Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Manager - Puerto Rico

Monitoring & Evaluation San Juan, Puerto Rico


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.

Country Program Summary

Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Following Hurricane Maria, Mercy Corps is supporting relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Mercy Corps’ Puerto Rico local team is working with community-based organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance and rebuild communities affected by the recent emergencies. As we see elsewhere around the world, disaster recovery and resilience requires a concerted, multi-stakeholder effort that involves meaningful coordination among local organizations, government agencies, and communities. Mercy Corps Puerto Rico is implementing a $7M+ portfolio focused on building resilience, supporting emergency responses and institutional preparedness, facilitating equitable access to clean energy, water, and connectivity in case of urgent need, and livelihoods recovery and economic resilience.

General Position Summary

The Monitoring Evaluation and Learning, or MEL Manager will manage Mercy Corps Puerto Rico MEL unit, leading monitoring, evaluation, learning and reporting activities in Mercy Corps Puerto Rico program portfolio.  The general duties and responsibilities of the MEL Manager are to provide program oversight, project-level monitoring and evaluation activities, and donor reporting requirements within the Mercy Corps Puerto Rico Program Portfolio, ensuring the quality of all program MEL activities, information and data management via the programs reporting system (which may be tied with Mercy Corps’ proprietary Tola systems). The MEL Manager will also be the Community Accountability Report Mechanism (CARM) focal point for Puerto Rico and when needed will support proposal development.

The MEL Manager is expected to have a high level of self-initiative and use critical thinking skills to identify and fill gaps and opportunities. The MEL Manager will also work closely with the Director of Programs (DoP) to ensure that the Puerto Rico mission complies with the agency’s regional and global MEL systems and standards. The MEL Manager should have the ability to work sensitively and positively with programming teams and promote a learning environment – success of the post relies on this. 

Essential Responsibilities

Program Management

  • Set-up and oversee the implementation of the MEL system, including all tools and data collection processes for program activities.
  • Work with program managers and Director of Program (DoP) to refine logframes and PMPs
  • Manage various donor-mandated data management and reporting systems
  • Develop and review frequently the Project’s MEL Plan including Data Management Plan
  • Plan and lead all MEL activities including the baseline, midterm and final program evaluations, and develop standards for data collection
  • Work with DoP on helping teams meet MEL Policy and [email protected] standards
  • Supervise all subcontractors involved in data collection activities including the baseline, midterm and final evaluation teams, and review their standards for data collection
  • Update MEL and project management systems to reflect program progress and needs; enforce proper usage of these systems by program staff
  • Collect, analyze and validate information and data on the performance indicators
  • Present data analysis and periodic reporting in consultation with technical staff and leadership
  • Ensure that lessons learned throughout the project are captured and communicated to internal and external stakeholders through appropriate channels
  • Liaise with various stakeholders and project-related donors on relevant program MEL concerns
  • Take on overall responsibility for project reporting including weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, final and ad-hoc reports
  • Work with team members and leadership to help build a culture that uses data and evidence for learning and improvement
  • Ensure that transparent high quality accountability mechanisms are in place for all programs and are regularly monitored and evaluated

MEL Strategy and Design

  • Provide strategic high-level feedback, analysis and interpretation throughout the proposal development process
  • Provide strategic direction for the development and maintenance of MEL systems, and the roll-out of new initiatives
  • Support DoP, Program Managers and MEL team/working group members in the design and implementation of assessments, gender analysis, stakeholder analysis, context analysis, barrier analysis, risk analysis, organizational capacity assessments, and other pre-program data collection and analysis
  • Develop and review Results Frameworks, LogFrames, MEL Plans, and Analysis Plans
  • Ensure the consistency of tools and indicators across all sectors, and programs as appropriate, maintaining a bank of key program indicators
  • Collect and analyze lessons learned and best practices from previous and ongoing programs capturing the impact of activities, and ensure that these are incorporated into the design of new projects
  • Leverage lessons learned, best practices, program data, evaluations, and other information to generate donor communication pieces, proposal annexes, success stories, case studies, and other high-quality, results-based documentation
  • Work with senior management to identify and pursue strategic opportunities for program development, expansion, etc.

