Mercy Corps is a global humanitarian aid agency engaged in transitional environments that have experienced some sort of shock: natural disaster, economic collapse, or conflict.
The CLA Lead will ensure that collaboration, learning and adaptation is not only integrated but fully operationalized in program design and implementation. This means driving coordination with others, making evidence-based decisions, and iteratively adapting throughout implementation to remain relevant and on course.
The CLA Lead will be responsible for leading strategy discussions, providing technical assistance and developing successful mechanisms for collaboration, learning and adaptation using USAID CLA principles and framework. They will use USAID’s Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation (CLA) principles to effectively integrate real time monitoring and learning back into the project strategy and implementation and ensure knowledge is shared with the broader stakeholders. The CLA Lead will work in close collaboration with the Mercy Corps Performance and Quality (PaQ) team, MEL staff, program learning staff, and partners to ensure program outcomes are effectively measured, learning is captured and the approach is adapted. In consultation with the program team, they will be responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the program-wide CLA system, as well as implementing an internal CLA capacity-building strategy that trains and mentors staff and promotes a culture of learning.
STRATEGY AND VISION
- Provide leadership, training and mentoring in the development of CLA Plans, CLA tools, survey design, methodology, data analysis, and other skills required for assessing the impact of the program.
- Provide technical contributions to CLA efforts to ensure the program aligns with any Government of Kenya standards; Gender Diversity and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) standards; and Conflict Sensitivity into all activities as appropriate.
- Collaborate with external evaluators on the design and roll out of the program baseline, midterm and final evaluations, while setting up effective systems for learning.
- Lead the program’s learning agenda, measurement and prepare/document adaptive management measures put in place (this may include sharing with wider internal/ external audience).
- Drive the implementation of frequent pause and reflect meetings, which contribute to adaptive management.
- Participate in the facilitation of strategic planning sessions.
- Lead program and MEL teams to adopt a holistic program-level CLA system.
- Ensures programs use the necessary CLA systems and tools, to inform and improve each individual program, as well as feed into the broader country-level CLA system, CARM, and Kenya country strategy.
- Strengthen CARM (Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism) practices, work closely with the program team to come up with innovative ways of promoting CARM, and ensure programs use Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism data to inform and improve implementation as well as feeding into documentation of best practices.
- Lead on aligning, collecting and reporting on relevant food security, nutrition, and CLA indicators to the organizational-wide MEL systems, and other external systems as relevant.
- Ensure that teams are collecting sex and age disaggregated data and using gender sensitive data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse participants.
- Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the CLA systems meet the needs of program leadership and help address shortfalls in CLA that affect program implementation.
- Prepare analysis from available sources including MEL findings (e.g. lessons learned, program monitoring, and surveys/ evaluations), CARM, field challenges, and lead sessions to develop adaptive management guidance/ recommendations.
- Contribute to program design to ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ PM@MC minimum standards and CLA best practices.
- Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information in programs.
CAPACITY BUILDING AND MENTORING
- Develop and oversee implementation of the CLA staff and partner capacity building strategy that promotes a culture of learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.
- Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent CLA system, including regular reflection and analysis of program monitoring data.
- Work closely with the Chief of Party (CoP), program team, Human Resources and Finance to ensure that CLA skills are incorporated into all program position descriptions and positions are budgeted for.
- Contribute to the knowledge management repository with best practices in CLA and ensure that it is accessible to all staff and partners.
- Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COORDINATION
- Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of CLA best practices.
- Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library and the Hub to enhance organizational learning where relevant to CLA.
- Maintain close working relationships with CLA counterparts in other relevant international actors and food security, cash and education actors in Liberia and the region.
- Participate in workshops and learning-related activities and their inclusion in the program workplan.
- Attend relevant learning events hosted by other partners as well as implementation of sector-specific learning events with partners and local stakeholders.
- 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.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to program participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
- BA/S degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, project management, MA/S strongly preferred.
- 5+ years of progressive work experience in collaborative research and development programming required with proven use of program technology.
- Experience with theoretical and practical background in MEL and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques preferred.
- Experience with data management including the ability to structure and collate data sets for ease of analysis preferred.
- Proven experience with systems thinking or systems approaches to programming.
- Proven experience developing iterative learning systems or ‘feedback loops’ within development programs or organizational learning contexts.
- Experience mentoring and building technical capacity of individuals and institutions.
- Knowledge of food security, cash transfer and/or school feeding programs is a plus.
- Excellent computer skills (especially Microsoft office applications) and ability to use information technology as a tool and resource.
- Demonstrated experience in training and capacity building across diverse teams and partners.
- Excellent project management, time management, and organizational skills. Multi-tasking skills and ability to work under pressure.
- Strong writing, editing, public speaking skills and good leadership skills.
- Ability to summarize and simplify complex information and communicate it to the targeted groups.
- Excellent stakeholder management skills.
- Exceptional English writing skills.
- Previous experience in Kenya or similar context is essential