Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Manager, IQLAA, Jordan
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 Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation (CLA) Manager to support the implementation of the Informal Livelihoods Advancement Activity (Iqlaaع) program, a five-year, $75m USAID-funded activity. The proposed program will aim to put Jordanian Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) on a path to recovery after the extraordinary crisis that the businesses have faced, help them access the safety net measures in Jordan, and, most importantly, regain productivity and growth. This will be achieved through activities and grants to get micro and small enterprises back to work, link them back to markets, and put them on a track to formalization and growth.
General Position Summary
The CLA Manager will lead the design, implementation and use of learning initiatives to improve Iqlaaع’s impact on MSEs and overall economic growth in Jordan. S/he will be responsible for increasing Iqlaaع’s positive contribution to donors’ and implementing partners’ evidence-based decision-making, under the supervision of the Iqlaaع Program Quality Assurance and Learning (PQL) Director. The CLA Manager will (i) refine, implement and report on strategic learning initiatives in the program, (ii) provide technical assistance to develop and implement high-quality participant-based surveys, (iii) support evidence-driven adaptive management through dashboarding and collaborating, learning and adaptation (CLA) facilitation, and (iv) build the research, learning and adaptation capacity of the program and national team.
The position requires high quality analysis and report writing skills which can be used to write/review consistent, high quality reports and technical briefs that are developed as learning products. S/he should be able to employ the use of traditional and digital learning approaches to develop and implement innovative, creative and effective ways to strategically capture and share technical knowledge, leverage good practices, and improve the effectiveness of Iqlaaع.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
- Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives and contribute to program strategy development.
- Identify and share creative, efficient, and effective ways to share learnings and information, engage audiences, and facilitate collaboration.
- Design and facilitate regular, strategic planning sessions and learning events, assisting Iqlaaع in a learning journey as well as development of its annual plans.
COLLABORATION, LEARNING AND ADAPTING
- Work closely with the program’s Program Quality Assurance and Learning (PQL) team, as well as Mercy Corps’ Jordanian and HQ-based MEL and Research and Learning departments to develop and implement Iqlaaع’s CLA plan and learning agenda.
- Lead the team to create a plan to operationalize and capacity build CLA practice across implementing teams and partner organizations, including creating a culture of learning and systems thinking to stimulate an adaptive, iterative management approach;
- Utilize routine monitoring data and other program and non-program generated evidence to share during CLA sessions and inform adaptive management decisions.
- Lead and support learning events such as Collaborative Learning and Adaptation (CLA) workshops at all levels to ensure to review and reflection on the evidence and ensure it is captured into program design and implementation
- Develop and oversee implementation of appropriate learning products to promote routine sharing and learning within the program, including consortium partners.
- Provide one-on-one support to the PQL Director, COP, DCOP and program managers (PMs) to interpret research findings and to adapt program strategies, ensuring the use of evidence to promote performance improvement and data-based decision-making among program and technical staff.
- Explore opportunities to collaborate with potential research partners, other programs and donors.
- Facilitate inclusive and gender-sensitive research 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 and meaning-making of results.
- Work closely with MEL team to plan for and conduct the final internal performace review (FIPR) by the end of program activities
- Lead implementation of Iqlaaع learning activities. (re-write: Lead the process of planning and Implementing of Iqlaaع learning activities including quarterly review sessions in collaboration with the MEL team
- 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.
- Work closely with COP, DCOP, PQL Director and others to identify Iqlaaع research and learning agenda and ensure it captures both Mercy Corps and USAID priorities.
- Critically analyze the situation, identify data gaps and propose appropriate research methodologies to collect data.(add: work closely with MEL team and various technical team to ensure capturing and critically analyzing
- Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop, review, and maintain an excellent knowledge management system, including regular reflection and analysis of program monitoring data and production of evidence-based recommendations and reports.
- Assist the PQL Director in other PQL-related capacity building activities, e.g. through the development of learning toolkits or by setting up webinars or brown bag meetings.
- Facilitate a culture of curiosity, learning and adaptive work planning and implementation with program teams.
- Build the capacity of the PQL and other relevant program teams to design, analyze, rigorously interpret and present high-quality data from quantitative and qualitative research.
COMMUNICATION, DOCUMENTATION AND REPORT WRITING
- Work with PQL Director, Communications Director and other program staff to document lessons learned from implementing key program interventions, and disseminate communication and learning products to showcase project successes and results.
- Produce high-quality learning briefs, white papers or other reports that showcase key insights from Iqlaaع’s research and learning initiatives, as well as recommendations for the program, mission, agency and/or donors and other implementing partners.
- Concisely communicate key program insights from learning activities with program audiences in a concise and appropriate manner.
- Review draft quarterly, semiannual and annual reports for consistency and accuracy.
- As requested by the PQL Director, represent Iqlaaع in front of USAID, support partners and agency-internal partners from the Technical Support Unit and the PAQ team, and other project stakeholders or professional bodies.
- Work with senior and mid-management teams in Iqlaaع to demonstrate the program’s performance improvement through evidence-based adaptation in front of external audiences.
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 towards 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: Iqlaaع PQL Director
Works directly with: PQL Team, Communications Team, other Mercy Corps Jordan and consortia Directors, technical leads and program managers, HQ and Regional Program team and Technical Support Unit, and research and MEL partner organizations.
Knowledge and Experience
- Minimum Master’s degree in development studies, research methods, knowledge management, statistics, economics, social sciences, women’s studies, public policy, monitoring and evaluation, or other relevant field required.
- Minimum 7 years of managing PQL, MEL and/or research work at a program or country level, including supervising staff. Proven use of program technology in a PQL or MEL function required.
- Proven track record in facilitating adaptive management through evidence-based decision-making required.
- Experience in strategic planning and performance measurement, including indicator selection, target setting, reporting, database management and developing PQL and performance monitoring plans that support learning agendas and contribute to program efficacy required.
- Experience with theoretical and practical background in PQL 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 required.
- Strong qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills and knowledge:
- Demonstrated understanding of intermediate statistics and ability to summarize and make predictions from multiple data sets. Power user with Excel required. Experience with statistical packages including STATA, R, or SPSS preferred
- Demonstrated understanding of qualitative methodologies. Prior experience of using a qualitative analysis package: Dedoose, Atlas.ti, any of the QDA packages, or other preferred.
- Knowledge of and prior experience of using PQL technologies required. Ona/ComCare for data collection, Tableau or PowerBI for data visualization and reporting preferred.
- Familiarity with PQL approaches to measuring behavioral and normative change at the individual, interpersonal, community and societal levels required.
- Familiarity with competencies-based approaches to agency and empowerment preferred.
- Experience with gender and social inclusion analysis frameworks preferred.
- Experience working on USAID programs is essential.
- Previous experience living and working in challenging or insecure environments.
- Prior experience working in Jordan and/or the Middle East is highly desirable.
- Excellent oral and written English skills; fluency in Arabic is preferred.
- Jordanians and women are strongly encouraged to apply.
Success Factors and Transferable Skills
The successful candidate will be capable of multitasking, rapid decision-making, and creative problem-solving. S/he has initiative, drive and a lot of energy, as well as high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity strengthening of local partners. S/he will be known for flexibility and creativity in project planning and building responsive systems, and is able to solicit and understand diverse perspectives, build consensus among a variety of stakeholders, and effectively and clearly communicate decisions.
Any skills you have gained through education, volunteer, work, or life experience that are relevant for the position will be considered. Be sure to fully explain transferable skills and success factors and how they apply to this position in your cover letter.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Amman, Jordan which is an accompanied post. Jordan is a 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/STA 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.
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.