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Director – Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Organization: Mercy Corps

Tracking Code: 217961-927

Job Location: Portland, or other US office, OR US

Position Type: Full-Time/Regular

Job Description

PROGRAM/ DEPARTMENT SUMMARY:

The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team enhances Mercy Corps’ ability to deliver high impact programming and to learn from that programming by supporting the generation and use of high quality data for decision-making.   It forms a critical component of the broader agency Strategy and Learning Initiative that seeks to drive greater evidence-based decision-making for greater program impact and accountability.   The MEL team works directly with agency leadership – in country and at headquarters – to strengthen MEL by positioning it as a strategic functional area that is a critical mechanism for learning and is a part of good business practice for the agency.  The team represents Mercy Corps externally to ensure our experience helps shape the relief and development field and to ensure that Mercy Corps keeps abreast of developments in donor and peer agency approaches to monitoring and evaluation.   The MEL team currently undertakes the following critical functions:

  • provides technical support to country programs and HQ units;
  • strengthens organizational M&E capacity through training, development and provision of resources, and facilitating the exchange of field experience and knowledge;
  • facilitates an active community of field M&E practitioners;
  • leads and supports discrete research studies that address strategic programming questions;
  • develops products and promotes understanding and use of research and evaluation findings;
  • leads the implementation  and refinement of an agency-wide program metrics system designed to meet strategic information needs.

GENERAL POSITION SUMMARY:

As Director of the MEL team, this position provides a critical leadership role in strengthening an organizational culture of and providing the necessary capacities for: evidence-based learning; outstanding monitoring, research and evaluation; thought leadership; and, ensuring accountability within the agency.  The position oversees his/her team to promote best practice but also works closely with senior leaders and department heads within the agency that are linked to knowledge generation and learning.

 

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:

Vision and Leadership

  • Provides vision and leadership around innovation and best practice in monitoring, evaluation and research across Mercy Corps.
  • Increases the culture and practice of evidence-based programming.
  • Promotes the strategic use of – and learning from – evidence gathered through M&E and research to advance the organization’s thought leadership in key areas.
  • Acts as leading external voice in contributing to cutting-edge debates and influencing policy around M&E in the relief and development field.
  • Leverages partnerships to enhance the quality and scope of Mercy Corps’ measurement, evaluation and research efforts.
  • Engages in strategic planning efforts at all levels to ensure a results-based focus and use of evidence to inform future strategies.
  • Sets MEL team strategic direction and manages the MEL budget and staff resources, including prioritizing support requests and engagement in strategic initiatives.

Promotion of M&E Best Practice

  • Ensures Mercy Corps’ field and technical teams have the resources, tools and capacities to generate and act on program learning to maximize program impact.
  • Promotes use of new methods and approaches in M&E.
  • Ensures that M&E standards are understood and applied consistently across Mercy Corps.
  • Advances the understanding and use of Mission Metrics – the agency’s innovative agency-level program metrics system for accountability and learning.
  • Provides strategic input into the development of the agency research and learning agenda,  the identification of MEL team-led research and impact evaluation efforts, and ongoing oversight to the implementation of those studies.
  • 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.
  • Provides leadership to key research initiatives, including the effective communication of critical results in forms that influence key stakeholders (internally and externally).

M&E Technical Support

  • Coordinates the provision of technical support to field programs through team resources, leveraging internal expertise from within the agency, and external technical support.
  • Provides in-country or HQ-based assistance on high priority country or program specific measurement needs, including reviewing evaluation Scopes of Work, strategizing M&E system components and reviewing M&E system data collection or management tools.

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 Beneficiaries

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries 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.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Three additional DM&E team members, in addition to temporary employees, consultants and/or interns

 ACCOUNTABILITY:

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Sr. Director of Strategy and Learning

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Senior agency leadership, country program leadership and program managers, M&E field members, technical teams, Regional Program Directors, Program Operations, Emergency Response Team, , internal communications, finance, RD and HR. 

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

  • MA or equivalent in international development or other relevant social science, and working knowledge of international systems, economics, politics, human rights and/or environmental issues.
  • Ten years or more working in relevant field, with at least five years in senior roles relating to M&E and at least three years working overseas.
  • Demonstrated leadership in program and organization-level design, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Deep and diverse knowledge of rigorous research and evaluation design and methodologies.
  • Proven experience with analyzing and effectively communicating key research and evaluation findings to respond to the information needs of targeted audiences.
  • Knowledge of the latest thinking and debates in the field of evaluation, particularly in the international development sector.
  • Experience managing and leading a team, including personnel and budget management.

SUCCESS FACTORS: 

  • Effective strategy-setting, visioning and political acumen capabilities
  • Strong commitment to advancing learning in international development  through monitoring and evaluation
  • Well networked within the M&E and learning community
  • Passion for innovating and learning from new approaches
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Strong relationship-building skills and commitment to working collaboratively
  • Able to motivate, empower and provide clear direction to team members

LIVING CONDITIONS/ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS:

This position is based in Portland, Oregon (preferred) or Washington DC, with domestic and international travel up to 30% of the time. Travel may be to insecure and/or austere locations.

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.

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