Monitoring, Evaluation, Research And Learning (MERL) Advisor
Position title: Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Advisor, Innovation in Non-Traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST)
Position location: Accra, Ghana
Reports to: INVEST Project Director
Contract term: 2 years with possibility of renewal
Deadline: 15th May, 2020
World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a leading Canadian international development organization that works with and through its southern partners to promote sustainable development. Founded in 1957 and currently working in 22 countries worldwide with an annual budget of approximately $45 million dollars, WUSC’s mission is to foster human development and global understanding through education and training. Our internationally recognized programs support youth, women and other marginalized populations, focusing on three thematic areas of education, economic opportunities and empowerment. Globally, WUSC works with a network of higher education institutions, civil society organizations, private sector partners, professionals, students, volunteers, faculty and community leaders that can be leveraged to support our work.
The INVEST Project:
The Innovation in Non-Traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST) is a 5 year (2020 -2025) initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The project will build sustainable pathways to enhanced economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive growth for 5,000 urban poor young women in Accra, Kumasi, and Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. Working in high growth sectors, the initiative will test and scale innovative, sustainable models to improve the enabling environment for and reduce gender-specific barriers to women’s economic participation. The project will ultimately enhance access to decent work for marginalized women in non-traditional sectors within the Ghanaian economy.
Nature and Scope:
The Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Advisor will provide strategic leadership on all MERL activities related to the INVEST project. This will include but will not be limited to MERL planning, data collection tool development and implementation, data quality assurance, analysis and synthesis of qualitative and quantitative information, generating and applying lessons learned and donor reporting. The MERL Advisor is expected to provide technical and project expertise to ensure efficient, effective, quality and timely planning and execution of the various project MERL processes and activities in alignment with WUSC standards, project obligations and GAC requirements. In addition, the MERL Advisor will provide supervision for select external MERL consultants and lead capacity development activities targeted at partners and members of the project team. While the MERL Manager reports directly to the Project Director s/he will be supported on technical matters by WUSC’s HQ-based Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Advisor.
Specifically, the MERL Manager will:
Develop and Implement High Quality MERL Systems
- Collaborate with project stakeholders to develop and maintain the project’s MERL system, including the MERL plan, performance measurement framework and logic model in accordance with GAC’s results based management(RBM) guidance;
- Oversee the responsible execution of the project MERL plan, ensuring that appropriate processes for data collection, quality assurance, analysis, and use are in place;
- Coordinate, supervise and assure quality of MERL activities carried out by staff, partners, consultants and/or volunteers involved in the project;
- Establish and maintain a project database for all project data using WUSC’s PROUD template;
- Develop and implement quality control measures and protocols to ensure that data collected through MERL processes are reliable, accurate and complete – to the extent possible in the project context;
- Develop monitoring tools for routine tracking and assessment of project outputs, outcomes and lessons learned;
- Ensure project tools are being used effectively by project staff and that the data they are collecting informs the results intended;
- Ensure that tools in use meet the needs of the project and that staff have the capacity to utilize them effectively for reporting and monitoring of progress;
- Produce project monitoring checklists and conduct quarterly process monitoring, quality assessment and data validation exercises, and provide feedback and recommendations for timely improvement;
- Communicate regularly with Project staff and WUSC HQ MERL advisor to ensure smooth functioning of M&E systems.
Coordinate Data Collection and Analysis
- Develop and test data collection and analysis tools based on rigorous and gender-sensitive methodologies that are appropriate to context;
- Ensure that data collected through MERL processes are reliable, accurate and complete – to the extent possible in the project context;
- Apply a continuous improvement approach toward all data collection processes.
- Ensure that data collection and analysis activities are completed in a timely manner to contribute to high quality and accurate reporting;
- Manage on-going data collection processes, analyses and internal verification for project monitoring and evaluation purposes;
- Identify monitoring needs based on program implementation and collect data that effectively informs on-going progress;
- Support regular qualitative data collection and analysis for the purposes of supporting quantitative data and documenting and disseminating lessons learned;
Contribute to Reporting
- Ensure timely availability of data to feed into reporting cycles in an efficient and effective manner, in accordance with WUSC and GAC’s international assistance reporting standards;
- Ensure that regular updates on INVEST monitoring and evaluation processes are communicated to project staff;
- Support the INVEST Program Manager and Project Director with all relevant project reports;
- Respond to requests for information from WUSC HQ, project partners, and GAC;
- Support Project Director and project team in commissioning and managing external evaluations/research, including review of proposals and workplans, review of draft evaluation/research deliverables, collaboration with external evaluation/research teams on testing of tools and data collection, and ensure dissemination and use of evaluation/research findings internally and externally;
- In collaboration with HQ, recruit, guide, and supervise other organizations/consultants that are contracted to conduct surveys and studies for the project;
- Support the development and circulation of knowledge products to draw out lessons learned and success stories;
- Participate as required in workshops to share project lessons learned, success stories and research/studies findings;
Support Capacity Building and Iterative Management
- Identify training needs of staff working on the project and recommend actions for improving capacity with regard to MERL;
- Lead capacity assessments of stakeholders and develop MERL capacity strengthening plans;
- Co-ordinate and undertake capacity building activities and training workshops in MERL;
- Keep abreast of innovations and best practice in the MERL field by participating in the WUSC MERL community of practice and seeking out opportunities to engage with colleagues in local/regional/global communities of practice, workshops, webinars and other knowledge sharing forums;
- Promote a culture of iterative learning by facilitating annual reviews, data interpretation, and lessons learned sessions and creating feedback loops that promote more effective project management and accountability mechanisms;
- Participate in all steps of the project planning to ensure quality integration of monitoring, evaluation, research and learning;
- Serve as focal person for the MERL elements of INVEST, and making sure that cross cutting issues are implemented and reflected in reporting such as gender, governance and environment in the project activities;
- Undertake monitoring visits to INVEST partner institutions including private and public sector partners, civil society partners and training institutions;
- Undertake regular visits to field locations to support monitoring and evaluation processes and develop and implement accountability processes related to the INVEST Project;
- Undertake any other tasks assigned by the Project Director.
Qualifications and Experience
- Master’s degree in social science (e.g. economics, international development, public administration, e.t.c.) or other relevant field; an appropriate mix of education and experience may be considered in lieu of a Master’s degree;
- A minimum of seven years of experience in the field of monitoring and evaluation of development programs;
- Experience working with international development partners, international non-governmental organizations and donors, ideally with Global Affairs Canada (formerly known as DFATD or CIDA);
- Experience with monitoring and evaluation concepts and principles is required;
- Demonstrated knowledge and capacity to design and implement qualitative and/or quantitative research methods for the purpose of program evaluation and learning;
- Experience with developing successful knowledge translation and mobilization strategies and tools to capture project learning and impact, inform strategies and program design and to improve existing programming and practices;
- Proven knowledge and experience with results-based management tools, the development of data collection methods and tools (forms, formats, questionnaires) as well as systems for the entry, analysis and storage of quantitative data (e.g. MS Access, SPSS, or others).
- Experience in designing, managing and implementing learning strategies.
- Track record of designing and coordinating adaptive management and learning processes.
- Demonstrated ability to transfer knowledge through training, capacity building and mentoring.
- Exceptional relationship-management skills, including the ability to build consensus and respectfully engage and influence multiple and diverse stakeholders.
- Knowledge of international development, and with issues that youth and women’s access to economic opportunities in the Ghanaian context;
- Experience working with ethnically diverse communities and with projects implementing gender mainstreaming strategies; and
- Demonstrated high level written and verbal communication skills in English and ideally at least one of local languages commonly spoken in Accra, Kumasi, and/or Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana.
WUSC offers a dynamic work environment with a diverse intercultural workforce. We offer employees exciting opportunities to apply their skills and gain experience all while making a difference for youth around the world. We believe youth have the potential to provide for their families, build strong communities, and create positive social change for future generations. Employees at WUSC work hard to create lasting change in education, employment and empowerment.
WUSC is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.
Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No telephone calls please.
If you wish to apply for this position, please submit a letter of motivation and CV to [email protected] quoting “MERL Advisor –INVEST Project” as the subject title.