Program Associate - REAL & SPARC Awards

Posted by
Mercy Corps
Washington, DC

Mercy Corps

Published 28 days ago

January 1, 2021
November 20, 2020
$43,000 - $47,000

*The starting salary range for this role, depending on level of experience, is $43-47k.


About Mercy Corps

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.


The Program / Department / Team

Mercy Corps is committed to generating and using evidence to understand and improve our impact, and to enhance the humanitarian and development community’s ability to address the world’s most complex challenges. The Research and Learning team enhances Mercy Corps’ ability to deliver high impact programming, learn from that programming, and influence major debates and decisions affecting our work by supporting the generation and use of high quality evidence. Mercy Corps has firmly established a reputation as an industry leader in the field of resilience, including resilience measurement and research.

The Program Associate position supports two headquarters-managed awards focused on generating evidence, strengthening capacity, and knowledge sharing among humanitarian and development actors in the areas of resilience, agriculture, natural resource management and alternative livelihoods. These programs are managed through the Research and Learning Team at Mercy Corps.

The Resilience Evaluation, Analysis and Learning 2 (REAL 2) Associate Award is a five-year consortium-led follow-on Associate Award funded by USAID. It was established to respond to growing demand among USAID Missions, host governments, implementing organizations, and other key stakeholders for rigorous, yet practical, monitoring, evaluation, strategic analysis, and capacity building support. Led by Save the Children, REAL 2 draws on the expertise of its partners: Mercy Corps, and TANGO International. As part of the REAL 2 consortium, Mercy Corps has worked closely with USAID to provide rigorous analysis, relevant knowledge, and applicable guidance on best practices for resilience measurement, program design, and implementation.


The Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) is a 5-year research contract with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), in partnership with CoWater (lead), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). SPARC serves as an agile research, advice and convening mechanism that generates and brokers practical knowledge to improve the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at strengthening resilience of agro-pastoral livelihoods in the context of climate change, recurrent crises and conflict. SPARC covers research in the drylands of West and East Africa, and parts of the Middle East.


The Position

As Mercy Corps’ portfolio of research grants, contracts, and partnerships grows, so does the Research and Learning team’s need for administrative support to effectively and efficiently manage these to ensure high-quality and impactful research. The Program Associate plays a key role in ensuring awards comply with donor and Mercy Corps regulations, contributing to award outputs, communicating internal and external program information and drafting program reports, liaising with other departments within Mercy Corps, such as the Program Teams and Technical Support Team and providing procurement, logistical, and administrative support to all activities including technical events, both virtual and in-person.


Essential Responsibilities


●        Support the award staff with the assembly, review and editing of required donor reporting and documentation per award filing structures and reporting deadlines to be submitted to the Grant and Information Tracker (GAIT) database, the shared drive, the Digital Library and donor tracking systems as requested.

●        Work with field and HQ staff to handle procurement requests ensuring adherence to Mercy Corps and donor procurement and financial policies and procedures.

●        Manage contract process for the hire of technical consultants through the existing Master Service Agreement (MSA) or other standardized Mercy Corps procurement processes, including drafting, review and submission for all information required for compliance including but not limited to Scopes of Work, Task Orders, budgets, etc.

●        Ensure that requests for payment and/or invoices from, e.g. consultants, field teams, and partners, are accurately completed and submitted to the Accounting and Finance team for processing and budget tracking purposes.



●        Update award materials (e.g. fact sheets, reports, etc)., copy edit learning products (case studies, research briefs), design learning products in accordance with donor, lead agency, and/or Mercy Corps branding guidelines.

●        Support the communication and dissemination of research and learning products internally and externally by drafting short summaries, blogs, emails, workplace posts, webinar descriptions,and other communication pieces.

●        Maintain up-to-date award information in Mercy Corps’ online knowledge management tools.

●        Draft communications messages to share award updates and learning through Mercy Corps’ internal knowledge sharing platforms, as well as relevant external platforms.



●        Proactively lead logistical support for technical and knowledge sharing meetings and events focused on resilience, agriculture, natural resource management and alternative livelihoods, and other related topic areas; events and meetings will take place both in Washington, DC and internationally with implementers and donors, as well as virtually.

●        Proactively lead logistical support for field and headquarters teams including consultant requests and travel.

●        Support onboarding for new hires/consultants/interns/etc.

●        Provide administrative support to other aspects of the grants/contracts to the Director of Research and Learning for Resilience, and Senior Director for Research and Learning, as requested.



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


Supervisory Responsibility




Reports Directly To: Director, Research and Learning for Resilience

Works Directly With: Senior Director for Research and Learning, Senior Resilience Research Adviser, HQ Program Officer, Senior Resilience Knowledge Management Adviser


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

●        2 years of demonstrated experience in providing high-quality program assistant and administrative support to complex teams at a distance required

●        BA/S in international development or other relevant social science, and/or practical international field experience preferred

●        Proven ability to communicate effectively with colleagues from various backgrounds and cultures

●        Excellent English verbal and writing skills

●        Proficiency with MS Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides) and other web-based communication platforms (e.g. Adobe Connect, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.)

●        Prior NGO or international development experience, including experience with logistical procedures and knowledge management

●        Background or interest in research preferred

●        Prior work experience with USAID and/or FCDO-funded projects preferred

●        Knowledge of relevant technical sectors, e.g. food security, resilience, emergency relief, agriculture, natural resource management or alternative livelihoods, preferred.

●        Knowledge of communication tools, such as MailChimp, and interactive tools, such as MentiMeter a plus.

Success Factors

The Program Associate must be a detail-oriented, multi-tasker who is able to communicate clearly and work under pressure. They must demonstrate patience and flexibility, and take initiative to solve problems. Vital skills include communication (both written and verbal), as well as building and maintaining effective internal and external relationships. They must demonstrate the ability to understand and follow agency procedures, meet deadlines, and work both independently and as part of a complex distanced-based, multi-cultural team. An exposure to, and interest in learning about international development issues is important, and an understanding of the complex challenges faced by program teams operating in overseas environments is critical.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Washington, DC but will be remote until conditions allow for in person work. The DC Office is currently closed until at least June 2021. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corp’ policies, procedures, and values at all times.


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 Inter-Agency Standing Committee. 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.

*The starting salary range for this role, depending on level of experience, is $43-47k.


About Mercy Corps

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…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • Entry level


Washington, DC

How to Apply

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