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.

Registered in 2008, Mercy Corps Kenya has developed a robust and diverse portfolio of programs aimed at sustainably improving the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans affected by poverty, resource scarcity and conflict. In Kenya, we deliver integrated programming to strengthen resilience, market and governance systems, address the root causes of conflict, and equip vulnerable populations – in particular youth, women, adolescents and marginalized social groups – with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, productive, and drive the development of their communities. Mercy Corps Kenya also collaborates with Mercy Corps teams and partners in neighboring countries.

The Program / Department / Team

Funded by the UK Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), the anticipated Building Resilience against Violent Extremism programme in the Kenya- Somalia borderlands, will work with communities, national and sub-national government representatives and international donors to counter violence extremism. The Programme will:

  • Work with local organisations and actors to strengthen understanding of the complex interconnected conflict dynamics (inter-intra clan cleavages, contestation over resource and power; transnational criminal activity; gender dynamics of violence and involvement in resilience mechanisms; drivers of radicalisation and terrorism). This evidence will be used to inform policy and programming.
  • Strengthen formal and informal mechanisms to be more inclusive to build resilience Through small grants and technical assistance support shared government-community projects, address grievances and mitigate against drivers of instability and extremism

The Position Summary

The Director of Policy and Advocacy will be responsible for leading policy influencing initiatives with the government of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. S/he will conduct a deep political and policy analysis for each country to understand the policy framework relevant to P/CVE, peace and stability, identify potential policy changes that could support a more holistic and comprehensive approach to achieving stability in the borderlands, and will support policy makers with resources and technical guidance to support the policy process. S/he will engage closely with policy-makers across the 3 target countries at different levels to support policy and legislative reforms, and will build the capacity of civil society actors within the target countries to undertake advocacy and policy engagement. S/he will drive the policy and advocacy strategy for the programme, working with the programmes, research and learning teams to ensure that research and evidence is used to inform policy initiatives.The Director of Policy and Advocacy will be a key member of the programme management team, and will work with other technical sector leads to ensure that community-level interventions, government policies, and research are delivered in a complementary and mutually-reinforcing way to achieve maximum impact.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Lead development of the programme’s policy and advocacy strategy by leading a deep political and policy assessment of each target country and identifying key legislative and policy interventions that could strengthen the government’s capacity to improve stability and counter violent extremism in the borderlands
  • Contribute to shaping the programme’s research and influencing agenda, working with the Research Director to integrate and advance research, learning and advocacy in order to deepen the contextual understanding of drivers of violence and extremism in the borderlands of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia and the sources of community resilience.
  • Stay abreast of the policy and political environment and emerging challenges, and be ready to engage with policymakers in each context to represent the program’s recommendations on how to tackle evolving dynamics. Ensure that team members in the region are on message with our vision and position.


  • Represent the program in advancing policy issues related to PCVE, stabilisation and violence prevention including by building strategic partnerships, holding influencing meetings with government and other stakeholders, and by presenting policy and research at external events.
  • Build a network and establish and maintain strategic relationships with relevant local and international stakeholders, to continually inform, challenge, and improve Mercy Corps’ advocacy, strategy, and program development.
  • Engage stakeholders at the community level to inform advocacy action planning, ensuring that program strategies and policy advocacy are driven by and aligned with community priorities.


  • Lead in the structuring of partner roles and responsibilities for policy and advocacy work, oversee their activities and provide continuous technical support and capacity building as required.
  • Build a network of local organizations to engage on policy initiatives at the sub-national and County level.


  • Track global policy developments affecting VE in the East/Horn of Africa Region, including policies of regional states, donor policies and UN policy.
  • Work with the field teams and global P&A team to plan and produce effective, thoughtful and timely written products that advance policy perspectives important to our mission.


  • Enhance the programme team’s capacity on policy and advocacy by designing and leading technical training sessions for Mercy Corps staff and local partners and providing ongoing coaching and mentoring.
  • Promote active learning and adaptive management, and contribute to agency-level networks and working groups, through documentation and knowledge sharing around best practices and lessons learned in P/CVE programming.
  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
    to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
  • Team members 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.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Team Lead

Works Directly With: Advocacy partners, Research Coordinator, MEL Manager, Finance and Sub-Grants Manager, local and national government officials, local civil society organizations, implementing partners and communities.

Minimum Qualifications & Transferrable skills

  • Master’s degree in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution or related discipline.
  • At least 8 years experience working on countering violent extremism programming, conflict mitigation and resolution, and/or violence reduction and prevention programs.
  • Demonstrated experience working to influence local and national government policies to promote peace-building and development outcomes.
  • Solutions-oriented individual, with strong strategic thinking capabilities.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness managing a diverse team of staff, consortium partners and local implementing partners, building a cohesive and results-oriented team to deliver on complex programming result.
  • Experience working with a diverse range of community members to discuss sensitive and delicate topics in a conflict-sensitive manner.
  • Excellent writing and reporting skills.
  • Excellent verbal and inter-personal communications skills.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity, skill, and experience working within different cultural settings and navigating public affairs and communications on sensitive issues.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will have strong policy influencing skills as demonstrated by the ability to analyze complex issues and work with a diverse group of policy makers to craft policy solutions to achieve program objectives related to security, violence preventions and vulnerable groups. S/he will demonstrate strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills and be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps. S/he will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, assume leadership, and make solid decisions while working remotely from country leadership.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Nairobi requires up to 50% travel to support program staff, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited.

Ongoing Learning

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

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have a sustained global impact.

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 based on 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.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct eLearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Female candidates are highly encouraged to apply. Mercy Corps does not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process.