Senior Director - Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning

Monitoring & Evaluation Washington, District of Columbia


Senior Director - Monitoring Evaluation and Learning


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

The Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) department supports and enables quality program implementation by establishing and maintaining standards for excellence, championing an evidence-based practice to strengthen program performance, and supporting strategic program change management.  Within the broader PAQ team, the MEL team supports both foundational and cutting edge adaptive management approaches to program management, with design, monitoring, evaluation and learning functions as key processes and benchmarks to ensure evidence-based decision making for quality program implementation. The team works across a wide spectrum of stakeholders both internal and external to Mercy Corps, as well as diverse technical program approaches and sectors.

General Position Summary

The Senior Director for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning leads global MEL practice at Mercy Corps. They will ensure that Mercy Corps’ strategy and implementation of a global monitoring and evaluation practice across its programs- including development programs, large-scale rapid onset emergency responses, and integrated responses to complex crises- is closely integrated with Mercy Corps’ program management approach, emphasizes and supports gender integration, guides the interface with our newly developed indicator management and tracking platform, TolaData, and contributes to evidence-base learning and adaptive program management.

This role will primarily work at a strategic and management level, setting priorities and directing Mercy Corps approaches for measurable program design, field monitoring, evaluation, learning, accountability; data and knowledge management; professional and organizational development; TolaData adoption; and resource and tool development. He/she will ensure effective provision of direct technical assistance to field teams as needed, lead collaboration with internal stakeholders, contribute to external representation, and track trends in the wider MEL field. He/she will prioritize identification of opportunities to support innovation in evaluation and learning, with a link to Mercy Corps’ thought leadership strategy.

Essential Job Responsibilities

        Provides vision, strategy, and leadership to innovation and best practice in monitoring, evaluation and learning.

        Fosters a culture and practice of evidence-based programming.

        Promotes the learning from- and strategic use of - evidence gathered through MEL and research to advance the organization’s thought leadership.

        Acts as a leading voice contributing to cutting-edge debates and influencing MEL related policy in the relief and development field.

        Serves as a focal point for senior agency leaders on accountability for verifiable program evidence, and the systems that enable it.


        Advocates and supports Mercy Corps colleagues with access and knowledge to apply resources, tools, and capacities for high quality strategic data collection, data management, data analysis, and data use that generates program learning to maximize program impact.

        Drives and manages the adoption, visibility, and use of TolaData in service of evidenced-based program decision making.

        Collaborates with regional and country leadership teams to enable effective data usage through participatory, reflective analysis, and learning approaches.

        Promotes use of new methods and approaches in MEL.

        Leads change management for the adoption of Mercy Corps new global MEL Policy, ensuring that MEL standards are understood and applied consistently across Mercy Corps.

        Leads the development and implementation of a knowledge management and communication strategy to further stimulate use of evidence for learning, strategy and high- impact programming.

        Tracks trends in the wider evaluation field within and beyond relief and development; curates, promotes and coaches HQ and field teams to integrate them where relevant.

        Represents Mercy Corps regularly in external forums, to promote and share innovative and best practice work across our global programs.


        Liaises closely with Mercy Corps program leaders (Country Directors, Chiefs of Party, Program Directors/Managers and others) to assure they are trained, coached and provided sufficient tools and resources to use MEL data in management decision-making.

        Works with the MEL team to develop products that enable organization-wide learning and sharing by documenting approaches, project and program designs and lessons, case studies and other knowledge products.

        Leads the team in leveraging existing knowledge products in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

        Facilitates the promotion of program quality minimum standards, including gender- integrated MEL approaches, in particular the collection and analysis of sex-and-age disaggregated data and Community Accountability and Response Mechanisms (CARM).

        Coordinates with Technical Services Unit and Research and Learning teams to identify evidence-based learning points from programs, and facilitates the dissemination, discussion and utilization of these lessons into future programs.

        Leads the development of Collaborating, Learning and Adapting best practices for complex programs.

        Works closely with the Talent team to develop and roll out strategy for hiring, retaining, and onboarding MEL team members.

        In coordination with Finance and Compliance, develops a process for tracking, reporting and using MEL finance data.


        Supervises, hires, and orients MEL team members.

        Coaches MEL team members to develop professionally, improve performance, and reach personal objectives.

        Contribute to country and program management MEL team member success, including field recruitment strategies and support, coaching, and cultivation of a strong enabling environment.

        Identifies and manages a roster of consultants and other short-term team members to meet the demands for high-quality and effective field program technical support in MEL.

        Supports team members to actively engage in MEL thought leadership and stay abreast of current topics and innovations in the sector through participation in working groups, attendance and representation in conferences and forums, and participation in skill building.


Organizational Learning

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 Program Participants

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


Supervisory Responsibility

Directly manages an HQ team which consists of five full-time staff, a roster of consultants, and close support to a global team of field-based MEL professionals.


Reports Directly to: Vice President, Program Performance and Quality (PaQ)


Knowledge and Experience

        MA in international development or other relevant social science

        10-15  years of experience working in international relief and development programs, with at least eight years focused on providing MEL technical support to field programs, and at least three years working overseas preferred.

        Demonstrated skill with program design, including assessments, proposal development, indicator selection and MEL  planning.

        Demonstrated skill and experience with facilitating program design processes, logical frameworks, theories of change, and overall program logic.

        Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with operational research and program evaluation methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative methods.

        Experienced in training and capacity-building in person and remotely and fostering a collaborative relationship with field practitioners and management.

        Experience with quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and experience with data analysis using Excel, SPSS or STATA. Additional software and technical skills (databases, mobile technology, GIS, and data visualization) preferred.

        Experience designing practical and effective monitoring systems, including participant tracking using mobile platforms, post distribution monitoring and remote monitoring.

        Strong communication skills; able to work remotely with a geographically dispersed team.

        English language fluency required; French, Arabic, or Spanish language skills preferred.


Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Washington, DC.  Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/short term assignment 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.

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

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.