The Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs seeks qualified candidates for the position of Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Director, to be based in Bamako, Mali. The anticipated five-year USAID Mali Household and Community Health project will strengthen the ability of individuals, families, households and communities to plan, finance and manage their own health in the target regions of Sikasso, Segou, and Mopti through increased capacity of Malians to plan, finance, and manage their own health at the individual, household, and community levels; as well as increased individual and household adoption of healthy behaviors and demand for and use of health services. Critically important to the success of these efforts are robust systems to monitor interventions at the lowest level, assess impact over time, and continuously adapt and refine programmatic approaches based on data.
Specific duties & responsibilities of the role
The HCH MERL Director is a strategic leader with extensive senior-level experience related to monitoring, evaluation and learning in complex development projects. The MERL Director oversees full implementation of the Household and Community Health project’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Strategy, and provides visionary leadership to ensure inclusive, comprehensive and collaborative project learning that continuously feeds into management decision-making. The MERL Director will work closely with the MERL team to design, implement and supervise MERL activities, ensuring that lessons learned are integrated into program implementation to continuously improve quality of interventions and outcomes. S/he will provide effective, accurate and timely monitoring, evaluation and reporting of all project activities to the project management team, USAID, and Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. This role will require specialized and advanced knowledge, education and/or training in statistical analyses and/or qualitative research methods, and experience implementing these methods. The successful candidate will also have demonstrated capacity in developing and implementing a robust project learning strategy and in applying knowledge management and adaptive management principles.
This role includes the following key functions:
Research Monitoring and Evaluation
- Provide technical leadership in the development and implementation of overall monitoring and evaluation framework for project implementation
- Oversee the development and implementation of the PMP to capture project performance and results, including routine service delivery data reporting, baseline and endline assessments, and all monitoring for process and outcome evaluations;
- Develop relevant research agenda for the program and ensure methodological rigor of research undertaken.
- Conduct targeted evaluations and operations research, including design, data collection, management and analysis
- Develop research studies and protocols to be approved by appropriate local institutional research boards.
- Ensure high-quality program implementation, consistent with national health guidelines, protocols, information and reporting systems
- Develop a visualization dashboard to track behavioral indicators that can be collected at the community-, district-, regional-, and county levels, by project staff and partners;
- Develop and oversee data flow pattern that will ensure timely and high quality data collection and reporting
- Track project performance and plan and track the utilization of related data in decision making on project strategies and priorities, and possible adjustments to design of project intervention.
- Ensure relevant data is entered into the CCP organization-wide performance management system designed to capture, analyze, and disseminate project data
- Ensure quality of data through data verification procedures, including routine data quality audits
- Utilize the data collected to inform strategic decision-making and project planning
- Serve as resource for research and field-based staff regarding data issues; collection, entry, quality and transfer
- Ensure compliance with USAID M&E policies within the project. Develop, as needed, the guidance, tools and mechanisms to operationalize USAID M&E policy requirements.
- Regularly review and update the program’s M&E plan.
Leadership in Collaborative Learning and Adaptive Management (CLAM) and Knowledge Management
- Oversee development and implementation of the project’s learning agenda and adaptive management plans
- Supervise systems and mechanisms to ensure that diverse partners, government and non-government stakeholders and beneficiary communities regularly exchange information and collectively address issues affecting the program (structured reflection, after-action reviews, stocktaking sessions, etc)
- Oversee development of project communities of practice for implementing partners, and stakeholders; as well as learning fora/events
- Ensure full documentation of CLAM and knowledge management activities and approaches to continuously refine the CLAM approach
- Build capacity of MERL and programs staff as well as partner staff in the principles of CLAM, and uphold a project culture of learning and continuous collaborative improvement.
Training, supervision and strategic leadership
- Coordinate all MERL capacity-building activities with project staff, implementing partners and facility staff
- Co-facilitate training workshops, including agenda, curriculum, manuals and materials necessary to appropriately train individuals involved in monitoring and evaluation activities.
- Build capacity of program teams to translate evidence from monitoring and evaluation into actionable recommendations
- Assist in the recruitment, supervise and mentor MERL team members.
- Lead results reporting to USAID by providing written documentation on MERL activities and indicator results for progress and annual reports, as appropriate
- Provide leadership and direction on MERL to ensure the program’s technical and financial integrity to achieve goals and corresponding objectives and targets
- Cultivate strategic MERL relationships and alliances with other USAID projects and represent MERL activities in public and professional circles through meetings, conferences, and presentations
- Liaise with USAID, government partners, policy makers, and other key stakeholders to coordinate dissemination and application of results.
- Establish close coordination with senior management to harmonize and streamline collection and use of data for program activities and learning
· Advanced degree in public health, behavioral or social science, or a quantitative field related to Monitoring & Evaluation (i.e., statistics, epidemiology). Doctoral degree preferred.
· At least 10 years of progressively-responsible related experience in similar roles leading MERL for development projects with international organizations with a doctoral degree, or 15 years with a Masters degree
Special knowledge, skills, and abilities
· Proven ability to independently lead development of M&E plans, tools, and systems for complex health projects along with strong familiarity with common core health indicators and M&E tools for health programs
· Previous experience as MEL Director or similar on a comparable USAID project preferred
· Demonstrated experience in application of quantitative and qualitative research, monitoring and evaluation (RME) methodologies
· Strong quantitative and data analysis skills with ability to lead survey and evaluation design
· Sophisticated understanding of iterative project learning systems, with strong experience defining project learning agendas and spearheading their implementation
· Understanding of collaborative learning and adaptive management (CLAM) principles and how these are applied in practice in the project cycle.
· Track record of facilitating processes to strengthen partner and stakeholder reflection on and use of program data, ensuring full engagement in the learning process through project cycle
· Ability to adapt and present data in a succinct and impactful manner to a wide variety of stakeholders, analyzing their specific needs and interests and adapting the approach accordingly
· Skills in visualization of data, preferred
· Strong understanding of research ethics; certified in human subject research
· Experience and knowledge of application of GIS/mapping and other ICT4D tools for M&E
· Solid understanding and experience with the use of the DHIS2 in program monitoring.
· Demonstrated experience with use of statistical packages such as SPSS, STATA, Atlas.ti, and Nvivo for data analysis
· Excellent communicator and presenter, with the capacity to carry out high-level presentations in both English and French.
· Strong writer with proven experience in academic writing (publications, abstracts)
· Ability to provide effective coaching and direction to a multidisciplinary team of direct supervisees, while collaborating effectively with program staff to shape key decisions
· Proven experience implementing M&E capacity building with local partner organizations
· Understanding of Mali’s heath system context and challenges highly preferred; familiarity with Mali’s national health information systems in particular is valued
Any specific physical requirements for the job:
Extensive travel throughout the country and some travel internationally
Fluency in French and English is required.