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MERL Director: USAID Uganda Targeting the Learning Crisis

FHI 360

FHI 360

Kampala, Uganda
Posted on Tuesday, February 6, 2024

We are currently seeking qualified candidates for the position of MERL Director for the upcoming USAID/Uganda Targeting the Learning Crisis activity. This position will be based in Kampala, Uganda and is contingent upon award.

Project Description

The USAID/Uganda basic education activity—Targeting the Learning Crisis (TLC)—seeks to utilize USAID/Uganda’s past programming and leverage the global evidence base to implement cost-effective, sustainable, and impactful programming to significantly improve math and reading outcomes for Ugandan primary students. The activity will provide programming to learners from pre-primary education to primary grade 5 (P5). The activity will emphasize targeted instruction and other evidence-based approaches to significantly improve math and reading outcomes.

Position Description

The MERL Director is responsible for establishing and managing the project’s overall monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) system and leading MERL team to track all progress made towards meeting program results, indicators, and targets, ensuring that they are being consistently and systematically documented, tracked and reported. S/he will lead the development of the MERL and CLA plans; design, implement, and maintain MERL systems and processes to capture program activities and results; and ensure the collection and analysis of quality, timely and valid data. They will collaborate with the Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) and relevant technical staff to design and oversee Project learning and research to support learning, adaptive management, and planning, and oversee the implementation, analysis, dissemination, and use of research products. The MERL Director shares MERL data and improvement plans and collaborates with staff and stakeholders on strategies for program improvements for greater program effects.

Job Summary/Responsibilities

  • Lead the development and implementation of the MERL plan for the Activity, including indicator selection and definition, target setting for all indicators, planning of all necessary data collection and analysis.

  • Oversee and directly contribute to the development and implementation of MERL tools and systems to collect, interpret and aggregate data that track tangible, measurable progress toward project results and data that meet donor reporting requirements.

  • Lead the development of the project learning agenda, design and implement learning and research studies, building evidence on which approaches tested by the program works and why.

  • Develop and support collaborative, learning and adaptive (CLA) approaches throughout the entire project to ensure that findings from all monitoring, assessment and survey activities are fed back into the project and disseminated to stakeholders and consortium partners for continuous program adjustments.

  • Oversee and coordinate data collection activities, including learning assessments and contextual assessments.

  • Develop high quality quantitative and qualitative methods and participatory methodologies to monitor program quality for performance and results; design appropriate feedback mechanisms to assess whether approaches implemented by the project are effective.

  • Working closely with the COP, lead team of MERL officers and provide training to staff, primary stakeholders, and implementing partners on MERL components in project design; such as monitoring plan, assessments, reviews, surveys and evaluations.

  • Provide ongoing oversight and technical assistance to consortium partners implementing monitoring and evaluation system, ensuring data and analysis are of high quality.

  • Lead data systems strengthening efforts, building the capacity of government and other stakeholders.

  • Oversee the publication and dissemination of information on successful and promising approaches, lessons learned and other program results to program partners, donors, government counterparts, and other key stakeholders.

  • Provide high quality and timely submission of all required project reports, including documentation of success stories, analysis of data for indicator calculation, summary of qualitative findings, etc.

  • Work collaboratively with members of FHI 360’s Research & Evaluation team to achieve project MERL goals.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in monitoring and evaluation, education, international development, or related field from an accredited university.

  • At least 12 years of experience related to monitoring, evaluating and reporting on programs related to education in complex, resource-constrained settings.

  • Experience in design and implementation of MERL systems for USG-funded projects.

  • Experience with learning assessments; experience with early grade reading assessments preferred.

  • Experience with Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Frameworks and related data utilization.

  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills and ability to articulate technical information clearly and effectively to both technical and non-technical audiences.

  • Expertise in education integrating gender equality and social inclusion into MEL systems.

  • Demonstrated expertise in rigorous quantitative and qualitative education research and analytical methods.

  • Excellent report writing, analytical, and communication skills, including oral presentation skills.

  • Demonstrated statistical analysis skills and use of relevant software (Excel, ODK/Kobo, PowerBi, SAS, Stata, SPSS, Epi Info, Atlas).

  • Strong facilitation skills for training enumerators, counterparts and project and partner staff; additional experience building the capacity of local partners preferred.

  • Ability to collaborate effectively with program staff and supervise and develop junior staff.

  • Experience in the education sector in Uganda or the region strongly preferred.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of US Government rules, regulations, policies and procedures regarding compliance and reporting on projects and programs.

  • Fluent in English.

This job posting summarizes the main duties of the job. It neither prescribes nor restricts the exact tasks that may be assigned to carry out these duties. This document should not be construed in any way to represent a contract of employment. Management reserves the right to review and revise this document at any time.

FHI 360 is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer whereby we do not engage in practices that discriminate against any person employed or seeking employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, protected Veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable law.

Our values and commitments to safeguarding: FHI 360 is committed to preventing any type of abuse, exploitation and harassment in our work environments and programs, including sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment. FHI 360 takes steps to safeguard the welfare of everyone who engages with our organization and programs and requires that all personnel, including staff members and volunteers, share this commitment and sign our code of conduct. All offers of employment will be subject to appropriate screening checks, including reference, criminal record and terrorism finance checks. FHI 360 also participates in the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS), facilitated by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response. In line with the MDS, we will request information from job applicants’ previous employers about any substantiated findings of sexual abuse, exploitation and/or harassment during the applicant’s tenure with previous employers. By applying, job applicants confirm their understanding of these recruitment procedures and consent to these screening checks.

FHI 360 will consider for employment all qualified applicants, including those with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws.

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