Assist and advise response teams to be able to assess partners’ compliance with minimum safeguarding standards 
  • Collaborate with Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation teams to develop safeguarding guidelines for MEL activities

  • Act as a reporting avenue for Safeguarding related issues, concerns or experiences and ensure next steps occur in accordance with organizational policies and procedures
  • Act as a resource to survivors and help ensure their safety, security and well-being and support a survivor-centered approach
  • In coordination with local PSEA networks identify, map and regularly update local support services available to survivors
  • Ensure safeguarding allegations are reported immediately to the Global Ethics Team and provide support for investigations as requested by the Ethics Team.

  • Participate in and represent Mercy Corps at relevant sector groups and coordination mechanisms, including Clusters and PSEA networks and support the coordination of Safeguarding activities across the response
  • Participate in Mercy Corps’ cross-operational Global Safeguarding Task Force with key team members from across the organization
  • Stay abreast of and provide guidance on major donor safeguarding standards
  • Provide technical support regarding donor requirements on project proposals and design

Supervisory Responsibility

Safeguarding Manager


Reports Directly To: Deputy Ukraine Response Director

Works Directly With: Global Safeguarding Team; Protection Team, Security, HR, PAQ, and CARM Teams

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 

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Masters or equivalent in a field related to Humanitarian or International Development or relevant fields is preferred.
  • At least four years professional experience in development/humanitarian sector, gender based violence and/or safeguarding field; including a deep understanding of safeguarding and survivor-centered principles
  • Deep understanding of and experience with donor, regulatory and sector-wide standards, expectations and best practices regarding safeguarding.
  • Experience in emergencies, fragile states or other complex, high-risk context preferred
  • Experience with SEAH/safeguarding investigations, including managing and conducting investigations preferred
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; fluency in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish or Romanian is highly preferred
  • Experience designing and delivering safeguarding training to diverse audiences, including partners
  • Ability to work in a fast paced emergency response environment and adapt to the rapidly evolving context as necessary
  • Excellent listening, interpersonal, communication and networking skills in both remote and in-person contexts
  • Analytical, problem solver, with high level of self-awareness and the maturity to deal with constructive feedback 
  • Demonstrated experience adapting agency-specific safeguarding content including training, policy, awareness raising and communications tools for use by agency partners.
  • Proficiency with MS Office software required (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Experience working in insecure and dynamic humanitarian environments is strongly preferred.

Success Factors 

The successful candidate is an adaptable, opinionated, fast thinking, experienced leader. They have a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver high-quality programs in challenging environments, and how to conduct quality management of these programs. They are excellent communicators who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive program. They are able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. They should be able to facilitate complex team dynamics and achieve aims, have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, good organizational skills and the ability to work independently, with a strong commitment to advancing learning in humanitarian response. They should have strong relationship-building skills and commitment to working collaboratively. They have an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to the evolving response needs.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Poland or Moldova. The position is unaccompanied. This position may require travel to surrounding countries. 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.