Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Specialist, JASS Program - Mali
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.
Mercy Corps has been working in Mali since 2012, supporting vulnerable communities and at-risk Malian women, men and youth to cope with food security and conflict-induced shocks and stresses, restore peace and stability, and address humanitarian, development and stabilization structural challenges. With a growing portfolio, Mercy Corps Mali is increasing striving to integrate its humanitarian, development and conflict-prevention programming to create a sustainable and impactful improvement in the stability and development of some of Mali’s worst conflict-affected areas.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps is currently expanding its portfolio of programs in Central and Southern Mali to support communities in preventing the further spread of violent conflict through addressing root causes of conflict in communities situated in the buffer zones between the relatively stable South and the more volatile Centre. As part of this, Mercy Corps anticipates an upcoming justice- and stabilization-focused project centered on fostering inclusive and effective justice in Mali through a holistic package of grounded, bottom-up actions addressing issues of land conflict, natural resource management and access to justice. An initial 12-18 months inception-phase package will contribute to the stabilization of increasingly at-risk areas while incorporating an in-depth research diagnostic that focuses on cultivating an in-depth understanding of access to justice issues in Mali and will inform the further three to four years of programming. The first component (conflict mitigation) will consist of activities aiming at preventing the further spread of insecurity – especially land conflict – through support to existing conflict prevention mechanisms and targeted actions to address structural natural resource management issues. The second component (research), will help the program (i.) determine what “Justice” actually means for Mali’s diverse communities and identify those who are most impacted by structural and horizontal justice inequalities; (ii.) understand and lay out what access to justice looks like on the ground and; (iii.) identify key local, regional and national stakeholders to engage with to achieve the full access to justice goals.
General Position Summary
The MEL Specialist will oversee and ensure the quality of all project-level monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities of the Justice and Stability program in the Segou, Koulikoro and Sikasso regions. As a field-based position, the MEL Specialist's role is a key position responsible for cross-cutting programmatic information management, monitoring and evaluation, ensuring that information collected is reflected upon, used to improve ongoing programs, and incorporated consistently in high quality reports, proposals and communication material. The MEL Specialist will also be responsible for developing (in partnership with project staff), coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the M&E system, including the TolaData management (a digital tool for program results data management). In addition, the position holder is responsible for ensuring better use of data as well as training M&E staff. Working closely with the country level MEL Manager and the Justice and Stability Program Director and Senior Program Coordinator, she/he will contribute in operationalizing an adaptive, iterative management approach with a culture of evidence-based decision-making.
Essential Job Responsibilities
STRATEGY & VISION
- Develop and implement a program-level M&E system that informs and improves the program impact, as well as feeds into the broader nation-wide M&E system and country strategy.
- Coordinate and coach all Segou, Koulikoro and Sikasso-based M&E teams in developing and maintaining a system that improves the country’s ability to analyze and represent impact to donors, government, colleague agencies, and communities themselves.
- Participate in country MEL management meetings and country-wide strategy sessions to contribute to improved program implementation and adaptive management.
- Lead the program engagement in TolaData integration and adoption in Mali;
- Work with M&E staff, Program Managers to promote a culture of adaptive management, and evidence gathering;
- Lead program quality review processes including implementation quality, respect of minimum standards, quality of M&E data collection and analysis, periodic program reflection meetings;
- Use existing MC resources to train M&E and program teams in the area of monitoring, evaluation and learning;
- Build the capacity of relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent M&E system, by providing training on the TolaData toolbox and; ensuring MEL officers organize periodic meetings of datareflection and analysisto disseminate learning;
- Set up and supervise the program level MEL team by actively participating in the hiring, onboarding and orientation, as well as providing regular supervision for M&E staff as appropriate;
- Support the creation and implementation of workplans (weekly, monthly and project-specific) so as to better prioritize tasks and ensure a pro-active approach to data collection and project monitoring
- Ensure capture, consolidation and dissemination of program lessons learned.
- Ensure harmonization between program activities and M&E activities.
PROGRAM M&E SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Coordinate a timely development and implementation of high quality MEL plans ensuring all MEL Policy and MEL SOPs standards are met;
- Supervise the integration of programs indicator plans on TOLA and check regular updates of data and evidences on the platform;
- Play a central role in all evaluation, design and implementation of internal evaluations as well as developing the capacity of teams in conducting internal evaluations;
- Play a key role in all assessments, studies and/or researches as planned; actively coordinate with HQ technical advisors and / or consultants to ensure quality of implementation of these studies / researches and evaluations;
- Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the MEL system meet the data, evidence, and learning needs of the program, including the sharing of information internally and externally, and help address shortfalls in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, and data management that affect program implementation.
- Ensure Program adheres to Mercy Corps’ MEL Policy, including the use of TolaData, adherence to Mercy Corps’ Program Record Retention Policy and Responsible Data Policy, and regular Data Quality Assessments (DQAs).
- Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information and learning within the program as well as externally.
- Maintain a comprehensive reporting and accountability schedule as well as review program reports to ensure that reports contain accurate, clear, and high-quality data and presented in the proper format.
- 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;
- Contribute to create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence;
Program Senior MEL Officers, MEL Officers.
Reports Directly To: MEL Manager
Works Directly With: Program Directors and Managers, Grant & Program Support Manager, Country MEL Advisor and Country Senior Management Team; Partner (INGO) MEL team
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.
Knowledge and Experience
- 4 to 6 years of experience in the areas of program development and monitoring and evaluation, including relevant experience building and managing an M&E system and team, relevant experience supervising data collection and data validation exercises, and building staff capacity;
- BA degree in international development, statistics, economy or other relevant social science and MA preferred;
- Experience designing practical and effective monitoring systems, including data and database management systems;
- Experienced in training and capacity-building in person and remotely and fostering a collaborative relationship with field practitioners and management;
- Experience with data analysis and presentation using Excel, Access, and advanced data analysis and visualization packages. Additional software and technical skills (databases, mobile technology, GIS, and statistical packages) preferred;
- Excellent ability in report writing.
- Strong communication skills; able to work in person and remotely with a geographically dispersed and culturally distinct teams
- Fluency in French; proficiency in local languages (Bambara, Fulani) a strong asset. Proficiency in English is an asset
- High degree of computer literacy; Excel and Word skills are essential.
- Ability to manage and meet deadlines.
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
The successful candidate should be a strong team player, with good communication and diplomatic skills. S/He should be able to facilitate team dynamics and achieve aims, have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, good organizational skills and ability to work independently, with a strong commitment to advancing learning in international development through monitoring and evaluation. S/he should be active within the M&E and learning community and have strong relationship-building skills and commitment to working collaboratively.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Segou, Mali, and requires up to 50% travel to additional field bases inside Mali – primarily to field offices in the Segou or Koulikoro regions, out of which the program will be run - should security permit. The position is an unaccompanied posting. There may be additional international or regional travel, including to insecure and/or remote locations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.