Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL)

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: Save the Children
Closing date: 11 Jan 2021


The Director of MEAL is a key position within the Ethiopia Country Office. S/he oversees the design and implementation of a robust, quality, comprehensive, and integrated MEAL System for all programs that meet SCI standards; MEAL staff management, mentorship, and development; strategic and annual planning, internal reporting, as well as programme development and MEAL resources.

S/he also oversees the quality and standardization of MEAL tools and works closely with program implementation and program quality staff to ensure appropriate monitoring and evaluation of each project. S/he also coordinates learning and knowledge management systems and works closely with the Regional Office MEAL Staff.

S/he directly supervises a Senior Evidence and Learning Advisor, three Hub-based MEAL Advisors, a Humanitarian MEAL Manager, and two Addis Ababa based learning and knowledge management staff. S/he closely works with MEAL Managers/Advisors of National programs. The Hub MEAL Advisors oversee all MEAL staff in the different hubs, including MEAL focal points in each field/project/satellite office. The overall CO MEAL team consists of approximately 40-50 staff, mostly based in field offices.

S/he is a member of the Program Development and Quality (PDQ) Senior Leadership Team and the CO National Management Team.


Reports to: The Deputy Country Director - Programme Development and Quality (DCD-PDQ) **

Staff reporting to this post: Five (5) in total - a Senior Evidence and Learning Advisor, three Hub-based MEAL Advisors, and a Humanitarian MEAL Manager.

Role Dimensions: Save the Children works in all regions in Ethiopia with a current staff complement of approximately 1600 staff and a 2019 expenditure of approximately US$90m. All of our 100+ awards in the humanitarian and development context need strong MEAL systems that meet organizational minimum standards. We are also building the overall research capacity within the CO.

The role is expected to foster relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders including Save the Children members, the Country Office Programme Development & Quality team, advocacy colleagues, Regional Advisors, technical counterparts in other organisations, donors, etc. The role is also expected to engage with internal technical working groups and communities of practice.

Context: Development and/or Humanitarian**

Primary Technical area: Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL)


  1. Design and Implementation of a Comprehensive MEAL System that meets SCI standards

  2. Lead and oversee the development and the continuous implementation of a CO-wide MEAL System for humanitarian and/or development programmes, and may include local implementation partners as well. This system requires close collaboration with the Programme Ops and PDQ Departments and must be in line with SCI’s Quality Framework. Project-specific MEAL systems need to meet the demands and standards of different donors.

  3. For each program, ensure the following are in place: accountability mechanisms, indicator tracking mechanisms, quality assurance mechanisms, appropriate evaluation, and means to capture and share institutional learning. This system needs to be implemented in close collaboration with the Program Operations and PDQ Departments.

  4. Lead the use of monitoring frameworks, tools, and processes to measure performance and quality. This includes supporting thematic and operation staff to develop and monitor Quality Benchmarks as well as make sure that that MEAL becomes an integral element of project implementation leading to enhanced quality, accountability, management, and impact.

  5. Lead routine collection, analysis, and use of evidence, including disaggregation for gender, disability, and the most marginalized and deprived, to document impact, innovate and learn what works for children, and inform management, policy, and programme solutions. This includes needs and baseline assessments, feasibility studies, evaluations, and research.

  6. Lead the use of systems that safely and appropriately ensure accountability to children and communities with whom we work by building trusting and collaborative relationships through information sharing and two-way communication, participation, and feedback and reporting mechanisms.

  7. Together with Thematic Directors, systematically identify, document, share, and use learning from Save the Children and others’ work, in order to continuously adapt and improve our programming. This includes leading the development of learning agendas, undertaking learning workshops and after-action review, synthesising and sharing evaluation outcomes, planning and tracking of evaluation recommendations and tracking of learning uptake.

  8. Lead MEAL emergency preparedness and response within existing country MEAL frameworks, systems, tools, and processes, adhering to the Core Humanitarian Standards, Sphere Charter, and Red Cross Code of Conduct.

  9. Champion knowledge management through the development and use of platforms that store and display evidence and learning that is made accessible and actively used between countries, regions, and the Centre,

  10. Work with the Program Development Unit, the Program Operations Department, and PDQ Thematic Sector teams to ensure that all projects have quality assurance mechanisms integrated into their design and implementation.

  11. Explore innovative opportunities to pilot approaches that are new or could expand to further areas of programming.

  12. Ensure that KPIs related to MEAL activities are regularly met through the institutionalisation of robust systems for tracking, reporting, and following up improvement actions.

  13. Clearly sets and implement standards for ethical, adaptive, and appropriate MEAL Systems and provides strategic and technical guidance to address systemic weaknesses in the MEAL System.

  14. Foster innovation by identifying opportunities to pilot new approaches and to upgrade tools, systems, and processes based on advances in the aid sector.

  15. Promote all aspects of MEAL through training and capacity building for multiple stakeholders including MEAL staff and PDQ Leadership to support the creation of an organizational culture that prioritizes MEAL leading to quality programming.

  16. Champions standards and principles to reduce the risk of bias and the principles of human and child rights, ethics, and gender equality in research, monitoring, and evaluation.

  17. Champions the use of accountability data and community participation analysis to influence strategic decision-making and advocacy.

MEAL Staff Management, Mentorship, and Development

  1. Lead the country’s MEAL team in the Ethiopia CO. This includes direct supervision of all CO MEAL staff.

  2. Ensure that project and FO MEAL staff members receive continuous technical oversight through a functional or dotted line matrix management arrangement between those staff and senior CO MEAL Advisor/Specialist. This include assessment their performance in consultation with their line managers.

