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Senior Policy Advisor

New York City | London | Nairobi

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: New York City | London | Nairobi
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Political Affairs
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date:


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. IRC reaches over a million children annually with education and child protection programs in 25 countries around the world.

Scope of Work

The Senior Policy Advisor (SPA), Education is responsible for working with the Senior Director to define the IRC’s strategy for influencing external policies and practices to ensure IRC’s programming, policy and research have a greater impact on our clients.  The SPA, working alongside the Senior Director and Education Leadership Team (ELT), oversees the execution of the strategy and carries out specific high-level policy and advocacy work, including writing presentations and think pieces for large audiences, representing the Education TU and Senior Director as needed. S/he will identify critical relationships and partnerships for the IRC to establish, appraise meetings and opportunities, attend relevant meetings, and support with follow up. S/he is the right hand to the Senior Director and a member of the Education Leadership Team. The SPA will engage closely with colleagues in Communications, International Philanthropy and Partnerships and Awards Management Unit.


1.      Define IRC’s influence strategy for education

·         With the Senior Director and ELT, establish the strategic direction for the external policies and practices the IRC seeks to influence to achieve the biggest impact in early childhood development and education in conflict and crisis contexts.

·         Identify strategic opportunities, tactics and audiences that will most effectively influence policies and practices of our targets and raise our profile as needed to achieve impact.

·         Seek out and appraise opportunities for policy advocacy and engagement on a regular basis; be disciplined and discriminating in this appraisal to make best use of scarce resources.

·         Alongside the Director, County Support, help Country Offices to understand, deliver and advocate for IRC’s education strategy.

·         Internal influence and profile raising around IRC’s education portfolio including preparing presentations, Brown Bags, engagement with Senior Leaders across the organization, preparing regular updates for an internal audience through newsletters etc. 

·         Work closely with the Policy and Advocacy Department to integrate education / ECD into global objectives for humanitarian reform and high-level talking points for IRC’s CEO.

2.      Execute Global Education Strategy

Execute, and oversee strategic opportunities, including but not limited to:

·         Arrange and attend meetings to further IRC’s education policy goals;

·         Draft talking points and accompanying materials for presentations and present as needed,

·         Write/edit think pieces and content showcasing IRC’s programs and evidence;

·         inputting into global consultations and frameworks;

·         horizon scan global trends/donor developments and policy landscape;

·         Choreograph key policy events with support from the Education TU Unit Manager;

·         Maintain a collection of core briefs and policy documents for use by program teams; Country Offices and headquarters.

3.      Perform high level Chief of Staff duties to support the Senior Director for Education and other organizational leaders

·         Identify strategic relationships, meetings and fora for IRC senior leadership on education and early childhood development; escalate opportunities; seek and appraise requests for senior leadership’s time or other commitment.

·         Coordinate and participate in opportunities alongside senior leadership; ensure follow-up.

Key Working Relationships

·         Position Reports to:  Senior Director, Education.

·         Position directly supervises:  No current direct reports, potential for supervision of consultants, specialists, or officers as work evolves.

·         Indirect Reporting: Director, Country Support and Director Special initiatives and ECD, US and European Policy and Advocacy Departments.

·         Internal: position is part of Education Leadership Team and the Education Technical Unit. Works closely with colleagues in Communications.  

·         External: education in emergencies, development and humanitarian stakeholders, policy makers and advocates.

Professional Profile

Success in this position requires an individual with strong policy and advocacy skills, expertise in development or humanitarian settings and a keen interest in furthering IRC’s strategy and vision. Expertise in education is preferred but not essential.

Work Experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant experience, with field and programmatic experience in a donor, NGO or comparable international agency required.
  • Experience and familiarity with donors, peer agencies and national contexts required, preferably in education, humanitarian and transitional, post-crisis contexts.
  • Experience and expertise raising funds from bilateral, multilateral, and private donors.

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:

  • Self-directed, able to independently set priorities and solve problems with minimal guidance; comfortable working for a supervisor who is remotely located.
  • Excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills; demonstrated ability to successfully work in a fast-paced environment and develop positive relationships with locally and remote based staff.
  • Highly effective strategic planning, policy development and execution.
  • Private and statutory business development/ fundraising.

Education: Master’s in relevant field.

Language Skills: Excellent spoken and written English essential. Proficiency in additional IRC relevant languages (Arabic, French, Spanish, Kiswahili, etc.) strongly preferred.

Working Environment: Travel may be required. Preferably based in one of our international hubs in London, Geneva, Nairobi or other IRC locations.  

Standards of Professional Conduct: The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

Diversity, Inclusion and Gender Equality

IRC acknowledges and honors the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and consider all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability, or any other protected characteristic. IRC is also committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

Please apply at

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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.