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Director of Research and Evidence – Girls Improving Resilience through Livelihoods (GIRL) , Nairobi – Kenya

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Girls Improving Resilience through Livelihoods (GIRL) is a three-year, 10 million dollar program to be implemented in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti that seeks to improve the well-being of adolescent girls and young women by increasing their access to skills and knowledge, health resources, formal education and economic opportunities. GIRL also fosters an enabling environment by working with communities to transform unhealthy social norms and create opportunities for girls to access education and economic opportunity. Key to GIRL is a robust learning and research agenda that reaches across three countries to contribute to the evidence base on what works to secure access to opportunities for adolescent girls within the most marginalized communities and to better understand their contribution to household resilience. This evidence and learning will be shared to elevate Mercy Corps’ influence in the adolescent girl space and to bolster fundraising efforts to scale the model. The GIRL Director of Research and Evidence will lead the development of a rigorous research, evaluation and learning agenda across the three target countries, driving research and learning to refine a replicable and evidence-based GIRL programming model, contribute to research and thought leadership to understand the role of adolescent girls in household and community resilience, and contribute to wider policy discussions about the importance of investing in adolescent girl interventions to achieve poverty reduction, health, food security, nutrition and human rights outcomes within Africa and the Latin America and Caribbean context and beyond.

General Position Summary

The Director of Research and Evidence will be responsible for designing and driving the research and learning agenda within the GIRL program. The Director will oversee the generation of programmatic evidence and lead the execution of a research agenda to drive learning and thought leadership to make the case for adolescent girl programming interventions. As a senior role within the program management team, the DRE will lead a robust research and learning agenda, ensuring that program M&E functions across the three countries are coherent and gathering robust data, that program M&E and discrete research pieces feed into the learning agenda, that the program uses data and evidence to inform program adaptation and decision-making, and that program learning and influence pieces are produced regularly to promote internal and external learning.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Research & Project Management:

· Lead the development of the program’s research and learning agenda, and provide leadership to ensure that monitoring and evaluation activities as well as discrete research are used to inform and refine the program model and to inform internal and external stakeholders on critical questions in adolescent girl programming.

· Lead the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system, working closely with country offices and partners to ensure that robust data collection systems are in place to capture results in order to inform program implementation and adaptation.

· Set and manage MEL program budget, developing quarterly workplans and budget allocations on an ongoing basis in consultation with the Program Director.

· Lead in the implementation of Mercy Corps M&E policy and program adherence to it.

· Lead in the design and implementation of evaluations and assessments to answer key research questions, drawing on appropriate research and survey tools and incorporating Mercy Corps standards.

· Use data and learning to refine the GIRL approach, contributing to development of a foundational model for other programs globally working with girls, including food security, livelihoods, etc.

· Ensure program milestones related to research are developed that include benchmarks, impact assessments and case studies.

· Serve on the senior management team and work with the Program Director to design and lead management meetings and strategy sessions.

· Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.

Influence & Representation:

· Play a leadership role in distilling and packaging program insights and learning into digestible presentations and learning briefs to position Mercy Corps as a thought leader in adolescent girl programming.

· Work closely with Mercy Corps HQ M&E and research staff to ensure robust systems and coherence with global research themes and priorities

· Represent Mercy Corps at internal and external events and meetings to highlight the work of our GIRL teams and share evolving evidence to support the model, building agency influence in the adolescent girl and youth space.

· Develop GIRL learning documents and facilitate the dissemination of promising practices and lessons learned with internal and external stakeholders.

· Develop a communications strategy to disseminate GIRL learning documents through various forms of media and speaking engagements.

· Develop a community of practice within Mercy Corps country programs to share programmatic learning and insights and drive strong programming within the adolescent girl space.

M & E System Development:

· Working with country M&E staff, establish an overall M&E framework that will guide M&E for all country offices and develop a M&E system that captures program results across the three countries.

· Advise country project teams and partners on the most appropriate monitoring, evaluation and learning design given budget, time and field force set up

· Collaborate with the technology team, implementation teams and partners to execute the M&E systems in country

· Be the custodian of data, developing a system that develops insights and analysis presenting impact to donors, government, agencies and communities.

