Position is contingent on funding.
About Mercy CorpsMercy 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.
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. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.
Program / Department SummaryMercy Corps has been implementing emergency, life-sustaining, and resilience activities in Syria since 2012. Mercy Corps partners with a range of strategic institutional donors to deliver at high quality and a large scale. The evidence and learning component of Mercy Corps’ work and relationships with donors is critical to a meaningful impact on the lives of vulnerable people in Syria.
Mercy Corps is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) Director for the USAID Growing Agriculture and Incomes in Syria (GROW) activity. This five-year, $30-$45m contract is expected to strengthen agriculture markets in non-regime held areas of Syria. The Activity is expected to increase the earnings of small and commercial farmers by reducing constraints to production, strengthening private sector engagement, improving market access for farmers, and increasing economic opportunities for women and youth in agricultural value chains.
General Position Summary
The MEAL Director will be responsible for ensuring robust performance monitoring and evaluation that supports the achievement of the program objectives. The MEAL Director will provide oversight and ensure the quality of all project-level monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning activities within the GROW program.
The MEL Director’s role is to also ensure coordination of the various technical areas across the M&E staff, including Research, MEL, Community Accountability & Response Mechanisms (CARM), and ICT/Database team members, as well as other relevant program team members and partners. The MEL Director is responsible for the capacity building and mentoring strategy for program staff on themes related to monitoring, evaluation, accountability, reporting, learning, and adaptive management. The MEL Director will work closely with the Chief of Party (COP) to guide the program in operationalizing an adaptive, iterative management approach with a culture of evidence-based decision-making.
The Director will also oversee efforts around the design, implementation and use of learning initiatives to improve GROW’s impact on agricultural value chains and farmer income.
Essential Job Responsibilities
MEL STRATEGY AND AMELP
- Set-up and oversee the timely implementation of the monitoring and evaluation system, including the Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan (AMELP), M&E Technology, Learning and Research Plans.
- Align and integrate collection, analysis and reporting on indicators related to the program’s overall operational context and performance and community accountability and response mechanisms (CARM) within the program’s AMELP.
- Harmonize the MEL system across partner systems, and other external systems as relevant.
- Ensure the quality of implementation of MEL for the GROW program, consistently reviewing and adapting the MEL systems and tools, to the needs of the changing context, use the learning to inform program and country-level systems and strategy.
- Lead the design of high quality qualitative and quantitative M&E indicators,tools, participatory and inclusive processes and protocols for data management, including data collection, analysis, reporting, storing, visualization; identify and set up relevant MEL technology and information management platforms in line with Mercy Corps guidance.
- Ensure systems are established and maintained to collect sex and age disaggregated data and use gender sensitive, socially inclusive, and remote data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse audiences, decision makers, and stakeholders
COLLABORATION, LEARNING AND ADAPTING
- Work closely with Mercy Corps Syria’s Senior MEL Manager, Mercy Corps Syria’s Program and Quality (PAQ) Director, and HQ-based MEL, Research and Learning departments to develop and implement the GROW program’s CLA plan and learning agenda.
- 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.
- Lead the team to create a plan to operationalize and capacity build CLA practice, including creating a culture of learning and systems thinking to stimulate an adaptive, iterative management approach;
- Design and facilitate regular, strategic planning sessions and learning events, assisting GROW in its learning journey as well as development and implementation of its annual plans.
- Provide 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, are met, and help address any shortfalls in MEL, Research, CLA, and data management that affect program implementation.
- Develop and oversee implementation of appropriate learning products to promote routine sharing and learning within the program, including partners. This will include identification, documentation and sharing of learning from process, output, outcome and context indicators.
- Ensure data management processes (collection, cleaning, analysis, storage, reporting, visualization, etc.) are functioning in all activity locations (including partner activities) to provide quality data within deadlines.
- Ensure data quality through routine internal Data Quality Assessments (DQAs) as required by Mercy Corps MEL Standards, and make adjustments as needed.
- Ensure GROW adheres to Mercy Corps’ MEL and, Program Record Retention and Data Protection Policies and Standards.
- Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information and learning within the program as well as externally.
- Oversee the GROW MEL team and sub-contractors, including external evaluators and enumerators, as well as any other MEL partners as applicable
- Build the capacity of all relevant program and partner team members to develop and maintain an excellent MEL system, including regular reflection, learning and adaptation, by using the analysis of program quantitative and qualitative data, as well as other knowledge gained through the program’s implementation of CLA.
- 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.
COLLABORATION AND REPRESENTATION
- Collaborate with technical leads and build processes for regular feedback loops in order to ensure functioning adaptive management
- Actively contribute and collaborate with country, regional and global counterparts to promote the use of MEL best practices and lessons learned.
- Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, through Mercy Corps’ internal knowledge management platforms, to enhance organizational learning relevant to MEL.
- Present program MEL to external MEL and Research stakeholders to influence decision-makers and promote 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..
- 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 beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Number of direct reports is to be determined.
Reports directly to: GROW Chief of Party
Works directly with: MEL Team, other Mercy Corps Syria team members, technical leads and program managers, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program team, HQ Technical Support Unit.
Knowledge and Experience
- MA/S in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, public policy, monitoring and evaluation, or other relevant fields required.
- Minimum of 7 years of working in 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.
- 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 gender and social inclusion analysis frameworks.
- Experience with data quality assessments and oversight.
- Knowledge of and prior experience of using MEL technologies: Ona/ComCare for data collection, Tableau or PowerBI for data visualization and reporting.
- Strong qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills and knowledge:
- Demonstrated understanding of intermediate statistics and ability to summarize and make predictions from multiple data sets: power user with Excel; experience with statistical packages including STATA, R, or SPSS
- Demonstrated understanding of qualitative methodologies, and prior experience of using a qualitative analysis package: Dedoose, Atlas.ti, any of the QDA packages, or other.
- Experience working on USAID programs is essential.
- Prior experience working in the Middle East is highly desirable.
- Excellent oral and written English skills; fluency in Arabic is preferred.
Success FactorsA successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members and other stakeholders of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. This position requires an ability to think creatively about civic engagement to strengthen inclusive, peaceful, and responsive governance. They will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. 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 ConditionsThis role will split its time between Derik, Hassakeh, and Raqqa based on need with travel to other areas of NES as required and requires up to 50% travel to all program implementation sites, security permitting. Personnel in this location are expected to follow all security protocols.
The position is eligible for hardship, R&R, and home leave, as well as regular employment benefits. This unaccompanied position will be required to reside in group housing in an austere environment. Water, electricity, and the internet are present with occasional cuts.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY 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.
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.
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.