Technical Advisor II -MEAL

Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Apply by 19 May 2018
Mid-level , Full-time staff position
Posted on 21 March 2018

Job Description

CRS is an international non-governmental organization supporting relief and development work in over 100 countries around the world. 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. CRS programs assist persons on the basis of need, regardless of creed, ethnicity or nationality and works through local church and non-church partners to implement its programs. 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.

Primary Functions
This position will provide broad technical guidance around various aspects of monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL), including during proposal development, program implementation, and strategy design. As part of a team of technical advisors and specialists within the Headquarters (HQ) MEAL unit, the TA will provide technical assistance U.S. Department of Agriculture funded (USDA) projects and for other projects across the agency within the scope of the CRS MEAL Policies and Procedures and donor guidance. The TA will create linkages between program monitoring and evaluation to enhance accountability and learning in the various programming sectors.

The TA will work as part of the team working out of HQ, which provides support to country programs and to other functional units within the agency to ensure high quality programming, proposals, and grant management. The HQ MEAL unit also supports high-level thinking for the agency MEAL strategy and develops tools and guidance for the implementation of said strategy.

The TA for MEAL will also be a part of the global Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) community of practice and thereby liaise with technical advisors across the globe. The global MEAL team exists to promote best practices, learning and sharing and advance CRS’ Agency Strategy which recognizes MEAL as a Core Competency.

Scope of Responsibilities
This position works closely with other members of the MEAL Unit in headquarters, to promote global standards and approaches and to contribute MEAL successes and lessons learned to the global knowledge base. S/he works in collaboration with staff in the region, headquarters, and country programs to develop and guide CRS strategies for MEAL.

The TA will work with staff across HQ units, both within the Program Impact and Quality Assurance Department and in other departments–most notably Global Knowledge and Information Management, Institutional Donor Engagement and Advancement, and Operational Excellence Departments–to ensure that MEAL is embedded in CRS work as an agency Core Competency. The TA may also provide support to Regional MEAL technical advisors in building the capacity of CRS staff in country programs to implement accountability and learning activities and in ensuring the technical excellence of MEAL work across the agency. S/he will also write or contribute to sections of proposals related to MEAL and develop new tools as needed. The TA for MEAL will contribute to accountability and learning by developing various products and guidance to capture learning in CRS projects and programs and determining how those learning products can be shared to influence the design of future projects, other development actors and donor strategies and thereby increasing the visibility of CRS and its partners’ work.

Key responsibilities are to:
* Provide technical support for MEAL in all USDA funded programming at CRS (including Food for Education – FFE, and Food for Progress – FFPr)
* Take an active role in promoting implementation of the agency’s MEAL policies and procedures in USDA funded projects, as well as other projects across the agency
* Contribute to the maintenance, revision and implementation of the MEAL Policies and Procedures and supporting resources
* Support the development of beneficiary accountability and feedback mechanisms
* Remain up-to-date with latest methodologies, best practices, and donor requirements within MEAL
* Promote 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
* Assist CRS in communicating and marketing key successes in MEAL
* Collaborate with other organizations and partners active in MEAL to share tools, best practices and standards
* Coordinate with MEAL colleagues globally to share and incorporate lessons learned from across the CRS regions

Specific Responsibilities:

Technical Assistance/Capacity Strengthening
* In collaboration with regional technical advisors, provide MEAL related technical assistance at all stages of the project cycle, particularly for USDA funded programs
* Advise and assist CRS staff in developing and implementing MEAL strategies, tools, systems and plans, particularly for USDA funded programs.
* Review project progress reports for MEAL compliance, and provide constructive feedback on reports that will be disseminated to donors or other external audiences.
* Develop and review baseline, midterm review and final evaluation TORs, and assist with project evaluations or other assessments, including rapid or in depth sectoral assessments
* Strengthen field capacity to implement CRS MEAL Policies and Procedures in programs
* Facilitate staff capacity development on MEAL by providing guidance, training and/or resources as needed

Program Growth and Project Design
* Provide thorough reviews of proposal documents including logframes, detailed implementation plans, budgets, and narratives reflecting donor and stakeholder MEAL industry standards and CRS MEAL policies and procedures.
* Ensure that project designs comply with most recent guidance and learning from donors and the academic community on MEAL including theory of change, evaluative thinking and Collaborating – Learning Adapting (CLA)
* Contribute to developing large/strategic proposals by participating in a design team, writing relevant sections of the proposal, and contributing to the overall technical design.

Accountability and Learning
* Assist agriculture and education technical advisors, Institutional Donor Engagement and Advancement (IDEA) USDA unit, and Country Programs to document and disseminate learning at key points during the project life
* Work with PIQA agriculture and education technical staff, IDEA USDA Unit and Country Program staff in documentation and dissemination of case studies in support of project level, country program and global learning agendas and raise the profile of CRS programming
* Contribute to the development and testing of new accountability and learning tools developed by the field or headquarters
* Contribute to the global MEAL community of practice
* Disseminate lessons learned, best practices and global trends in MEAL

Networking and Representation
* Network with appropriate organizations to build CRS’ profile within the MEAL sector
* In close collaboration with IDEA department, develop and maintain linkages with the USDA to market CRS MEAL work on USDA funded programs
* Attend workshops and meetings in core areas related to MEAL organized by CRS headquarters, consortia, donors and where appropriate, regions and country programs
* Attend external conferences on MEAL, preferably as a presenter of CRS work. Prepare abstracts for conferences
* Share information and learning with country programs and HQ units in MEAL related matters from internal and external workshops and conferences

Background, Experience & Requirements:
* Master’s Degree in International Development, Education, Agricultural Economics, or related field
* Academic or working knowledge of current and rigorous social research analytic methods for measuring program and project performance
* Five to 10 years of relevant international working experience in an advisory or management role, preferably with three to four years’ experience working in the field contributing to or managing projects.
* Demonstrated understanding of project monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning
* Excellent oral and written communication skills
* Excellent research skills with ability to synthesize findings
* Excellent interpersonal skills in cross-cultural settings
* Ability to work effectively in a team-oriented environment
* Strong ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines
* Willingness to travel for up to one quarter of your time
* Experience with analytic software such as STATA, SPSS, or SAS
* Willingness and proven ability to learn new software and applications
* Previous experience with USDA FFE or FFPr programs a plus
* Technical experience with education or market oriented agriculture a plus
* Professional working knowledge of Spanish, French or Arabic

Key Working Relationships:

* MEAL Director
* MEAL Deputy Director
* PIQA MEAL Advisors
* Other PIQA staff (especially education and agriculture)
* MEAL Regional Technical Advisors
* Country Representatives, Heads of Program, Deputy Regional Directors

* USDA M & E staff
* Consultants (IT, translators, graphic designer, etc.)
* Partners (including but not limited to the Catholic Church)
* Peer organizations, academic institutions, and donor agencies

Supervisory - None

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.

* Serves with Integrity
* Models Stewardship
* Cultivates Constructive Relationships
* Promotes Learning

Competencies Relevant for the Specific Position:

MEAL related competencies:
* MEAL in Design
* Evaluation
* Analysis and Critical Thinking
* ICT for MEAL

Note: All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States at the time of application.

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


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.

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.

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