STA/Temporary: Market Systems Development MEL Specialist - Khartoum, Sudan
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.
Mercy Corps has been operational in Sudan since 2009 and currently leads humanitarian assistance efforts in conflict-affected South Darfur and South Kordofan, Gadaref and White Nile States, supporting IDPs, returnees, refugees and host communities. Mercy Corps’ current areas of programming include food security and livelihoods, WASH, nutrition, peace building and protection. Two years ago, Mercy Corps started implementing development programs using innovative approaches and this portfolio is currently growing significantly.
The Program / Department / Team
The Strengthening Agricultural Markets and Food Security (SAFE) program, implemented by Mercy Corps in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is a SIDA funded USD 13 million program that aims to improve food security for 30,000 male and female smallholder farmer households (approximately 180,000 individuals) through enhanced gender-equitable market access and agricultural production. The Strengthening Agricultural Markets and Food Security (SAFE) program, will strengthen the capacities of key market actors, contributing to improved resilience capacities to shocks and stresses. The program is guided by a Market Systems Development (MSD) and resilience approaches to sustain food security gains despite the complex risk environment in which smallholder farmers are exposed to. Specifically, the program will enable smallholder farmers to increase climate resilient yields, sustainable natural resource management practices, market linkages, gender equity and empowerment of women and girls.
The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Specialist is a key position in the Mercy Corps Program Performance and Quality unit, responsible for cross-cutting programmatic information management, monitoring and evaluation, ensuring that information collected is reflected upon, used for adaptive learning to prove impact and improve ongoing programs, and is incorporated into consistently high-quality reports and proposal development. The SAFE program is an MSD program; thus, the STA is expected to strengthen MSD MEL systems and processes. The main role of the MEL STA is to build a strategy for data collection and implementation of field MEL activities including training, assessments and reporting. This role will also be responsible for reviewing and refining the MEL system for the project and building the capacity of the team starting from June through August 2021. This includes strong support for the development of effective MSD-focused monitoring, learning and evaluation processes, providing support to programs during key project implementation and learning phases, assessing program quality, outputs, outcomes and early impacts through a variety of techniques as well as accountability to project participants. S/he will support MEL reporting by preparing well-structured comprehensive and analytical reports, including any evaluation and assessment reports etc. The STA will also be required to generate quantitative and qualitative analysis of the program performance and will coordinate with the program's team to ensure best practices and lessons learnt are captured and implemented properly.
The STA is responsible for the overall MEL leadership of the SAFE MEL team, MEL-themed capacity of the whole SAFE team, building and deploying MEL systems generation of reports. The following are the specific key responsibilities:
MEL Technical Leadership
- In coordination with the SAFE program management team and MEL Coordinator, develop and or revise strategic MEL documents, including the MEL plan, MEL workplan, learning plan, MEL tools, data protection standard operating procedure
- Support in setting up and overseeing all principal MEL system components, including protocols and data flows for monitoring and evaluations, data and information management, MEL budget utilization plans and MEL technology systems.
- Review and or revise and oversee the implementation of business, agent and customer capacity, performance and impact assessments and surveys, including the TORs, sampling strategies, questionnaires, analysis plans, statistical processing and analysis.
- Promote collaboration, learning and adaptation (CLA) through intentional and routine periodic learning initiatives sessions to share, discuss and use monitoring data, document and disseminate lessons learned and impact/evaluation findings, support program management to conduct program improvements informed by data. Develop the learning plan for the program.
MEL data collection, management and processing
- Design and implement timely data flows that align with MSD MEL principles and program stages and needs high-quality and demand-responsive data collection and processing in compliance with Mercy Corps requirements.
- Support the development of data processing systems and databases to analyze collected data and feed programme teams with timely, accurate and useful data to inform decision making.
- Support the MEL coordinator in rolling out SAFE data collecting tools for output outcome monitoring; data entry and analysis plans.
- Design MEL short and detailed reporting formats for collected and processed data.
- Provide program success and output information as inputs for year 2 SAFE program report driven by results chains and overall TOC logic.
- Ensure that SAFE is tracked on TolaData and provide training to MEL and the program team on its use and inclusion in the learning initiatives.
MEL team and SAFE program team capacity building
- Conduct training needs assessment of the MEL team, develop and implement a capacity building plan (training, assignments, mentorship etc.) that promotes MSD MEL competencies and a culture of critical thinking and learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.
- In coordination with the program management team, develop and oversee a capacity building plan for program staff on MSD MEL and their roles as well as a learning culture through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.
Technical supervision of SAFE Program MEL Coordinator
Reports directly to: Consortium Director, Agricultural Market systems
Works directly with: Country MEL Manager, SAFE program managers and SAFE MEL team including partner MEL officers.
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
- MA/S or equivalent experience in a quantitative field (economics, agricultural/development economics, statistics, biostatistics) with significant training in quantitative methods.
- At least five years of relevant MEL experience with positions of progressively greater responsibilities is required. The candidate must have experience leading an MEL team of a large MSD program.
- Strong conceptual knowledge about theories of change, logic models, Results chains, MSD-type indicators, MEL plans, data quality assurance, mobile data collection, data utilization, and resilience and gender integration into MEL.
- Demonstrated experience and expertise in developing and operationalizing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan for MSD programs
- Demonstrated expertise and experience in designing MSD-type studies, evaluation surveys qualitative studies, qualitative sampling and analysis, data quality assurance strategies, data management, processing and data visualization and sharing techniques.
- Demonstrated expertise and experience in leading learning agendas, critical thinking and systemic analysis, as well as advanced knowledge in using digital data collection, storage, analysis and visualization software and platforms such as CommCare, Stata, R, Tableau and PowerBi.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. Fluency or proficiency in Arabic will be an advantage.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Khartoum, Sudan, requires up to 70% travel to the two programs target locations, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited. Housing for this role is in individual housing while at base station and hotel or shared guest house while in the field. Staff will have access to fair medical services while in Khartoum and very basic medical services while in the field. Living conditions in Khartoum are good but fairly average to low while in the field.
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.