Senior MEL Advisor – Reduced Access (Remote)

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Location Any Mercy Corps Country Location

Position Status Full-time, Regular – 17 months

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.

Program / Department Summary Mercy Corps works to alleviate poverty, suffering, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. The agency operates programs in over 40 countries around the world. The Program Performance and Quality Unit (PaQ), which sits in the Programs Department, supports effective, efficient and equitable program performance through a culture of quality management, to achieve results for those who matter most – our program participants. PaQ consists of the following teams and functions: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL); Strategic Leadership; Program Standards; and, Infrastructure. These teams are grouped together under PaQ because they focus on improving cross-cutting program and portfolio performance, regardless of technical sector, desired program outcomes, or context, and because they are central to Mercy Corps’ desire to improve program performance and quality through Standards, Service, and Evidence.

The 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 ranges from provision of technical MEL support to programs, integration of MEL technologies, implementation of learning mechanisms and platforms, implementation and support with data quality assessments, support with agency-level reporting and others. A major focus area of the MEL team is the promotion of, and support to 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.

About the position

The position will be funded through an 18-month project focused on creating a toolkit intended to outline how teams can integrate reduced access analytical methods (RAAM) into their MEL systems. Examples of RAAM currently conducted by Mercy Corps include qualitative methods such as rumor tracking, conflict mapping, and geolocating photos as well as quantitative approaches which include developing predictive models that identify contextualized indicators of market health.

The process will begin with a systematic review of RAAM and remote monitoring methods, templates, and tools within Mercy Corps as well as peer organizations. This review will inform the development of the toolkit. The toolkit will guide organizations on how to establish and integrate RAAM into MEL systems and use analysis to supplement learning, and the structures, behaviors, and activities that teams can use to ensure the programs learn from and make decisions based on analysis findings.

The toolkit is expected to include two primary components:

Options for RAAM and tools to help programs identify the appropriate methods for their need and tools to help teams conduct RAAM that is effectively integrated into MEL systems. The learning process of how to use that analysis and/or publicly available analysis to inform program learning and decision-making. The toolkit is targeted to serve the needs of implementing organizations who are looking to increase their analytical capacities to identify their monitoring gaps, potential methods they can utilize to supplement existing systems, and provide them the tools to hire staff and conduct analysis in a safe, ethical manner. The toolkit will additionally build on existing guidance from Mercy Corps’ MEL and Program Management Policies to provide guidance and tools to organizations who are not necessarily looking to create analytics capacity in house, but are looking to bolster learning from internal or publicly available analysis through structures, roles and responsibilities, and discrete data review activities. Upon completion of the draft toolkit, it will be piloted, evaluated, and iteratively developed.

General Position Summary The Senior Remote MEL Advisor role is a U.S. Government (United States Agency for International Development – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance) project funded position to develop and disseminate a toolkit for programs to develop more robust MEL practices in reduced access environments by integrating analytic methods, existing analytic resources, and remote monitoring methods. This process will include a review of existing methods utilized by Mercy Corps and partner agencies, drafting and disseminating a review of current practice, lessons learned from the project, and conducting training webinars and videos to be used by country-based practitioners. This person will assemble an advisory board, to include donor representatives, that will guide the direction of the toolkit and associated deliverables, engage with practitioners within and outside of Mercy Corps to coordinate, receive, and integrate feedback on tools and guidance for MEL approaches in reduced access environments. The position will include conducting pilot exercises to test and improve the efficacy of the toolkit with program teams. Pilots will include engagement with country-level MEL staff, program managers and country and regional leadership, assessment of the current state of MEL and training staff in each country in adopting practices outlined in the toolkit. The Advisor will work with a Senior Researcher tasked with leading small-scale formative evaluations for each pilot. The Senior Remote MEL Advisor will need to engage with field leadership to nurture and help develop an effective, impact-driven leadership culture.

MANAGEMENT OVERSIGHT

Oversee the implementation of the overall program’s work plan Coordinate with relevant teams and units within Mercy Corps to ensure alignment against the agency’s strategic priorities Conduct performance appraisal and work plan development for direct reports DRAFT TOOLKIT FOR REDUCED ACCESS MEL AND PROGRAM PERFORMANCE RELATED PRACTICES

Conduct review of reduced access MEL approaches including, but not limited to advanced analytics methods and program interpretation Collect and refine the toolkit resources Integrate feedback to ensure it meets the needs of stakeholders, particularly country-based teams Draft toolkit with support from Analytics Officer Manage pilots and assess pilot project needs Conduct MEL/Program Performance gap assessments covering specific MEL activities and practices, and a review of tools and documents. Based on assessment findings, work with pilot team to develop pilot project approach Facilitate data review activities with pilot program teams Help pilot programs develop Action Plans to improve data review practices Support pilot country teams both remotely and in country on implementing their Action Plan, topics ranging from program logic review, data collection, management and analysis. Visit pilot country field M&E teams for support (according to requests and needs). Contribute to small-scale formative evaluations of pilot activities Coordinate with existing Mercy Corps Reduced Access Programming initiatives (eg. Reduced Access Toolkit, Reduced Access Working Group) Lead dissemination of the toolkit (including designing and leading workshops, conference presentations, video tutorials) COMMUNICATION WITH TECHNICAL GROUPS, COUNTRY-BASED TEAMS, AND DONOR

