STA - Senior Advisor - Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Monitoring & Evaluation Washington, District of Columbia Portland, Oregon


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.

The Department

Mercy Corps works to alleviate poverty, suffering, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. The agency operates programs in over 40 countries around the world. The Program Performance and Quality Unit (PaQ), which sits in the Programs Department, supports effective, efficient and equitable program performance through a culture of quality management, to achieve results for those who matter most - our program participants. PaQ consists of the following teams and functions: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL); Strategic Leadership; Program Standards; Infrastructure. These teams are grouped together under PaQ because they focus on improving cross-cutting program and portfolio performance and managing program risk in a manner that is applicable to all or most programs/ portfolios, regardless of technical sector, desired program outcomes, or context, and because they are central to Mercy Corps’ desire to improve program performance and quality through Standards, Service, and Evidence.

The HQ MEL Team of Mercy Corps consists of MEL Officers, MEL Advisors, Senior MEL Advisors, Senior MEL Technical Leads and a MEL Senior Director. The MEL Team of Mercy Corps supports both foundational and cutting-edge adaptive management approaches with design, monitoring, evaluation and learning functions as key processes and benchmarks to ensure evidence-based decision making for quality program implementation. The MEL Team’s work includes, but is not limited to, the provision of technical MEL support to programs, the integration of MEL technologies at all stages of the data lifecycle, implementation of learning mechanisms and platforms, implementation of and support for data quality assessments, the development of global MEL standards and good practices, and support with agency-level reporting. A major focus area of the MEL team is the implementation of Mercy Corps’ MEL and Program Management policies. The team works across a wide spectrum of stakeholders both internal and external to Mercy Corps, as well as diverse technical program approaches and sectors. A critical MEL team priority is to facilitate Mercy Corps’ programs to use of Mercy Corps’ in-house digital platform, TolaData, for managing and tracking program indicators and assessing program performance.  

The Position

The Senior MEL Advisor provides technical leadership in advancing effective MEL practices. S/he plays an important role in integrating learning across programs, building capacity, skills, and knowledge across team members of various programs.  S/he contributes substantially to the development of resources advancing the implementation of Mercy Corps’      MEL policy standards and, with other MEL team members, proactively searches for the most effective solutions to assure adherence to these.

Job Responsibilities


MEL Policy

  • Provide senior-level technical support with the development and continued review and revision of Mercy Corps’ MEL policy, standards, and operational procedures while conducting oversight of and advisory or implementation support to programs and country leadership in meeting these standards. Travel to support implementation of the MEL policy as required.

  • Coordinate with other PaQ unit members to assure consistency between other PaQ policies and standards within which the MEL Policy and Standards fall.

  • Develop resources for onboarding new staff to MEL policy and the associated guidance notes, using interactive technology platforms.

MEL Tools and systems

  • Assess the need for, and lead development of MEL tools, guidelines and other resources to advance Mercy Corps’ ability to develop and use high-quality MEL systems. This includes support to program monitoring, evaluation and learning plans, database configuration, dashboard development, learning plans, as well guidance on quantitative and qualitative monitoring, assessments and evaluation methods and tools that are grounded on program experience and best practices.

  • Provide senior-level MEL skills-building support to programs and partners, developing their expertise through training, coaching, and mentoring on MEL resources, tools, and systems, to meet donor requirements and improve adaptive management. Advise on context-appropriate MEL Technology packages, support their integration in MEL and ensure data protection and security.

  • Support development and finalization of the Qualitative Indicators toolkit.

MEL Resources

  • Work closely with the Senior thematic lead and MEL Managers in MSD programs to put together MSD working group

  • Review existing webinar recordings on MSD, create a script for an updated MSD webinar.

  • Work with the MSD and MEL Advisors to record a series of 3, 20-minute webinars on MSD MEL

Evaluations and Reviews

  • Develop a proposal for an Evaluation toolkit or a step-by-step guide, whichever appropriate as per identified needs. Start the development of practical guidance for conducting quality evaluations for MEL managers. Review Mercy Corps library to identify relevant tools and templates that can help implementation of evaluations. Reach out to country offices, identify resources, tools, templates and other resources to build a step-by-step guidance for conducting evaluations.

  • Support, design, lead, conduct and oversee the implementation of evaluations as needed. Identify appropriate evaluation methodologies, lead the design and testing of instruments for data collection, facilitate stakeholder consultations and participatory data interpretation workshops as needed, and spearhead learning events.

  • Research and summarize trends that are relevant to Mercy Corps vision, goals and objectives especially with respect to capturing Mercy Corps sectoral impacts across time and programs.

  • Support the Senior MEL Leadership with the identification and testing of metrics to assess the impact of Mercy Corps’ interventions across regions, countries and time as well as new sector-specific metrics that reflect Mercy Corps contribution to global health and development goals.

  • Support implementation of Final Internal Performance Reviews (FIPR), pause and reflection, to ensure that program teams are aware of the tools and know how to use those for their needs.


  • Participate in conducting DQAs and support DQAs at program level upon request. Develop clear guidance, instruments, conduct webinars to strengthen program teams’ skills in DQAs

  • Conduct quality checks on program data in TolaData, especially those gearing towards FIPR and being considered for the Strategy Results Measurement

  • Support preparation and implementation of Participants Count and other agency level reporting initiatives as necessary.

  • Support and conduct one learning session on the strategy results measurement in food security with identified stakeholders.


  • Contribute to a strong and regularly updated network of technical experts and consultants that can serve as an additional resource for program support.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Senior MEL Director  

Works Directly With: IT Development Team for TolaData, PaQ VP, Program Performance & Quality Team (MEL, Program Standards, Strategic Leadership, etc.), Regional PaQ+ Advisors, Regional/Country Leadership, Country-level MEL focal points, and program 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

  • Experience with theoretical and practical background in M&E systems and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and techniques required.

  • Experience in using digital tools for data collection (such as Ona, CommCare, KoBo Toolbox) and data visualizations (such as Google Data Studio, Tableau, Power BI, etc).

  • Exemplary organizational, communication and presentation skills.

  • Experience leading or facilitating training, learning events, design workshops, etc... with field teams.

  • Excellent writing skills and the ability to clearly articulate key messages for multiple audiences and stakeholders.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience implementing large-scale change initiatives.

  • Skilled at navigating complex problems and convening multiple, cross-functional stakeholders together to build shared ownership and buy-in.

  • Exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills, and experience with statistical analysis using statistical software.

  • Demonstrated understanding of advanced statistical techniques and the ability to summarize, generalize, and make predictions from large data sets.

  • Verbal and reading proficiency in French or Spanish is desired.

Success Factors

This position will aim to narrow the gap between M&E and program management by striving to produce information and learning that is used by program teams to make strategic and operational decisions. The successful candidate will have experience leading or supporting the use of technology platforms for monitoring and evaluation. The successful candidate will have proven experience working with a cross-cultural team in a rapidly changing environment and will make effective communication a priority in all situations. The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong commitment to delivering quality products and building or reinforcing great teams.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

Ability to travel to countries in which Mercy Corps operates.  Travel duration is between 7 and 21 days with an average of 14 days and there is often flexibility with regards to the start and end dates.  There is at least a 20 day advance notice of required travel giving the Sr. MEL Advisor time to prepare for her/his absence and there is always at least 30 days between travel assignments unless the Sr. MEL Advisor explicitly states that he/she does not mind shorter times between the assignments. Assignments requiring travel constitute 15-25% of the Sr. MEL Advisor’s time over one year. 

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.

Ongoing Learning

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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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 elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.