Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) and Quality Manager - CAR
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 operational in the Central African Republic (CAR) since September 2007. With offices in Bangui, Bouar and Bambari and new programming planned for Bangassou, Mercy Corps works to integrate short-term humanitarian assistance with programs to strengthen community resilience and support market-led economic development, with a cross-cutting accent on governance and gender. Mercy Corps takes a sustainable approach to its programming, seeking to change behaviors and create institutions to foster long-term development in the sectors of protection and gender based violence, civil society capacity building, water/sanitation, social cohesion and socioeconomic activities. Funding has come from a range of donors including USAID, the European Commission, OFDA, UNICEF, OCHA, UNHCR, AFD and private foundations. By addressing a number of overlapping and associated needs within a wide range of sectors, Mercy Corps CAR takes an integrated approach to ensure the greatest possible impact.
General Position Summary
The Design, Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality (MEL&Q) Manager will provide leadership, in collaboration with program leads and the Programs Director, in all aspects of design, monitoring, evaluation and information management. The MEL&Q Manager will contribute to program design and planning to ensure adherence to Mercy Corps’ standards, including internal program management standards related to monitoring, evaluation, and utilization of tools and resources available at organizational level. The MEL&Q Manager will be responsible for setting up an M&E system that ensures centralization, high-level standardization of tools and indicators as well as alignment to programmatic strategic objectives, international standards, and donor requirements. Furthermore, in close collaboration with Program and various departments, the MEL&Q Manager will constantly support documentation of program progress and achievements and conduct learning exercises to ensure that lessons learned are incorporated into new phases of the program cycle. The MEL&Q Manager will also facilitate information sharing, the dissemination of lessons learned, reporting of program/management adaptations and pivots, via an interactive knowledge management platform (one which will further enhance program quality through increased and quick access to documentation and results of MEL&Q activities).
The primary role of the MEL&Q Manager is to ensure the development of a) high quality, b) robust, c) analytical. D) efficient and e) effective program management processes, serving as a nexus between various project/program teams, portfolios and other departments’ teams. This will involve the creation organization-wide systems that standardize and support Mercy Corps work in CAR. The MEL&Q Manager is expected to enable/foster a culture of inclusion, innovation, gender mainstreaming in both the application of best practices across program portfolios, and in planning/reporting. The MEL&Q Manager promotes and ensures that corporate/donor documents (reports, plans, etc.), assessments, studies and research are of the highest caliber, as well as in-depth, reasoned, logical, and fool-proof. Via established feedback loops with Sr. Management and peers, partners and project beneficiaries the MEL&Q Manager develops and tests new and appropriate tools/methods for effective monitoring, learning and evaluation, while supporting the creation and/or strengthening of mechanisms and techniques to ensure program quality and impact. The MEL&Q Manager is a proactive thought leader with a thirst for new knowledge and ideas which he/she incorporates into evidence-based programming and adaptive management at all levels.
The MEL&Q Manager strives to create a culture of training, mentoring and coaching amongst peers, and integrates effective tools and techniques to improve program quality. These extend beyond minimum standards and address the root causes of problems, unpack ambiguity, challenge status quo, scratch beneath the surface (always asking, “So What?”). The ideal candidate is self-driven, curious individual able to support Mercy Corps CARs humanitarian, resilience and development portfolios, in sectors including Water and Sanitation, Food Security, Governance, Social Cohesion, Protection and Youth employment using Market Based approaches as well as Cash Transfer Programs, all with limited daily support and direction.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
● Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed. Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy development.
● Create/Improve/Manage a country/mission-wide M&E system that facilitates synergies among programs of different sectors and geographic locations while ensuring a high level of standardization of indicators, tools and methodologies used for data collection. The main scope in this respect will be increased efficiency through centralization of information at Bangui level, which will in turn facilitate the creation of an information management system.
● Contribute to the global and regional conversation around program performance and quality (PM@MC, gender minimum standards, cash minimum standards, adaptive management, TOLA).
● As a strategic leader, actively participate in mgt. meetings and countrywide strategy sessions. Support to overall strategic and annual planning for RCA with evidence-based contributions. Coordinate input for the development and review of strategies across departments and portfolio.
