Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Director - STEP UP Activity

Monitoring & Evaluation Pemba, Mozambique


Monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) Director –Mozambique STEP UP Activity

Position is contingent on new funding- National candidates and those with current residency in Mozambique are strongly encouraged to apply

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To create a better world, 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

Working in neighboring Zimbabwe since 2002, Mercy Corps began operations in Mozambique in early 2020 as part of a multi-country program to address the drivers of and pathways to violent extremism in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Mozambique. Mercy Corps is building on this program to establish a broader presence in Mozambique to address some of the country’s most complex challenges. Leveraging our core global and regional capacities, Mercy Corps aims to address the humanitarian crisis in the North, the underlying chronic development challenges, and the compounding challenges of weak governance, conflict, and climate change to bring value on interventions for peacebuilding and local governance strengthening; market systems strengthening; youth employment; resilience, DRM, and climate change adaptation; and systems strengthening for food security.

Mercy Corps is seeking a qualified Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Director for the anticipated USAID-funded Stability Through Economic Progress, Unity, and Peacebuilding (STEP UP) Activity in Mozambique. The Activity is expected to support local businesses and civil society through grants and capacity development; increase opportunities for economic growth and diversification; and improve social cohesion within communities. STEP UP will empower local communities, especially in Cabo Delgado and other areas prone to conflict, to drive their own social and economic development through providing opportunities and tools (including but not limited to grant challenges and activities that strengthen business and social cohesion). The program is anticipated to begin in October 2024. Hiring is contingent upon successful award and USAID approval of the candidate.

General Position Summary

The MEL Director will provide oversight and ensure the quality of all MEL interventions and deliverables under the anticipated Activity. The MEL Director will provide technical expertise and leadership to generate and analyze quality evidence and data through monitoring, assessments, and evaluations. They will be responsible for coordination and technical supervision for all MEL aspects of the Activity. Coordinating closely with the Chief of Party (CoP) and other senior program leaders, the MEL Director will ensure all MEL activities support the Activity’s objectives. The MEL Director is also responsible for capacity building and mentoring staff on themes related to MEL and Collaboration, Learning and Adapting (CLA), accountability, reporting, and adaptive management. The MEL Director should demonstrate the ability to network and engage with necessary stakeholders. They will manage staff, resources, consultants (as needed) and coordinate closely with the CoP and partners to fulfill the program's MEL requirements and promote evidence-based decision-making, adaptive management, and a culture of learning.

Essential Job Responsibilities

MEL Strategy, Management & technical Leadership
  • Set-up and oversee the timely implementation of MEL systems, including the Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan (AMELP), M&E Technology, and Learning and Research Plans.
  • Oversee data collection, analysis, management, visualization, and reporting on indicators related to the program’s overall operational context, performance, and community accountability and response mechanisms (CARM) within the program’s AMELP.
  • Harmonize the MEL system across consortium partner systems and other external systems, as relevant.
  • Ensure the quality of MEL implementation for STEP UP, consistently reviewing and adapting the MEL systems and tools to the needs of the changing programmatic context and extracting learning to inform country-level systems and strategy.
  • Ensure systems are established and maintained to collect sex- and age-disaggregated data and ensure application of gender-sensitive, socially inclusive, and remote data collection methods.
  • Conduct due diligence of partner M&E systems and processes, including data collection, processing, analysis, and reporting, and organize periodic workshops and sharing sessions, ensuring that they are equipped with adequate resources and systems to contribute rigorous data to the overall program.
Collaborating, learning, & adapting (CLA)
  • Work closely with the Activity CoP and Mercy Corps’ HQ-based Evidence and Learning Unit to develop and implement the Activity’s CLA Plan.
  • Lead and/or collaborate with external researchers and evaluators on the design and roll out of the program assessments, formative research, baseline study, and evaluations, while setting up systems for continuous learning, reflection, and adaptive management.
  • Provide leadership for operationalizing and building team capacity in CLA. Work to create a culture of learning and systems thinking, contributing to an adaptive, iterative program management approach.
  • Promote CLA through intentional and routine periodic learning initiatives sessions and events to share, discuss, and use monitoring data; document and disseminate lessons learned and evaluation findings; and support program management to conduct program improvements informed by data.
  • Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the MEL systems meet the data, evidence, and learning needs of the Activity, including the sharing of information internally and externally, and help address shortfalls in MEL, research, CLA, and data management that may affect implementation.
  • Develop and oversee implementation of appropriate learning products to promote routine sharing and learning within the Activity, including with consortium partners. 
  • Facilitate inclusive and gender-sensitive MEL and research approaches and processes, engaging local organizations, institutions, women, and youth to design and implement national- and community-level data collection tools and contribute to data analysis
Data & Information management
  • Design and oversee the set-up and use of an information management system, including processes and technology solutions for data (collection, cleaning, analysis, storage, visualization, and reporting) for all activity indicators and additional data needs for learning, adaptation, and reporting. Actively seek out opportunities for automatization and efficiency gains in information management.
  • Design and implement data flows that align indicator definitions, tool matrices, databases, and sampling frames to ensure traceable, timely, comprehensive, high-quality, and demand-responsive data collection and processing in compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps requirements.
  • Ensure data quality in all aspects of M&E, by conducting periodic DQAs, and integrating corrections and remedies as necessary, to align with Mercy Corps’ and USAID data protection and M&E standards.
  • Ensure STEP UP adheres to Mercy Corps’ MEL and Program Record Retention and Responsible Data Policies.
  • Develop reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation, and flow of information and learning within the program and externally.
  • Maintain a comprehensive reporting and accountability schedule and review program reports to ensure accurate, clear, and high-quality data presented in the proper format.
Team Management (Human Resources, Safeguarding and Diversity)
  • Oversee the Activity MEL team and sub-contractors, such as external evaluators and enumerators.
  • Build the capacity of all relevant program and partner team members to develop and maintain a high-quality MEL system, which integrates regular reflection, learning, and adaption through analysis of program quantitative and qualitative data and other knowledge gained through implementation of the AMELP.
  • Promote staff accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-one meetings and performance reviews.
  • Actively provide mentorship and training to program and M&E teams to improve their competencies in quantitative methods, qualitative methods, information management, critical thinking, data communication, problem solving, facilitation and data literacy
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
Influence & Representation
  • Collaborate with technical leads across the consortium and build processes for regular feedback to ensure effective and adaptive management.
  • Actively collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of MEL best practices and lessons learned.
  • Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, through Mercy Corps’ internal knowledge management platforms, to enhance organizational learning where relevant.
  • Present program MEL to external MEL and research stakeholders to influence decision-makers and promote collaboration and shared learning.

