Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor
Location: Washington DC, US is preferred but applicants living in a country where Mercy Corps implements programs are encouraged to apply
Position Status: Full-time, Regular
Salary: US salary commensurate on experience, local benchmarking applies for candidates outside of the United States.
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.
The Program Performance and Quality Unit (PaQ) is an integrated Unit consisting of the Program Standards Team; the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Team; the Strategic Leadership Team; and the Infrastructure Teams. PaQ is a Unit within the Global Programs Department. The purpose of PaQ is to support effective, efficient, and equitable program performance through a culture of quality management, to achieve results for those that matter most -- our program participants.
The HQ MEL Team of Mercy Corps supports both foundational and cutting-edge adaptive management approaches with design, monitoring, evaluation and learning functions as key processes and benchmarks to ensure evidence-based decision making for quality program implementation. The MEL Team’s work includes, but is not limited to, the provision of technical MEL support to programs, the integration of MEL technologies at all stages of the data lifecycle, implementation of learning mechanisms and platforms, implementation of and support for data quality assessments, the development of global MEL standards and good practices, and support with agency-level reporting. A major focus area of the MEL team is the implementation of Mercy Corps’ MEL and Program Management policies. 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.
The MEL Advisor works with the MEL team to collectively support programs by helping to improve Mercy Corps monitoring, evaluation and learning practices across multiple program types and sectors.
MEL Advisors work primarily - though not exclusively - at a program level (vs portfolio/mission level) by providing direct support on program design, field monitoring, evaluation, learning, accountability; data and knowledge management; team capacity building; and resource and tool development. Thus, the advisor provides direct technical assistance across all phases of the program life cycle to field teams as needed, liaise with internal stakeholder teams, contribute to external representation.
MONITORING, EVALUATION, & LEARNING TECHNICAL SUPPORT TO PROGRAMS (65%)
- Resource improvement, testing and socialization: Contribute to the review and update of existing Mercy Corps MEL tools and approaches as well as development and testing of new resources. Socializing these resources through communications and demonstration is also inherent to the Advisor’s role
- Capacity building: Contribute to building capacity, coaching and mentoring MEL and program staff on how to apply MEL best practices within their contexts and how to use certain tools and assure donor requirements are met.
- TA on MEL Policy and Standards: Provide technical support and oversight to assigned programs in meeting Mercy Corps’ agency-level MEL standards as articulated in the MEL policy. This may include support to program monitoring, evaluation and learning plans, indicator definition and tool support, and MEL filing structure, and others. Over time, the MEL Advisor supports all Mercy Corps 15 MEL minimum standards but typically starts with:
- Standard related to M&E plan development
- Standard related to correctly storing MEL related documents and files
- Standard related to Mercy Corps’ responsible data policy
- Standard related to Mercy Corps’ proprietary indicator tracking software TolaData.
- Standard related to data quality assurance
- Standard related to program’s conducting Final Internal Performance Reviews (FIPR).
- TA to programs: conducting baselines, mid-term and final evaluations, and developing standards for data collection, using programmatic data for decision-making and others. as well as a variety of formative studies that use qualitative data. The MEL Advisor usually starts by providing TA where they already have experience when hired but this expands as their technical competency and experience grows. TA also includes design and set-up of programs’ M&E systems as well as helping with analysis and interpretation of the routine data they collect. As the MEL Advisor’s technical competency and experience grows, they will support more complex M&E systems and data analysis.
- Assessing evaluability of programs through TolaData: reviewing programs - as entered in TolaData - to assess how well a program can both monitor and assess their performance given their selection of indicators, targets, reporting periods, results framework and their indicator plans
IMPROVEMENTS TO TOLADATA (15%)
- TolaData is continuously being upgraded. The MEL Advisor will participate with all MEL team members in identification of needed TolaData upgrades as well as testing those upgrades and communicating with our global staff when there are new releases. As such MEL Advisors are expected to quickly become TolaData power users.
NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (10%)
- Support proposal development teams by reviewing and drafting MEL plans and indicator tables, as well as ensuring compliance with donor requirements.
- Serve as a proposal reviewer for MEL-related sections
- Help package MEL products, such as Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM), and promote their incorporation in new and emerging technical proposals.
POLICY, ADVOCACY, REPRESENTATION (5%)
- Represent Mercy Corps at conferences, media forums, and other events
- Contribute to Mercy Corps’ MEL-Related Communities of Practice (CoP)
- Conduct internal webinars intended to strengthen technical skills of MEL team members
- Cultivate and maintain working relationships with partner’s MEL staff
Supervisory Responsibility: None.
Reports Directly To: Senior Technical Lead, MEL
Works Directly With: HQ MEL Team, HQ PaQ Unit, Country MEL and PaQ Leads, Program Managers, etc.
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 Qualifications & Transferable Skills
- BA/BS or equivalent that demonstrates solid analytic skills and capacity and at least 3 years of field-based experience developing and managing an M&E system in programs similar to those which Mercy Corps implements
- BA/BS or equivalent in any other field and at least 5 years of field-based experience developing and managing an M&E system in programs similar to those which Mercy Corps implements
PLUS (all of the following 1 through 6)
- Experience that demonstrates the candidate can perform the essential job responsibilities described in this job description.
- English fluency (reading, writing, spoken).
- Advanced or fluent French (or Spanish) with the ability to work professionally and technically in subjects related to this job description (reading, spoken).
- Demonstrated experience using Stata, R, SPSS and/or MaxQDA, NVIVO, Atlas-TI for data analysis and reporting.
- Demonstrated experience using mobile data collection technologies including Commcare and an ODK-based platform such as Ona.
- Demonstrated experience using PowerBI, Tableau, or similar visualization software.
Desired Experience, Skills, & Competencies (preferred but not required)
- Experience with operations management (private, for-profit not-for-profit, and/or public sector)
- Experience using QGIS or other GIS software
- Experience developing quantitative study instruments for large surveys, baselines, etc.
- Experience developing qualitative study instruments for formative research
- Experience using project management software such as Smartsheet, MS Project or similar
- Experience with M&E requirements for donors including, at least, USAID, DFID, and Foundations.
The successful candidate will have the ability to work comfortably and effectively across a diverse portfolio of programs. MEL Advisors are excellent communicators, multi-taskers, able to work in ambiguous situations, able to work remotely with a geographically-dispersed team and must be team players with a positive attitude toward problem solving and conflict resolution.
This position requires between 30% and 50% travel annually to support country programs, which may include travel for up to 4 weeks to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited. Housing for this role is in individual housing and staff will have access to good medical services and the living situation is of a high standard. Care is taken to give MEL Advisor’s enough time in advance to prepare for their absence and allow them sufficient time between assignments.
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.
As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. Any offers of employment or continued employment are dependent on the successful completion of the screens which include, but are not limited to our Background Check and Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme processes,
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.
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
Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based Employees
Mercy Corps has determined that, in an effort to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Mercy Corps employees working in the United States, all U.S.-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, regardless of prior COVID-19 infection status.
This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment. Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations. Failure to comply may impact your employment. Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided.