Regional Safeguarding Advisor- Americas

Safeguarding Portland, Oregon


Location: US, Colombia, Guatemala

Position Status: Full time 

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 implements a variety of programming throughout the Americas in response to the diverse humanitarian and long-term development needs of the region. Our diverse and expansive portfolio in the region includes ongoing or future programming in the region. Mercy Corps is committed to delivering high quality, high impact programming that reaches communities or individuals in need, wherever they are.

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 work in the Americas region. Our Global Safeguarding Team is a part of the Mercy Corps’ Ethics and Compliance department and reports to a Senior Director of Safeguarding who reports to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO).

The Position

The Regional Safeguarding Advisor (RSA) will provide technical guidance and support efforts to prevent, detect, and deter safeguarding issues in Mercy Corps’ Americas programs and operations and ensure appropriate survivor support mechanisms are in place. The RSA will provide guidance and support to country teams in the region on Mercy Corps’ safeguarding approach and processes, including roll out of Safeguarding Core Standards. The RSA will support the assessment and identification of safeguarding risks to children and adults in affected populations within regional Country programs and support the development and execution of plans to mitigate these risks. They will input into key funding proposals to ensure that safeguarding risks are assessed and key safeguarding activities are appropriately resourced. The RSA will provide regular updates on safeguarding in the region and escalate any safeguarding issues to the Global Safeguarding/Ethics team.This position will work closely with program and human resource teams around systems to vet, monitor, support, advise on and improve the safeguarding systems, capacity and awareness of team members and partners, including sub-recipients, contractors, consultants and other organizations or individuals that act on behalf of, or at the direction of, Mercy Corps. The RSA will work closely with Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism (CARM) teams to ensure that safeguarding is considered throughout CARM implementation. 

Essential Responsibilities

  • Work with individuals and teams throughout the region to ensure programs and operations integrate safeguarding prevention measures and standards and respond appropriately to survivors
  • Adapt existing resources and tools (both internal and external) to the regional context
  • Support the creation and adaptation of training content and develop models for delivery, including remote and in person training
  • Support, guide and advise in-country safeguarding support roles  (including Safeguarding Focal Points and Champions)  with systems, processes and guidance to increase team member awareness and capacity surrounding safeguarding standards and expectations 
  • Support in-country safeguarding support roles with systems, processes and guidance to  increase partner awareness and capacity surrounding safeguarding standards and expectations including sub-grantees, volunteers, consultants, contractors, money transfer agencies, and daily workers
  • Give technical guidance to CARM and program teams and support work to ensure communities and participants understand their rights and reporting options and build trust around response systems and survivor support
  • In coordination with the Global Safeguarding Team and in-country safeguarding support, give training and informational sessions to leadership in countries or at a regional level as requested or available. 
  • Support the roll out of the Core Safeguarding Standards throughout the region
  • Support country level strategic planning around safeguarding
  • In coordination with the Global Safeguarding Team give technical guidance and advice to Country Directors and SMTs to identify country specific safeguarding strategies and prioritized activities
  • In coordination with in-country Safeguarding support, give technical guidance and input to country level and program level safeguarding risk assessments and analyses 
  • Support country level safeguarding risk mitigation to ensure activities assessed as having high safeguarding risks are actively implementing prevention measures, incl. observational checklists, supervision, training and other measures
  • Proactively and reactively engage with all functions to ensure minimum mitigations measures and good practices are implemented
  • Support the country teams to provide the guidance and tools to support partners in the development of safeguarding capacity and compliance with safeguarding standards
  • Assist and advise program teams to be able to assess partners’ compliance with minimum safeguarding standards 
  • Work with Human Resources and program teams in the region to develop safeguarding protocols for onboarding team members, casual workers, day laborers, consultants and volunteers 
  • Work with CARM teams and program teams to ensure safeguarding is integrated in CARM systems and communications, including sensitization and consultation with communities
  • Act as a resource to senior management around safeguarding best practice and obligations under Mercy Corps’ and donor’s Safeguarding policies and response mechanisms
  • Collaborate with Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation teams around safeguarding guidelines for MEL activities in the region
  • In coordination with the investigations team, support reflection and adaptation and implementation of corrective actions following case reports when requested
  • Support and give technical guidance to safeguarding Focal Points and Champions with regard to their roles as reporting avenues for Safeguarding related issues, concerns or experiences 
  • Support country and investigative teams in employing a survivor-centered approach to all reports of safeguarding concerns in alignment with Mercy Corps’ investigative processes
  • Support Focal Points and Champions to ensure adequate resource mapping and processes for survivors to help ensure their safety, security and well-being. In coordination with local PSEA networks identify, map and regularly update local support services available to survivors
  • 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 region
  • Participate in Mercy Corps’ cross-operational Global Safeguarding Task Force with key team members from across the organization
  • Participate in Mercy Corps’ regional working groups or cross-operational groups where safeguarding efforts or the safeguarding team needs representation
  • With support from the Global Safeguarding Team, provide technical support regarding donor requirements on project proposals and design
  • Support countries in establishing synergies, coordination and where possible, working groups between CARM/SG/GDI and GESI focus areas

Supervisory Responsibility

No direct supervision but dotted line support of and oversight of in-country safeguarding managers, focal points and champions.


Reports Directly To: Director, Safeguarding 

Works Directly With: Regional leadership team, Americas Country leadership, Global Safeguarding Team; CARM Team, Program Teams,  Protection Team, Security, HR and PAQ 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
  • Spanish fluency required; fluency in additional regional languages (including French and/or Creole) desired
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required
  • 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 conducting SEAH/safeguarding investigations 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)

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 may be based in Guatemala, Colombia, Portland, OR, Washington, DC or remote in the US. The position requires travel at least 30% time to country offices where security protocols may need to be followed. 

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.

As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. This is done following the conclusion of recruitment and prior to assuming full employment.

Our screening process is designed to be transparent and completed in partnership with new Team Members. You will have the opportunity to disclose any prior convictions at the conclusion of the recruitment process before the check is initiated. We ask that you do not disclose any prior convictions in your application materials or during the recruitment process.

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.

This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.

For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment.  Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations.  Failure to comply may impact your employment.  Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided.