Technology for Development Advisor, Mercy Corps, Portland

Technology for Development (T4D) Advisor, Mercy Corps, Portland
WebsiteMercy Corps
Information Technology Portland, Oregon

** Please note that this position is funded for 1 year at time of posting. The intention is for this role to transition into a permanent role by the end of the calendar year 2016.


Mercy Corps Headquarters Program team supports the design, coordination, implementation of our interventions and leverages learning. The Strategic Innovations team develops and institutionalizes new methods for achieving the Agency’s strategic goals. The team is comprised of Program Technology, which applies Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to our field work and seeks to make Mercy Corps a leading INGO in the field of T4D; Social Ventures, which invests in early stage, for-profit social enterprises; and Alliances which leverages the combined efforts of like-minded social sector peers for greater impact.


The T4D Advisor is both hands-on implementer and an educator who helps all of Mercy Corps more effectively deliver programmatic impact through the savvy application of technologically.

Working closely with the Senior Director of Program Technology, T4D Director, Mercy Corps Technical Support Unit, and Mercy Corps’ country teams, the T4D specialist will design and implement technology related aspects of a wide-range of Mercy Corps programmatic activities.

The T4D Advisor will additionally be responsible for promoting the use of ICTs within Mercy Corps through research, trainings, webinars, how-to guides and by building and managing an active T4D community of practice among Mercy Corps’ 4000 team members.



Improve the effectiveness of Mercy Corps programming through the application of ICTs by:

• Co-designing and co-implementing technical solutions with field teams, program design teams, and proposal developers.

• Providing remote implementation kick-off and ongoing support to field teams for simple projects.

• Providing hands-on in-the-field implementation support for complex projects.

• Working with senior leadership, field leadership, and dedicated local and regional actors to design and implementation of advanced and innovative technological solutions to key problems.

Capacity Building

• Designing, developing, and managing a T4D community of practice among program and technical staff, and open to all interested team members.

• Developing and delivering trainings, webinars, how-to’s and other guides on key topics of T4D design and implementation to technical and program teams.

• Assessing and recommending T4D tools, services, vendors, and other partners for use by program teams.

• Working with T4D tool and service vendors to iterate and improve their offerings for Mercy Corps’ use.

• Engaging with the broader T4D community including NGO and impact focused technology companies and peer agencies to keep informed on key developments in the field.

Strategy & Vision

• Tracking key advances in technology and innovative applications to keep fresh and updated on latest developments.

• Understand emerging technology trends and potential organizational impacts.

• Help develop and lead a ICT4D strategy in the agency.

• Communicate effectively the ICT4D vision and strategic direction to all stakeholders.

• Advise executive management on current and leading technology and the potential organizational benefits.

Representation & Partnership Development

• Ensure that Mercy Corps recognized in the area of ICT4D, through acknowledged thought leadership and successful efforts in integrating technology into Mercy Corps programs.

• Develop strategic technology partnerships, bring external ICT4D resources and innovations into the organization.

• Help manage technical partner relationships for ICT4D products and services and conduct appropriate negotiations.

• Help to ensure that strategic technology partners deliver ICT4D services within agreed upon service levels.


• Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Organizational Learning

• As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve – we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.



REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Senior. Director, Program Technology

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Senior leadership, field staff, IT staff, Information Systems Director, partner organizations, Technical Support Units


• Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or relevant field preferred.

• 4 -6 years experience as researcher, designer, and implementer of ICT4D systems at an international NGO, academic center focused on ICT4D, or provider of ICT4D services.

• 4+ years experience in technology and related business; increasing levels of responsibilities preferred.

• Experience and comfort with international travel.

• iNGO or not-for-profit experience preferred, but not required.

• Direct experience gathering requirements, designing, and implementing ICT4D solutions in the field.

• English fluency required. French and Arabic a plus.


The ideal T4D Advisor will have will have a deep technical understanding of and passion for ICT4D systems. S/he will be a systems thinker who understands that many of the challenges to a successful ICT4D implementation reside beyond the technology itself in the larger context in which the technology is deployed, used, and maintained. S/he will be a deep technologist and a pragmatic implementer who never loses focus on the intended outcome of better programs delivering better value to Mercy Corps’ clients. S/he will be an excellent communicator, able to demystify technology to team members with less technical familiarity. S/he will listen, up-skill, and guide non-technologists so that they are comfortable and capable applying technology in their programmatic work with or with help. A sense of humor and passion for work is also essential.


The position is based at Mercy Corps headquarters in Portland, Oregon with the opportunity for international travel estimated at 30 to 40 percent. Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members 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.

This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
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