Safeguarding Investigation Senior Advisor – Ethics & Compliance

Mercy Corps
  • Location
    Remote, Portland or Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Dec 29

Position description

Position Status Full-time, Exempt, One year with potential for extension

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 Intake and Investigations division is tasked with the intake and investigation of all reports of ethics violations including fraud, corruption, and Code of Conduct and Global Human Resources complaints. The team is responsible for managing all phases of the investigative process from intake to case closure. The Intake and Investigation division resides within the Ethics and Compliance Department, which is led by the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer.

General Position Summary

The Sr. Advisor will play a lead role and support a team of dedicated Safeguarding Investigators and Co-investigators (field-based team members, trained to support, but not lead investigations) from receipt of an allegation to the submission of final investigation reports. Investigations will mainly concern allegations of violations of Mercy Corps’ child safeguarding, sexual exploitation and abuse, anti-trafficking in persons, and sexual misconduct in the workplace policies. It is the role of the Sr. Advisor and the team to ensure that Mercy Corps takes all reports of misconduct seriously and investigates them thoroughly and impartially consistent with sector-wide best practice, donor expectations and our commitment to a survivor-centered approach. The Sr. Advisor will report to the Case Manager for investigations and the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Manage investigations by setting clear direction; anticipate challenges and risks and identify strategies for mitigation
  • Deliver quality results even under difficult or changing conditions
  • Ensure that lessons learned are captured from Safeguarding investigations for the agency to consider when revising policies, procedures, and training
  • Identify and track data on investigations over time to inform learning, adaptation, and improvement of Mercy Corps’ safeguarding prevention and response
  • Lead and enable activities that enhance Mercy Corps’ reputation for analytical rigor and contribute to sector wide efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse
  • Support and promote a strong survivor centered approach to investigations


  • Coordinate and oversee all Safeguarding investigations and investigators as needed
  • Ensure investigations are conducted in a manner that considers the safety and security of all involved, including risk assessments and mitigation
  • Provide oversight on a survivor-sensitive approach
  • Analyze workflow volumes and distribution to ensure complete and thorough investigations are completed on a timely basis as needs arise
  • Manage and track cases to support timely completion and to assist in mitigating investigative barriers as needed
  • Review investigation reports for completeness and clarity
  • Effectively manage external investigator(s) when as needed.


  • Provide full-cycle communication to complainant
  • Ensure timely and appropriate reporting of Safeguarding incidents to donors, including reporting to and managing communications with Offices of Inspectors Generals for U.S. Government donors and coordinating with Mercy Corps Europe to ensure proper reporting to European donors; manage communications, updates and case closure notifications with donors as appropriate
  • Provide initial allegation and case closure notifications to Country Director, and other Mercy Corps team members where appropriate, i.e. security, compliance, human resources
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality within the agency and with third parties


  • Manage remotely based investigator(s) and co-investigator(s), and coordinate with country leadership in diverse time zones as needed
  • Assist team members with information, tools, and resources to improve performance & reach objectives
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback
  • Sustain a collaborative work environment of mutual respect, where team members strive for the most ethical, effective, and survivor-centered investigations possible. Encourage a climate of idea generation, open discourse, and honest communication, creating a trusting, inclusive team.


  • Maintain productive relationships with all stakeholders, including country teams, other headquarters functions, donors, and regulators. Build mutually rewarding professional relationships inside Mercy Corps at all levels.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Remain up to date on relevant trends, training, and activities in global compliance and SEA investigations within the humanitarian and development sector
  • Represent Mercy Corps in the SEA investigation community

Supervisory Responsibility (if necessary)

  • Safeguarding Investigator(s)
  • Safeguarding Co-Investigator(s) (through dotted-line reporting)


Reports Directly To Case Manager for investigations, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

Works Directly With Safeguarding Investigator(s), Safeguarding Co-Investigator(s)

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.


  • At least 5 years of experience as a trained and practiced investigator is required.
  • Demonstrated understanding of survivor-centric practice, as well as donor, regulatory and sector-wide standards, expectations, and rules, and/or the ability to learn quickly.
  • Strong investigative skills that include the ability to act as a lead investigator, to include the interviewing of survivors, subjects of complaints, and witnesses, collection of potential evidence, and other related investigative skills.
  • Experience working in humanitarian aid or development, either living overseas or spending a significant amount of time in foreign countries is preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to partner closely with direct reports and other team contributors.
  • Ability to navigate difficult circumstances with a calm demeanor and in a methodical, analytical manner.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, effective organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including preparation of system documentation.
  • Good project management skills, with implementation experience.
  • Additional experience as an ethics officer, attorney, or similar position is preferred.
  • English fluency required; additional fluency in French, Spanish and/or Arabic is highly beneficial.

Success Factors

The successful Sr. Advisor for Safeguarding will have deep knowledge of the INGO environment and best practices in conducting safeguarding investigations, including knowledge on how to conduct internal investigations in the context of insecure and opaque environments with varying cultures, languages, and education levels. They will possess an enduring ability to move complex problems forward in a timely yet methodical manner and a deep understanding of and appreciation for the confidential nature of this work. This person will have an abiding sense of empathy for the difficulties that INGOs face and an unwavering commitment to improvement in the face of these difficulties. They will have superb project management skills and will be adept at communicating with and motivating a diverse array of stakeholders.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in either Portland, Oregon or Washington, D.C or remote in the U.S, and it requires up to 25% travel to countries which may be listed as failed or failing states. Travel for investigations is occasionally urgent, resulting in travel departure within days of notice.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient, and relevant to the communities they 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

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.

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