  3. Build the technical expertise and coherency of the team through the use of a Community of Practice that includes regular workshops and staff and information exchanges. This will create cohesion between MEAL staff working in different geographic locations and ensure capacity exists across regions and projects.

  4. Manage the performance of MEAL staff by clearly setting objectives, assessing performance, and providing coaching, mentoring, and training that aligns with SCI’s Global MEAL Capacity Building Strategic Workplan. Participate directly or through other Addis-based MEAL staff in the recruitment of project and field-based MEAL staff.

  5. Provide leadership and technical support as needed so that MEAL staff members have and understand clearly defined roles and responsibilities that are also understood by Program Ops and PDQ teams.

  6. Promote all aspects of MEAL through training and capacity building for multiple internal and external stakeholders including MEAL staff and PDQ Leadership to support the creation of an organizational culture that prioritizes MEAL leading to quality programming.

  7. Participate in relevant MEAL training opportunities and networks in the country, region, and globally.

  8. Leverage own network to secure high qualified staff/evaluators and strategic partnerships when relevant.

  9. Champions and provides thought leadership on child participation in MEAL across the movement.

Strategic and Annual Planning

  1. Ensure that evidence and learning is brought together across thematic and operational regions to develop a Country Strategic Plan (including participating in a Child Needs Situational Assessment).

  2. Support the development of the Country Annual Plan (CAP) including identifying future evaluations and ensure that data is accurate.

  3. Support DCD PDQ and other PDQ staff to analyse progress against organisational objectives and strategies.

Internal Reporting

  1. Ensure accurate data collection and processing for all regular reporting including internal reports such as the Country Annual Report, the Programme Quality KPIs, categorised emergency sitreps, and “Total Reach”. This includes ensuring accurate data collection to calculate the ‘total reach’ (total number of beneficiaries) from all projects and that relevant results from all projects are included in regular internal reports.

  2. Support MEAL aspects of donor reporting, including review of baseline, mid-term, end-line, or any other donor/project-specific studies.

  3. Respond to any internal or SC member request for specific information including the production of geographic, thematic, or programme-specific data.

  4. Ensure that regularly updated MEAL mechanisms are in place for each project including technical reports and MEAL tracking tools that identify necessary future actions.

  5. Ensure data quality and accuracy (including for external reporting as needed).

Programme Development and MEAL Resources

  1. Work closely with the Programme Ops team to ensure MEAL plays an integral role at every stage of the project lifecycle, leading to enhanced quality, accountability, management, and impact.

  2. As a contributor to proposal development, review and improve MEAL technical narrative and budgets within proposals, support development of SMART indicators with technical teams, ensure quality mechanisms are in place, and ensure consistency with the CO and SCI MEAL strategies.

  3. Ensure that adequate MEAL resources are included in proposals and work creatively to secure sufficient funding from diverse sources to ensure capacity to deliver MEAL according to SCI quality standards.

  4. Effectively manage the MEAL budget by understanding sources of funding and possible gaps, and optimizing available resources and in coordination with relevant budget holders.


  • Be proactive in identifying and undertaking action research to test innovations, use of technologies, identifying better opportunities and approaches, and rolling out into Country Office programs.

  • Support accuracy of external reporting as needed.

  • Participate in relevant MEAL training opportunities and networks in Ethiopia and globally.

  • Other duties as requested by the DCD PDQ


  • · At least Master’s degree in relevant areas of project management, development management or relevant disciplines



    · Minimum of 10 years of programming experience within the aid sector, working in program management, technical, and/or MEAL roles including in managerial/leadership responsibilities, preferably linked to one of Save the Children’s priority technical sectors (Child Poverty, Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Education, Health & Nutrition, Livelihoods/resilience, and WASH), and with the majority of that time focused on overseeing comprehensive MEAL systems that ensure programme effectiveness and quality.

    · Understanding of both emergency/humanitarian and development contexts, with a preference for experience in both contexts.

    · Solid and relevant experience adhering to international quality standards (Sphere, CHS) or equivalent.

    · Experience and knowledge of monitoring systems, including robust and responsible data collection and use.

    · Experience and knowledge of evidence generation and learning on what works (and doesn’t work) for children, including designing/commissioning, implementing and applying: needs assessments, baseline studies, evaluations and research, learning workshops, and learning agendas.

    · Direct experience of working with communities in participatory activities. Experience and knowledge of systems for accountability to children and communities, including information sharing, the participation of adults and children, and feedback and reporting mechanisms. Ability to prepare and facilitate technical MEAL training and workshops across countries in the region (including remotely). Direct experience working with communities in participatory activities.

    · Proven success in building and managing a team and dedication to developing staff capacity through training, supervising, coaching, and mentoring.

    · Experience in participating in/leading organizational improvement processes.

    · Skilled at communicating and influencing across relevant teams and offices. Strong results orientation, with the ability to challenge existing mind-sets

    · Demonstrable analytical and problem-solving skills and experience in solving complex issues through analysis, defining, and planning a clear way forward and ensuring buy-in.

    · Highly developed cultural awareness and ability to work well in an international environment with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures

    · Proficiency in relevant data collection and analysis software.**

    · Ability to work independently and as part of teams/groups

    · Strong remote-working and management abilities and self-motivated.**

    · Willingness to travel to field sites.**

    · Proficient in speaking and writing English.**

    · Commitment to Save the Children values and programming principles.


    · Experience or knowledge of working and living in relevant region/context

    · Experience in promoting quality and impact through at least one cross-cutting area: gender equality and inclusion, adaptive and safer programming; child rights; disability; migration, and displacement.

    · Experience and knowledge of Save the Children’s structure, mandate, and child focus.**

How to apply:

Application Information:

Please attach a copy of your CV and cover letter with your application, and include details of your current remuneration and salary expectations. A copy of the full role profile can be found at

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