Program and Proposal Advisor, Safeguarding - Ethics & Compliance

Ethics & Compliance Portland, Oregon Washington, District of Columbia Anywhere, United States


This position is a one-year assignment and will be based out of our offices in Portland, Or or Washington, DC. 

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’ global safeguarding team is a key part of the Mercy Corps Ethics and Compliance department and leads our organizational efforts to prevent, detect and deter safeguarding issues. The team reports to a Director of Safeguarding who reports to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO). Our Case Manager for safeguarding, safeguarding investigators and co-investigators, manage the response and investigation side, reporting also to the CECO.

The global safeguarding team is bolstered by a global network of focal points and champions working at the country level to mainstream safeguarding and raise awareness about individual rights and responsibilities of our team members, 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 seeks to engage an experienced safeguarding professional to provide technical leadership and expertise to ensure that safeguarding is embedded within all aspects of our programming. This position will contribute to the agency’s strategic vision by working to develop systems to better operationalize and mainstream safeguarding standards at the program level, including through the development of guidance and tools, training of relevant staff, and providing safeguarding guidance at the program and budget level. 

Essential Responsibilities 

Technical guidance and development of systems and tools

  • Review and assess Mercy Corps’ current safeguarding program guidance and program design and proposal processes
  • Develop systems to more effectively integrate safeguarding best practices into project design, budgeting, start-up and implementation 
  • Lead on examining current budgeting around safeguarding and ensuring there is appropriate cost recovery for safeguarding and protection within proposals 
  • Ensure that program design is informed by best practice and learning from Mercy Corps’ programs and the wider sector
  • Lead on development of tools and resources to support program teams in mainstreaming safeguarding throughout the program lifecycle
  • Support in the development and selection of appropriate evaluation strategies and indicators related to safeguarding 
  • Provide support throughout the full project lifecycle (concept to close) to ensure appropriate controls are in place for prevention and detection
  • Provide technical advice and guidance to senior managers on safeguarding in programming in line with good practice across the sector
  • Provide technical advice to Country Offices to support the roll-out of Mercy Corps’ Core Safeguarding Standards
  • Develop indicators to measure and monitor compliance with Mercy Corps’ Core Safeguarding Standards 

Capacity building of relevant staff on safeguarding

  • Assess current safeguarding training/capacity building for program staff and design and implement ongoing, targeted training and engagement to build capacity of project teams, including plans to ensure appropriate knowledge is sustained despite turnover and transitions
  • Coordinate and plan practical learning sessions on safeguarding for Mercy Corps’ global program team members to build long term capacity to integrate safeguarding into program planning and design 
  • Develop tailored tools and resources to support the design and delivery of safe programming 
  • Design and deliver training for programme staff in Country Offices on request where appropriate

Risk identification & management

  • Assess existing programmatic risk assessment tools and identify opportunities to strengthen them with a safeguarding lens
  • Provide support, guidance, structure and tools for programme teams to assess and mitigate safeguarding risks for project participants 

Accountability, learning

  • Contribute to the development of comprehensive dashboards/audit tools to assess country structures, programs and teams’ compliance with Mercy Corps’ core safeguarding standards
  • Coordinate the development of supporting guidance and communication materials for policy, procedures, and roles of Mercy Corps team members and update and incorporate lessons learned into procedures.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Director of Safeguarding

Works Closely With: Mercy Corps Ethics & Compliance Department, Mercy Corps Global Safeguarding Team, other headquarters and country program 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 

  • 5 years’ experience with program design (program cycle) in humanitarian and development context
  • Experience and expertise in mainstreaming Safeguarding and/or Protection into program design in International NGO context
  • Master’s degree of education or equivalent
  • Excellent training, coaching and facilitation skills 
  • Project management skills and qualification (desirable)
  • Technical skills and knowledge in PSEAH and Safeguarding
  • Expertise in program design and monitoring (Program cycle)
  • Ability to run a number of complex processes and projects at the same time, staying on track
  • Highly organised with excellent time management skills
  • Risk management experience
  • Tenacity and drive
  • Excellent relationship builder and networker
  • Has excellent skills in project management and driving change
  • Fluency in English required; fluency in French, Spanish and/or Arabic highly desirable

Success Factors 

The successful candidate for this role will be a technical expert and specialist in mainstreaming safeguarding and protection principles into programs, designing and testing guidance and tools to be used and adopted across a number of types of programs and contexts, and supporting country offices to ensure that safeguarding is adequately prioritized and resourced.The successful candidate will have knowledge of the INGO environment and a strong background in program design, budgets and the program cycle. They must be able to work across Mercy Corps teams and departments to guarantee a coordinated and cohesive approach; possess a sustained lens of cultural humility while staying abreast of best practice as it relates to safeguarding in the context of insecure environments; and persistence in moving complex problems forward in a timely yet methodical manner. 

The Advisor will lead by example, with both technical expertise and an attitude of cultural humility that always seeks to learn from a place of equity, and in turn, motivate a diverse array of stakeholders. They will embody and facilitate the development of an organizational culture of continuous improvement and learning for safeguarding. The successful candidate will be someone with the relevant experience, but also with a deep desire and commitment to live and breathe our culture and values, of which safeguarding, diversity and inclusion are a significant part. We seek an individual with a visible passion for the work we do and a desire to be part of our story. 

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is ideally based in Portland, OR or Washington D.C. although remote work may be a possibility for other US based locations. The successful candidate may travel up to 30% of the time and will be expected to travel to countries that are listed as failed or failing states.

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.