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Monitoring Evaluation Research Learning Adapting (MERLA) Lead


Research Triangle Institute (RTI) has over 30 years’ experience assisting governments, communities, and the private sector. As a non-for-profit, independent research institute based in North Carolina, USA, RTI has roughly 5,000 employees with global experience implementing international development projects in education and other disciplines. RTI’s International Education Division leads education development around the world by strengthening education policy, management, and practice to achieve measurable improvement in teaching and learning. From our well-established reputation in education system strengthening, to innovative work in early grade assessment and learning, RTI is improving education quality, relevance, and efficiency through implementation of projects funded by USAID, DFID, FCDO, The LEGO Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors and clients.

RTI is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning and Adapting (MERLA) Lead for the anticipated follow-on to the USAID-funded Kenya Education READ TO Activity. RTI has been implementing this project since 2014, reaching all public schools nationwide to improve learning outcomes for children in grades 1-3. The anticipated follow-on activity will likely continue and expand EGR support to schools, strengthen education system capacity, and address other needs in the community. The MERLA Lead will be responsible for designing, together with the Senior Technical Director, a robust MERLA plan and leading all monitoring and evaluation, research, adaptive management learning cycle, and data management aspects of the project. This position reports to the Chief of Party and is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The position will be based in Kenya and recruitment is contingent upon successful award of the project and final USAID approval.


Responsibilities of the MERLA Lead include, but are not limited to:

  • Mentor and oversee research, monitoring, evaluation, adapting, and learning functions and related project staff to ensure implementation is effectively supported.
  • Coordinate the development and oversee the implementation of the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan as well as annual revisions as applicable.
  • Develop, manage, and implement the project’s monitoring and evaluation systems and tools, including relevant performance evaluations, complementary research studies, and annual targets and ensure compliance to USAID requirements.
  • Supervise the collection, analysis, and reporting on performance indicators by other team members and project counterparts.
  • Design and coordinate activities that demonstrate education modalities, teacher and coaching efficiency, student enrollment and impacts of external factors on the program.
  • Ensure adherence to USAID and RTI data quality principles, inclusive and crisis-resilient data collection approaches, and gender and disability inclusive reporting in all aspects of MERLA.
  • Coordinate the preparation of monthly, quarterly, and annual progress reports on the status of project implementation for timely submission; contribute to other project reports such as annual work plans.
  • Provide monitoring, evaluation, and learning capacity-building for partner organizations and Government counterparts.
  • Regularly consult with relevant stakeholders to inform project MERLA approaches.
  • Organize and undertake frequent trips to program sites across Kenya to ensure sound implementation of MERLA programming and to verify results reported by staff, partners or consultants.
  • Demonstrate professional behavior, including a commitment to conflict-sensitivity, gender sensitivity, and social inclusion and environmental protection and being a team player within the project, and growing and learning.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Chief of Party.


  • Bachelor’s Degree and 12 years of relevant experience or a Master’s degree and 9 years of relevant experience in the following fields
  • Knowledge of reporting procedures, best practices, guidelines, methods, and approaches for MEL.
  • Excellent management, communication, and organizational skills (attention to detail is required); demonstrated flexibility and capacity to multi-task.
  • Familiarity and experience with indicators relevant to the education sector preferred.
  • Ability to articulate and apply CLA principles.
  • Demonstrated experience in analytical skills and data visualization.
  • Computer literacy, with ability to analyze and interpret data using Excel, online reporting tools, or statistical packages such as SAS, SPSS, or STATA.
  • Experience with MEL that measures and promotes gender and social inclusion.
  • Ability to work effectively, responsively, and collaboratively with government counterparts, development and private sector partners, civil society organizations, and academic/research institutions.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills in English required, additional fluency in Kiswahili preferred.

EEO & Pay Equity Statements

As a global employer of choice, RTI is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace and the communities and markets where we serve our mission. We value diversity of thought, culture, background and perspective and welcome applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, creed, citizenship status, disability, protected veteran status, or any other classification protected by applicable discrimination laws or RTI policy.

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We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Further information is available here.

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach and one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities, and businesses around the world. For more information, visit

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For San Francisco, CA USA Job Postings Only: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records. Further information is available here.

The anticipated pay range for this role is listed below. Our pay ranges represent national averages and may vary by location as a geographic differential may be applied to some locations within the United States.

RTI considers multiple factors when making an offer including, for example: established salary range, internal budget, business needs, and education and years of work experience possessed by the applicant. Further, salary is merely one element to our offer.

At RTI, we demonstrate our commitment to rewarding individual and team achievement through a total rewards package. This package includes (among other things) a competitive base salary, a generous paid time off policy, merit based annual increases, bonus opportunities and a robust recognition program. Other benefits include a competitive range of insurance plans (including health, dental, life, and short-term and long-term disability), access to a retirement savings program such as a 401(k) plan, paid parental leave for all parents, financial assistance with adoption expenses or infertility treatments, financial reimbursement for education and developmental opportunities, an employee assistance program, and numerous other offerings to support a healthy work-life balance.


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