Mercy Corps

NGO Forum Advocacy & Access Coordinator

Mercy Corps

Job Description

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Program / Department Summary

Specific to the Syria Response, Mercy Corps has been exceptionally committed to the formal and informal humanitarian Coordination structures and has been hosting the North East Syria (NES) NGO Forum since 2016 to support coordination among NGOs. The NES NGO Forum was established as a unique and key coordination body for NGOs operating in North East Syria – as part of formalized coordination arrangements under the whole of Syria approach. The Forum is currently comprised of over 40 members, and continues to grow, with responsibility for a number of core functions, including operational coordination, representation with a range of stakeholders, engagement with authorities, information management and advocacy. The Forum engages in multiple work-streams, including area-based coordination, supporting and facilitating Humanitarian Access negotiations, engaging all relevant stakeholders and supporting a local NGO platform to foster linkages with local organisations.

General Position Summary

Over the past few years, the NES Forum has expanded and in tandem its areas of focus have grown. An increase in Forum membership has required a renewed focus on specific inter-agency work streams, such as more effective coordination with local NGOs, increased strategic representation of NES priorities in internal and external advocacy, and the need for systematic monitoring of humanitarian access constraints in NES given the complex operational environment. The development of an advocacy strategy and humanitarian access monitoring mechanism are currently underway, and the NES Forum is seeking an Advocacy and Humanitarian Access Coordinator to be based between Derik and Hasakeh cities with travel to other locations. This person will hold responsibility for the implementation of NES Forum access and advocacy workstreams, engage in targeted policy Analysis and timely information sharing, and support the coordination of other inter-agency and inter-sector work streams as needed, working closely with the Forum Director and the wider team. The person is expected to have excellent interpersonal and coordination skills, strong writing capabilities, an ability to work independently and to take initiative, and proven skills in negotiation and influencing to support policy and advocacy.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Support operational and strategic coordination, working closely with the NES Forum Director, Inter-Sector Working Group (ISWG) coordinator, and Local NGO Coordinator and Liaison.
  • In collaboration with Forum membership, sector focal points, the UN and WoS architecture, lead on the collection of information to inform evidence-based advocacy, as well as tracking and monitoring information on humanitarian access constraints.
  • Coordinate core advocacy messaging and NGO positions on operational impediments / access constraints, and advocate for the sharing of good practices among access focal points and humanitarian partners.
  • Lead and oversee the NES Forum Advocacy Working Group Priority identification and workstreams.
  • Working closely with the local NGO coordinator to support improving linkages with local NGOs, ISWG and NES Forum members.
  • Participation and representation in camp and city-level coordination meetings, convened by both humanitarian and non-humanitarian counterparts, including regular meetings conducted by humanitarian affairs offices of local councils as well as coordination in camps , as required


  • Work with the NES NGO Forum Director and Inter-Sector Working Group coordinator to maintain appropriate relationships and communication with North East Syria coordination stakeholders (Team Leaders and Country Directors), United Nations, Donors and Whole of Syria coordination forums.
  • In coordination with the NES NGO Forum Director, maintain a healthy relationship with local governance structures as required – with a focus on enhancing authorities’ knowledge of the NGO response.
  • Attend regional-level coordination meetings to represent NES advocacy priorities as identified by the membership as required, and provide briefings to external stakeholders on NES advocacy or humanitarian access issues as required.
  • Develop regular context and policy analysis updates, relevant to the activities of Forum membership, for communication with key stakeholders
  • Work with developing policy positions and recommendations with international experts on issues relevant to the work of the Forum.
  • Support in preparation for high-level events to promote the NES Forum and its policy recommendations.
  • Engage privately with media to mobilise public awareness, as appropriate


  • Lead on the overall Design, coordination and delivery of the NES Forum advocacy strategy, in collaboration with NGO member leadership, the Forum Director, the United Nations and the Whole of Syria (WoS) architecture and other stakeholders as relevant.
  • Take a lead on workstreams related to the monitoring, analysis and maintenance of humanitarian access for NGOs in the NES context, working closely with the Forum Director and other stakeholders as needed.
  • Support the review and roll-out of the NES Joint Operating Principles, including sensitizing partners and key stakeholders to the JOPs and, where relevant, conducting JOPs Training of Trainers.
  • Support in training of local responders and local authorities on the humanitarian architecture and PCM processes.
  • Increase NES Forum participation and support to specific task force and working groups, including logistics and operations, as well as increased support to specific sectors if necessary.
  • Support efforts to improve engagement with authorities, in close collaboration with NES Forum Director and Local NGO and Liaison teams, including with the delivery of established humanitarian principles training packages across NES.


  • Provide regular reporting on meetings, discussions, external engagement with authorities which can be disseminated to a wider audience, including NES Forum members.
  • Provide inputs and support to the drafting of ad hoc and regular access reports, as well as providing analytical input and support to WoS documents led by the OCHA Access Unit.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.


Reports Directly To: NES NGO Forum Director Works Directly With: NES Forum Team, NES Forum Advocacy WG, North East Syria Team Leaders; NES Sector Focal Points; Whole of Syria Coordination Forums; United Nations.

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S or equivalent in relevant field required; MA desired
  • 3-5 years of field experience in international relief and development, including demonstrable Syria and/or Regional experience.
  • Demonstrated success working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, NGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments.
  • Strong contextual advocacy, analytical and writing skills, with attention to detail and the ability to translate complex issues into a level appropriate for various audiences.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to humanitarian principles.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of and experience managing and/or advising on humanitarian access.
  • Demonstrated experience in coordination roles, preferably within formal coordination structures. Proven understanding of the international humanitarian response architecture, including coordination mechanisms, humanitarian reform and action, and funding mechanisms.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication and organisation skills.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic is a plus.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse stakeholder base in a sensitive environment.

Success Factors

The successful candidate will have the ability to network effectively and influence and inspire others. They will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, will be highly motivated and possess ability to work independently. They will have the ability to undertake strategic analysis and translate thinking into practice. They will work with sensitive issues in a multi-cultural environment and with virtual or/and dispersed teams and will have the ability to build confidence and to find creative and constructive solutions to difficult issues. The successful candidate will be able to build trust and alliances and will empower others. They should like traveling, possess a good sense of humour, must be fond of coordination and understand its critical role for the more efficient humanitarian response. In addition, as the NES Forum is reflecting the needs and priorities of members, which also shift, the successful candidate must be flexible and adaptable to shifting demands and priorities, with the ability to multi -task and work under time pressure.

Living Conditions

The position is based between Derik and Hasekeh, Syria and it requires travel to other locations. This position is unaccompanied and is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.

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 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 on the basis of 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 prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. 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.**
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