MERL Manager - DRC

Monitoring and Evaluation Goma, Congo, Democratic Republic Of (Was Zaire)


This position is pending donor approval

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.

About Mercy Corps in the DRC

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of approximately 400 people working in Eastern DRC. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Mercy Corps’ key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC’s humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo with multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH support to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps is also currently responding the unfolding Ebola epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. The current annual budget includes resources from DFID, USAID, ECHO, UN-donors, Government of Netherlands, OFDA, FFP, SDC and others.

Program Summary

In 2008, Mercy Corps and USAID launched a project to rehabilitate and extend the municipal water system of Goma and it was extended through other various donors.  In 2013, Mercy Corps signed a new $60M (USD) grant agreement with DFID-DRC to replicate and scale-up the Goma water project in two cities in Eastern Congo. The program involves designing, rehabilitating, extending and constructing city water and sanitation infrastructure as well as working to reform management structures to ensure that the systems are managed profitably and sustainably. In 2019, Mercy Corps is pursuing expanded peri-urban water and sanitation programming with an anticipated USAID funded project valued at up to $50M.

General Position Summary

The MERL Manager will oversee MEL systems and staff, formative research activities carried out by program partners, and collaboration and learning across the LIFT program, resulting in evidence-based, locally adapted programmatic approaches for increasing access to clean water and safe sanitation services in the DRC. The MERL Manager must be proficient in M&E systems, familiar with creative and rigorous research design and relevant measurement approaches, and experienced in translating evidence into improved practice. S/he will ensure the program results in intentional and adaptive learning, and that findings are disseminated broadly. S/he will be responsible for knowledge sharing and application, evidence and data utilization, collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) and contribute to activity-based capacity strengthening. This position will play a key role in helping build an environment of evidence-based programming and adaptive management at all levels.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Provide technical leadership to formative research activities, refinement of the Theory of Change, and development of a locally adapted programmatic approach to reducing acute malnutrition
  • Facilitate active, intentional, and adaptive learning within and across the program’s multi-sectoral activities.


  • Lead the set-up/implementation of a MEL system for the program that uses open source software and flexible cloud solutions to collect, monitor, verify and document program activities.
  • Collaborate closely with Program Directors/Managers and M&E staff in developing and establishing M&E systems that serve the needs of the program
  • Identify and address shortfalls in monitoring, evaluation and information management that impact quality and affect program implementation.
  • Lead the development of M&E Plans, M&E tools, survey design, methodology, data analysis, and other services as may be required for program monitoring and evaluation.
  • Ensure that monitoring systems meet USAID requirements and that performance results can be used for continuous improvement.
  • Ensure appropriateness and rigor of research methods carried out by program partners and that program quality standards are adhered to.
  • Ensure research results are useful and applicable for making program design decisions.
  • Establish systems and methods for active, intentional and adaptive learning across the program.
  • Set up a system of regular program quality audits.
  • Organize and/or lead regular training and other capacity building events for program staff to improve program quality, and support other departments to take the lead in developing and implementing capacity building activities to improve program management processes.
  • Proactively support learning and information sharing across geographies and with other implementers.
  • Support the creation of an evidence-based learning culture through consistent analysis of lessons learned and best practices to encourage adaptive management.
  • Disseminate research and evaluation findings to program team and stakeholders.
  • Contribute to program visibility and advocacy work by assisting in dissemination of program research and learning information.
  • Support Consortium partners to develop and maintain program monitoring tools and systems and utilize data and analysis to inform program management and ensure timely, efficient and reliable monitoring of program outputs and outcomes.
  • Foster a community of practice, whereby partners share lessons learned and best practices.


  • Manage program-level M&E staff to ensure appropriate and timely technical support in monitoring, evaluation, program design, learning, accountability, quality assurance, and information management.
  • Serve as a resource for program staff, advising them on activity design, gathering of baseline data, evidence-based programming, developing and implementing M&E plans, and impact assessment.
  • Develops high-impact data visualization applications to facilitate analysis and organizational learning.
  • Develop and oversee implementation of capacity building strategy for team members that promotes a culture of learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data and lessons learned.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary.


  • 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.

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: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Senior managers, field, finance and operations teams, partner organizations, other implementers, Mercy Corps HQ Research & Learning and Performance and Quality Teams

Supervisory Responsibility: MERL Team


Knowledge and Experience

  • MA in social science, development studies, international relations or related discipline with minimum 3 years applied MERL experience (PhD preferred)
  • 5 years or more experience managing M&E operations, with a preference for field experience in rural sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Experience with theoretical and practical background in research or MEL and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and techniques required.
  • Experience with community participation in mapping and other M&E processes.
  • Successful experience with the adoption of mobile data collections tools like Open Data Kit and Ona including XLSForm authoring, and GIS systems.
  • Knowledge of major aspects of program development, implementation and documentation and excellent verbal and written communication skills required.
  • Excellent quantitative skills and experience with Excel, Access, and statistical packages including Stata, R and GIS tools like QGIS, ArcGIS, and Google Earth Engine.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required;
  • Knowledge of the latest thinking and methods in the field of applied research and impact evaluation of humanitarian and development programs, with a focus on food security.
  • Familiarity with the concept of adaptive management/CLA, and demonstrated experience using a mix of informational sources and research methods to analyze the program’s progress, communicate findings to a range of external and internal stakeholders, and apply learning to work planning.
  • Experience working on USAID-funded assistance projects of a similar size and scope preferred.
  • Fluent written and oral communication in English is required; intermediate to fluent French required. Familiarity with Swahili is a plus.

Success Factors

A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead a team and communicate effectively with team members and colleagues of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. S/he 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, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. 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 will be based in Goma (DRC). Accommodation will be provided in Goma within group housing. Goma is a provincial capital of over 700,000 inhabitants. Living in Goma is comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. There are different restaurants and leisure activities available.

While conditions in the country are improving, 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.  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 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 MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.



Diversity is powerful. To achieve transformational change, we seek out team members with different origins, beliefs, backgrounds and ways of thinking. Diversity helps us unlock complexity