Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Director
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 since 1986. Presently, we work in six provinces, operating out of seven offices, with a portfolio of programs aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods, combating natural resource degradation, expanding access to vocational training, supporting adoption of renewable energy technology, and strengthening private sector, civil society and government institutions.
General Position Summary
This position is director level and charged with the responsibility of strengthening the MEL unit into an institutionally robust and independent, but complementary, service in the MC Afghanistan (MCA) country office. The MEL function covers four programmatic portfolios. The MEL Director is responsible for oversight of the MEL department, ensuring the quality of M&E data, accurate and timely information management (TOLA) and supporting GIS efforts of MCA. The MEL director is a member of the MCA management team and responsible for all aspects of leadership and management of the unit, including developing and managing the MEL unit’s budget. The MEL Director and his/her team provide MEL services to programs 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. In addition to training and mentoring staff, the MEL Director is responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and continuously improving the nation-wide M&E system.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & 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.
- 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.
- 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 innovative M&E learning systems with built-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 provide 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 (Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism) mechanisms and work with program teams to ensure accountability to beneficiaries and partners.
- Lead and develop an M&E team developing and maintaining a system that improves the country’s ability to analyze and represent impact to donors, government, partners, and communities MCA serves.
- Participate in country management meetings and strategy sessions.
- Be responsible and accountable for all MEL budget lines across programs.
- Be responsible for MEL deliverables to donors and programs.
- Use existing MC resources to train M&E and program teams in the areas of monitoring and evaluation and report writing.
- Develop plans to mentor and coach staff to build their capacity to enable them to develop excellent reports and other documents.
- Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent M&E system, including training on Tola (M&E data software created by Mercy Corps and used globally) and the periodic reflection and analysis of program monitoring data to disseminate learning.
- Develop high-impact data visualizations to promote analysis and organizational learning, using examples to build replicable prototypes that other programs can use.
- Ensure that analytical techniques are methodologically sound.
- Work 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 Program 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.
- 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 an M&E system that serves the needs of the overall of the country portfolio and its field officers.
- Design and maintain an M&E system with utility and program quality in mind, providing managers and their teams real time information that informs program implementation and supports strategic program direction and future program humanitarian and development interventions.
- Work with senior management to address shortfalls in M&E that affect program implementation and conduct internal data quality assessments (DQA).
GRANTS/ REPORTS MANAGEMENT
- 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, statistical analysis fundamentals 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 to M&E systems and act as a link to HQ M&E technical staff.
- Play a central role in all evaluation, design and implementation and developing the capacity of a national team to conduct internal evaluations.
- Set up and supervise the country M&E programs including hiring, orienting and supervising M&E staff as appropriate.
- 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 on time and in line with M&E quality standards.
- 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.
- 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 PARTNERS
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
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: Senior Program Director
Works Directly With: MEL staff and country managers and directors
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 with excellent Excel and Word skills.
- Ability to manage and meet deadlines.
- Ability to work independently and multi-task.
- Excellent oral and written 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.
The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the complex cultural, political, security and social environment of Afghanistan. They will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations. They will be open, transparent and be able to work successfully in difficult environments while promoting a positive and respectful work environment. The successful candidate will be focused on team and capacity building of national staff. They should be a strategic thinker and have strong skills in design, monitoring and evaluation of development/humanitarian programs.
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. They are 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.
The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, and make effective communication a priority in all situations. They must be able to work in an austere environment where personal liberties may be restricted from time to time. Presently in Kabul, expatriates cannot walk outside the office and guesthouse, which limits the options for socializing. Simply adhering to these restrictions is not sufficient because the incumbent must maintain good morale and appropriate behavior in the work place and in social settings regardless of these limitations. These security restrictions are often imposed with ambiguous information, with the default position being that decisions err on the side of caution. The incumbent must not be argumentative or second-guess security decisions. There is no individual housing and all expats must be ready to live in-group houses, which require reasonable compromises and maturity.
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.