Monitoring, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL) Director, Advancing women’s Agency and Leadership, Jordan
Position is contingent on funding.
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 operating in Jordan since 2003. In partnership with civil society organizations, the private sector, and the government, Mercy Corps Jordan has reached more than 3.4 million Jordanians and displaced populations in the country. Working throughout Jordan Mercy Corps is driven by the mission to contribute to the emergence of a peaceful, resilient and prosperous Jordan which is inclusive of youth and women. We seek to build a future for Jordan in which all people feel secure, believe in the goodness of communities and institutions around them, and are on a sustainable path toward economic self-reliance. Our strategic directions focus on promoting strong communities and governance, peace and social cohesion and environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Mercy Corps is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL) Directorto lead implementation of the expected five-year USAID-funded Advancing Women’s Agency and Leadership (AWAL) program. The proposed program will create transformational changes in gender relations at the family, community and national levels to enhance gender equality and advance women’s leadership in Jordan. This will be achieve through: 1) strengthening the enabling environment and institutional capacity and addressing structural barriers for women to fully exercise their rights, express their agency and freely lead and participate in society without restrictions; 2) partnering with local stakeholders to counter prevailing prohibitive social norms that perpetuate gender inequality, undermine women’s agency to exercise their rights, and prevent transformative change in gender relations; and 3) advancing the inclusive and transparent leadership and decision-making participation of girls and women.
General Position Summary
The MERL Director will be responsible for ensuring robust performance monitoring and evaluation that supports the achievement of the program objectives. The MEL Director will provide oversight and ensure the quality of all project-level monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning activities within the AWAL Program. The MERL Director’s role is to also oversee and ensure coordination of the various technical areas across the MERL staff, including Research, MEL, CARM, and ICT/Database team members, as well as other relevant program team members and partners. The MERL Director is responsible for the capacity building and mentoring strategy for program staff on themes related to monitoring, evaluation, accountability, reporting, learning, and adaptive management.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Develop, set-up, and oversee the MERL system for AWAL, including Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan (AMELP) and Research Plans, MERL tools and technology, instrument design, data collection methodology and processes, data and information management systems, and data analysis to assess and share the impact of the program. This will include identification of process, output, and outcome indicators specific to women’s agency, leadership, normative change and institutional strengthening.
- Facilitate inclusive and gender-sensitive MERL processes and approaches, engaging local organizations, institutions, and women, to design and implement national- and community-level data collection tools and contribute to data analysis
- Ensure data collection process is functioning in all activity locations to provide quality data within deadlines, including support to partners to ensure timely and high quality MERL efforts
- Regularly review data collection processes, perform data quality assessments, and make adjustments as needed.
- Lead and/or collaborate with external researchers and evaluators on the design and roll out of the program assessments, formative research and RCTs, baseline study, and evaluations, while setting up effective systems for continuous learning, reflection, and adaptive management.
- Ensures program uses the necessary MEL systems and tools, to inform and improve, as well as feed into country-level M&E systems and strategy.
- Take the lead in aligning, collecting, analyzing and reporting on program indicators (e.g., performance, operational, context, etc.) and community accountability and response mechanisms (CARM) through the program’s MERL systems, including consortium partner systems, and other external systems as relevant.
- Support teams in collecting sex and age disaggregated data and using gender sensitive, socially inclusive, and remote data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse audiences, decision makers, and stakeholders.
- Provides guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the MEL systems meet the data, evidence, and learning needs of the program, including the sharing of information internally and externally, and help address shortfalls in MEL, CLA, and data management that affect program implementation.
- Ensures AWAL adheres to Mercy Corps’ MEL Policy, including the use of TolaData, adherence to Mercy Corps’ Program Record Retention Policy and Responsible Data Policy, and regular Data Quality Assessments (DQAs).
- Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information and learning within the program as well as externally.
- Maintain a comprehensive reporting and accountability schedule as well as review program reports to ensure that reports contain accurate, clear, and high-quality data and presented in the proper format.
- Oversee the AWAL MERL team and sub-contractors, like external evaluators and enumerators.
- Build the capacity of all relevant program and partner team members to develop and maintain an excellent MERL system, including regular reflection and analysis of program quantitative and qualitative data.
- 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.
Internal and External Coordination
- Collaborate with technical leads across the coalition and build processes for regular feedback loops in order to ensure functioning adaptive management
- Active contributor and collaborator with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of MEL best practices and lessons learned.
- Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library, Hub, and Workplace, to enhance organizational learning where relevant to MEL.
- Present program M&E, research, and learning to external stakeholders and the program team in a way that influences decision-makers and promotes adaptations from learning.
- Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
- Ensure that activities are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.
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 Program participants
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.
Number of direct reports is to be determined
Reports Directly To: Deputy Chief of Party
Works Directly With: MEL Team, other Mercy Corps Jordan and consortia Directors, technical leads and program managers, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program team, HQ Technical Support Unit
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, women’s studies, public policy, education, monitoring and evaluation, project management or other relevant field required. Postgraduate degree preferred.
- Minimum 7 years of managing MEL work at a program or country level, including supervising staff. Proven use of program technology in an MEL function required.
- Proven success in designing, implementing and operating project MEL systems from project initiation to closeout stages in Jordan.
- Experience in strategic planning and performance measurement, including indicator selection, target setting, reporting, database management and developing MEL and performance monitoring plans that support learning agendas and contribute to program efficacy.
- Experience with theoretical and practical background in MEL and research and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative methodologies and techniques, including experience in planning and managing surveys and developing and refining data collection tools.
- Familiarity with MEL approaches to measuring behavioral and normative change at the individual, interpersonal, community and societal levels.
- Familiarity with competencies-based approaches to agency and empowerment.
- Experience with gender and social inclusion analysis frameworks.
- Experience with data quality assessments and oversight.
- Excellent quantitative skills and power user with Excel; statistical packages including STATA, R, or SPSS; visualization software, like Tableau or Power BI, and GIS tools like QGIS, ArcGIS or Google Earth Pro is preferred.
- Experience with data management including the ability to structure and collate data sets for ease of analysis.
- Demonstrated understanding of intermediate statistics and ability to summarize and make predictions from multiple data sets.
- Experience of working on USAID programs preferred.
- Previous experience living and working in challenging or insecure environments.
- Prior experience working in Jordan and/or the Middle East. Should have substantial experience working in Jordan.
- Fluent verbal and written communication skills in Arabic and excellent verbal and written English is required.
- Jordanians and women are strongly encouraged to apply.
A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members and other stakeholders of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. This position requires an ability to think creatively about changing norms that lead to greater opportunities for women’s engagement and leadership at household, community and institutional levels. 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.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Amman, Jordan which is an accompanied post. Jordan is middle income country with excellent education, medical, and other facilities in the capital Amman. Jordan is a very safe country with excellent communications, transportation, and housing infrastructure. Although neighboring countries continue to experience political unrest, Jordan has been a stable monarchy for over 30 years and the destination preference for many people from the Middle East to relax or gain access to available services.
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 Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.