Mercy Corps

Senior Advisor (Agriculture and Market Systems)

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.

TheProgram / Department Summary

Mercy Corps is a leader in Agriculture-programming" id="link" class="link">Agriculture Programming. Last year alone, we reached over 10 million smallholder farmers through integrated and innovative programming, with a portfolio of over 600 million USD. We apply a market systems development (MSD) approach throughout our programming. We are looking for a skilled and motivated individual with the experience, innovation and drive to join our Technical Team to support and increase our MSD for agriculture portfolio, while applying a climate lens to everything we do.

Mercy Corps offers a unique opportunity to support programming in over 40 countries and provide technical leadership in a number of areas, including agriculture and economic growth. Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject-matter experts help our global teams apply the most effective solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, while building our global reputation and resources to do so. As technical experts in their field, TSU Team members are well versed in global practices and abreast of sector specific trends. They help set agency strategy and develop strategic approach documents and other technical briefs for their practice area to inform the organization’s work. In addition, TSU provides consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to country offices worldwide. TSU team members also lead research, foster organizational learning, represent Mercy Corps to external audiences, and develop partnerships. The TSU is also integral to global Business Development and revenue.

The Position

The Agriculture Systems team is primarily focused on climate resilient agriculture across three main pillars supporting crop and livestock systems: 1) improving the ecological foundation on which agriculture depends; 2) stimulating market systems that support climate resilient agriculture and balanced and fair access by smallholder farmers; and 3) harnessing technical solutions to drive change. The Senior Advisor will provide technical leadership to Mercy Corps’ agriculture portfolio with a particular focus on applying a market system development approach to climate resilient agriculture and integrating technical solutions.

The Senior Advisor will drive strategy, provide expert technical support in multiple contexts to integrate market-based approaches into climate resilient agriculture (CRA) programming. They will network and build partnerships, represent Mercy Corps at key sector forums and events, help monitor and improve program quality and relevance, stay current on industry innovation and best practices, write competitive proposals for submission to donors, and disseminate information to internal and external partners. Central to all activities will be the nurturing of country and regional talent and the development of a network of technical excellence across Mercy Corps, ensuring their voices and experience are integrated into design solutions, shared between programs, and presented externally.

As part of the Agriculture Systems TSU team, the CRA-MSD Senior Advisor will work closely with the Economic Opportunities TSU (including the MSD team) and others to plan for and deliver the optimal level of support to and with Country Programs. Their aim will be to increase the quality and impact of our CRA work, using multiple sectoral entry points to achieve desired long-term results.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Contribute to a distinctive, forward-thinking, climate-smart and gender-equitable vision for agriculture systems in close collaboration with the country teams and other agency departments.

  • Monitor key internal and external trends to inform TSU work.

  • Lead innovative thinking around CRA-MSD to drive change

  • Collaborate closely with the Technology for Development team to leverage technology in an effort to increase impact and scale.

  • Spearhead innovative partnership initiatives with private and public entities.

  • Serve as key external communicator for Mercy Corps on CRA-MSD


    • Support Mercy Corps’ programs to take a market-systems or market-based approach to CRA, in close collaboration with the program managers and program-based technical leads, by delivering short-term support and technical assistance, including to those programs in complex crisis environments.

    • Support effective agriculture interventions using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking.

    • Strengthen capacity of program technical staff to better design and implement market-based CRA programs through in-country and remote training, technical tool development or adaptation, facilitating knowledge sharing opportunities between country experts, etc. Work closely with the Regional CRA Advisor and MSD TSU team to develop, adapt and/or contextualize materials as needed.

    • Partner with peer Mercy Corps’ regional and global technical advisors (youth, gender, resilience, CRA, market systems, environment, financial inclusion etc.,) to drive integrated programming

    • Support an increased focus on CRA, gender and resilience in market systems development programs, promoting evidence for market-based CRA programming.


      • Write/review proposals and concept notes for funding from donors including foundations, corporations, European donors, USAID, FCDO and others to support CRA market systems development programming.

      • Support the development of CRA-MSD assessments and data Analysis/reporting to determine community needs and priorities and Mercy Corps’ competitive advantage for funding. Ensure assessments include dimensions of gender, and youth as central cross-cutting approaches.

