Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager
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 was recently awarded the USDA McGovern-Dole Food for Education program (2019-2024, $21.5 million USD) in Uzbekistan. The objectives of the program are to:
- Promote reading readiness in preschools and homes through the provision of age-appropriate pre-literacy activities, training and mentoring of preschool teachers and school administrators on pre-literacy instruction and enhancing community and family support for reading;
- Improve nutrition of children and their families through the provision of school meals, and promotion and improvement of dietary diversity;
- Improve school infrastructure and the learning environment of preschool children through the construction or rehabilitation of preschool kitchens, classrooms and water and sanitation facilities;
- Increase knowledge of nutrition, health, and hygiene practices and safe food preparation and storage practices, by facilitating training for cooks, parents, and school officials;
- Improve student attendance in preschools through the provision of daily school meals, improved learning environment, and access to clean water and sanitation.
The program will target preschools in the Autonomous Region of Karakalpakstan and the southern region of Surkhandarya. Mercy Corps is partnering with ACTED (Agence d'aide à la Coopération Technique Et au Développement) who will lead activities to rehabilitate 35 preschools in Surkhandarya.
Mercy Corps previously implemented programs in Uzbekistan from 1994-2007 ranging from strengthening civil society, enhancing economic development and supporting vulnerable groups with targeted assistance. In addition to these programs, Mercy Corps also founded a micro-credit institution in Uzbekistan, Barakot, to provide communities, especially women entrepreneurs, with access to loans and credit services; increase income generation; stimulate the local economy; and promote gender equity. Mercy Corps is currently pursuing re-registration in Uzbekistan.
General Position Summary
The MEL Manager is responsible for oversight of the full MEL department, ensuring the quality of M&E activities, information management (TolaData) and support research efforts of Mercy Corps Uzbekistan. The MEL Manager is responsible for all aspects of leadership and management of the MEL unit. The MEL Manager is responsible to provide MEL services to programs in line with donor requirements and Mercy Corps’ standards. The MEL Manager is responsible for training and mentoring national staff across MC Uzbekistan. The MELManager will be responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the nation-wide M&E system, as well as training MEL staff in each office.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY AND VISION
- Work with program teams to develop explanatory and analytical M&E systems, which go beyond descriptive reporting and indicator-centric processes.
- Support programs to create creative and innovative M&E learning systems with build-in feedback loops which directly inform program managers and enable iterative improvements to program implementation, as well as feed into the broader nation-wide M&E system and country strategy.
- Actively participate in SMT meetings and countrywide strategy sessions and provides the MEL perspective and any implications to the country-level MEL strategy.
- Contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of M&E and ICT best practices.
- Adapt Mercy Corps CARM guidelines and mechanisms and work with program team to ensure these are utilized for accountability to beneficiaries and partners.
- Ensure that the program has strong foundations in Program Management and MEL, which may include but are not limited to gap assessments, work planning, training, and/or capacity building.
- Participate in country management meetings and countrywide strategy sessions.
- Be responsible of and accountable for all MEL budget lines across programs.
- Be responsible of MEL deliverables to donors and programs.
- Use existing MC resources train MEL and program teams in the area of monitoring and evaluation and report writing.
- Coordinate and play a role in assessments as requested. Provide input as to M&E systems and act as a link to HQ M&E technical staff.
DATA AND INFORMATION MANGEMENT
- Develop high-impact data visualizations to promote analysis and organizational learning, using examples to build replicable prototypes that can be used by other programs.
- Work with the program and MEL teams to ensure a holistic country-level M&E system is operational in order to more accurately collect, monitor and verify program activities.
- Use the TolaData platform to manage and track program indicators and their performance, and generate and use TolaData report and tables to facilitate programmatic learning, decision making, adaption, and accountability.
- Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the M&E systems meet the needs of Programs Managers and Country Leadership and help address shortfalls in M&E and data management that affect program implementation.
- Contribute to program design to ensure adherence to Mercy Corps’ standards, including the use of standardized indicators and documentation methodologies but also quality indicators that support program management.
M&E SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
- Lead efforts to establish a MEL unit working out of Tashkent that will facilitate M&E for all programs and collaborate closely with Program Managers in developing and establishing of the M&E system that serves the needs of the other field offices and project teams.
- Design and maintain an M&E system with utility and program quality in mind, providing Program Managers and their teams real time information that can steer program implementation, as well help strategize future program interventions.
- Work with Senior Management to address shortfalls in M&E that affect program implementation and conduct internal DQAs.
- Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent M&E system, including training on TOLA and the periodic reflection and analysis of program monitoring data to disseminate learning.
- Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-ones and performance reviews.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Play an active role in hiring, orienting and leading team members as necessary.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
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 PARTNERSMercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging partner communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Data Specialist, M&E Officers, M&E Assistant
Reports Directly To: Chief of Party
Works Directly With: Chief of Party, Deputy Chief of Party, Communications Specialist and other Project teams.
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S or equivalent, preferable in public policy/administration, international development or research methods. MA/S in relevant field strongly preferred.
- 5-7 years of experience in the areas of program development and monitoring and evaluation, including relevant experience building and managing an M&E system and team, relevant experience supervising data collection and data validation exercises, and building staff capacity.
- Successful experience with the adoption of mobile data collections tools like Open Data Kit and Ona, including XLS Form authoring.
- Background in theoretical and practical research and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and techniques required.
- Must have extensive training skills and experience working with a variety of donors, including USDA.
- High degree of computer literacy; Excel and Word skills are essential.
- Ability to manage and meet deadlines.
- Ability to work independently on multi-task load.
- Excellent communication and organizational skills.
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
- Previous experience working in Uzbekistan and/or Central Asia is an advantage.
- Fluency in spoken and written English and Russian. Uzbek language skills are desired.
The successful candidate will combine exceptional verbal and written communication skills with strong analytical skills and an interest in education and child nutrition. They will be an excellent thinker, communicator, multi-tasker and able to work in ambiguous situations and will also be tolerant and flexible, able to work in stressful environments and follow procedures. The successful candidate will be focused on team-building and capacity building of national staff and, as a team member, ensure the team produces top quality work. They will have or be prepared to rapidly develop a strong understanding of the cultural, political and religious environment in the region, and the ability to live and work successfully in those environments are essential.
Living /Environmental Conditions:
This position will be based in Tashkent. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with complete freedom of movement in Tashkent and other locations in the country for which no travel restrictions exist. There are several international schools in Tashkent. Staff have access to reasonable quality healthcare services in Tashkent and access to reliable water services. Access to electricity during the hot season can be less reliable, with the occasional power cut. This position requires approximately 35-40% travel by plane and vehicle to field offices in environments that for the most part are secure, as well as to regional and international meetings and workshops. This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/STA 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.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.