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Emergency/Resilience Seed Systems Advisor

Washington D.C. (United States of America) | United States

This position is contingent on funding and approval.

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.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by building secure, productive and just communities. The Technical Support Unit (TSU) provides specialized technical support to design and execute effective programs and secure funding for future work. The TSU enhances the quality and impact of Mercy Corps' programs from assessment and program development through implementation, results measurement and learning. More specifically, the TSU 1) provides technically sound and timely support for high quality new program development; 2) helps enhance quality programming and meaningful impact/results, and 3) promotes Mercy Corps' best practices internally and enhances its reputation among peers, donors and partners. While seconded to the IDEAL program management team, the Food Security Technical Advisor will be housed within the Mercy Corps TSU.

General Position Summary

The Resilience/Emergency Seed Systems Advisor will work within the Seed Systems Support Activity (S3A) program, a global Leader with Associates (LWA) agreement from USAID's Bureau for Food Security, led by CNFA. The objective of S3A is to enhance farmers' access to a full range of seed choices and options to maximize their responsive decision making and planning for production. The Advisor will manage Mercy Corps' contribution to the S3A consortium, providing leadership and technical expertise in strengthening seed systems for vulnerable communities and in emergency settings.

Essential Job Responsibilities

· Participate in the Senior Management Team of the S3A program

· Lead S3A technical discussions with USAID representatives in the US, including bringing in field's perspective

· Ensure that resilience and/or emergency seed systems interventions are mainstreamed throughout S3A programs

· Lead development and roll out of S3A interventions designed to build shock-responsive seed systems for greater resilience

· Develop and update mapping of existing and emerging tools determine the effect of market-based humanitarian seed interventions

· Act as the primary liaison between S3A and USAID/OFDA

· Develop and cultivate networks of technical and functional experts who S3A can access for long and short-term technical assistance.

· Work with IDEAL management and technical teams to complete high quality deliverables in a timely manner.

· Participate in larger food security and agriculture networks to facilitate the dissemination of products and project learning.

· Participate in the development and implementation of a knowledge management and program learning strategy for both development and emergency BFS and OFDA programs.

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.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: S3A Chief of Party or Deputy Chief of Party and Mercy Corps Agriculture Director

Works Directly With: Other S3A senior managers

Knowledge and Experience

  • An advanced degree (MS, MA or Ph.D.) in agriculture, socio-ecology, food security, agricultural economics or a related field;
  • At least 10 years of experience in food security and seed programming and can include value chain, market systems development, or humanitarian response
  • At least 3-5 years of experience in programs in informal seed systems
  • Professional experience interacting with U.S. Government agencies in relation to the duties of this position.
  • Professional experience with humanitarian response and the seed system security assessment framework

Success Factors

The successful Advisor will combine technical skills in food security with flexibility, creativity and enthusiasm to improve food security and resilience among the world's most vulnerable populations. A self-starter who works well in a non-hierarchical environment, and who is able to prioritize competing priorities, learn quickly, take initiative and be accountable for results will be necessary for this position. S/he will be dedicated to the principle of doing no harm to the beneficiaries, knowledgeable on how gender dynamics relate to food security, open to working with all actors across the spectrum, and balance sectoral goals depending on needs and context. The Advisor will be confident in providing support and advice, while understanding that beneficiary communities themselves can often identify the best strategies for success. S/he will demonstrate a strong understanding of how to work effectively in varying cultural, political and religious environments.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will preferably be based in Mercy Corps' headquarters offices in Washington D.C., and requires at least 30% travel both within the US and internationally. The Advisor will travel to field sites that may lack amenities or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps' policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.


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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) | United States
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Environment
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Emergency Aid and Response
    • Medical Practitioners
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Disaster Management (Preparedness, Resilience, Response and Recovery)
    • Climate Change
  • Closing Date: 2018-03-24

What does it mean?

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