● Perform a review of existing tools and processes and provide guidance on improving them through alignment with Logical Frameworks, donor requirements, and Mercy Corps (including but not limited to the Program Management Minimum Standards and the Design for Impact Guide) and international standards (such as SPHERE Standards, Do No Harm, The Good Enough Guide, Minimum Inter-Agency Standards for Protection Mainstreaming).
● Design new tools for the programs to track progress and capture lessons learned by customizing available tools from Mercy Corps’ Digital Library where possible.
● Perform regular assessments using both qualitative and quantitative methods particularly prior to project design workshops. Ensure that the data which will not be informing proposals is stored safely and efficiently and available for future programmatic needs.
● Ensure incorporation of Alpha indicators from Mercy Corps’ Design for Impact Guide in new tools developed during the design phase (Logical Frameworks).
● Devise a MEL&Q Manager country strategy that takes into account means, costs and risks associated with the roll out of an M&E system while ensuring that M&E activities are budgeted in proposals and included in work plans.
● Coordinate internal and external evaluations with a strong emphasis on learning.
● Provide support to teams utilizing the Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) and enhance the system with regular assessments and qualitative studies to allow for gender mainstreaming into programs and an in-depth understanding of specific needs of women and girls in the areas of intervention. Pro-actively liaising with Grants to ensure harmonization of Reporting Calendars and exercises carried out for collection of data based on PMPs (Indicator Plans).
● Contribute towards the establishment of systems, policies and approaches/tools needed to ensure and demonstrate the quality of the CAR Mission’s programs.
● Ensure effective collaboration between MEL staff, Program Teams in the development of sector log frames, indicators, implementation plans, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks and related tools.
● Participate in project kick-offs for significant grants to ensure effective strategic direction and project close-outs to gather learning and share results.
● Pro-actively promote learning organizationally through learning sessions during regular staff meetings, learning workshops and inclusion of learning chapters in internal and external reports.
● Based on knowledge gaps identified, develop a comprehensive capacity building strategy in MEL&Q for MEL staff as well as Program staff by ensuring gradual transfer of responsibilities to field offices and national staff. Ensure coaching and mentoring of MEL&Q staff through field visits, workshops, supervising all aspects of the data collection process, and through other capacity building exercises.
● Conduct project site visits to provide hands-on training to field staff on data collection, analysis, reporting, documentation, and use of Performance Management Plans (Indicator Plans).
● Lead the development of processes to support programs team in integrating cross-program learning and ensure that lessons learned are used to inform adaptation of activities and future program design.
● Provide supervision to the M&E team members, ensure their work is a) of the highest quality (substance full and error-free) and b) aligned and contributing effectively to Global, Regional and Countries strategies. Ensures that staff have access to MC resources at all time to conduct and improve their work.
● Provide support to program teams at key moments including program start-up, kick-off meetings, inception meeting check-ins, quality audits and spot checks, and end of program transition meetings.
● Ensure that MEL and Program teams are engaged in dialogue, brainstorms, fact-check, and other collaborative sessions and that other internal/external stakeholders are incorporated in reviews/project update briefs/think tanks to add value to programs and maintain strategic focus;
Finance & Compliance Management (incl. adherence/promtion of standardS)
● Coordinate with a variety of teams, HQ, Finance, and Program Managers to ensure that M&E activities are relevant for program implementation, of high quality, and compliant with both international and internal standards as well as donor requirements
● Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards. Ensure all MC CAR programs comply with MC’s Gender and Cash Minimum Standards.
● Develop accountability mechanisms, which are context-specific and based on stakeholder analyses
● In close consultation with the Compliance Manager, ensure that an appropriate Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) is rolled out and in place for priority Mercy Corps RCA programs, including initiatives to ensure consistency and standardization in systems and reporting.
Influence & Representation
● Acts as a thought and inspiration leader for the CAR Mission in advancing the principles of best practice, adaptive learning, meticulousness, thoughtfulness and analytical rigor in assessing program planning, management, implementation and M&EL activities.
● Provide training and other resources to raise awareness of gender across MC CAR country office, to support the Mission’s efforts in creating a culture of gender-sensitive, and where appropriate, gender-transformative programming.
