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About the Role
The Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Advisor is a key, short-term position in Mercy Corps designed to support team transitions, and the nationalization of Timor-Leste’s MERL team. The MERL Advisor will be responsible for technical leadership on upcoming programmatic assessment, research and evaluation projects, and ensuring that MERL research deliverables are of a high quality and are delivered in a timely manner. S/he will support MERL inputs in proposal development and work with the 5-person Timor-Leste MERL team to refine indicator plans, tailor data collection tools and data flows, and build user-friendly dashboards for new programs. The MERL Advisor will also provide technical support to the MERL Manager and team to ensure that the country office meets Mercy Corps’ MEL Policy Minimum Standards and that Timor-Leste’s MERL systems, processes and practices contribute to improved program quality, performance, results and impact.
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Essential Job Responsibilities
- Lead document reviews and assessments to support upcoming new business opportunities.
- Assist in designing programs that incorporate Mercy Corps’ standards on design, monitoring, and evaluation.
- Develop and refine Theories of Changes, log frames and indicators, using Mercy Corps resources.
MERL SET-UP AND PLANNING FOR NEW(ER) PROGRAMS
- Lead the development of key MERL start-up deliverables, such as MEL Activity Plans.
- Ensure programs that are in the early phase of implementation have high-quality, well understood M&E plans, processes, and practices. Work with program and MERL team members to:
- Co-develop Performance Management Plans (Indicator Plans + Indicator Performance Tracking Tables);
- Update or build new ONA data collection tools;
- Ensure data collection, cleaning, analysis, visualization and review processes are integrated into Mercy Corps Timor-Leste’s Knua system;
- Co-build program-specific Knua dashboards;
- Ensure Indicator Plans are added to Tola, Mercy Corps’ Global system.
- Collaborate closely with Program Managers and MERL team members to ensure M&E systems and processes serve the needs of the program team, the country portfolio, and the donor.
ASSESSMENTS, RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
- Lead/conduct specified assessments, research and evaluation projects, including design, data collection, analysis, synthesis and reporting.
- Liaise with consultants, program and MERL team members to ensure contracted/outsourced assessments are technically sound, accurate and meet the needs of Mercy Corps team members and donors.
- Support the capacity of national MERL team members to conduct analysis and derive insights.
PROGRAM REPORTING QUALITY
- Coordinate with the Country Director, Director of Programs, MERL Manager and Program Managers to ensure that reports are timely, high-quality, and responsive to donors.
- Assist program teams in timely and accurate reporting to donors.
- Support national team capacity building and transitions through coaching in report writing and quality control of final written products.
- Conduct MERL quality reviews for specified programs focused on assessing M&E data collection and analysis practices, and adherence to minimum standards.
MERL AND PROGRAM PERFORMANCE PRACTICE IMPROVEMENT (FOCUSING ON MEL POLICY ADOPTION)
- Support the MERL Manager to ensure that Mercy Corps Timor-Leste meets or exceeds Mercy Corps MEL Policy Minimum Standards, and that Timor-Leste’s MERL systems, processes and practices contribute to improved program quality, performance, results and impact.
- Support the Timor-Leste MERL team to develop and maintain a system that improves the country’s ability to analyze and represent impact to donors, government, colleague agencies, and communities themselves.
- Work with MERL, program and HQ support teams to build a culture of adaptive management, evidence and learning in Timor-Leste, and support better performance of the country team in these areas. Assist country teams to make use of M&E data and contribute to evidence-based learning.
- Build the capacity of relevant team members to develop and maintain MERL processes and practices, including the periodic reflection and analysis of program monitoring data to disseminate learning.
- Engage with CDs, DoP and MERL Manager on leadership issues related to monitoring and evaluation and the relationship between M&E and program quality – including use of indicators.
WAYS OF WORKING
- Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally.
- Sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
- Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach objectives.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- 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.
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/S or equivalent, preferable in international development, economics, evaluation or gender. MA/S in relevant field strongly preferred.
- 4 years of experience in program quality, monitoring and evaluation, including relevant experience building M&E systems, leading data collection and data validation exercises, developing high quality deliverables and building staff capacity.
- Experience working with a variety of donors, including USAID and DFAT.
- High degree of computer literacy; Excel and Word skills are essential. ONA, Tableau and Open Data Studio skills are strongly preferred.
- Excellent organizational skills, an ability to manage and meet deadlines and to work independently (on a multi-task load).
- Excellent English communication skills are essential. Tetun communication skills are strongly preferred.
- Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management strongly preferred.