Monitoring, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL) Officer- IMAGINE
Goma (Congo Democratic)
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of approximately 400 people working in Eastern DRC. Mercy Corps' national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Mercy Corps' key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to: 1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas; 2) Improve food security and nutrition; 3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development. Mercy Corps DRC's humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo with multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH support to displaced and host populations. Mercy Corps is also currently responding the unfolding Ebola epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. The current annual budget includes resources from DFID, USAID, ECHO, UN-donors, Government of Netherlands, OFDA, FFP, SDC and others.
Mercy Corps is currently in the fourth year of a large-scale 5-year DFID-funded urban WASH program. This program, known as IMAGINE will reach up to 1 million beneficiaries in Goma and Bukavu through improved access to water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion. The overall goal is focusing on decreasing diarrheal morbidity and mortality among children under five through an integrated water, sanitation, governance, and behavior change program. This will be accomplished through 4 functional components improving infrastructure, promoting effective behavior change, reinforcing market systems for WASH services, and improving governance and community accountability of these systems.
General Position Summary
The Monitoring, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL) Officer is a key position in the IMAGINE program responsible for supporting the installation of systems for cross-cutting programmatic monitoring, evaluation, research, and information management, defining how collected information will be reflected upon, used for continuous improvement of ongoing programming, and incorporated into consistently high quality reports.
S/he– along with the Country MEL Director, project staff and technical support staff – will be responsible for supporting and strengthening the MERL system for the IMAGINE program and will establish and coordinate research partnerships with leading institutions in the field of development studies. In addition, s/he will be responsible for ensuring that organized and actionable MERL information is provided to program managers and field offices in order to assist them to generate reports that are timely and of a high quality.
Essential Job ResponsibilitiesROLL OUT OF MERL PLAN**
Lead implementation of IMAGINE MERL plan, with support of MEL Country Director. The MEL Plan includes:
GIS data integration plan
Program activity monitoring approach
Take the lead on all aspects (design, implementation, analysis, report writing) of IMAGINE bi-annual surveys (quant and qualitative) which represent the key data sources for bi-annual reporting to the donor.
Develop operational research activities linked to program design, component activities, relevant contextual factors and program outcomes.
Ensure that monitoring activities take place in line with approach outlined in MEL plan and supervise each stage of the process (design, implementation, analysis, feedback mechanisms, report writing).
Establish standard mechanisms for spot check monitoring.
Lead the log-frame update at periodic intervals for reporting to donor.**MERL SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNICAL OVERSIGHT**
Responsible for running quantitative data collection exercises using ODK Collect or other open source tools.
Responsible for continuing to explore possibilities for use of alternative qualitative or quantitative data collection software or methodologies and applying them as required.
Ensure that IMAGINE MERL data is stored according to standards outlined in MERL plan.
Support Country MEL Director to ensure that GIS data continues to play a key role in supporting IMAGINE program communication and decision making.
Responsible for ensuring that Gender considerations are effectively integrated at design, implementation, analysis and report writing stage for all produced MERL products.
Responsible for ensuring that data collected is sex and age disaggregated in line with Mercy Corps minimum standards and donor requirements.
Ensure compliance with and reporting on the U.K. Gender Equality Act (2014).
Ensure compliance with DFID smart rules, annual reporting against MDG 3 and extraordinary audits.
Ensure quality of data collected and reported across all MERL related activities.
- Conduct project site visits to provide hands-on training to field staff on how to capture and organize information for accurate documentation and reporting.
- Coordinate with a variety of teams to ensure that program teams have the necessary capacity and resources to produce timely and high-quality reports that are responsive to donors.
- Team capacity building through information-sharing and mentorship, coaching in report writing, and quality control of final written products.
- Assist the Program Director by monitoring and reporting on potential partners' MERL data and planning.
Produce all required MERL reports for the IMAGINE program.**RESEARCH**
Coordinate with program leadership and Country MEL Director to develop a clear strategy for growth of research within the IMAGINE program.
Cultivate relationships with internal and external stakeholders to partner with in designing high-quality research.
Responsible for development and oversight of research initiatives.**COORDINATION AND REPRESENTATION**
Actively participate in IMAGINE Coordination Meetings.
Represent IMAGINE MERL to DFID – with support of IMAGINE Program Director and Country MEL Director.
Participate in cross component MERL meetings to share and document best-practice.
Participate in external MERL forums to share best practices.
Develop positive working relationships and coordinate/collaborate with partner organizations, research institutes and international and national agencies active in the target areas.**ACCOUNTABILITY**
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.**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 toward 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.
No supervisory responsibility
Reports Directly To: Mercy Corps MEL Director, with secondary link to IMAGINE Program Director
Works Directly With: IMAGINE Delivery Managers and staff, MEL specialists from other programs
A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. S/he will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws, security and gender integration protocols. As a key technical position, this person should have a strong understanding of program logic and should be able to express and document his/her ideas clearly and convincingly. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations. In DRC, patience, diplomacy, tenacity, compassion, determination and a sense of humor are all success factors.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is an unaccompanied post based in Goma (DRC). This position is expected to travel in country up to 20%.
While conditions in the country are improving, and security is quite stable in Goma, there are still pockets of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There's reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.
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. Staff are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps' policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
Knowledge and Experience
- MA/S or equivalent in social science, public health, management, or international development required
- 1-2 years' experience in monitoring and evaluation
- Previous experience conducting research and coordinating MEL activities in francophone Africa preferred.
- Demonstrated understanding of what gender sensitive programming is and why it is important.
- Experience with GPS and mobile-based MEL systems are required.
- Experience working with DFID preferred; experience with urban water and infrastructure programs an advantage.
- Excellent computer skills, including required experience with Excel, Google Drive, and electronic data collection applications (ODK Collect, CommCare, etc).
- Experience using other statistical or data management packages an advantage (R, Epi-info, Publisher, SPSS, QGIS/ArcGIS, etc).
Demonstrated understanding of how GIS can help support better programming.
Strong knowledge and experience of the context in eastern DRC is an advantage.
Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members is required;
Fluent written and oral communication in both French and English is required;