Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning (MEL) Lead (Ukraine Response)

Programs Kyiv, Ukraine


Position Location: Poland (Kraków or Warsaw) or Ukraine (Kyiv or Lviv)

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. 

Program Summary: 
Mercy Corps’ Ukraine Response seeks to meet the humanitarian needs of vulnerable Ukrainians and other conflict-affected people where they are: displaced inside Ukraine, refugees in Poland, Romania, and Moldova, or trapped behind frontlines. We aim to reach 500,000 vulnerable people with multi-purpose cash assistance, in-kind humanitarian support, and protection services across four countries. Almost all our impact will be delivered in partnership: with Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian and Moldovan civil society organizations through a granting program that matches humanitarian action with capacity strengthening, and with peer international NGOs through a consortium in Ukraine.  Mercy Corps is responding to the Ukraine crisis with large-scale consortium programming with a focus on Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA). The Consortium is a partnership between four international humanitarian aid agencies to model and deliver innovative, effective cash and other humanitarian assistance programs to support people affected by the Ukraine crisis within Ukraine.   


The Position:  
The MEL Lead will head the 20+ member MEL Team of Mercy Corps’ Ukraine Response and is part of the Response Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) team. They lead and oversee the identification, development, and implementation of data systems to promote effective MEL and analytics of the Ukraine response. They are responsible for ensuring streamlining of data management platforms, standardization of data collection tools and automation of data workflows to ensure real time availability of data. They will ensure the quality of MEL activities writ large, by prioritizing the development and improvement of exceptional information management systems for all stages of data management and implement while overseeing data quality audits and assessments while defining and designing processes and guidelines for data validation, verification, and other quality standards as needed.  

The MEL Lead is responsible for the capacity building and mentoring on themes related to M&E and learning, working closely with other PaQ and technical leads. They will initiate and oversee documentation of evidence and promote the use of program data for decision making in management meetings. Working closely with the PaQ and technical leads, the MEL Lead will be the primary change agent in promoting a culture of evidence-based decision-making within the Ukraine Response. Central to this approach will be the analysis and use of program data within the program for learning and adaptation of program activities.  

Essential Responsibilities: 
1. Technical Leadership 

  • Guide the continuing development of the MEL and data analysis strategy (adhering to Mercy Corps MEL policy standards and deliverables) for the Ukraine response, identifying key technological platforms and systems to be used to support the response implementation. The MEL strategy will be informed by a thorough analysis of data needs and a mapping of decision-making gates.  
  • Support changes and further developments of the Ukraine Response MEL Plan and Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) using existing Mercy Corps resources, and developing new ones where needed, that include clear step by step guidance, processes, roles and responsibilities on all relevant MEL activities. 
  • Oversee and support MEL Managers in the maintaining of budget and workplan for the response. 
  • Participate in new business development opportunities ensuring adequate resourcing for  

MEL within the response.  

  • Conduct data needs assessments and implement solutions that address identified data needs in a timely manner.  
  • Develop and institutionalize the use of mechanisms and practices across teams within the Ukraine response (eg. MEL, technical, operations) for promoting data-driven decision-making and use of program MEL data across the response. 
  • Periodically conduct data/quality assessments and audits as needed. 
  • Ensure the Ukraine Response is adequately updated in Mercy Corps’ central data platform for program indicators (TolaData). 

 2. Information Management 

  • Continually develop and oversee the MEL system for the Ukraine Response, including the review and development of MEL Plans, M&E tools, standardization of variables across tools, integration of tools within appropriate technological platforms, developing and setting data workflows, managing response level database development, etc. 
  • Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the M&E systems meet the needs of the response and help address shortfalls in M&E and data management that affect response implementation.  
  • Work with the Data Management and Automation Team to identify opportunities to maximize data management efficiencies through automation, integration and linking of various platforms to ensure integrated workflows.  
  • Ensure the Ukraine Response adheres to Mercy Corps’ MEL best practices, including adherence to the MEL policy standards. 
  • Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information in programs.  
  • Maintain a comprehensive schedule and review program reports to ensure that reports contain accurate, clear, and high-quality data that is presented in the proper format.  
  • Coordinate with Data Management and Automation Lead on automating data flows using CommCare, Power BI, and other automated data/MEL technologies  
  • Oversee all evaluation activities. 
 3. Team Management 
  • Support the PaQ Lead in the continual development and evolution of a response level MEL team structure to ensure adequate staffing levels. Clearly define management lines, roles, relevant position descriptions, strategic priorities, team and individual level work plans, and provide management guidance and oversight.   
  • Set-up and supervise the response MEL teams, including assisting the PaQ Lead in hiring, and onboarding MEL team members.  
  • Ensure teams attain/maintain sufficient skills/capabilities to carry out required MEL duties, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with staff orientation, career development, professional development through training, performance management and others.  
  • Coordinate closely with MEL Managers on priority setting across the response, overseeing opportunities to collaborate as well as skill and task sharing where applicable to reduce effort and work duplication. 
  • Promote a strong culture of two-way collaboration throughout the MEL Team, while focusing on accountability, communicating expectations, and providing constant constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one-on-ones and performance reviews with the teams.  
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect and understanding where team members are empowered, given room to grow, and provided an environment where they can achieve.  
4. Learning 
  • Assist the MEL Advisor (Standards & Learning) in the creation and continual development of a learning agenda, ensuring learning activities through the response are prioritized; including after action reviews, pause and reflection sessions, periodic performance reviews, etc 
  • Support in response-wide analysis of information, data, and ongoing analyses to inform the learning agenda.  
  • Working closely with other response technical leads, identify opportunities for in-depth analysis and documentation.  
  • Initiate opportunities for enhancing analytic capacity within the response teams promoting use of data.  
4. Capacity Building & Training  
  • Develop and implement knowledge, skills, and training initiatives for MEL and technical team members. This may include training, coaching, and mentoring of program and MEL team members on foundational MEL skills, evaluation approaches, MEL technologies/mobile data collection, data analysis, data visualization, etc.  
  • Ensure response level Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for TolaData are up to date. Provide training and coaching for program and MEL staff on how to use TolaData effectively. Ensure that TolaData is routinely updated, check quality of program evidence linked to the system.  
5. Internal and External Coordination & Representation  
  • Active contributor and collaborator across the internal teams, especially promoting best practices and lessons learned.  
  • Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library, Hub, and Connect, to enhance organizational learning where relevant to emergency M&E.  
  • Present program M&E and learning to external stakeholders and within response clusters, partner and donor meetings as required.  


Supervisory Responsibility: The MEL Response Lead will oversee a Neighboring Countries MEL Manager (Poland, Romania, Moldova) a MEL Manager for Ukraine, and a MEL Advisor for Standards and Learning. 

Reports Directly To: Program Performance & Quality Lead 

Works Directly With: Data Management & Automation Team, Cash Teams in Ukraine and Poland, Partnerships Teams in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and Moldova. 

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. 

 Required Qualification & Transferable Skills: 

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree in development, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, monitoring and evaluation, project management or other relevant field strongly preferred.  
  • Strong understanding of emergency donor requirements for MEL preferred 
  • At least 5 years of hands-on experience in developing MEL plans/systems required. 
  • Managing MEL functions and a MEL team within an emergency context strongly preferred.  
  • In lieu of MEL experience within an emergency context, 5-7 years of demonstrated experience in managing M&E work at a program or country level, including supervising staff.  
  • Demonstrated experience in engaging cross-sectoral/response leadership in the use of data for performance measurement, decision-making, adaptive management, and advocacy. 
  • A strong understanding of, and hands on experience in, overseeing and designing data systems.  
  • Proven use of successfully integrating program technology into M&E functions required.  
  • Experience with data management including the ability to structure and collate data sets for ease of analysis.  
  • Demonstrated understanding of intermediate statistics and ability to summarize and make predictions from multiple data sets.  
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required. Proficiency in Ukrainian, Russian, or Polish would be a strong asset but not required.  

Preferred Qualifications & Transferable Skills: 

  • Experience with M&E for cash-based programming.  
  • Familiarity with Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) 
  • Experience with theoretical and practical background in M&E and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques preferred.  
  • Experience with designing and promoting learning activities, including after action reviews, program reviews, pause and reflections, etc.  

Success Factors:  
An effective Response MEL Lead will be a process oriented, forward-thinking individual who is confident in the role that monitoring, evaluation and learning play in creating an evidence base to guide emergency response programming and implementation. They will be able to work closely and effectively with senior response management team and will understand how to represent best available data to inform decision making. They will be an excellent communicator with exceptional analytical skills, an adept multi-tasker - able to work in difficult and often stressful environments with less-than-ideal resources and data. The most successful Mercy Corps leadership team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations. 

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.  

Ongoing Learning: 
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 based on 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 and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. 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.