DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH - RESILIENCE PORTFOLIO MEASUREMENT ACTIVITY, SOMALIA
This position is pending funding
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 operating in Somalia since 2008. With a staff of around 100 people and programs operating throughout the country, Mercy Corps’ overall country goal is building a peaceful and prosperous Somalia where all people feel secure, are economically empowered, and are meaningfully engaged. Mercy Corps’ current portfolio in Somalia focuses on humanitarian response and resilience; inclusive economic growth; enhancing trust and accountability between communities and their government; and improving youth livelihood and education opportunities. All Mercy Corps interventions in Somalia are implemented in a conflict and gender sensitive manner.
Mercy Corps is seeking a Director of Research to play a key leadership role in the expected five-year USAID-funded Somalia Resilience Portfolio Measurement (RPM) Activity. The proposed associate award, under the Leader with Associates “Livestock Market Systems” (LMS), aims to develop and lead a resilience measurement system on the collective resilience outcomes at a population level and build the capacity of participating stakeholders to estimate individual contributions to collective resilience outcomes. The program will establish a common measurement and analytics process among diverse actors in Somalia to link single-program-focused resilience capacity measurement methodologies previously piloted in Somalia and advance analytics to link diverse stakeholder-level contributions to collective, population-level resilience outcomes.
General Position Summary
The Director of Research will support the Chief of Party (CoP) and Deputy Chief of Party (DCoP) to provide technical design advice to ensure that a replicable approach for connecting population-level measurement of common resilience outcomes to the work of diverse contributing actors is achieved. The Director of Research will develop sophisticated tools for the measurement of population-wide resilience capacities. In partnership with the CoP and DCoP, the Director of Research will be responsible for collaboratively designing and implementing large-scale mixed-method studies, and will successfully lead with a Recurrent Monitoring Systems approach. In close partnership with the Activity’s DCoP, the Director of Research will integrate learning and adaptive management systems in support of the overall program goal, utilizing human-centered design approaches.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Strategy & Vision
- Leads research planning and design of large resilience capacity measurement study at the population level
- Design and maintain an adaptive mixed methods Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) system with utility and program quality in mind, providing partners, managers and their teams real-time information that can steer decision-making as well as inform donor strategy and program direction
- Develop and lead implementation of a Recurrent Monitoring System for resilience capacity at the population level in the CDCS focal zone
- Provide guidance from a MEL perspective to the program COP and DCoP
- In partnership with the DCOP, develop a robust learning agenda and adaptive management strategy for the program
- Develop and implement research uptake and stakeholder engagement strategy that includes non-researchers / government / practitioners to translate evidence into practice
- Oversee partner capacity building with a focus on incentivizing and empowering stakeholder partners to adapt portfolios to a resilience-oriented approach and utilize common resilience tools
- Work with COP and DCOP to recruit partner organization to conduct data collection analysis for population-level resilience capacity measurement
- Institute oversight mechanisms and processes to ensure rigor in all stages of research design, implementation, and analysis
- In coordination with the MEL team, disseminate research and evaluation findings to participating resilience stakeholders
- Represent Mercy Corps in research and learning forums with the broader humanitarian and development community
- Ensure ICT4M&E is strategically and appropriately coordinated and advance in the activity, including the use of digital data collection, visual analytics and GIS-mapping using mobile devices and on-line data management platforms
- Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards
- Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide
- Coordinate and collaborate with research staff, including Short-Term Technical Assistants, and USAID stakeholders and partners
- Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent M&E system, including training on Tola data (digital tool developed by MC) and the periodic reflection and analysis of program monitoring data to disseminate learning
- Develop the capacity of the team, deepen understanding of their roles and assist with career development
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives
- 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 excellence
- Hire, orient and lead team members as necessary
Finance & Compliance Management
- Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps’ regulations
- Support the CoP to create and maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with program, donor and Mercy Corps’ needs
Influence & Representation
- In support of CoP, represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events
- Coordinate activities with local government and other implementers
- 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 programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security
- 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.
MEL program manager, Short-Term Term Technical Assistants as appropriate
Reports Directly To: Chief of Party, Resilience Portfolio Measurement Activity
Works Directly With: Deputy Chief of Party, Short-Term Technical Assistants, Country Director, Somalia MEL, finance, and operations teams; participating stakeholder organizations, other implementers; Mercy Corps Africa Region support team (Technical Support Unit, Performance and Quality, Research, MEL), Mercy Corps HQ Research & Learning and Performance and Quality Teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit
Knowledge and Experience
- A minimum seven years relevant experience including in resilience measurement and Recurrent Monitoring Systems, preferably including in non-permissive contexts
- Demonstrated experience designing and managing large-scale mixed methods studies and/or population surveys preferably in Somalia
- Demonstrated expertise in carrying out complex qualitative and quantitative analysis, with the latter preferably with resilience surveys and indices
- Proficiency using data collection and analysis platforms including CommCare, ONA, statistical software packages (STATA and/or R preferred for quantitative analysis), PowerBi or Tableau.
- Demonstrated experience working with non-researchers, government institutions, local organizations, and other stakeholders to effectively communicate technical ideas to facilitate their translation into practice
- Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with host governments, donors, other donor-funded projects and stakeholders, local organizations, and partners
- Demonstrated ability to build and foster an adaptive team culture and a record of accomplishment in strategic visioning, leadership, and inspiring teams
- Experience managing complex programmatic and financial reporting requirements – experience with USAID-funding preferred
- Experience working in East Africa required, experience in Somalia strongly preferred
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
The successful Director of Research will be able to creatively and effectively adapt and implement mixed methods of evaluation for resilience capacity measurement. They will combine exceptional technical skills with sound management experience. They will have an outstanding ability to develop, implement and manage innovative programs. They will also have proven experience with cross-cultural teams and capacity building, individual staff development, and strong mentoring skills. Multi-tasking, prioritizing, problem solving and simultaneous attention to detail and strategic vision are essential. The most successful Mercy Corps staff 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 is split between Mercy Corps offices in Mogadishu and Baidoa, Somalia, and it may require some travel to other field offices if and when required for meetings and other functions. Accommodation is provided in group housing. The Director of Research will support activities throughout Somalia. Mobility in Somalia is restricted and must first be cleared with the Security Advisor. This is an unaccompanied post and eligible for Hardship and R&R. The standard Somali workweek is Sunday – Thursday.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDT 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 et all times and in all in-country.