Governance and Peacebuilding Internship ( Cambridge, Washington DC or Portland)



DATES OF INTERNSHIP: Jan 2018 – June 2018 (flexible)

LENGTH OF INTERNSHIP:  5 months (flexible)

INTERNS SUPERVISOR & CONTACT INFORMATION: Governance and Peacebuilding Advisor 


Mercy Corps responsibilities

For the duration of this internship assignment the intern will receive:

  • Training and supervisory support
  • Workstation with computer, internet, and phone access
  • Mercy Corps e-mail account
  • Access to Mercy Corps online tools
  • All other tools, materials and communication requirements for this project to be undertaken

Intern responsibilities

Intern will remain responsible for all costs associated with:

  • Travel to and from Mercy Corps HQ
  • Accommodation, travel and living expenses
  • All other costs associated with this internship

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At Mercy Corps, our governance work focuses on supporting countries in transition towards a more representative form of governance across all sectors. The Governance and Partnerships (GAP) team – part of Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit – provides guidance, solutions and tools that enable our program teams, colleagues and partners to integrate good governance principles into program development and implementation. We provide technical expertise and support for agency initiatives focused on mobilizing communities, strengthening civil society and fostering citizen demand for responsive, accountable governance.

To help communities and countries achieve and maintain development gains and break out of a cycle of conflict and poverty, Mercy Corps builds the capacity of people and institutions to prevent and manage conflict, while also reducing participation in violent conflict and integrates these capacities into our development and humanitarian work. The Peace and Conflict team, also under the Technical Support Unit, helps strengthen Mercy Corps’ design and implementation, knowledge and capacity, technical influence, and strategy.

A core strategic priority for Mercy Corps in 2018-2019 is to support country teams to articulate and better address the root causes of complex crises, leverage and scale this approach into complex programs, and demonstrate through evidence our growing impact in working to address root causes of conflict across all regions where we work. This new strategic focus is an exciting opportunity to develop an agency-wide model for addressing root causes of conflict and drive a wider conversations across the peacebuilding field.

One critical area of investigation is the intersection of governance and peacebuilding. Governance challenges like illegitimate and unfair institutions, lack of political inclusiveness, political marginalization of particular identity groups, unequal provision of services, and corruption are not only worth addressing in and of themselves, but are often also key drivers of conflict in many of the contexts where we work. In contrast, positive governance outcomes like fair power structures, effective and legitimate institutions, well-functioning government, low levels of corruption, inclusive political settlements, equitable provision of public services, and acceptance of the rights of others are critical for creating an enabling environment for peace. These governance factors are an important component of Mercy Corps’ initiative to address the root causes of conflict in complex crises. We are defining the root causes of conflict as the underlying factors that lead to conflictFrom a systems perspective, root causes of conflict are social, political, economic, and ecological dynamics that lead to conflict. The intern will play a key role in understanding the impact of Mercy Corps programs that have governance and peacebuilding components, defining an agenda for further development of this work and contribute to the development of key outputs to demonstrate and strengthen our impact.

The Governance and Partnerships and the Peace and Conflict Teams seek a qualified graduate intern to support the team on a variety of governance and peacebuilding related projects. The intern will support our teams’ objectives through an array of responsibilities during spring 2018, which may include some of the following:

  • Support to ongoing research on what governance factors contribute to root causes of conflict, including data analysis, literature review, the development of analytical tools and frameworks, etc
  • Creation of case studies related to our governance and peace and conflict approaches and on how Mercy Corps’ work supporting the capacity development of civil society contributes to our impact.
  • Desk research and support to program design
  • Support to develop country-specific strategies around governance and addressing root causes of conflict


The intern will have the opportunity to shape the scope of work and set new learning objectives. Illustrative learning objectives include the following:

  • Increase understanding of the constraints and opportunities of implementing conflict management and governance programs, specifically related to root causes of conflict.
  • Strengthen desk research and writing skills
  • Increase understanding of technical areas, including specific root causes of conflict, governance and civil society strengthening.


  • Literature review of how key governance factors contribute to peace and stability outcomes.
  • Contribute to the development of key documents related to Mercy Corps’ approaches including capacity statements and approach documents.
  • Case studies demonstrating the impact of Mercy Corps’ approach.
  • Development of relevant theories of change and metrics related to governance and peace and conflict.
  • Other projects as assigned.

These will be discussed in coordination with the intern supervisor, though the intern will be encouraged to assume ownership of discrete tasks in line with the illustrative responsibilities above.


  • Graduate degree, complete or in progress, in conflict management or other relevant social science discipline
  • Familiarity with the peacebuilding field and understanding of how conflicts affects and is affected by other systems (e.g., ecological, economic, socio-cultural)
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Self-motivated and able to work without close supervision

LIVING CONDITIONS: This internship will be based in Washington, DC, Cambridge, MA or San Francisco, CA. The intern will assume all responsibilities with his/her living situation.

Mercy Corps interns and volunteers 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 MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Visit the Job Website to Apply


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