Draft program progress reports to the donor. Manage project advisory board meetings with donor and peer implementing organizations. Engage with donor and technical teams to develop, pilot, and disseminate Reduced Access Analysis for Monitoring and Adaptive Management toolkit Ensure positive, productive and effective working relationships across all partners engaged in this process ASSESS AND IMPROVE M&E AND PROGRAM PERFORMANCE RELATED PRACTICES FOR PILOTS

Conduct MEL/Program Performance gap assessments covering specific M&E activities and practices, and a review of tools and documents. Based on assessment findings, work with pilot teams to develop a long-term rollout/training plan and strategy. Help pilot country teams develop individualized Action Plans to improve data management practices Support pilot country teams both remotely and in country on implementing their Action Plan, topics ranging from program logic review, data collection, management and analysis. Visit pilot country field M&E teams for support (according to requests and needs). Supervisory Responsibility The Senior Remote MEL Advisor will recruit and supervise the Analytics Officer. The Analytics Officer will support the Senior Remote MEL Advisor with literature reviews, assist the Senior Remote MEL Advisor with collection and analysis of observational monitoring information, conduct follow-up interviews for the formative evaluation, draft case studies, provide technical analytics support when appropriate, and work with the Remote MEL Advisor to prepare materials for data review activities, meetings, and events.

The Senior Remote MEL Advisor will additionally supervise a 50% LOE Assistant Program Officer who will be responsible for grant administration needs, supporting with coordination tasks, monitoring feedback mechanisms, supporting with evaluation-related tasks including but not limited to note-taking, transcription, and coding, supporting dissemination efforts, as well as coordination with pilot country teams and HQ-based technical experts who provide programmatic, human resource, and compliance support.

Accountability Reports Directly To: MEL Technical Lead

Works Directly With: Reduced Access Working Group, Crisis Analytics Team, Technology for Development Team, Pilot Country/program teams.

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 Significant experience in managing initiatives across multiple stakeholders with proven success. BA in international development or other relevant social science with at least 7 years of experience working in international relief and development programs, MA with at least 5 years of experience working in international relief and development programs. At least four years focused on providing M&E technical support to field programs. At least 2 demonstrated examples of experience with designing and implementing methods for remote validation of program outcomes required. (additional examples preferred) At least 1 demonstrated example of experience applying one, or more, advanced analytics method(s) in a reduced access environment (eg. rumor tracking, conflict mapping, geolocating photos, predictive modeling, or other methods not outlined in this document) preferred. At least 1 demonstrated example of experience developing or contributing to toolkits that led to tangible change required Demonstrated skill with facilitating adaptive management, assessments, indicator selection, and M&E planning required. Experienced in training and capacity-building in person and remotely required. Experience fostering a collaborative relationship with geographically dispersed practitioners and management, including those in remote locations. Experience with data analysis packages and visualization packages required. Additional software and technical skills (databases, mobile technology, GIS, qualitative analysis platforms, and statistical packages) preferred. Experience designing practical and effective monitoring systems, including data and database management systems. Strong communication skills; able to work remotely with a geographically dispersed team. Fluency in English is required Working proficiency in French, Arabic, and/or Spanish is preferred. Success Factors and Transferable Skills The successful candidate should be a strong program and relationship manager, team player, with good communication and diplomatic skills. They should be able to facilitate complex team dynamics and achieve aims, have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, good organizational skills and ability to work independently, with a strong commitment to advancing learning in international development through monitoring and evaluation. They should have strong relationship-building skills, be able to engage stakeholders with competing demands, consider communication needs and preferences across cultures, and have a commitment to working collaboratively. To successfully conduct and learn from the pilots, the candidate should be an expert at active listening, prioritize follow-through, and be comfortable with persistent check-ins. As a manager, this person should have a demonstrated track record of empowering, mentoring, and supporting direct reports and/or fellow employees.

Any skills you have gained through education, volunteer, work, or life experience that are relevant for the position will be considered. Be sure to fully explain transferable skills and success factors and how they apply to this position in your cover letter.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions The position is based remotely and can accommodate applicants based in any Mercy Corps HQ or Country Office location.

Women, minority groups, people with different abilities are highly encouraged to apply. Captioning, assistive and inclusive workspace accommodations are available at Mercy Corps offices.

Physical Requirements: This is largely a sedentary position that requires the ability to speak, hear/read (captioning available), see, and lift small objects up to 5 lbs.

Travel: International travel for 1-2 weeks with at least one month prior notice may be required and may include travel to support programs in fragile and/or conflict-prone zone.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside 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.

Ongoing Learning 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

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 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.

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