Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Advisor - USAID/Guatemala Integrating Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (I-WASH) Activity
This position is contingent upon 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.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operating in Guatemala for over 15 years, and is known for innovative programming around cash, market-based livelihoods, and violence prevention among others. Mercy Corps Guatemala’s current programs build on our long experience in the highlands region. Our national office recently relocated from Guatemala City to Coban, Alta Verapaz. The Coban office allows us to draw on strong program leaders and support teams (finance, operations, human resources, etc.) who are representative of the communities where we work.
The USAID/Guatemala Integrating Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (I-WASH) Activity is a proposed five-year, $10 – 24.99 million Program that will work with local municipalities and the private sector to ensure rural Guatemalans have a reliable water service that is chlorinated and adequate for human consumption, improved sanitation facilities, and establish the habit of practicing optimal hygiene behaviors.
Mercy Corps is seeking candidates for a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Advisor will be responsible for ensuring robust performance monitoring and evaluation that supports the achievement of the program objectives. The MEL Advisor will provide oversight and ensure the quality of all project-level monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning activities within the I-WASH Program. The MEL Advisor’s role is to also oversee and ensure coordination of the various technical areas across the MEL staff, including M&E, research, community accountability and response mechanisms (CARM), and ICT/Database team members, as well as other relevant program team members and partners. The MEL Advisor is responsible for the capacity building and mentoring strategy for program staff on themes related to monitoring, evaluation, accountability, reporting, learning, and adaptive management.
This position spans through the life of the project, expected to last 5 years.
- Develop, set-up, and oversee the MERL system for I-WASH, including Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan (AMELP) and Research Plans, MEL tools and technology, instrument design, data collection methodology and processes, data and information management systems, and data analysis to assess and share the impact of the program. This will include identification of process, output, and outcome indicators specific to women’s agency, leadership, normative change, and institutional strengthening.
- Facilitate inclusive and gender-sensitive MERL 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
- Ensure data collection process is functioning in all activity locations to provide quality data within deadlines, including support to partners to ensure timely and high quality MERL efforts
- Regularly review data collection processes, perform data quality assessments, and make adjustments as needed.
- 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.
- Ensures program uses the necessary MEL systems and tools, to inform and improve, as well as feed into country-level M&E systems and strategy.
- Take the lead in aligning, collecting, analyzing, and reporting on program indicators (e.g., performance, operational, context, etc.) and CARM through the program’s MEL systems, including consortium partner systems, and other external systems as relevant.
- Support teams in collecting sex and age disaggregated data and using gender sensitive, socially inclusive, and remote data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse audiences, decision makers, and stakeholders.
- Provides guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the MEL systems meet the data, evidence, and learning needs of the program, including the sharing of information internally and externally, and help address shortfalls in MEL, CLA, and data management that affect program implementation.
- Ensures I-WASH 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
- Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites – spend up to 30% of time in the field.
- Oversee the I-WASH MEL team and sub-contractors, like external evaluators and enumerators.
- Build the capacity of all relevant program and partner team members to develop and maintain an excellent MEL system, including regular reflection and analysis of program quantitative and qualitative data.
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations, and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellences.
Internal and External Coordination
- Collaborate with technical leads across the coalition and build processes for regular feedback loops in order to ensure functioning adaptive management
- Active contributor and collaborator with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of MEL best practices and lessons learned.
- Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library, Hub, and Workplace, to enhance organizational learning where relevant to MEL.
- Present program M&E, research, and learning to external stakeholders and the program team in a way that influences decision-makers and promotes adaptations from learning.
- 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.
- Ensure that activities are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.
These will include the national and international team members working on the program, as well as partnerships with international and national program partners. The actual number of direct and indirect reports is to be determined.
Reports Directly To: Deputy Chief of Party
Works Directly With: MEL Team, Deputy CoP, CoP, Program Sector/Technical Managers, Program Managers, Reporting & Communications Officers, Country Director, and Operations teams. Coordinates with HQ Program Performance team and the Technical Support Unit.
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
- BA/S degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, public policy, public health, monitoring and evaluation, project management or other relevant field required. Postgraduate degree preferred.
- Minimum 7 years of managing MEL work at a program or country level, including supervising staff. Proven use of program technology in an MEL function required.
- Proven success in designing, implementing and operating project MEL systems from project initiation to closeout stages, preferably in Guatemala or in the Central America region.
- Experience in strategic planning and performance measurement, including indicator selection, target setting, reporting, database management and developing MEL and performance monitoring plans that support learning agendas and contribute to program efficacy.
- Experience with theoretical and practical background in MEL 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.
- Familiarity with MEL approaches to measuring behavioral and normative change at the individual, interpersonal, community and societal levels.
- Familiarity with competencies-based approaches to agency and empowerment.
- Experience with data quality assessments and oversight.
- Excellent quantitative skills and power user with Excel; statistical packages including STATA, R, or SPSS; visualization software, like Tableau or Power BI, and GIS tools like QGIS, ArcGIS or Google Earth Pro is preferred.
- 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.
- Prior experience working in Guatemala and on USAID programs strongly preferred.
- Experience in conflict sensitivity training and Do No Harm training of trainers preferred.
- Must be professionally proficient and fluent in written and spoken Spanish and English.
The successful candidate will have a proven ability to learn quickly; multi-task; take rapid decisions; take initiative; have drive and energy, as well as high emotional intelligence; constructive mentoring skills; proven experience with capacity building; be accountable for results; understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details; possess problem solving skills; work within a complex and sensitive setting and ability to follow laws and security protocols.
S/he will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving.
The most successful Mercy Corps 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.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position will be based in Guatemala City with regular travel to program locations including deep field sites. The location is generally secure. Housing, health care, water, electricity and consumer goods are all reasonably accessible. Mobile phones services are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices with some inconsistencies in the most remote sites. This position requires 40% travel to field offices that are located in highly insecure locations.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on short-term assignments. 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.
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.
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 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.