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Policy and Advocacy Intern - Washington DC or Remote US

Applications will be received through COB 8/16/22 or until 100-150 applications have been received. US work authorization or valid international student visa is required for consideration. 

DATES OF INTERNSHIP:  September - December 2022
HOURS PER WEEK: Full time: 30 hours/week

Senior Director of US Policy and Advocacy


For the duration of this internship assignment the intern will receive:
  • Access to Mercy Corps online tools
  • Training and supervisory support
  • Access to Mercy Corps online tools
  • All other tools, materials and communication requirements for this project to be undertaken

Intern will remain responsible for all costs associated with:
  • Laptop for working remotely
  • Accommodation, travel and living expenses

Mercy Corps works in fragile and conflict-affected countries, often where communities are recovering from disaster, conflict, or economic collapse. With programs in more than 40 countries, Mercy Corps is one of the largest relief and development NGOs in the US.

The Mercy Corps Policy and Advocacy team serves as the main interface between Mercy Corps and external partners (particularly the U.S. government) on issues of policy. The team seeks to advance Mercy Corps’ values and interests by promoting policies that support our mission. We work to inform and shape policy in a number of ways, including:
  •     Congressional Advocacy: direct meetings with key congressional offices, participation in briefings and hearings, review and commenting on draft legislation, active participation in discussions related to the foreign aid budget, and linking Members of Congress who are traveling with our teams in the field.
  •     Administration Advocacy: meetings with Administration officials, ongoing communication with key partner agencies in the USG, participation in joint consultations and briefings together with partner NGOs in DC.
  •     Joint work with NGO partners: active participation in Interaction working groups and other coalition efforts organized in DC on priority issues or countries for Mercy Corps, drafting of joint documents, organizing joint lobby days on Capitol Hill.
  •     Organizing DC visits for visiting Mercy Corps field staff: scheduling meetings for visiting staff and accompanying them to ensure adequate preparation and follow up to these visits.
  •     Publications: preparing and disseminating policy briefs on key issues, circulating information on Mercy Corps programs to key policy makers, participating in joint documents and sign-ons with other NGOs, working with field staff to draft joint articles on policy-related issues for publication.

The intern(s) will support and participate in the work of the Policy and Advocacy team. Areas of focus may include:
  • Response to humanitarian crises in Mercy Corps policy and programming portfolio.
  • Support the team’s strategic analysis and advance agency priorities with Congress and the Administration
  • Improving a robust and principled humanitarian response to the various crises
  • Supporting the preparation of briefings, presentations, graphics, databases/spreadsheet and memos
  • Defending foreign aid budgets
  • Research on peacebuilding, Africa policy priorities OR those related to climate, adaptation, mitigation, resilience and sustainability topics, as well as other policy team or agency issues

  • Understanding the linkage between international policy, programming and outcomes in the humanitarian and development field
  • Understanding core elements of the U.S. policy process, including the roles of Congress, USAID, State, and the White House in development policy-making
  • Knowledge of key qualitative and quantitative resources related to US development policy
  • Understanding specific policy issues, as listed above, or according to the interests of the intern

The Intern will support the PA team through the following activities:
  1. Conduct policy and practice research in support of Mercy Corps advocacy initiatives
  2. Assist in drafting advocacy documents such as reports, briefing notes, talking points, petitions, or factsheets on relevant policy issues
  3. Attend meetings and hearings of interest to Mercy Corps and report back on key issues
  4. Assist in organizing meetings with Congressional offices, Administration officials, and other contacts, and in maintaining a database of key interactions
  5. Review external and internal reports and publications and summarize relevant findings
  6. Assist in communicating policy and advocacy updates to the broader Mercy Corps community through Mercy Corps’ intranet system, weekly newsletter, and website

Students interested in this internship should submit a resume and a cover letter. In your letter, you are encouraged to discuss any experiences relevant to the projects outlined. You may wish to describe your career interests (specifically as they relate to policy and advocacy, humanitarian aid, or development) and discuss your previous work and educational experiences demonstrating these interests. A short additional writing sample (under five pages) is preferable, but not required. 

The Policy and Advocacy is seeking an intern to support the breadth of the team’s portfolio. If qualified, the intern may have the opportunity to specialize in one or more areas, though engagement in all areas will be expected. 

All interns should have the following core qualifications: 
  •     University degree in progress or recently completed (within 1 year) in relevant discipline in International Relations, Public Policy or related field
  •     Interest in humanitarian and development issues and policy and advocacy
  •     Background in peacebuilding and policy
  •     Demonstrated solid writing, editing and researching skills
  •     Ability to multi-task and prioritize in a fast-paced work environment
  •     Solid computer skills: must be able to work effectively and accurately with MS Word, Excel, Google applications, and email.
  •     Flexible work attitude: able to work productively in a team environment and independently

Potential qualifications for portfolio-specific interests are below (not required, but preferred):
  •     Previous Administration or Capitol Hill experience or knowledge of Congressional processes
  •     Other specific thematic expertise in any of the areas of focus listed above 

Mercy Corps interns represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and 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.

Mercy Corps Diversity Statement 
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 Statement
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.

As part of our commitment to keeping our community safe and providing a safe working environment, Mercy Corps has a Covid-19 vaccine requirement for US interns based in Mercy Corps US HQ offices. Interns must be fully vaccinated per CDC requirement or have an approved exception, either (1) sincerely held religious convictions, or (2) a disability that prevents them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and comply with regular testing, within 10 business days of starting. Failure to comply may impact your internship.  

Mercy Corps Headquarters: 45 SW Ankeny Street, Portland, Oregon 97204

In your statement, you are encouraged to discuss any relevant experience, and demonstrate your interest. Your application will be reviewed by the Mercy Corps team and shortlisted candidates will be contacted directly for interviews.