Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Specialist
Reports To: Senior Director of Learning, Monitoring, and Training (EPMES), with day-to-day task management by USAID/Ethiopia Feed the Future Policy and MEL Advisor
Project: USAID/Ethiopia Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Service (EPMES) Activity
Duration: Full time until end of EPMES contract
Who We Are Social Impact (SI) is an international development management consulting firm based in the United States, Washington DC. SI’s mission is to improve the effectiveness of international development programs in improving people’s lives. We provide a full range of management consulting, technical assistance, and training services to strengthen international development programs, organizations, and policies. We provide services globally in the areas of monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, project and program design, organizational capacity building, and gender and social analysis. SI services cut across all development sectors including democracy and governance, health, education, the environment, and economic growth. SI’s clients include US government agencies such as USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the US Department of State, bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, foundations, and non-profits.
The six-year, $16.6 million Ethiopia Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Service (EPMES) Activity aims to provide USAID/Ethiopia with project/activity external evaluation, performance monitoring, and performance management support services in alignment with the USAID Automated Directives System (ADS) and Evaluation Policy. The contract assists USAID/Ethiopia and its partners to generate and use evidence to advance USAID/Ethiopia’s Country Development and Cooperation Strategy (CDCS). Specific services provided under this contract include:
- Objective 1. Implementation of external evaluations, assessments, and special studies
- Objective 2. Provide monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) technical capacity building for implementing partners (IPs); support design and implementation of adaptation-focused evidence, including through monitoirng and evaluation; support USAID/Ethiopia and partners on data collection, analysis, and quality assurance practices; provide geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and training
Objective 3. Provide technical assistance and support for collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) behaviors that enable adaptive management, including knowledge management.
The expected results of this contract are to build internal and external MEL and adaptive management capacities of USAID staff and USAID Implementing Partners to improve accountability and the use of empirical evidence for programming, learning, and adapting at every stage of the project cycle.
The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Specialist will support USAID/Ethiopia’s Economic Growth and Transformation (EG&T) Office of the USAID/Ethiopia, and in particular the Feed the Future (FTF) portfolio. The MEL Specialist will support the Office in MEL activities to enhance effective management decisions based on best quality and timely performance data. This person will also contribute to preparation of Operational Plan (OP), the Performance Plan and Report (PPR), and to USAID/Ethiopia Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) efforts.
Responsibilities will include day-to-day MEL technical support, coordination and collaboration with Agreement or Contracting Officer Representatives (A/CORs), activity managers, technical teams, and office chiefs to: monitor progress of activities; track and review reporting on key indicators; and review Activity LME Plans, annual work plans, and evaluation documents. Under the day-to-day guidance of the EG&T Policy and MEL Advisor, the MEL Specialist will perform a full range of MEL technical activities.
This position is expected to initially be working remotely (working from home, with appropriate equipment to be provided by Social Impact) while COVID physical distancing restrictions exist within USAID and Social Impact. Following the lifting of COVID-related work restrictions, it is anticipated that the MEL Specialist will work some hours / week at the Embassy within the USAID/Ethiopia EG&T team and the remaining work hours at the EPMES office, both located in Addis Ababa.
Major Duties and Responsibilities
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning [60%]
- Guide the technical staff through the process of setting overall FTF program targets and indicators to be used in projects and activities’ design, planning, and reporting in order to measure results and learn for continuous improvement. This will include identifying appropriate indicators and setting overall project and/or activity targets. With the lens of MEL, coordinate and ensure the existence of synergy and alignment among different activities within the office to contribute to the FTF portfolio.
- Collaborate and coordinate with technical teams, A/CORs, activity managers and IPs in the collection, analysis and synthesizing of information and ensure data reported by IPs are verified through Data Quality Assessments (DQA).
- Oversee implementation of Activities’ Learning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (LME) Plans in collaboration and coordination with technical teams, A/CORs and activity managers to ensure that implementation takes place as intended, in a measurable, timely, and efficient way.
- Proactively communicate changes in reporting requirements to implementing partners, and provide support to institutionalize changes, ensure data quality, and meet changes consistently across partners.
- Track and ensure that indicators and learning efforts for cross cutting issues (gender, youth, conflict, governance) are adequately covered in activity LME Plans.
- Collaborate with EG&T office’s technical staff and program office in preparing annual OPs and PPRs.
- Proactively plan MEL efforts to focus on learning and adapting (use of data to inform programming decisions) and contribute to CLA with the FTF and EG&T teams and the Mission as a whole.
- Through field visit and other means, gather/provide other MEL information and reports as required.
Program/Activity Development [20%]
- Collaborate with technical staff , A/CORs and activity managers in activity planning and development cycle, including analyzing baseline data, setting life of project targets and indicators in new activity designs, participating in post-award meetings to discuss LME Plans and work plans.
- Collaborate across relevant USAID/Ethiopia technical teams and implementing partners to develop tools and checklists that facilitate project management and program oversight, particularly for data quality analysis, documentation of project monitoring visits, and presentation of feedback to partners.
- Maintain appropriate documentation of programs and activities and expected results to be used for program design, planning, and learning processes.
- Support technical teams in preparing sound evaluation scopes of work. Organize and participate in peer reviews of evaluation statements of work and review/draft evaluation reports to ensure they meet USAID quality standards.
- Provide orientation training to technical staff on tools and resources necessary to monitor and evaluate projects through analysis of partner work plans and quarterly reports, field visits, and other means.
Information Management [10%]
- Collaborate closely with and support the technical staff, A/CORs, activity managers and IPs to gather, maintain, and update information/data on targets, results and lessons learned and disseminate performance reports for communications and outreach purposes.
- Oversee and review periodic reporting, especially ensuring consistency in reporting against FTF requirements across the Mission.
- Provide guidance on the Feed the Future Monitoring System and Development Information Solution data entry and management to IPs and technical teams and ensure that all reports are submitted according to requirements consistently across the Mission.
- In addition to the above tasks, the MEL Specialist should be prepared to periodically travel to implementation areas to support Feed the Future activities’ monitoring visits.
- S/he should be prepared to undertake other duties, as assigned by her/his supervisor and team leads and office chiefs.
Candidates for this position must be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopian nationals are strongly encouraged to apply, but the position is also open to expatriates currently based in Addis Ababa.
- Master’s degree in economics, Statistics, Social Science or related field.
- A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in: monitoring, evaluation, and learning, with an eye towards utilization and learning based on theory of change; MEL planning; MEL tool development; data management and data quality assurance across multiple partners and sites; quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
- Substantive experience with USAID Feed the Future programming required and knowledge of USAID requirements for MEL (including ADS 201) a significant plus.
- Demonstrable expertise and results in capacity development, such as: group training development and delivery or providing on-the-job training or mentorship to staff with varying levels of experience.
- Proven experience and ability to effectively manage a varied workload, focused on detail-orientation, meeting tight deadlines, and meeting task schedules.
- Exemplary and proactive communication skills (spoken and written, and appropriate across cultural contexts) required.
- Fluency in English required. Professional knowledge of Amharic a significant plus.
- Self-starter with strong detail orientation and organizational skills required.
- Strong computer skills required, particularly in Microsoft Office Suite, GSuite products. Experience with the Feed the Future Monitoring System, or USAID’s Development Information Solution a plus.
How to apply:
Please apply on Social Impact's website: https://phg.tbe.taleo.net/phg02/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=SOCIIMPA2&cws=1&rid=3600