US Policy & Advocacy Internship
Mercy Corps - Washington, DC

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DATES OF INTERNSHIP: Feb 18 – May 18, 2013 (dates are flexible)

LENGTH OF INTERNSHIP: Part time (15 – 20 hrs); 10-12 weeks, extendable

This is an unpaid internship. For the duration of this internship assignment the intern will receive a workstation in our DC office.

Mercy Corps works in countries in transition, where communities are recovering from disaster, conflict, or economic collapse. With field programs in more than 40 countries, and an annual budget of more than $200 million, Mercy Corps is one of the largest relief and development NGOs in the US.

The Mercy Corps Policy and Advocacy team serves as the main interface between Mercy Corps and external partners (particularly the US government) on issues of policy. The team seeks to advance Mercy Corps’ values and interests by promoting policies that support our mission. We work to inform and shape policy in a number of ways, including:

Congressional Advocacy : direct meetings with key congressional offices, participation in briefings and hearings, review and commenting on draft legislation, active participation in discussions related to the foreign aid budget, and linking Members of Congress who are travelling with our teams in the field.

Administration Advocacy : meetings with Administration officials, ongoing communication with key partner agencies in the USG, participation in joint consultations and briefings together with partner NGOs in DC.

Joint work with NGO partners : active participation in Interaction working groups and other coalition efforts organized in DC on priority issues or countries for Mercy Corps, drafting of joint documents, organizing joint lobby days on Capitol Hill.

Organizing DC visits for visiting Mercy Corps field staff : scheduling meetings for visiting staff and accompanying them to ensure adequate preparation and follow up to these visits.

Publications : preparing and disseminating policy briefs on key issues, circulating information on Mercy Corps programs to key policy makers, participating in joint documents and sign-ons with other NGOs, working with field staff to draft joint articles on policy-related issues for publication.

The intern will support and participate in the work of the Policy and Advocacy team. Areas of focus may include:

Response to the Horn of Africa and Sahel droughts

Implementation of the Administration’s aid reform agenda, as enshrined in the Presidential Policy Directive on Development, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and USAID FORWARD

Implementation of the Administration’s Feed the Future Initiative

Improving aid effectiveness in transitional environments

The securitization of US foreign aid

Defending foreign aid budgets in an era of fiscal austerity

Country-specific priorities related to Sudan, Somalia, DRC, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti, Yemen, Syria, North Korea, and West Bank/Gaza

Understanding of the linkage between international policy and humanitarian and development outcomes

Understanding of core elements of the US policy process, including the roles of Congress, USAID, State, and the White House in development policy-making

Grasp of key qualitative and quantitative resources related to US development policy

Understanding of specific policy issues, as listed above

The Intern will support the PA Team through the following activities:

Conduct policy and practice research in support of Mercy Corps advocacy initiatives.

Assist in drafting advocacy documents such as reports, briefing notes, and talking points.

Attend meetings and hearings of interest to Mercy Corps and report on key issues.

Assist in organizing meetings with Congressional offices, Administration officials, and other contacts.

Review external reports and publications and summarize relevant findings.

Other tasks, as requested.

Recent graduate or current coursework in public policy, international relations, international development or a related field.

Interest in humanitarian and development issues.

Solid writing, editing and researching skills.

Ability to multi-task and prioritize in a fast-paced work environment.

Solid computer skills: Must be able to work effectively and accurately with MS Outlook, Word, Excel, email and internet applications.

Flexible work attitude: ability to work productively in a team environment and independently.

Available 10-20 hours per week.

Mercy Corps interns and volunteers represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Required Skills

Required Experience

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Mercy Corps is dedicated to helping the poor and oppressed in developing countries. The not-for-profit organization offers emergency relief...