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14 April 2016

Regional Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor NGO Careers - Mercy Corps

Organisation: Mercy Corps
Duty Station: Kampala, Uganda

About US:
Mercy Corps is a leading global relief and development agency saving and improving lives in the world’s toughest places. In more than 40 countries, we partner with local people to put bold ideas into action, help them overcome adversity and build stronger communities. We help communities survive and move beyond emergencies. When natural disasters strike, economies collapse or conflict flares, Mercy Corps is there. Working with communities, we leverage local logic to help people transform their lives to grow more food, earn higher incomes and ultimately advocate for their needs. We see global challenges as an invitation to pioneer innovative, sustainable solutions.

More than ever, we are driven to have impact, be accountable, show evidence, and manage adaptively. At the same time, traditional approaches to data collection, monitoring and evaluation are insufficient to meet the rising expectations for information that is timely, useful, and complete. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) today requires a modern grasp of technologies and tools that support the collection, management, presentation and use of this information. And it requires an understanding of the latest development thinking, including adaptive management, systems thinking, complexity, social impact, value for money, etc. Mercy Corps is committed to building a stronger commitment to delivering high quality, high impact programming. The Regional MEL Advisor will focus on building this internal capacity within Mercy Corps.

Job Summary: The Regional MEL Advisor is a new position in the East and Southern Africa Regional Office set up to ensure evidence based impact, accountability, and quality. The incumbent will extend dynamic, targeted support to programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to help our teams set a high standard in program performance by building a culture of adaptive management, measurement and learning as part of Mercy Corps’ global commitment to the “Campaign for Impact”. These three areas of internal capacity building will allow country teams to maximize the impact of their programming, thereby improving the quantity and quality of our programming. Regional priorities involve ensuring a regional MEL support structure is in place, including support for Tola (Mercy Corps’ central platform for program and data management); ensuring all countries in the region use M&E data for learning and influence, and that all staff in the region can articulate and demonstrate the impact that their programs are aiming to achieve. In addition, the Regional MEL Advisor will work closely with country leadership, country M&E team members, the regional team and relevant HQ teams to nurture and help develop an effective, impact-driven leadership culture. In particular, this will include driving adaptive management approaches and supporting data-driven management decision-making throughout the region.

Key Duties and Responsibilities: 
1. Measurement, Monitoring and Evaluation:
  • Actively promote adherence to Mercy Corps’ standards, including the use of standardized indicators, M&E, program and adaptive management approaches, and country-level learning and strategic objectives;
  • Ensure regional and country level program and technical staff mainstream MEL best practices and replicable/scalable tools into their work;
  • Work in liaison with the program teams to identify standard tools and processes to gather, analyze and use data that go beyond descriptive reporting and indicator-centric processes to develop feedback loops and adapt programs in response to changing conditions on the ground;
  • Provide support to country teams to improve data collection, management, and use to build a culture of adaptive management, high-quality program performance, and learning;
  • Offer support in the regional roll out of Tola (an open-source software built internally to improve how we use program data). The process would include: 1) assessing each country’s Tola readiness; 2) providing pre-prep support to the next ready country; and 3) support the roll out of Tola in that country. This would be repeated in all countries in the region;
  • Serve as a focal point for the roll out of the Mercy Corps ‘Design for Impact Guide’ (DIG) and provide consistent coaching and capacity building on the use of the DIG in project design and monitoring and evaluation plans;
  • Use and train on cutting edge practices in design, monitoring, evaluation and learning. Promote use of ICT4M&E in the field, including the use of mobile data collection, GIS-mapping, and online data management platforms. Support use of new technologies for data visualization, presentation, and analysis. Contribute to the understanding and application of new DM&E approaches to emerging themes like resilience, systems thinking, and complex humanitarian crises.
  • Engage in other agency level tools and initiatives to ensure regional input and coordinated delivery and messaging and consistent high quality implementation in the region.
2. Capacity Building and Program Quality:
  • Support regional M&E and ICT staff capacity building that guides country teams toward developing technical skills and promotes a culture of data analysis for decision making and adaptive management;
  • Actively participate in interviewing and orientation of new M&E staff to promote internal data management tools, standards and best practices;
  • Schedule monthly training sessions for regional participation to deepen program staff’s understanding and commitment to M&E best practices;
  • Serve as the primary liaison point to coordinate TDYs. Collaborate with country, regional, and HQ teams to identify specific capacity building and coaching opportunities for all levels of leadership;
  • Act as the key liaison point between Regional Office, country teams, and PM@MC teams to coordinate efforts to roll out adaptive management and PM@MC training across the region;
  • Engage with country programs on M&E and the relationship between M&E and program quality.
3. Knowledge Management & Learning:
  • Formalize a Regional M&E Working Group and ensure effective participation;
  • Build a collaborative network of relationships for M&E practitioners and other stakeholders learning networks that promotes shared learning, aligned approaches, and mutual accountability to quality data collection and programming;
  • Significantly contribute to the development and implementation of knowledge management to further stimulate use of evidence for learning, strategic adaptive management, and high-impact programming;
  • Connect best practices and learning from programs across Mercy Corps countries within the region to ensure an evolving and effective learning system for improving program implementation. Liaise with other HQ and Regional MEL advisors in this initiative;
  • Work closely with country M&E teams and program/operations teams to capture lessons learned during program implementation, and feed this information into thought leadership and research opportunities and into ongoing program management and program design;
  • Collect impact stories and evidence from Mercy Corps’ country teams on a regular basis.
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.
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.
Accountability to Beneficiaries: 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.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience: 
  • The applicant must hold an MA in social science, international development, or relevant field (with coursework in M&E, research and evaluation methodologies, statistical analysis or organizational development) or similar field of study.
  • The ideal candidate for the Regional Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor job placement should have a minimum of five to seven years’ experience in international relief and development programs, with 3+ years in field postings, and 3+ years working for an international agency on monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
  • Strong technical expertise including passion for handling large amounts of data and transforming it into compelling visualizations that facilitate analysis and decision-making. Demonstrated understanding of intermediate statistics and the ability to summarize, generalize, and make predictions from large data sets.
  • Broad knowledge and understanding of project management, including experience leading program design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Significant experience managing organizational change initiatives in a relief or development context with previous Mercy Corps experience strongly preferred.
  • Extensive field experience in developing practical, useful, timely monitoring systems, both at the program- and country-levels that promote use of data for adaptive management and learning.
  • Previous exposure and experience with a range of both private and institutional donors such as EC, USAID, and DFID and familiarity with their measurement, reporting, and evaluation requirements.
  • Comfort working with qualitative and quantitative methodologies for data collection and analysis.
  • Exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills and experience with statistical/graphical software or spatial software.
  • Proven experience with current technologies, such as web-based data management and analysis tools, digital data collection, mapping, Google applications, data visualization, interactive dashboards, etc.
  • Previous exposure and experience in building iterative learning systems or feedback loops and approaches in human-centered design are strongly valued.
  • Significant experience in facilitating learning and capacity building across teams.
  • Strong group process design and facilitation skills, including developing and leading workshops.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles;
  • High degree of flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills in English are required.

How to Apply:
All suitably qualified and interested Ugandan candidates should send their applications including a cover letter clearly stating the salary requirements, updated CV (with three professional referees), and copies of academic qualifications/certificates to the HR/Admin Manager, Kampala Head Office on 4th Floor Embassy Plaza, Plot 1188-1190 Ggaba Road. The E-mail applications with cover letter should be sent to:

Deadline:  18th April 2016

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