MEL Capacity Strengthening and Team Management 

  • Develop and co-facilitate regular MEL workshops for staff and partners to share country program, regional, and global MEL tools, processes, and best practices to cultivate a culture of learning
  • Conduct orientations for new MEL and program staff on Mercy Corps systems and key MEL resources
  • Conduct regular reviews of staff capacity in accordance with Mercy Corps performance management system and coach/mentor staff to ensure high levels of motivation, commitment, capacity, and teamwork
  • Maintain an updated matrix of MEL team capacities using the Mercy Corps MEL core competencies, provide training and development as necessary to ensure Mercy Corps Puerto Rico (MCPR) maintains a full roster of skills
  • Provide mentoring/accompaniment to Mercy Corps and partner staff to increase capacity and to achieve annual performance and development plans
  • Remain updated with developments among the Mercy Corps MEL community and worldwide MEL trends and resources, and ensure that MCPR MEL team is applying Mercy Corps MEL guidance and policies appropriately and in a timely manner
  • Conduct field monitoring visits events frequently with project teams and implementing partners
  • Provide feedback to senior project and MEL staff to improve the overall MEL system and ensure quality implementation of MEL activities
  • Directly manage 2 to 3 MEL staff in day-to-day MEL activities, as well as provide technical oversight of  1 or 2 additional MEL staff located in field offices
  • 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-one 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

Influence & Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate.

  • Work with formal government structures and representatives, maintain and develop relevant and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders.

  • Ensure that Mercy Corps maintains a high degree of risk awareness and impartiality.

  • Respect and understand differing cultural and ethnic differences and nuances and have the ability to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved.

  • Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, governments and other stakeholders.Security

  • Manage Humanitarian Access mechanisms to ensure Mercy Corps’ continued ability to access our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach beneficiaries.

  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies.

  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

Directly supervises MEL Coordinator and MEL Intern


Reports to: Director of Programs

Works closely with: Program Managers, Puerto Rico Senior Leadership Team, Americas RO, Regional Support Advisors, Operations and HR departments, HQ MEL staff, and additional headquarters-based support departments as needed.

Reports to: Director of Programs

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

Education and Experience

  • Master’s degree in a field related to program management, international development, statistics or similar
  • Minimum 3 to 5 years’ experience in M&E for development programs in a position of responsibility (experience with INGO preferred)
  • Experience working with donors like PRDOH, USDA, EDA, private donors, foundations, etc, is preferred
  • Familiarity with principles and current approaches to MEL of development programs using both quantitative and qualitative methods, especially those of USAID
  • Experience with participatory MEL systems
  • Proficiency in database development/management, SPSS, EPI-Info, Access, Excel and skills in analyzing, interpreting and communicating information to various stakeholders
  • Experience using technology for data collection
  • Experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative assessments and surveys (including sound understanding of sampling issues)
  • Previous experience with leading and managing studies and consultants
  • Experience with facilitation, capacity strengthening and partnership building, with the capacity to empower staff through opportunities for growth & development
  • Supervisory experience and management and team building skills

Personal Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to manage, lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles, follow procedures, and meet deadlines
  • Ability to transfer knowledge through formal and informal training
  • Excellent planning and organization skills
  • Flexibility to work both in a team and independently
  • Demonstrated personal accountability and driven to serve others
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, ability to work well with people, good judgment and commitment to Mercy Corps’ mission

Required/Desired Language

  • Fluency in English and Spanish.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is an opinionated, fast thinking, experienced leader. They have a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver operational support in challenging environments. They are an excellent communicator who can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal and drive a fast-paced and adaptive support to programs. They are able to create a stimulating working environment encouraging innovation and accountability. They are a confident representative in public settings, able to speak up when needed to defend Mercy Corps’ positions and influence key stakeholders internally and externally to further and expand Mercy Corps Puerto Rico’s goals in the response. They are able to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment and prioritize team building and capacity-building of national staff. They have excellent information management skills, is a strategic thinker. They have an outstanding ability to design, implement and manage innovative programs that respond to current needs and reinforce the future program structure of Mercy Corps in Puerto Rico.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position will be based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Travel inside and outside of the country according to MCPR annual MEL action plan and other requests from Mercy Corps (Puerto Rico, Americas Regional Office, HQ). This position requires 30% of time travelling to field offices, some in insecure environments.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and how we 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 team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. 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. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct policies and are required to complete mandatory corresponding e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.