Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director - Afghanistan

Monitoring and Evaluation Kabul, Afghanistan


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 working in Afghanistan continuously since 1986. Presently, Mercy Corps is working in ten provinces in Afghanistan with a portfolio of programmes aimed at promoting improved prosperity for Afghan citizens through agri-business, natural resources management, youth vocational skills and deployment of renewable energy. These four pillars support livelihoods, increasing food security, access to financial services and strengthening private sector, civil society and government institutions. Donors include BPRM and OFDA from the US Government, UNODC, GIZ, KfW, the European Delegation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the British Council.

General Position Summary:

This position is director level and is charged with the responsibility of strengthening the MEL unit into an institutionally robust independent service unit within the MC Afghanistan serving the four programmatic portfolios. The MEL Director is responsible for oversight of the full department, ensuring the quality of M&E, information management (TOLA) and support GIS efforts of Mercy Corps Afghanistan. The post holder is a member of the MCA management team and responsible for all aspects of leadership and management of the unit. The MEL Director, budget holder of the crosscutting MEL activities, is responsible to provide MEL services to programs across the four strategic pillars in a culture of ‘customer service’, in line with donor requirements and Mercy Corps’ standards. The MEL Director is responsible for training and mentoring national staff across MC Afghanistan. The MEL Director will be responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the nation-wide M&E system, as well as training M&E staff in each office.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

Strategy and Vision

  • Provide leadership, in collaboration with the Directors of Programs and the Country Director, all offices and programs in all aspects of M&E and information management.
  • 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.
  • Design effective CARM mechanisms and working with programme team to ensure these are utilized for accountability to beneficiaries and partners.
  • Develop country MEL strategy, provide leadership to field offices in developing individual program level M&E systems that inform and improve each program, as well as feed into the broader nation-wide M&E system and country strategy.
  • Lead and develop an M&E team country team and also the M&E Managers assigned to each program in developing and maintaining a system that improves the country’s ability to analyze and represent impact to donors, government, colleague agencies, and communities themselves.
  • Participate in country management meetings and countrywide strategy sessions.

Program Management

  • 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 M&E and program teams in the area of monitoring and evaluation and report writing.
  • 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 plans to mentor and coach staff to build their capacity to enable them to develop excellent reports and other documents.
Program Management/ Data Management

  • Develop high-impact data visualizations to promote analysis and organizational learning, using examples to build replicable prototypes that can be used by other programs.
  • Works with the program and M&E teams to ensure a holistic country-level M&E system is operational in order to more accurately collect, monitor and verify program activities.
  • Provides 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.
  • Contributes 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.
System Management

  • Lead efforts to establish an M&E unit working out of Kabul city that will facilitate M&E for all programs and collaborate closely with Program Managers in developing and establishing of the M&E system, one that serves the needs of the overall of the country portfolio and its field officers.
  • Support all country programmes independent M&E efforts to ensure high quality M&E at the program level as well as build a nationwide system that captures and presents results at a national level.
  • Design and maintain an M&E system with utility and program quality in mind, providing managers and their teams real time information that can steer program implementation as well as informing donors and strategic program direction and that helps strategize future programme interventions.
  • Work with senior management to address shortfalls in M&E that affect program implementation and conduct internal DQAs.

Grants/ Report Management 

  • Regularly conduct project site visits to provide hands-on training to field staff on how to capture and organize information for accurate documentation and reporting.
  • Assist the program implementation team in timely and accurate reporting to donors.
  • Coordinate with a variety of teams, HQ, Finance, and Program Directors and Country Director to ensure that reports are timely, high quality, and responsive to donors.
  • Lead national team capacity building through coaching in report writing and quality control of final written products.
  • Assist in designing programs that incorporate Mercy Corps’ standards on design, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • 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.
  • Set up and supervise the country M&E programs including hiring, orienting and supervising M&E staff as appropriate.
  • Play a central role in all evaluation, design and implementation and developing the capacity of a national team to conduct internal evaluations.
Team Management
  • 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 & 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.

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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility:

MEL Managers, Government and Relationship Manager. Directly supervises the staff of the unit and provides technical guidance through Kabul based staff to field office M&E Officers/Focal Points


Reports Directly To: Country Director
Works Directly With: MEL senior staff and the whole MEL Team

Knowledge and Experience:

  • BA/S or equivalent, preferable in business administration, public administration or international development. 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.
  • Experience with theoretical and practical background in research or DM&E and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and techniques required.
  • Must have extensive training skills and experience working with a variety of donors, including USAID and DFID.
  • 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.
  • Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response preferred.
Success Factors

The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the complex cultural, political, security and social environment of Afghanistan. He/She will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations. He/She will be a tolerant and flexible individual able to work in difficult and stressful environments and follow procedures. The successful candidate will be focused on team building and capacity building of national staff; be a strategic thinker, have strong skills in design monitoring and evaluation of development programs and maintain a sense of humor.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in Kabul, with regular travel to field offices throughout Afghanistan. The security situation is volatile and may spike into acute periods of insecurity. S/he is expected to follow all security protocols including limited movement when necessary. A certain international standard of medical care is available in Kabul, however for serious cases, evacuation is required, and therefore staff must be able to be 24 hours away from medical care. All offices have internet connectivity and communication is reliable. Accommodation is shared housing, equipped with generators and heating, with cooks and cleaners provided by MC.

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. 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.

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.