      • Work with other technical leads on the design and support of multi-sectoral programs that encompass elements of broader agency goals such as resilience, food security, and youth development.

      • Serve as technical lead for complex, competitive proposals and large integrated teams following Mercy Corps’ best practices in proposal development, team management, and the appropriate sectoral area.

      • Cultivate and nurture donor relationships and strategic partnerships that positively impact Mercy Corps’ ability to influence program strategies, proposal design and implementation.


        • In collaboration with the research and learning team and country teams, support implementation of a CRA research strategy aimed at capturing in-depth learning from, and feeding learning back into, our market-based CRA programs to ensure quality.

        • Support new and ongoing programs with best practice advice and assistance on assessment, implementation, research, and evaluation needs.

        • Work closely with the relevant teams to establish assessment, monitoring and evaluation frameworks and indicators to measure the impact of our CRA-MSD programs at the country and aggregate level.

        • Lead/support the development of: assessments; case studies, learning documents, short articles, and blogs; and develop internal and external dissemination plans for all products with the aim of articulating our impact and lessons learned on CRA systems across our portfolio.


          • Contribute to thought leadership around market-based and MSD approaches to CRA by representing and/or facilitating country team members to represent Mercy Corps at relevant academic events, conferences, media forums, and other events.

          • Identify and nurture strategic partnerships with other organizations and institutions to produce case studies, assessments, and other learning documentation, as well as enhance program quality.

          • Present concepts and ideas to donors, partners, and peer organizations that influence them to drive innovation and positive change around CRA.

            Supervisory Responsibility

            The position may occasionally supervise consultants, interns and/or volunteers on special assignments.


            Reports Directly To: Agriculture Systems Director, TSU

            Works Directly With: Agriculture Systems Technical Support Unit, Market Systems Development Technical Support Unit, other teams that are part of the Economic Opportunities TSU, Other Technical Support Units such as Environment and Resilience, Africa Regional Technical Support Unit (in particular the Africa Regional CRA and MSD Advisors), Regional Directors, Deputy Regional Directors, Country Directors and Directors of Programs, and Program Directors/Managers implementing agriculture systems’ focused or multi-sector programs.

            Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

            Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

            Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

            • More than 7 years of experience providing increasingly proficient technical support in the field of MSD with significant CRA knowledge and experience, preferably in international development.

            • Advanced degree in field relevant to CRA (e.g., agronomy, Agricultural Economics, agroforestry, climate change and food security) or to MSD (e.g., macroeconomics, sustainable development, inclusive market systems) with field experience in the other field; or significant comparable field experience in both fields.

            • Demonstrated strong theoretical and applied knowledge of MSD programming, including using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking.

            • Demonstrated strong theoretical and applied knowledge of regenerative agriculture, nature-based solutions or similar, including soil and water management.

            • Experience in working with the private sector and other market actors for CRA projects

            • Demonstrated experience writing high quality proposals and other external documents such as influential articles and blogs

            • Experience leading agricultural market assessments in a variety of different contexts, including complex crisis environments

            • Demonstrated experience with major donors such as USAID, FCDO, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.

            • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop collaborative relationships

            • Strong presentation and communication skills in English required.

            • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.

            • Fluency (written and verbal) in English is required; working knowledge (verbal) of French is preferred.

              Success Factors

              The CRA-MSD Senior Advisor is a technically skilled MSD professional with hands-on CRA experience, including nature-based solutions. They are highly innovative and creative with a passion for systems thinking and regenerative agriculture and are able to build and deliver on a vision to drive impact on CRA globally. The successful Senior Advisor requires significant hands-on practical skills, strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills, and a level of emotional intelligence that quickly builds and maintains productive relationships across teams. They are collaborative, with strong teamwork skills and a demonstrated commitment to facilitating knowledge sharing and learning across diverse country contexts. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical. The Senior Advisor must have strong networking and partnership building skills, taking an active role in building and maintaining external relationships as well as demonstrating the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts. The individual must learn quickly how to provide technical data and support in the most efficient and effective form possible for each unique field team and environment. They will demonstrate a winning track record in Program Design and proposal development, and have an ability to translate technical theory to address real world complexities through tangible program interventions.

              Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

              The position is based in a current Mercy Corps location, and it requires up to 40% travel to support country programs, 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 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 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.

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