Senior Researcher and Writer - Policy and Advocacy
Mercy Corps - Washington, DC

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The Mercy Corps Policy and Advocacy Team works to advance policy outcomes that support Mercy Corps’ global mission. The PA Team is seeking a policy researcher with proven skills in development-related research and strong writing skills to help to ensure that Mercy Corps enjoys a strong, credible, and timely voice in foreign assistance policy and advocacy arenas.

Mercy Corps is seeking to significantly improve its ability to influence development policy and practice debates at a global level. A key element of this will be better mobilizing the agency’s internal expertise, analysis, and research toward external audiences. Working under the guidance of the Director of Policy and Advocacy, the Senior Policy Researcher will play a key role in this effort. The Senior Policy Researcher will lead research and drafting of several major papers and reports per year and will also contribute to development of policy documents around new humanitarian emergencies, as needed. The role will involve occasional travel to Mercy Corps field sites to support research efforts, likely two to four times per year. The Researcher will also contribute content to Mercy Corps online grassroots efforts. The Researcher will work closely with Mercy Corps’ Senior Policy Advisor's, who will provide input on policy priorities and political strategy, and with Mercy Corps’ Research Director on the Research and Learning Team.

  • Produce 2-4 major external written products per year on Mercy Corps priority issues, such as reports or briefing papers.
  • Lead the Policy and Advocacy Team’s research and analysis efforts. Research and analyze selected issues through a variety of means, including field visits, surveys, key informant interviews, literature reviews, etc.
  • Collaborate with the Mercy Corps Research and Learning team on significant agency-wide research initiatives.
  • Cultivate external research partnerships as needed to support and strengthen Mercy Corps policy research initiatives. Establish and maintain strategic relationships with key external actors including peer NGOs, think tanks, academic institutions, and government officials.
  • Write periodic short policy briefs and support other PA Team members in developing policy documents as needed.
  • Assist with the drafting of policy-related talking points and key messages to help guide and inform Mercy Corps staff members.
  • When appropriate, represent Mercy Corps at conferences, advocacy meetings, and in other fora.
  • Develop strong relationships with Mercy Corps internal stakeholders, particularly field teams and technical support teams.
  • In collaboration with other PA Team members, develop occasional content for grassroots/grasstops engagement.
  • Contribute to Mercy Corps’ external contacts database, archive correspondence and records of meetings.
  • Organizational Learning - As part of Mercy Corps’ agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Supervisor.
SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: None on a regular basis.

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Director of Policy and Advocacy

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Washington DC office staff, Communications Team, Web Team, Regional and Country Teams, Technical Support Unit, Research and Learning team.

  • Bachelor’s degree in international development, international relations, public policy or related field. Master's degree or PhD is highly preferred.
  • 5 to 10 years relevant experience in the public policy and international development arenas. Familiarity with relief and development fieldwork, the US Administration or Congress, the international humanitarian system, and/or development-related advocacy preferred.
  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and experience applying them in a development or humanitarian context.
  • Extremely strong writing skills, including past experience generating substantive written products; excellent verbal communication skills.
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to effectively gather and summarize large amounts of information from various sources.
  • Strong political and strategic skills, and a strong understanding of the links between political elements, policy decisions, and development practice.
  • 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.
Ability to build and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, peer groups, officials and stake-holders. Motivation to seek out and establish new relationships. Ability to effectively summarize complex information into clear, concise writing. 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. Strong grasp of links between research findings, policy outcomes, and field-level program impact. Ability to work as part of a team and coordinate with both HQ and country team personnel. Computer literate with strong organizational skills. Ability to operate with a significant degree of autonomy within agreed upon parameters. Flexibility and sense of humor.

Required Skills

Required Experience

Mercy Corps - 19 months ago - save job
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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...