Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Advisor: Monrovia, Liberia
Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Advisor: Monrovia, Liberia.
* This role is subject to funding and donor approval of the final candidate.
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.
Since 2002, Mercy Corps has worked alongside Liberians to build pathways out of poverty, poor governance, and economic hardship. Mercy Corps’ interventions have evolved based on the context and needs of the Liberian people. Today, we are focused on the following areas: good governance, youth employment and market systems development, renewable energy, financial inclusion, and health and nutrition. We work closely with the Government of Liberia, the private sector, civil society, international and local NGOs to implement our programs in 10 of the 15 counties of Liberia. Mercy Corps is one of the foremost development actors in Liberia implementing strategic and systems driven programming.
Mercy Corps is seeking a dynamic Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Advisor to support the implementation of the anticipated Incentivize Learning Activity. The proposed program aims to address food security needs and incentivize school enrollment and ensure access to education for vulnerable and underserved school age children. The program will provide school meals, targeted financial incentives, engage communities and parents and conduct social and behavior change communication.
The CLA Advisor will ensure that collaboration, learning and adaptation is not only integrated but fully operationalized in program design and implementation. This means driving coordination with others, making evidence-based decisions, and adapting iteratively throughout implementation to remain relevant and on course.
The CLA Advisor will be responsible for leading strategy discussions, providing technical assistance and developing successful mechanisms for collaboration, learning and adaptation using USAID CLA principles and framework. They will use USAID’s Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation (CLA) principles to effectively integrate real time monitoring and learning back into the project strategy and implementation and ensure knowledge is shared with the broader stakeholders. The CLA Advisor will work in close collaboration with the Mercy Corps Performance and Quality (PaQ) team and partners to ensure program outcomes are effectively measured, learning is captured and the approach is adapted. In consultation with the program team, they will be responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the program-wide CLA system, as well as implementing an internal CLA capacity-building strategy that trains and mentors staff and promotes a culture of learning.
STRATEGY AND VISION
- Provide leadership, training and mentoring in the development of CLA Plans, CLA tools, survey design, methodology, data analysis, and other skills required for assessing the impact of the program.
- Provide technical contributions to CLA efforts to ensure the program aligns with any Government of Liberia Education standards; Gender Diversity and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) standards; and Conflict Sensitivity into all activities as appropriate.
- Collaborate with external evaluators on the design and roll out of the program baseline, midterm and final evaluations, while setting up effective systems for learning.
- Lead the program’s learning agenda, measurement and prepare/document adaptive management measures put in place (this may include sharing with wider internal/ external audience).
- Drive the implementation of frequent pause and reflect meetings, which contribute to adaptive management.
- Participate in the facilitation of strategic planning sessions.
- Lead program and MEL teams to adopt a holistic program-level CLA system.
- Ensures programs use the necessary CLA systems and tools, to inform and improve each individual program, as well as feed into the broader country-level CLA system and Liberia country strategy.
- Strengthen CARM (Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism) practices, work closely with the program team to come up with innovative ways of promoting CARM, and ensure programs use Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism data to inform and improve implementation as well as feeding into documentation of best practices.
- Lead on aligning, collecting and reporting on relevant food security, education and CLA indicators to the organizational-wide MEL systems, and other external systems as relevant.
- Ensure that teams are collecting sex and age disaggregated data and using gender sensitive data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse participants.
- Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the CLA systems meet the needs of program leadership and help address shortfalls in CLA that affect program implementation.
- Prepare analysis from available sources including MEL findings, CARM, field challenges, and lead sessions to develop adaptive management guidance/ recommendations.
- Contribute to program design to ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ [email protected] minimum standards and CLA best practices.
- Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information in programs.
CAPACITY BUILDING AND MENTORING
- Develop and oversee implementation of the CLA staff and partner capacity building strategy that promotes a culture of learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.
- Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent CLA system, including regular reflection and analysis of program monitoring data.
- Work closely with the Chief of Party (CoP), program team, Human Resources and Finance to ensure that CLA skills are incorporated into all program position descriptions and positions are budgeted for.
- Contribute to the knowledge management repository with best practices in CLA and ensure that it is accessible to all staff and partners.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COORDINATION
- Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of CLA best practices.
- Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library and the Hub to enhance organizational learning where relevant to CLA.
- Maintain close working relationships with CLA counterparts in other relevant international actors and food security, cash and education actors in Liberia and the region.
- Participate in workshops and learning-related activities and their inclusion in the program workplan.
- Attend relevant learning events hosted by other partners as well as implementation of sector-specific learning events with partners and local stakeholders.
- 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 program participants 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.
Reports Directly To: Chief of Party (dotted line to PaQ Manager)
Works Directly With: Program, PaQ, MEL, CARM, HR, TSU (Technical Support Unit), finance and operations 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 Qualification & Transferable Skills
- BA/S degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, project management, MA/S strongly preferred.
- 5+ years of progressive work experience in collaborative research and development programming required with proven use of program technology.
- Experience with theoretical and practical background in MEL and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques preferred.
- Experience with data management including the ability to structure and collate data sets for ease of analysis preferred.
- Proven experience with systems thinking or systems approaches to programming.
- Proven experience developing iterative learning systems or ‘feedback loops’ within development programs or organizational learning contexts.
- Experience mentoring and building technical capacity of individuals and institutions.
- Knowledge of food security, cash transfer and/or school feeding programs is a plus.
- Excellent computer skills (especially Microsoft office applications) and ability to use information technology as a tool and resource.
- Demonstrated experience in training and capacity building across diverse teams and partners.
- Excellent project management, time management, and organizational skills. Multi-tasking skills and ability to work under pressure.
- Strong writing, editing, public speaking skills and good leadership skills.
- Ability to summarize and simplify complex information and communicate it to the targeted groups.
- Excellent stakeholder management skills.
- Exceptional English writing skills.
- Previous experience in Liberia or West Africa is preferred but not mandatory.
The successful candidate should have experience and expertise leading collaboration efforts and translating programmatic learning into adaptive programming. They should also have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. They should 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
The CLA Advisor is based in Monrovia. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff have good access to services, medical, electricity, and water, etc. International schools are available. This position requires up to 40% of travel to field offices in secure environments. This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.
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 MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
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.