Strategic Learning Lead, Niger

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 24 September 2018

Job Description

About CRS

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.


Catholic Relief Services (CRS)/Niger is preparing a response to the anticipated 2018 USAID Food for Peace (FFP) Development Food Security Activities (DFSA) Request for Applications (RFA). The proposed program will involve a multi-sectoral response to addressing food insecurity and vulnerability in the Zinder region of Niger. The estimated timeframe for this program is October 2018 – September 2023.

The proposed program will aim to measurably reduce malnutrition and food insecurity and vulnerability in targeted zones, with a particular focus on enhancing resilience and increasing household and community capacities to manage and mitigate risk.

Job Summary

The Strategic Learning Lead (SLL) will promote a culture of coordination, collaboration and continuous learning across all activities in the selected implementation area. The SLL will work closely with the Food Security Technical Coordinator and Monitoring and Evaluation Lead to include active, intentional, and adaptive learning exercises within and across its multi-sectoral activities and to improve peer-to-peer learning, knowledge sharing and application, activity-based capacity strengthening, evidence and data utilization, and collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA).

To achieve this, the SLL will organize and implement an appropriate system that captures, analyzes, exploits and disseminates learning elements useful for the DFSA program, take the lead in collecting best practices and lessons learned on CRS’ achievements, and organize relevant reviews of program activities on the team level. S/he will promote an evidence-based results approach to disseminating best practices.

This will require working closely with the ICT4D team and Program Quality (PQ) staff. S/he will contribute to the capacity building efforts of project staff, in consultation with the HR department. The adviser will also ensure robust stakeholder coordination by activity staff with local partners, USG, host country government, international donors, multilateral organizations and private sector investments. The SCLA should have demonstrated experience in food security, knowledge management, organizational learning, and capacity strengthening.

Specific Job Responsibilities

Project Design and Organizational Learning

  • Contribute to the overall monitoring and evaluation strategy with a focus on promoting knowledge, learning, documentation, and dissemination.
  • Set up the appropriate learning systems for the DFSA program (collection, analysis, documentation, dissemination).
  • Organize After-Action Review sessions with teams to collect lessons learned, and prepare related reports for lessons learned and overall learning within the DFSA program.
  • Organize assessment workshops and self-evaluation sessions with the various DFSA actors.
  • Supervise the Social and Behavior Change (SBC) unit and ensure that research is effectively used to design SBC communication approaches.

Project Implementation and Reporting

  • Organize the collection, analysis, documentation, exploitation and dissemination of best practices and lessons learned.
  • Analyze the results achieved against the planned objectives as well as the means and methods used at the project level.
  • Produce the necessary reports at a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.
  • Document the capitalization, sharing, awareness and mobilization of results from the project activities.

Partnership and Capacity Building

  • Provide capacity building for field staff in learning and adaptive management.
  • Coordinate with different levels of staff with both CRS and partners on learning principles: i.e. how to collect, analyze, document, operate, and disseminate information.

Coordination with Various Stakeholders

  • Coordinate with local partners, GoN, RISE partners, USG, international donors, multilateral organizations and private sector investments to eliminate duplication, share best practices and lessons learned, and ensure integration of program activities in the DFSA zone.

Program Manager Competencies

These are rooted in the mission, values and principles of CRS and used by each program manager to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  1. Sets clear goals and manages toward them
  2. Collaborates effectively with staff and stakeholders
  3. Manages financial resources with integrity
  4. Applies program quality standards to project design and organizational learning

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS staff)

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  1. Serves with Integrity
  2. Models Stewardship
  3. Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  4. Promotes Learning

Key Working Relationships

Internal- CRS/Niger

Country Representative, Head of Programs, Chief of Party, Head of Operations, Food Security Technical Coordinator, Monitoring & Evaluation Lead, Project Technical Leads (e.g. Gender, Health, WASH, Resilience, and Agriculture), Project Managers, Project MEAL/ICT4D Officers, CP MEAL Director, CRS MEAL Community of Practice, WARO Regional Staff (Regional Technical Advisors/Deputy Regional Directors), and CRS/HQ departments


USAID and other donors, international and local partners, GoN, other Niger& Burkina Faso RISE implementers.

Key MEAL Competencies (specific for this position)

  • Learning: Promoting excellent knowledge management and collaborative learning processes at the project, program and institutional levels, generating robust evidence for project and programmatic learning that leads to action, decision-making and influence.
  • Analysis and Critical Thinking: Engaging with data, challenging biases and assumptions, posing thoughtful questions, pursuing deeper understanding of evidence through reflection and perspective-taking, and making informed programming decisions.
  • ICT for MEAL: Applying knowledge on information and communication technologies (ICT), both hardware and software, for opportune and accurate data collection, database management.

Qualifications and Skills

  • A master’s degree in communications, economics, agricultural/development economics, statistics, bio-statistics, nutrition, applied sociology, anthropology, or other relevant subject.
  • Five years relevant work experience preferably in a development setting with an international NGO, progressively increasing Learning and Coordination responsibility in international development projects and at least two years of experience as a supervisor; ICT4D experience preferred.
  • Experience working with large donors, USAID/FFP preferred.
  • Strong conceptual knowledge about theories of change, logic model, food and nutrition security indicators, M&E plan, data quality assurance, data utilization and gender integration into M&E.
  • Experience on innovative learning practice including Internal Change Management for CLA, Evaluative thinking and Adaptive management
  • Demonstrated ability to transfer knowledge to diverse audiences (capacity strengthening) through training, mentoring, and other formal and non-formal methods, using adult learning methodologies.
  • Demonstrated experience and expertise in developing and operationalizing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan focusing on learning; familiarity with FFP M&E and Reporting Policy and Guidance for the components of an M&E plan.
  • Demonstrated expertise and experience in developing and operationalizing routine monitoring system focused on learning to track both lessons learned and promising practices to inform learning decision making across the DFSA
  • Strong skills to facilitate learning events to ensure promising practices, success/failure factors, lessons learned, and recommendations
  • Demonstrated experiences to create an environment conducive to learning, incorporating the Agency’s Evaluative Thinking framework and resources
  • Demonstrated expertise to Capture and Document Lessons Learned, Success/Failure Factors, Promising Practices, and Best Practices
  • Demonstrated expertise and experience in data utilization strategies and can creatively think about active data sharing techniques.
  • Knowledge of program quality standards, MEAL standards, Catholic Social Teaching and the justice lens preferred.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively with groups;
  • Strategic communications, including producing publications and organizing public events.
  • Experience with facilitation, capacity strengthening and partnership building through formal and informal training, with the capacity to empower staff through opportunities for professional growth and development.
  • Detail-oriented and excellent time management skills with the ability to meet deadlines and deliver required results in a timely and quality manner.
  • Flexibility to work both in a team and independently
  • Demonstrated personal accountability and driven to serve others
  • Cultural sensitivity, patience, flexibility and ability to work well in a multi-sectoral and multi-cultural team and to work closely, understand and support local Church partners.
  • Ability to work in a challenging and stressful environment with unexpected challenges.
  • Ability to travel for field missions for 30-50% level of effort as needed.
  • Excellent English and French language oral and written communication skills required, Hausa oral communication skills preferred
  • Experience working in a variety of developing environments required; knowledge of the Sahel context desired
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel and Outlook required


This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

CRS’ talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.

This position is conditional upon award of funding for the DFSA.

*Applications will be evaluated and interviews conducted on a rolling basis


About the Organization

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.

Similar Jobs