Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Director
This position is pending funding
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 is a global team of development and humanitarian professionals working together on the front lines of today’s biggest crises to create a future of possibility, where everyone can prosper. The mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. Mercy Corps works in more than 40 countries around the world, where over 5,400 team members work side by side with people living through poverty, disaster, violent conflict, and the acute impacts of climate change.
In Nepal, Mercy Corps began operations in 2005, and since then has implemented projects in the sectors of agriculture, food security and nutrition, financial services, youth engagement, and disaster risk reduction/ climate change adaptation. To date, this programming has reached over 900,000 people in 23 districts. We work with a range of donors in Nepal, and have been a trusted prime partner of choice for USAID for decades.
The Program / Department / Team
Mercy Corps is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Director to lead the MEL Team responsible for implementation of the MEL plan, systems, and related learning and research activities for the anticipated, five-year, USAID-funded Integrated Nutrition Activity (INA) in Nepal. The purpose of this Activity is to reduce malnutrition among women, children and adolescents in Nepal’s underserved and marginalized communities. An early idea of what this program may look like can be found in the recently issued Request for Information.
The MEL Director is a member of a senior program management team responsible for designing, leading, managing, and implementing INA’s monitoring, evaluation and learning system, as well as targeted research components and a quality assurance mechanism. The MEL Director will play a key role in ensuring high quality of program implementation by providing timely and accurate analyses for adaptive management and data-based decision making. This role will also be responsible for leading the approach and mechanisms to ensure a holistic, meaningful, and localized Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) approach throughout the life cycle of the program and in close coordination with program technical leads, partners, stakeholders, and the Government of Nepal. Support to information management, reporting, and technology applications will be key. The MEL Director will also oversee a team of research, learning, data and technology experts across various technical areas and locations, and will need to ensure coordination with other relevant programs and initiatives. The MEL Director is responsible for capacity building and mentoring for program staff on themes related to monitoring, evaluation, accountability, reporting, and learning.
PROGRAM MEL MANAGEMENT
- Design a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system in line with USAID and Mercy Corps requirements.
- Oversee the implementation of the MEL system, ensure it’s up-to-date and responds appropriately to the changing context and program needs.
- Plan and lead all MEL activities, including assessments, evaluations, and research initiatives.
- Develop and regularly update a program-level MEL Plan.
- Oversee data collection, validation and analysis for program performance indicators; ensure indicator results are regularly updated on internal Mercy Corps indicator tracking platform (TolaData).
- In cooperation with relevant technical leads, identify additional program data needs and develop a data collection system to track contextual, qualitative, and other indicators as needed.
- Develop and operationalize relevant MEL SOPs and protocols, oversee their roll out and consistent implementation across relevant teams.
- Develop a detailed data flow process for the program and ensure all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities in the process.
- Develop standards and quality assurance mechanisms for all data collection and train relevant program and partner team members to ensure consistent data quality.
- Oversee design and management of all program databases and dashboards.
- Initiate and conduct regular internal data quality assessments.
- Develop and roll out a systematic monitoring visits plan for program activities, including relevant tools and reporting mechanisms.
- Ensure program team members are fully aware of their MEL-related responsibilities and provide regular technical support, including to partner staff.
- Recruit and manage all subcontractors involved in data collection and evaluation activities, national and / or international.
- Conduct regular program data analysis and present it to relevant program teams, including appropriate visualizations such as PowerBi dashboards and tailored maps.
- Take on overall responsibility for program reporting including monthly, quarterly, annual, final, and ad-hoc reports.
- Conduct regular visits to program sites to conduct routine monitoring and provide required technical support to program teams.
- Ensure all minimum Mercy Corps MEL Policy standards are met throughout the program.
COLLABORATION, LEARNING AND ADAPTATION
- Design and oversee implementation of the program Learning Plan, including internal and external learning events and products.
- Identify program knowledge gaps and design appropriate learning and research activities.
