Regional Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor - Asia
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps is an international relief and development organization working in over 40 countries worldwide helping people build secure, productive and just communities. The Asia and Europe region comprises India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Ukraine and Timor Leste. Programming in these countries focuses on humanitarian response, economic and market systems development, resilience, financial inclusion, food security, nutrition, sustainable energy, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), among others. Common themes include community engagement, inclusive development, gender, and working in partnership with local government, the private sector and civil society actors. Mercy Corps’ investment in thought leadership, continual learning, and adaptive programming allows us to make changes that are essential in a fluid context, with significant ambitions to learning and sharing through building an evidence base, investment in program performance and quality, including MEL. The region is committed to using data-driven evidence to articulate country-level impact and contributions towards solving complex global challenges.
General Position Summary
Mercy Corps is looking for a highly qualified and dynamic Regional Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor to join the Asia & Europe Regional Team within the Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) Unit, to work under the leadership of the Director of Program Quality & Technical Support. S/he will support the country teams to design and implement sound MEL systems, assist with the rollout of MEL Policy Standards, initiate and foster use of data for decision-making.The desired candidate will bring expertise and hands on experience in building skills and capacity of the country teams on essential MEL competencies and knowledge as needed. The Asia & Europe Regional MEL Advisor will also support country teams to design, develop program MEL frameworks (Incl. MEL Plans, logframes, indicators), systems and tools, including application of appropriate mobile technologies, such as Ona, CommCare, PowerBi and others. As the Regional MEL Advisor, s/he will engage and provide technical support with design and implementation of internal and external program evaluations, learning agendas, and program performance reviews, working closely with the country, regional and HQ level PAQ and Program leads.
Building the MEL capacity of country programs is one of the major focus areas of this role. The Asia & Europe Regional MEL Advisor will chair and lead the MEL Community of Practice, help identify best practices in MEL, link country MEL teams through an effective community of practice and drive learning across the region, leveraging knowledge from the rest of the organization. The Regional MEL Advisor will engage with field leadership to nurture and help develop an effective, impact-driven leadership culture.
(50%) Assess and improve MEL and program performance related practices at the regional and country level.
Strengthen Strategic Focus for MEL in the Region
Develop a Regional MEL Workplan by working closely with country, regional and HQ counterparts, to align with regional priorities, regional PaQ strategy, and agency strategy, clearly reflecting both short term and long-term priorities.
Support the roll out of the global Mercy Corps MEL Policy in Asia and Europe by working closely with the country teams to assess their MEL structure and practices and recommend improvements in alignment of Mercy Corps Global MEL standards. Support recruitment and onboarding for the new program and MEL staff (esp. MEL, program managers, and country leaders), including MEL Policy, the Design for Impact Guide, various MEL Tools and systems.
Engage in the identification, refinement, and application of key performance indicators for the global and regional strategies and support country teams in the translation of these into country portfolios.
Provide Capacity Strengthening efforts for Quality MEL
Work with relevant country leadership teams to identify staff MEL capacity and learning needs.
Build MEL teams capacity and skills in key MEL areas, through provision of remote, in-person and on-the-job training.
Participate in the recruitment and gap filling of senior MEL positions within the countries and programs in the region and provide onboarding support to the new hires. Develop and Roll out a MEL Onboarding package, standardized for all countries in the region.
Work with respective country teams as needed, providing technical support on core MEL tasks through the data lifecycle, including planning, implementation, close out. This entails but is not limited to support with development and refinement of program logic models, theories of change, indicators, MEL plans, learning agendas, IPTT, MEL tools and mechanisms, and others as needed.
Lead the MEL sections of large proposals, by writing MEL narrative, MEL plan, IPTT and other sections as required.
Coordinate MEL support for country teams as needed with HQ teams like Technical Support Unit (TSU), PaQ and Tech for Development (T4D).
Promote use of Mercy Corps’ internal software for monitoring program indicators (TolaData) by the program teams, encouraging timely reporting of programmatic progress against the set targets. Work closely with the country leadership, Director of Program Quality & Technical Support, as well as the Deputy Regional Director and the PAQ Advisor to elevate challenges and engage support in a timely manner to address identified challenges.
(30%) Support initiatives that strengthen adaptive management and program learning.
Support Effective Use of Mobile Technologies for MEL
Closely work with the country offices to roll out Mercy Corps MEL and mobile technologies, oversee their implementation and provide training to teams as necessary.
Working closely with the HQ MEL team, support the countries to procure and effectively use Mercy Corps recommended mobile technology platforms, including CommCare, PowerBi and others. Identify training and learning needs on those key technologies, oversee that staff have access to relevant training programs (internal and external).
