Africa Policy Advisor

Mercy Corps
  • Location
    Remote, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    May 09

Position description

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

The Global Policy and Advocacy (GPA) team advances policy changes to achieve transformational impact in the countries where we work. In support of Mercy Corps’ global mission, the GPA team’s work benefits Mercy Corps’ field programs. The U.S. Policy and Advocacy team focuses on the United States government and select multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank to change, influence and improve relevant policies, practices and decisions affecting communities living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

The Position (General Position Summary)

The Policy Advisor will support Mercy Corps’ advocacy priorities related to Mercy Corps Africa policy and programs portfolio. The Policy Advisor will assist U.S. policy team members in drafting and helping to pass relevant legislation and engaging key Congressional and U.S. government policymakers to advance priority policies. They are a natural communicator who accepts direction and guidance and works closely with the GPA team to implement advocacy activities in collaboration with Mercy Corps’ global field leadership and other coalitions and stakeholders. The Policy Advisor may also be asked to assist team members with the following activities to raise Mercy Corps’ profile on policy positions: staffing for external events and panels; developing written policy documents for external dissemination; supporting Mercy Corps’ grassroots advocacy efforts; and liaising with Mercy Corps field and HQ teams.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Assists U.S. Policy and Advocacy team members in implementing Mercy Corps’ policy priorities in conflict-affected countries in Africa.
  • Supports Mercy Corps’ U.S. Policy and Advocacy team members to implement influence strategy regarding humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding policy.
  • Provides support to Mercy Corps’ U.S. Policy and Advocacy team members as additional needs arise.


  • Assist with specific advocacy tasks as directed by a member of the U.S. Policy and Advocacy team:
  • Implement policy-focused advocacy and outreach strategies, in cooperation with Mercy Corps colleagues and partner agencies
  • Draft policy documents in support of policy and advocacy goals
  • In cooperation with the Media Relations and Digital teams, support written products for use with various audiences including policymakers, web visitors, and the public
  • For public dissemination, support the drafting of policy briefs, op-eds and case stories
  • Draft internal information and messaging for Mercy Corps staff.
  • In cooperation with the Media Relations and Digital teams, support written products for use with various audiences including policymakers, web visitors, and the public
  • For public dissemination, support the drafting of policy briefs, op-eds and case stories
  • Draft internal information and messaging for Mercy Corps staff.
  • Help track legislative developments on Capitol Hill, including the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and annual appropriations bills
  • Monitor action alerts and legislative initiatives from colleague agencies, advocacy organizations and coalitions, and think thanks
  • Research and analyze select policy issues:
  • Attend policy relevant think tank, NGO partner, and other meetings and provide summaries of key discussion points


  • Assist in building and maintaining relationships with the U.S. Government officials, including from the Departments of Defense and State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and Congress.
  • Support Mercy Corps representation in public forums, think/policy tank panel discussions and briefings, and relevant international and multilateral institutional events
  • Contributes to written pieces including policy pieces, thought leadership and other external facing communications

Supervisory Responsibility

Africa Policy Intern.


Reports Directly To: Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy

Works Directly With: Global Policy and Advocacy Team; Washington DC office staff; Research and Learning Team; Media Relations Team, Digital Team; Regional and Country Teams; and Technical Support Unit.

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 in international relations, development, public policy or related fields of study 
  • 2-4 years’ relevant experience in the public policy and international development arenas.
  • Professional experience in humanitarian, development, and national security sectors
  • Strong political and strategic skills, with a demonstrated ability to advance policy priorities including through coalition work
  • Proven ability in researching, analyzing, and reporting on policy issues
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to effectively gather and utilize large amounts of information from various sources towards clear policy goals
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Demonstrated sensitivity, skill and experience in working diplomatically and effectively within different cultural settings and in public relations and correspondence with a wide variety of public constituents


  • Experience working in the U.S. Congress and/or the U.S. Executive Branch agencies
  • Experience with international relief and development fieldwork, and familiarity with emerging development and humanitarian issues

Success Factors

Ability to build and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, peer groups, officials and relevant stakeholders. Motivation to seek out and establish new relationships. Motivation to find new solutions to pernicious policy problems. A clear understanding of Mercy Corps’ mission and collaborative style of operation. Ability to work simultaneously on multiple tasks in a fast-paced, sometimes stressful environment and meet deadlines under those conditions. Ability to work as part of a team and coordinate with both HQ and global personnel. Computer literate with strong organizational skills. Ability to operate with a significant degree of autonomy within agreed upon parameters. Flexibility, commitment to transformative change, and sense of humor.

Application instructions

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