Supervisory Responsibility

Expected to supervise several direct reports on the Activity MEL Team. The number of direct and indirect reports is to be determined.


Reports Directly To: Activity Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Activity team and consortium partners, Mercy Corps Country Director/Country Coordinator and senior leadership team, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Evidence and Learning Team (including MEL), HQ Technical Resources and Quality (TRaQ) Team

Knowledge and Experience / Qualification and Transferable Skills

  • MA/S or equivalent experience in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, monitoring and evaluation, or other relevant field.
  • At least 7 years (10+ years if only undergraduate degree) of relevant experience, including proven experience managing MEL staff and activities under USAID-funded programs.
  • Proven success in designing, implementing, and overseeing program MEL systems from startup to closeout.
  • Demonstrated experience and expertise in developing and operationalizing a comprehensive Activity Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan (AMELP).
  • Experience in strategic planning and performance measurement, including indicator selection, target setting, reporting, database management, and development of MEL and performance monitoring plans that support learning and contribute to program efficacy.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting remote MEL and data collection activities, requiring adaptative and innovative MEL techniques.
  • Strong quantitative background and demonstrated expertise in designing monitoring surveys and analyzing quantitative data.
  • Demonstrated expertise in designing qualitative studies, in-depth knowledge about qualitative sampling, and experienced in using interview and interactive tools to generate qualitative information and analysis.
  • Demonstrated experience in participatory community governance, advocacy, and capacity, and/or management and use of grassroots level-generated data.
  • Experience developing data quality assurance, data management, and data visualization strategies.
  • Excellent skills in software solutions and platforms for data collection, storage, processing, analysis, and visualization, such as MS Office, CommCare, Stata, R, and Power BI.
  • Preference for experience with USAID M&E frameworks, and in-depth understanding of peace and governance, resilience, social cohesion, and/or economic development programming. Experience with gender and social inclusion analysis frameworks also preferred.
  • Experience supporting partner organizations to ensure quality of their M&E systems.
  • Experience working in the East and Southern Africa region, with preference for experience in Mozambique, strongly preferred.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Fluency in Portuguese required. Fluency or proficiency in English and/or other languages spoken in northern Mozambique preferred.

Success Factors

The successful MEL Director will combine exceptional team management skills with strong technical experience in MEL and CLA. They will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving, and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff 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 position is expected to be based with Mercy Corps in Pemba, Mozambique. On a a case-by-case basis, and depending on conflict dynamics, accompanied status (for partner/spouse) and relevant benefits may apply. Housing is individual accommodation with relative freedom of movement beyond the house/office in Pemba and other locations in the country for which no travel restrictions exist. Staff have relatively reliable access to services – medical, electricity, water, etc. – with the occasional power cuts. Several evacuation options exist for serious illness. This position requires approximately 30% travel by road or plane to field offices, including in Cabo Delgado where there are varying levels of security.

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. 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.

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 projects.

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. 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.