Senior Specialist - Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL)

  • Posted on 12 February 2020

Job Description


This position supports the monitoring and evaluation of the Department of Hunger and Livelihoods’ (DHL) USAID/Food for Peace (FFP)-funded portfolio. It provides leadership on international program monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL) systems and processes, and leads on training and capacity building on MEAL within the department and for food security programs in the field.

The position will provide consistent support to global programs on data analysis, indicator development and tracking, target setting, theory of change development, accountability systems, MEAL-related donor deliverables, research, and evaluations. This position will work with program teams to ensure that the data collected is appropriately used for program improvements and learning. In addition, this position will support proposal development and explore innovative uses for technology in MEAL.

What You’ll Be Doing (Essential Duties)

Support to Global Programs’ MEAL Systems and Processes (50%):

  • Provides MEAL support to assigned international food security programs in both development and emergency contexts.
  • Supports programs in selecting indicators and setting ambitious yet realistic indicator targets to measure program progress and achievements.
  • Supports program teams with routine data collection and analysis, including through innovative platforms such as KoBo Toolbox and Power BI. Supports the development of program databases as needed.
  • Leads the development and monitoring of programs’ theories of change (TOC).
  • Conducts data quality assessments to identify and address data quality problems.
  • Leads on design and development of research and evaluation tools for baseline studies, mid-term evaluations, final evaluations, annual surveys, post-distribution monitoring surveys, and special studies.
  • Conducts remote and in-person MEAL trainings and capacity building for DHL staff and colleagues overseas; promotes cross-fertilization of ideas and information exchanges across programs.
  • Ensures that programs have appropriate accountability mechanisms in place.
  • Provides in-country technical MEAL support to programs as needed.
  • Supports programs in determining how to use their data for program improvement and decision-making, and encourages the use of Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) approaches.
  • Provides other MEAL-related support as needed.

Donor Reporting and Compliance with MEAL Guidance (20%):

  • Ensures quality and contributes to MEAL sections for quarterly and annual donor reports and ongoing deliverables. Verifies the quality and correctness of data included in these reports, and contributes advanced analysis of data as needed.
  • Ensures program compliance with USAID’s Open Data Policy (ADS 579) and USAID FFP’s MEAL policy and guidance for development and emergency programs.

Program Learning and Innovation (10%):

  • Leads on development of learning agendas for programs. Works with colleagues to develop research scopes of work, protocols, research methods, tools, and reports. Leads on submissions to Save the Children’s Ethics Review Committee (ERC).
  • Leads development of MEAL-related communication documents (case studies, newsletters, etc.) for use by senior managers, donors, and external partners.
  • Stays abreast of new and innovative MEAL technologies, and adopts them on programs when useful. Shares the new technologies with team members when relevant, and may conduct capacity building on them as needed.
  • Coordinates with internal and external MEAL stakeholders to identify and communicate MEAL training and speaking opportunities for food security program managers and technical staff.
  • May lead on identifying, developing, and maintaining program-specific relationships and partnerships with universities and research organizations.

Resource Mobilization (10%):

  • Supports development of the theory of change for proposed programs, and leads on developing MEAL plans, logical frameworks, selecting indicators, and setting indicator targets.
  • Participates on behalf of Save the Children and DHL at internal and external learning events and working groups, and presents data and research at public events.
  • Writes proposals for research funding as appropriate.

Represents the Department of Hunger and Livelihoods at the agency level and contributes to agency-wide MEAL and research best practices (10%):

  • Contributes to MEAL components of DHL and Save the Children strategy.
  • Represents DHL on the Save the Children MEAL Working Group.
  • Works closely with other Save the Children departments on MEAL topics of mutual interest, especially as they apply to global and/or multi-country programs.
  • Working with program staff, identifies strong MEAL candidates both for short-term and long-term positions.

General Team Dynamics

  • Exercises independent judgment and discretion on significant matters related to MEAL and research.
  • Objectives and milestones are determined jointly by employee and supervisor and implemented with management support.
  • Provides information to their Manager or to other Senior Managers so that they can make accurate decisions.
  • Builds effective relationships with peers and managers. Relates well to all kinds of people.

Required Qualifications

  • 5-7 years of experience in international development or global health and nutrition, with demonstrated experience related to MEAL, research, and/or knowledge management.
  • Experience designing or managing logical/results frameworks, MEAL plans, Theories of Change, and program evaluations.
  • Experience developing and tracking program indicator performance and developing donor reports for food security programs.
  • Experience designing and conducting quantitative household surveys and qualitative studies, including calculating sample sizes, selecting a sampling methodology, developing data collection tools, training enumerators, and supervising data collection.
  • Experience conducting quantitative and qualitative data analysis and interpreting results, and experience using statistical software.
  • Experience writing and disseminating reports and fact sheets/case studies.
  • Excellent skills working with PCs and Microsoft Office.
  • Excellent (fluent) English communication and writing skills.
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and work effectively both independently and as part of multicultural teams.
  • Willingness and ability to travel internationally up to 30% of the time,
  • Willingness and ability to occasionally work irregular hours to accommodate calls with field teams in other time zones.
  • Experience developing and conducting training programs for field staff including curriculum design, presentation and teaching skills, and training-of-trainers methods.
  • Knowledge of and experience with statistical software and data visualization tools.
  • Experience working on MEAL for a USAID Food for Peace (FFP) program.
  • Experience giving public presentations.
  • Spanish or French language proficiency.
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree or relevant equivalent experience.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Experience working on USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) programs.
  • Experience using KoBo Toolbox, ODK, or other mobile data collection software.
  • Experience working in an emergency setting.

Why you should join the Save the Children Team

Save the Children US offers outstanding benefits that include health, dental, vision and life insurances, pet insurance, short-term and long-term disability coverage, an Employee Assistance Program, 403(b), generous vacation, personal sick leave, family leave, parental/adoption leave, commuter benefits, dress for your day, and much more.

Click here to learn more about how Save the Children US will invest in YOU!

About the Organization

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

Save the Children is committed to conducting its programs and operations in a manner that is safe for the children it serves and helping protect the children with whom Save the Children is in contact. All Save the Children representatives are explicitly prohibited from engaging in any activity that may result in any kind of child abuse. In addition, it is Save the Children’s policy to create and proactively maintain an environment that aims to prevent and deter any actions and omissions, whether deliberate or inadvertent, that place children at the risk of any kind of child abuse. All our representatives are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with this commitment and obligation. Any violations of this policy will be treated as a serious issue.

We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, handicap, disability, marital status, or status as a veteran. Save the Children complies with all applicable laws.

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