· Lead in efforts to ensure adequate data protection procedures are maintained during data acquisition and adherence to Mercy Corps and global standards ensuring compliance and security procedures are maintained.

Monitoring, Evaluation & Assessment:

· Play a central role on the design and implementation of impact evaluations and assessments which might include experimental forms of research, baseline/panel data studies, surveys and needs assessments as outlined in the program agenda and work plans, drawing on appropriate research and survey tools and incorporating Mercy Corps’ standards on design, monitoring, and evaluation

· Ensure analysis and cross tabulations of program data, and ensure that data is readily available to inform program learning and reporting

· Support the Program Director to lead Quarterly and Annual review meetings, using data to inform analysis of program performance. Ensure that data is used to inform annual and quarterly activity planning and budget forecasts. Lead quarterly technical review of implementation plans and update program work-plan as needed to respond to changing dynamics/needs and emerging opportunities.

· Establish sound data collection, cleaning, management, analysis and reporting strategies on key performance using the appropriate M&E tools across countries and partners

· Engage in relevant field research in support of data and information gathering

· Initiate and manage consulting agreements and relationships for M&E activities based on Mercy Corps policies and procedures. This includes identifying, procuring and overseeing all MEL consultant work, ensuring high levels of coordination and integration into overall programming, as well as appropriate support for partners.

· Provide project management support to Program Director working together with all M&E consultants and technical team leads ensuring high levels of coordination and integration into overall programming, as well as appropriate support for partners.

· Contribute to program learning within and across GIRL teams and support an environment that is conducive to the sharing of ideas, solutions, and difficulties and the capacity to detect, analyze and respond quickly to challenges


· Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

· Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via performance reviews.

· Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance & reach objectives.

· Supervise and regularly coordinate with project staff and support departments to ensure smooth planning, preparation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of program activities

· Develop a framework for adaptive management and program iteration driven by research and learning.

Knowledge and Experience

· Minimum 5 years of experience designing and delivering high-impact monitoring, evaluation and learning systems, including skills in indicator design and measurement, research design, and development of program adaptation/learning feedback loops. Experience in complex/fragile environments is preferred.

· In-depth technical knowledge related to adolescent girls, youth and/or gender and experience leading research and program implementation to achieve technical excellence in youth and gender programming is strongly preferred.

· Experience driving a research and learning agenda and ensuring that key research findings and learnings are disseminated internally and externally to support learning and thought leadership.

· Direct experience working across multiple departments/geographies to achieve high-level results, and flexibility and comfort working across multiple reporting lines.

· Ability to effectively represent Mercy Corps and its interests to key stakeholders, including strong presentation skills.

· Proven verbal and written communication skills and ability to distill complex information and data into accessible conversation and written pieces.

· Ability to multi-task, organize and prioritize daily tasks and the big picture.

· Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in planning and problem-solving.

· Ability to effectively manage a team and apply relevant Mercy Corps’ procedures and approaches.

· Experience supporting technical capacity and skill development amongst diverse teams.


Success Factors

The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for gender and development and adolescent girl programming issues more specifically, and will thrive working in cross-cultural environments with diverse teams across our program intervention countries. The DRE will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and able to work in ambiguous situations. The Director will be a tolerant and flexible individual able to work in difficult and stressful environments and follow procedures demonstrating cultural sensitivity with diverse stakeholders. The DRE will be a team-player with a positive attitude toward problem solving and conflict resolution. Commitment to learning, open communications, impeccable professional standards of ethics and ability to manage successful partner relationships are essential. The successful candidate will be focused on team-building and open collaboration; be a strategic thinker and maintain a sense of humor.

Organization Learning

As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Supervisory Responsibility

● M&E team members in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti

● Consultants and/or interns


Reports Directly To: GIRL Program Director

Works Directly With: Regional Program Directors, Country Directors and teams in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti; TSU focal points across the Gender, Social Inclusion and Equity team, Young People and Protection team and the Resilience team; Global Research and Learning team; Country Finance, Operations, Human Resources and other support departments; Program managers/Chiefs of Party of Programs implementing GIRL interventions.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Nairobi, Kenya and requires at least 35% travel within Kenya, Uganda and Haiti. When traveling, s/he may be expected to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening as required.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply

Apply Here

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