The upcoming USAID-funded Commercialization of Smallholder Agriculture through Growth Poles seeks to support the diversification and expansion of Malawian smallholder production and the geographic concentration of ancillary economic growth activities (aggregation, marketing, processing) in regional economic market sheds.
Under the supervision of the Chief of Party, the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Director is responsible for providing technical leadership for and designing, executing, and overseeing the MEL components of the project. This includes: (1) Designing and implementing the MEL plan; (2) Creating systems to measure and document program process, output, and impact data results; (3) Routinely and systematically collecting, analyzing and presenting program data for project staff, partners and donors; (4) Manage process of, and with inputs from project staff, draft annual implementation plans, quarterly/ annual/final performance reports, and other reports/deliverables; (5) Overseeing project reporting activities; and (6) Tracking progress towards goals and fidelity to implementation design.
The MEL Director will supervise one or two M&E Officers, work closely with headquarter teams, and play a key role in the quarterly review meetings and other key meetings. The position is based in the project’s headquarters office in Lilongwe, with local and international travel as required.
Key roles and responsibilities:
- Lead the MEL team to: (1) Effectively track activity performance; (2) Inform program management and promote learning; and (3) Generate evidence on the localized and systemic changes that result from activity implementation.
- Technically oversee, manage, and ensure quality of project work related to the design and implementation of MEL, research, and reporting activities, in accordance with GOM and USAID regulations, Abt policies, and international standards for programming and research.
- Guide process and produce the project’s MEL Plans, annual implementation plans, quarterly/annual/final performance reports, and similar deliverables. Includes working with the MEL team to develop and/or set forth process to collect and analyze data across the project; track and analyze program indicators and other statistics; ensure proper targets, units of measurement, and figures are used; and produce high-quality and timely reports/deliverables.
- Develop, operationalize and oversee MEL plan components.
- Coordinate with project team, USAID, GOM, and project partners, as needed, to refine key indicators and markers of progress, harmonize reporting approaches and frameworks to remain responsive to the needs of the project, USAID, and GOM.
- Review all project assessments and ensure compliance and standardization of documents used for generalizable knowledge, publication, and presentation to the client and general public and in compliance with requirements.
- Oversee and develop quantitative and qualitative data collection tools and oversee data collection while ensuring data quality, integrity and security standards and procedures are in place. Conduct periodic internal quality checks to ensure the quality and accuracy of project reported data.
- Ensure integration of gender equity and social inclusion in program workplan and MEL activities.
- Coordinate and conduct data analysis and reporting on achievements against set targets, highlighting emerging patterns and produce clear reports on findings and conclusions.
- Oversee development of and/or develop tailored learning and knowledge products including lessons learned and sharing of information and knowledge products with all relevant stakeholders.
- Support programmatic learning and decision-making at all levels through data analysis, reporting and communication of program learnings.
- Collaborate with GOM counterparts to define research priorities and data collection needs for select areas where more and better data can drive decision-making.
- Participate as member of the project’s Senior Management Team (SMT). The SMT will provide overall technical leadership to ensure that project activities align with current best practice, GOM policy, and strategic frameworks, and are well adapted to the context of each region.
- Conduct field visits to program sites to monitor activities and engage with program teams, partners and local stakeholders.
- Provide technical leadership to and directly supervise M&E Officers.
- Respond to questions and provide project specific inputs and support to Rockville-based and other technical teams regarding areas of responsibility.
Preferred Skills / Qualifications:
- Master’s Degree in Statistics, Economics, Agriculture, Business Administration or other relevant field.
- At least 8 years of relevant professional experience in monitoring, evaluation, and research in the agriculture and economic growth field, with progressively increasing level of responsibility; experience with USAID-funded activities preferred.
- Demonstrated hands-on practical experience leading, designing, executing, and managing MEL activities for agriculture programs, and leading teams in these areas.
- Strong analytical, organizational, management, and planning skills for measuring, monitoring, and reporting on program and study results and implementing a learning agenda.
- Experience in quantitative research and analytical methods, some experience with qualitative research; firm command of M&E methodologies with respect to economic growth including knowledge of the Feed the Future framework and indicators, preferred.
- Expertise in gender equity and social inclusion analysis and experience integrating gender into development programming highly desired.
- Significant experience in knowledge management and dissemination of results and research findings.
- Ability to independently plan and execute complex tasks while addressing daily management details and remaining organized and focused on long-term deadlines and strategy.
- Strong interpersonal skills, initiative, demonstrated team leadership and problem-solving abilities.
- Excellent report writing, analytical, and communication skills in English, including oral presentation skills.
- Fluency in Chichewa
- Computer literacy (MS Word, MS Excel, statistical software).
Bachelor’s Degree + Twelve years of relevant experience, or Master’s Degree + Ten years of relevant experience, or PhD+ Eight years of relevant experience
Abt Associates is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer committed to fostering a diverse workforce. Abt Associates provides market-competitive salaries and comprehensive employee benefits. Local candidates strongly encouraged to apply.
Disclaimer: Abt Associates will never ask candidates for money in exchange for an offer of employment.
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