Strengthen linkages with other internal agency resources, including the Digital Library, the Hub, and Connect, to enhance organizational learning.
● Coordinate with Mercy Corps’ HQ-based Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Technical Support Unit (TSU) to guide process of ex-ante, ex-post and midterm evaluation, from the design, implementation and documentation phases, as well as for the development of M&E tools, processes, and procedures.
● Participate in M&E-related working groups and maintain close working relationships with Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning counterparts in other relevant international NGOs, and local NGOs and associations in CAR.
● Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
● Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
● 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 Beneficiaries
● Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward 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.
The MEL&Q Manager will supervise directly 3 team members: a MEL&Q Officer in Bangui and two MEL&Q Officers in the field offices.
Reports Directly To: Director of Programs
Works Directly With: Program Managers, M&E Officers, TSU
Knowledge and Experience
● Postgraduate degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, social sciences, measurement and evaluation, project planning and management or other relevant field preferred.
● 5-6 years of active M&E work experience in development programming required; ideal candidate will have both theoretical and practical background in M&E and skilled in qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques.
● At least 3 years of experience training staff on monitoring and evaluation tools and approaches and supervising national staff in M&E roles.
● Familiarity and experience with sectors including gender-based violence, intercommunity dialogue, economic development, and resilience programming; preferably in insecure or transitional environments and/or in Central Africa.
● Familiarity with the CAR context is a plus.
● At least 3 years of experience in program design (conducting qualitative assessments and rapid assessments informing proposals; development of Theories of Change and Logical Frameworks, alignment of objectives and indicators with country strategies and donor guidelines) and documentation (creating user-friendly and easily accessible, context-based information management systems and facilitating communication flow among departments).
● At least 3 years of experience in setting up and managing M&E systems in emergency and development contexts; at least 2 year of experience in implementing accountability mechanisms in emergency and development contexts.
● At least 3 years of experience mainstreaming gender, protection, and equality into programs.
● Excellent verbal and written communication skills required, with demonstrated experience in writing reports.
● Excellent computer skills, including experience with: Word Package including Excel and PowerPoint, SPSS or other statistical packages preferred. Qualitative software experience such as Atlas or NVivo preferred.
● Digital data collection experience strongly preferred, both in setting up a digital data collection system, supervision of data collection processes (i.e. from format coding to synchronization of surveys) and in analysis of results.
● Ability to conceptualize, plan and implement program activities creatively, as well as possess the ability to analyze data and utilize lessons learned for the continuous improvement of program implementation and to promote a culture of learning.
● Ability to adjust to last-minute changes and demonstrate cultural sensitivity as well as a keen interest in forwarding the principles and values of Mercy Corps in the communities of intervention.
● Fluency in written and verbal English and French required.
The successful MEL&Q Manager will have the ability to multi-task, set priorities, and respond to multiple deadlines within a complex team. S/he will take initiative and contribute to team efforts, as well as demonstrate an ability to communicate, assume leadership, and make solid decisions while working remotely from country leadership. S/he will have an ability to work independently, take initiative in tasks and self-learning, and be proactive in communications and development of professional relationships. S/he will be able to live and work closely with a diverse team of individuals in a highly intense and fluid work and security environment with demonstrated sensitivity to the people and issues in the region. S/he will demonstrate exceptional interpersonal, relationship and cross-cultural communication skills especially in high stress environments are essential for success. S/he will be committed to the values and mission of Mercy Corps; have the ability to creatively problem-solve, to juggle multiple priorities under tight deadlines and to calmly and diplomatically deal with unexpected and sudden events impacting program operations with patience, dynamism, tenacity and a good sense of humor.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position will be based in Bangui, Central African Republic with up to 40% travel to Mercy Corps field offices. This position is unaccompanied for spouses and/or children and includes hardship allowance and R&R benefits.
The security situation in CAR can be very volatile with pockets of violent outburst in various areas of the country. Bangui is generally more stable, however, carjacking and targeted looting do occur on occasion
Hospitals and access to quality health care are very limited. Malaria is prevalent. It is estimated that 7-8% of the population may be HIV positive. Suitable group housing is available, but electricity and clean water are sometimes sporadic as well as the Internet.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of 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.
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
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.