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US Intern (Washington DC) - Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Research Intern

Washington D.C. (United States of America)

INTERNSHIP TITLE: Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Research Intern


DATES OF INTERNSHIP: Start date flexible (on/around June 1, 2016).

LENGTH OF INTERNSHIP: Approximately 3-4 months at 16-24 hours per week. Flexible depending on intern availability.

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR THE INTERNSHIP: This is an unpaid internship. 50% of commuting costs will be covered, as well as business costs for attending meetings.

  • Mercy Corps responsibilities

For the duration of this internship assignment the intern will receive:

  • Computer
  • Work station
  • All required office supplies
  • Access to DL, the Hub, etc.

  • Intern responsibilities

Intern will remain responsible for all costs associated with:

  • Lodging in Washington, D.C.
  • Transport to and from the office (aside from work-related transport costs)
  • Meals
  • All other costs associated with this internship


The Technical Support Unit (TSU) provides technical expertise to Mercy Corps field programs to support program development and program quality in several technical areas. The Agriculture TSU leads the Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (ANRM) component of the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program. The TOPS Program is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Food for Peace (FFP)-funded learning mechanism that generates captures, disseminates, and applies the highest quality information, knowledge, and promising practices in development food assistance programming, to ensure that more communities and households benefit from the U.S. Government’s investment in fighting global hunger. Through technical capacity strengthening, a small grants program to fund research, documentation and innovation, and an in-person and online community of practice (the Food Security and Nutrition [FSN] Network), The TOPS Program, a consortium program led by Save the Children, empowers food security implementers and the donor community to make lasting impact for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The primary objective of the ANRM Research Intern will be to provide support to the ANRM team of the TOPS Program, but will also support the broader Mercy Corps Agriculture TSU team as time permits. The TOPS Program is currently developing a toolkit related to resilience design in smallholder farming systems, primarily for use by Food for Peace-funded Development Food Assistance Programs. The resilience design method includes but is not limited to permaculture, agroecology, biodynamic agriculture, and conservation agriculture. The ANRM Research Intern will support this project by collating research and evidence of impact for agroecological-related interventions within food security programming to inform the toolkit. The evidence will include but not be limited to: successful and unsuccessful models, barriers to adoption, and potential for expansion. The intern is expected to conduct a literature review, document the findings, and share the findings with the team in both written and presentation format.

As time permits, s/he will also support The TOPS Program and Mercy Corps’ Agriculture TSU in the following ways:

  • Research and document extension service models used within Mercy Corps
  • Research and document case studies of interesting approaches used by Mercy Corps. Possible topics include rangeland management, youth and agriculture, and nutrition and agriculture intersection.
  • Collate multi-media (e.g., videos, blogs, etc.) resources to support the forthcoming TOPS ANRM Core Competencies Resource List


  • S/he will gain experience distilling large amounts of information into digestible formats
  • S/he will gain experience writing technical documents for ANRM professionals
  • S/he is expected to vastly expand his/her knowledge of resilience design in smallholder farming systems and other topics related to ANRM
  • S/he will gain exposure to/learn about various development programs and their approaches to agricultural development, including successes and lessons learned
  • S/he will gain exposure to the day-to-day activities of a large international non-governmental organization, as well as USAID-funded programs
  • S/he will be encouraged to take part in relevant Mercy Corps’ internal trainings (e.g., M4P) and attend events or webinars related to ANRM to increase learning and exposure


  • Create a document summarizing evidence of resilience design interventions
  • Present resilience design findings to ANRM TOPS team
  • Create a 2-3 page document summarizing various extension models used within Mercy Corps programs
  • Other duties as assigned and as interests align


  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Minimum completion of 3 years of college experience. Graduate students, complete or in progress, in agricultural development, international development or other relevant discipline strongly preferred
  • Strong interest in agricultural development
  • Demonstrated skills in reviewing literature
  • Demonstrated ability to explain research findings
  • Demonstrated analytic skills
  • Experience generating streams of evaluative knowledge from disparate source materials
  • Self-motivated and able to work without close supervision
  • Competence with internet search, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel required
  • Fluency in English required

LIVING CONDITIONS: Intern is responsible for their own housing.

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.


Candidates interested in this internship should submit a resume and a statement of interest. In your statement, you are encouraged to discuss any experiences related relevant to the projects outlined. You may wish to describe your career interests (specifically as they relate to policy and advocacy, humanitarian aid, or development) and discuss your previous work and educational experiences demonstrating these interests. Your application will be reviewed by the hiring team within 3 weeks of submission and shortlisted candidates will be contacted directly for interviews. All applicants will receive notification once a decision has been made.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Washington D.C. (United States of America)
  • Grade: Junior - Internationally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Environment
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2016-04-29

What does it mean?

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