Promote Quality in Program Evaluations
Conduct and provide technical inputs and oversight on program reviews, evaluations, studies to ensure quality products by reviewing methodologies, tools of evaluations and studies’ products. This may include supporting the teams to develop a Scope of Work, reviewing study methodologies and tools at the inception phase and review drafts evaluations, baseline endline reports to ensure quality of data analysis and writings. Provide feedback and technical support to address quality issues by closely working with country teams and evaluations consultants.
Support country teams as needed in the identification and recruitment of external consultants and/or firms (via the Global Monitoring Evaluation and Research Master Service Agreements or other channels) with relevant experience and expertise in the region. This may include involvement in the administrative steps for recruitment and liaising with global focal points, grading submitted bids, contributing to interview guides and participating in interviews.
The MEL Advisor may also be expected to provide technical feedback on deliverables and insights throughout the process, as well as support country teams in capturing feedback on external consultants after their engagement with MC.
Promote Use of Data for Decision Making/Program Learning
Encourage documentation and facilitate evidence based learning across the region on MEL best practices, and linking the region to the global learning initiatives.
Organize and manage a regional MEL Community of Practice (CoP) and regional learning events (virtual and in person). Promote documentation and dissemination of learning and best practices sharing across the countries within the Asia & Europe Region.
Support knowledge management efforts and encourage the effective utilization of evidence and learning for adaptive management practices and designing resource mobilization efforts.
(20%) Strengthen accuracy and availability of quality data for programmatic MEL
Increase Efficiencies in Data Management
Identify opportunities for data flow automation, working closely with the countries and programs in both emergency and development settings. Link those to Mercy Corps HQ team, oversee the roll out by providing technical support as needed, and follow up on effectiveness and any needed adaptations of automated systems.
Increase Visibility and Use of Program Data
Working closely with the HQ MEL team, develop regional dashboards on program performance, and make those visible to country and regional leadership, identifying areas where additional support and oversight might be required.
Support and participate in initiatives leading to agency strategy measurement, initiate write up of sections related to the Asia & Europe Performance
Reports Directly To: Director of Program Quality & Technical Support, Asia
Works Directly With: Country leadership and program teams, Country MEL Managers, HQ technical support teams, Regional leadership, Regional and Global TSU and PaQ teams
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills
- BA in international development or other relevant social science (MA preferred).
- 5 or more years of experience working in international relief and development programs, with at least 5 years focused on providing MEL technical support to field programs, and at least 4 years working overseas preferred.
- At least 2 years of hands-on experience in designing and leading program learning activities in programs that address complex developmental issues is required.
- Prior hands-on experience with writing MEL sections of proposals, including MEL narrative sections, MEL plans, Learning plans, MEL Technologies plans, MEL budgets, staffing plans.
- Strong familiarity with international development and humanitarian donor requirements for monitoring, evaluation, and learning, including USAID, BHA, FCDO and EU and others.
- Strong knowledge of and prior experience in participating or leading program evaluations, including designing Scopes of Work, commissioning evaluations with partners and consultants, conducting evaluations with program teams. Knowledge of program evaluation, design, and methodologies (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods), and data collection and analysis tools and approaches.
- Experience with data management, analysis and visualization using Excel, Access, and advanced data analysis and visualization packages, as well as mobile data collection platforms. Proven experience in ODK, Ona, CommCare, PowerBi and similar tools, strong familiarity with STATA or SPSS, MAXQDA or Atlas.ti or equivalent packages strongly encouraged. Knowledge of additional software and technical skills (databases, GIS,) are a plus.
- Experience designing practical and effective monitoring systems, including data and database management systems.
- Experience in training and capacity-building (in person and remotely) and fostering a collaborative relationship across multidisciplinary field teams and management,
- Strong communication skills; able to work remotely with a geographically dispersed team.
- Fluent in English; Russian language skills strongly preferred.
Strong team player, good communication and diplomatic skills
Able to facilitate complex team dynamics and achieve aims
Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.
Good organizational skills and ability to work independently.
Strong commitment to advancing learning in international development through monitoring and evaluation
Active within the M&E and learning community
Strong relationship-building skills and commitment to working collaboratively
The regional MEL Advisor will demonstrate a winning record of accomplishment in program Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, and bring flexibility, creativity, and enthusiasm to every project s/he undertakes. The candidate will have a deep commitment to programmatic excellence and will be leading and driving the Asia & Europe MEL workstream along with championing our agency-wide and regional-level commitment to evidence-based decision-making. They must have change management skills and the ability to multitask, set priorities, pay attention to detail, and work under tight deadlines within complex team environments. This position requires strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills, and a level of emotional intelligence proficiency that quickly builds and maintains productive relationships across teams. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues in the Asia & Europe and diverse cultures is critical.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position will be based in a MC Asia or Europe country, with periodic visits in the region up to 40% travel. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in 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 always and in all in-country venues.
Candidates must hold citizenship for the base location country of this role.
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 e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.