LIFT- Monitoring, Evaluation &Learning Start Up Advisor-Goma, DRC
* This is a temporary 4 Months Assignment*
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of around 400 people working in Eastern DRC, with the overall country goal being to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo.
In October 2020, Mercy Corps will be starting up the new five-year USAID funded LIFT programme, with a budget of $32 million which will be implemented in Eastern DR Congo. Building on the successes of Mercy Corps’ IMAGINE programme, and those of other WASH actors in Eastern DRC, LIFT will bring together a consortium of international experts to focus on water and sanitation in peri-urban areas of the Kivus. The programme commences with an inception phase (6 months), including extensive applied research, which will form the basis of an adaptive management approach to the implementation. In partnership with USAID and in line with Development Objective 2 of USAID’s DRC Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), LIFT aims to show that it is possible to achieve genuinely sustainable increases in access to clean water by implementing contextually relevant, performance-based contractual models for water service delivery in collaboration with state and local entities including ETDs and Provincial Administrations.
General Position Summary
The LIFT Short-Term Assignment (STA) Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Start Up Advisor is responsible for providing overall leadership, coordination and technical supervision of the monitoring, evaluation and research activities for start-up on the LIFT Programme. S/he will be expected to manage, connect and convert the data and research collected during the inception phase to help inform a strategic Programme Level approach.
The MEL Start Up Advisor will provide oversight of program/project-level monitoring and evaluation activities within LIFT during the first critical 3 months of the inception phase, ensuring the quality of the MEL activities, information management via the programs reporting system and geographic information systems (GIS), where applicable. In addition to designing the structure, setting up the M&E team structure and M&E systems, the MEL Start Up Advisor will play a critical role in informing LIFT’s Adaptive Management approach, with a culture of evidence-based decision-making. The MEL Start Up Advisor will be responsible for the development of the initial Activity Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan (A-MELP), a draft version of which is due to USAID within 90 days of the award (December 2020), with the final due within 120 days (January 2021). This will include providing critical insight and approach both to the Program and in dissemination with the wider office.
The MEL Start Up Advisor will be expected to critically and strategically manage all research partnerships during the inception phase, ensuring that research projects are planned and implemented in line with the Theory of Change, relevant project and programme objectives, and internal guidelines. S/he will be responsible for keeping track of progress and delays on assignments, coordinating and collaborating with partners and relevant stakeholders.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Design the Activity Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan (A-MELP) inclusive of Results Framework, logframe, and IPTT with indicators, measurement details and annual targets. The AMELP should also include data collection and management plans, a Learning and Research Plan, evaluation approach, description of activity monitoring and data quality assurance, data and other MEL-related information as needed. The data should be gender disaggregated as much as possible.
- Develop and set-up the MEL system for LIFT including M&E Plans and M&E tools, survey design methodology, collection and analysis processes (or hiring of external consultants).
- Responsible for ensuring that Gender considerations are effectively integrated at design, implementation, analysis and report writing stage for all produced MEL products and that data collected is sex and age disaggregated in line with Mercy Corps minimum standards and donor requirements.
- Oversee the data collection process during the inception phase.
- Ensure compliance with all internal Mercy Corps and external donor policies and regulations
- Setup and manage indicator tracking in TolaData.
RESEARCH AND LEARNING
- Strategically manage all research partnerships in inception phase, using results to help inform a strategic Programme Level approach for the continuance of the program.
- Develop and manage Learning and Research Agenda to identify critical learning questions and coordinate research and learning activities toward answering them.
- Key focal point for Research Partners, responsible for ensuring their coordination with the program from the offset.
- Lead in strategic development of operational research activities linked to program outcomes, in consultation with program technical leads.
- Review and provide feedback to all research products, maintaining Mercy Corps communication standards and quality
MEL TEAM MANAGEMENT
- Lead the development of the LIFT MEL team organisational structure, including the writing of position descriptions and the recruitment of key MEL positions.
- Onboard the permanent MEL Director (once recruited).
- 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.
- 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 toward 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.
Directly supervises: M&E Coordinators NK & SK, GIS Specialist
Reports Directly To: Mercy Corps LIFT Program Director
Works Directly With: LIFT MEL Team, LIFT Component Managers, MEL specialists from other programs, other programme staff and Research Partners
Knowledge and Experience
- 5 years of relevant Monitoring & Evaluation experience in a humanitarian context, ideally with USAID programmes and in programme start up.
- Technical expertise in managing and developing development program M&E systems and research agendas.
- Ability to effectively convey programmatic goals, enlist partnerships, and work with a range of internal and external stakeholders, inclusive of Consortium partners.
- Previous experience of managing a team much preferred.
- Excellent quantitative skills, including proficiency in Excel and at least one advanced statistical package (such as Stata, SPSS, QGIS/ArcGIS, SAS, R).
- Advanced computer skills, such as experience working with mobile technology platforms, databases, GIS, and/or web applications,
- Ability to translate data into effective communication documents, demonstrating strategic impact.
- Demonstrated understanding of what gender sensitive programming is and why it is important.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required;
- Fluent written and oral communication in English and French is required. Familiarity with Swahili is a plus.
A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. They will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws, security and gender integration protocols. As a key technical position, this person should have a strong understanding of program logic and should be able to express and document his/her ideas clearly and convincingly. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations. In DRC, patience, diplomacy, tenacity, compassion, determination and a sense of humor are all success factors.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is an unaccompanied post based in Goma (DRC).
While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There’s reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.
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. Staff 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.
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
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 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.