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The Regional Policy and Advocacy (PA) Advisor will support and enable Mercy Corps’ efforts to ensure that humanitarian and development action in Africa effectively helps vulnerable communities cope, adapt and thrive in the face of conflict and climate change. The position seeks, in collaboration with the agency’s global Policy & Advocacy (P&A) team and relevant colleagues in the region (including those working on research, analysis and media/communications and technical support), to influence policies and practices of national and international actors.
The PA Advisor – in collaboration with country and regional leadership – will lead advocacy in the region, conducting and compiling analysis and evidence to influence the policies and processes of key decisionmakers.
The position will engage with key stakeholders (governments, donors, UN agencies, coordinating bodies) primarily at the country and regional levels, to influence and improve the policies affecting the delivery of humanitarian and development interventions across Mercy Corps’ areas of operation, in coordination with the broader NGO community in the region as well as Europe and the United States.
The PA Advisor will also be responsible for developing and supporting Mercy Corps country and regional teams to develop and deliver thoughtful impactful advocacy strategies to secure better outcomes for the communities we work with.
The PA Advisor will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ global P&A team to develop a comprehensive regional advocacy strategy and support country-specific advocacy strategies as appropriate to ensure Mercy Corps conveys an articulate, well-informed, field-driven perspective to policymakers that drives policy change. The Advisor will establish and maintain relations with relevant stakeholders in key Mercy Corps’ operational countries in the region and will develop policy-relevant documents, including talking points on needs, challenges, on-the-ground dynamics and recommendations, and other information and analysis, and share them with global policy staff to support their outreach efforts. The PA Advisor will help ensure that policy positions are well grounded in the priorities of the communities where we work, through regular and active communication within the region, while also ensuring team members are aware of Mercy Corps research, policy positions and talking points.
STRATEGY AND VISION
- Support Mercy Corps’ policy and advocacy related to country specific contexts as well as the Africa region at a global level and lead regionally-based advocacy work in close collaboration with the regional and global teams.
- Advise and support the development and implementation of Mercy Corps policy and advocacy strategies on key country contexts and the Africa region drawing on Mercy Corps’ programme experience, research and technical expertise.
- Stay abreast of the fast-paced environment and challenges. Ensure that team members in the region are on message with our vision and position.
COORDINATION AND REPRESENTATION
- Build and maintain close links with key Mercy Corps country teams operating across the region, and ensure analysis is grounded in and supports Mercy Corps’ program work.
- Implement the country-specific/regional advocacy strategies, developed in partnership with both the country programs and the Global P&A team.
- Work in close collaboration with Mercy Corps’ operational countries in the region and establish and maintain strategic relations with relevant local and international stakeholders to continually inform, challenge, and improve Mercy Corps’ advocacy.
- In collaboration with the country teams and the regional communication manager, develop and maintain up-to-date talking points on static positions as well as one-off, extraordinary events or challenges. Communicate these to field teams, recognizing that each donor visit and external meeting is an opportunity for advocacy.
- Ensure regular high-level representation in key humanitarian and development decision-making platforms and other mechanisms that impact operations and the needs of affected populations.
- Work with the country teams and global P&A team to plan and produce effective, thoughtful and timely written products that advance policy perspectives important to our mission.
- Work with Crisis Analysis teams and the Regional Research Specialist to maximize on influence and learning drawn from specific regional and/our country initiatives.
- Monitor and evaluate the impact of policy and advocacy work.
- Related tasks as required and agreed by the Regional Director and Global Vice President of Policy and Advocacy.
- Work with country teams to identify advocacy priorities and support the implementation of advocacy plans.
- Support country-specific staff (either dedicated policy and advocacy staff or individuals selected from existing teams) to better implement advocacy priorities at local, national, and international levels through mentoring, coaching, and development of individual capacity building plans.
- Provide training to field teams on advocacy and other related topics as needed.
- Create and animate a regional community of practice among staff whose work is relevant to P&A efforts.
- Dotted line support to country-specific policy and advocacy staff.
Reports Directly To: East Africa Deputy Regional Director, technical accountability Global P&A team.
- Works Directly With: All regional Country Directors and relevant senior team members, program teams, regional communication and technical staff, researchers and analysts and broader regional team as well as MC Europe and US team members. The PA Advisor will work closely with Mercy Corps representational staff on coordination across the region. The PA Advisor will have strong working links with the Mercy Corps Policy and Advocacy team in Europe and the US
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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills
- BA/S or equivalent in relevant field; MA/S preferred.
- 5-7 years of experience successfully working with and managing advocacy and policy campaigns and initiatives in an NGO or legislative context, including past experience working with humanitarian issues and complex emergencies.
- Good understanding of the possibilities and tactics for influencing decisions and policy makers, politicians, donors, and other key actors in the field.
- Demonstrable experience of representation and policy and advocacy work, and engaging, managing and working effectively with a range of stakeholders, networks and coalitions.
- Excellent analytical skills and demonstrable ability to think strategically, innovatively and practically to ensure achievement of desired change objectives.
- Demonstrable ability to summarize and persuasively communicate complex information in written and verbal form to different audiences, including past experience leading the production of external written policy products.
- Demonstrable experience in supporting, guiding and training senior staff in a technical area, preferably related to policy and advocacy.
- Strong organizational skills and ability to effectively handle multiple tasks, work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
- Excellent oral and written English language skills are required and French language skills are strongly preferred.
- Previous experience working in Africa and good knowledge of the political contexts across Africa are highly desirable.
- A successful candidate will have effective verbal and written communication, multi-tasking, organizational, and prioritization skills with an ability to effectively represent the organization and its interests to a diverse range of stakeholders, including local and international government officials, local civil society organizations, donors, other international organizations, the media, and the community. The successful candidate will have great analytical skills, demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow and enforce procedures, meet deadlines, and work independently and cooperatively with team members, have strong people skills and the ability to motivate diverse teams. An interest and ability to travel and work in remote and dynamic environments, with experience in insecure environments is an advantage as is an awareness of and sensitivity to multicultural international development work and an ability to train and facilitate dialogue among a diverse group of individuals with various skill sets and working styles. They will have the ability to creatively problem-solve, to juggle multiple priorities under tight deadlines and to calmly and diplomatically deal with unexpected and sudden events impacting program operations, with patience, dynamism, tenacity and a sense of humor.