MERLA Associate, NTDs -for Global Health (Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning, and Adapting)

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United States
Apply by 5 January 2019
Entry-level , Full-time staff position
Posted on 6 December 2018

Job Description

Job Description


RTI was recently awarded the USAID Act to End NTDs- East Program in-country. This is a program launched by USAId to end neglected tropical diseases globally. the Act to END NTDs East Program team at RTI is looking for a MERLA ( Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning, and Adapting) Associate to work closely with the the Program in-country MERLA staff to ensure quality data collection, analysis, and reporting. This requires reviewing data in detail and providing feedback on data quality and program performance. This person will also support the in-country MERLA staff, primarily through coaching and providing on-the-job training, to support in-country staff are able to effectively strengthen the MERLA capacity of the MOH. Furthermore, the MERLA Associate will also assist the Senior MEL Manager and MEL Director with cross-project data analysis to promote learning and programmatic adaptation.


The successful candidate will have robust data analysis expertise, excellent data management skills, strong attention to detail, and comfort working with large amounts of data at the same time. This individual will also have the ability to collaborate respectfully with multiple team members from diverse backgrounds.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Technical assistance for country MERLA activities

Data management for project monitoring (40%):

Responsible for ensuring high quality project monitoring and data reporting from 3-6 countries

  • Review data multiple times/year, with a heavy emphasis during work planning and two semi-annual reporting (SAR) periods. Ensure regular, high-quality data collection and analysis, and timely, strategic response to reporting.
  • Ensure data are uploaded to database in line with MERLA system and project reporting requirements.
  • Provide feedback to HQ project staff, in-country teams and sub-partners on data quality and program performance.
  • Correspond with country teams to gather information about redistricting; incorporate redistricting events into historical workbooks and ensure uploaded into database.
  • Provide high-level quality control checks on country data for project work plan, SAR, and ad hoc requests.
  • Train HQ and in-country staff on project MERLA system.Support MERLA team in responding to immediate requests for data from project leadership.

Promote in-country and project learning and adaptation (30%):

Responsible for promoting in-country and project learning and programmatic adaptation in 3-6 countries, thereby facilitating data interpretation and use

  • Ensure country-level work plans and semi-annual reports appropriately incorporate data.
  • Provide data reports and information for country monthly and ad-hoc meetings.
  • Analyze/use project M&E data to identify trends/patterns/outliers (e.g., low-performing districts), and generate results in easy-to-understand visual formats.
  • Conduct coaching and on-the-job training for key MERLA activities, including operationalizing the Data for Action Guide, using the Integrated NTD Database, submitting high quality data to WHO (including Joint Application Package and elimination dossiers), etc.
  • Conduct key informant interviews with in-country staff to identify challenges, lessons learned and best practices, and communicate findings with HQ and in-country teams.
  • Collaborate with in-country and HQ staff to identify opportunities for in-country learning and program adaptation.
  • Conduct in-depth analyses of capacity strengthening needs across countries, synthesize learnings, develop data visualizations, and develop and operationalize capacity strengthening strategy to promote in-country learning and adaptation.

Strengthen national capacity for conducting and learning from evaluations (15%): Provide technical support to in-country teams in 3-6 countries to enable effective implementation of evaluation activities and facilitate associated learning

  • In collaboration with HQ focal points, build in-country capacity to conduct coverage evaluation surveys and data quality assessments, through providing training (remote or in-person), reviewing protocols and reports, and ensuring application of findings and learning.
  • In collaboration with Senior Epidemiologist, Disease Focal Points and Senior Program Managers, review protocols and reports for disease-specific impact assessments, analyze data to inform action-oriented conclusions (including the development of data visualizations of DSA results), provide technical assistance for outcome investigation, ensure application of learning.
  • In collaboration with HQ and in-country staff, conduct in-depth analyses of survey results across countries, synthesize learnings, develop data visualizations, and develop and operationalize strategy to promote in-country learning and adaptation.
  • In collaboration with Disease Focal Points and Senior Program Managers, review and provide feedback on elimination dossiers as needed.

Technical inputs for global project (15%)

  • Support Senior MERLA Manager, MERLA Director and Learning Specialist with cross-project data analysis to promote learning and programmatic adaptation.
  • Contribute to the development of technical publications, including conducting literature reviews; analyzing and interpreting data; formatting manuscripts, tables and figures; assistance with submitting to journals, etc.
  • Ensure tracking, documentation, visualization and publication (where appropriate) of project MERLA best practices and lessons learned.
  • Manage meeting agendas, meetings, notes, and other administrative tasks as needed.
  • Assist Senior MERLA Manager and MERLA Director with special projects as necessary.

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • Master’s degree in public health, epidemiology, bio-statistics, or other analytics field, plus 1 year of experience; or bachelor’s degree plus 3 years of experience in global health/ governance/ nutrition/ environment programs (a must)
  • Must have experience in analizing quantitative data (M&E) and writing the results/findings so the information can help the program to make changes if needed ( able to synthesizing the findings for programmatic use) in form of graphics, showing trends over time, etc.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and at least one other statistical package such as: R, SAS, STATA, or SPSS (required)
  • Experience in designing and implementing qualitative studies, analyzing qualitative data and generating learning for programmatic use (preferred)
  • Excellent writing, editing, and presentation skills
  • Prior USAID experience preferred
  • Knowledge of MERLA methods and approaches, as learned through coursework, internship, or work experience
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and meet deadlines under pressure
  • Capacity to prioritize and manage multiple tasks
  • Strong organizational skills, detail-oriented, hard-working
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team-oriented setting while also taking initiative to complete assigned tasks with high quality and within tight timelines
  • Technical content experience in one or more of the following areas preferable: health systems strengthening, infectious diseases, NTDs, HIV, maternal and child health, nutrition, gender (preferred)
  • High level of integrity
  • Ability to communicate respectfully in a multi-cultural environment
  • An understanding of development issues
  • Competency in English (required) and French (preferred) (speaking, listening, reading, writing)
  • Experience working in Africa, Asia or Latin America (preferred)
  • Ability to travel internationally, often to remote areas.


To qualify, applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States and should not require now, or in the future, sponsorship for employment visa status.

Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide individual status updates. Only selected applicants will be contacted.

RTI is proud to be an EEO/AA employer M/F/D/V.

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About the Organization

IDG Global Health

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