- Oversee implementation of relevant research activities, including management of research entities and consultants, if applicable.
- Ensure that lessons learned throughout the project are captured and communicated to internal and external stakeholders through appropriate channels.
- Conceptualize and facilitate regular learning sessions with program teams using relevant program data (performance indicators, monitoring and assessment data, etc.).
- Provide required data to facilitate data-based program adaptations, document the results, and close the learning loop.
- Liaise with various stakeholders, including USAID, on relevant program MEL issues.
- Represent the MEL Team on regular check-ins and field visits with USAID, and in meetings with relevant government agencies.
- Represent the program in relevant Mercy Corps and USAID MEL / CLA initiatives and events.
- Oversee knowledge management for the program using appropriate platforms (SharePoint and / or Google Drive).
- Identify and pursue external learning and research opportunities, such as relevant thematic conferences.
- Identify and recruit qualified team members to ensure implementation of the program MEL system.
- Directly manage MEL staff in day-to-day activities and provide technical oversight and support.
- Develop the capacity of the team, including partner MEL staff, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development.
- Ensure all team members have access to information, tools, and resources the need to improve performance and reach objectives.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-one meetings and performance reviews.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
Given the nature of the work, all staff are expected to be flexible and may be asked to carry out duties which are not specifically listed above. The job description may be revised after discussion between the staff member and the organization.
Expected to supervise several direct reports. The number of direct and indirect reports will be determined at a later stage.
Reports Directly To: INA Chief of Party
Works Directly With: INA Deputy Chief of Party, INA Technical Leads, Mercy Corps Global MEL Team, Mercy Corps Nepal Country Director, Director of Programs, CARM Advisor, Program Managers, and Finance and Compliance 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
- MA/S or advanced degree in statistics, economics, or relevant field with substantial course work in research and quantitative methods.,
- A minimum of 7-10 years of experience, with at least 3 years in a senior role, in M&E management and designing and implementing M&E systems for development programs
- Direct USAID experience with MEL systems preferred
- Ability to prepare clear and concise reports.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
- Excellent communication and organizational skills.
- High degree of computer literacy; advanced Excel and Word skills are essential.
- Strong mathematical skills and experience with statistical analysis and statistical software.
- Experience with data visualization software such as PowerBI is preferred.
- Experience with establishing data flow processes that incorporate digital data collection tools such as CommCare and Ona.
- Experience with ArcGIS or other geographic information systems preferred but not required.
- Experience in experimental design of evaluations.
- Direct experience with the full spectrum of data collection and analysis methods (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed).
- Fluency in written and oral English required; must be able to read and interpret documents and communicate effectively with others to perform job duties.
- Fluency in Nepali preferred.
- Understanding of health and nutrition sectors preferred.
The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the cultural, political, security, and social environment of Nepal. S/he will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations. S/he will be a tolerant and flexible individual able to work in difficult and stressful environments and follow procedures. The successful candidate will be focused on team-building and capacity-building of their team; be a strategic thinker, have strong skills in M&E for development programs, and maintain a sense of humor.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is based in Kathmandu, Nepal, with significant travel required to program locations across the country. For international candidates, this is an accompanied position with housing in individual accommodation and unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house and office. Kathmandu is a culturally dynamic capital city that can provide a safe and comfortable living environment, including for families, though a sense of patience with routine power cuts, water shortages, air pollution, and traffic is required. There are many international schools in Nepal, including both American and British system programs. Staff have full access to all services, such as medical, electricity, water, and internet. This position requires 50% travel (or more) to field offices and locations, some of which are easily accessible but many others of which are remote and require extended travel (by medium or small aircraft, vehicle on rough, windy, and/or elevated roads, and hiking) in areas that may be distant from amenities or healthcare. Climate conditions can include exceptional heat or cold, with some field sites at higher altitudes. This position is not eligible for hardship and/or R&R benefits.
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.