USAID Policy LINK, Ethiopia- MEL Systems Lead

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Project Background

The five-year (2019 – 2024) Feed the Future Policy LINK project will strengthen the capacity of local actors and institutions to lead and manage the agricultural transformation process and contribute effectively and collectively to improved, broad-based food security policy outcomes.

Specifically, the program aims to strengthen food security policy systems by investing in and reinforcing productive human and social capital and developing strategic partnerships that help bring these innovations and capacity investments to scale in order to achieve a critical mass of local actors with the ability and opportunity to effect positive policy change through collective action.

Policy LINK’s general approach is grounded in facilitative leadership and collaborative governance, which emphasize engaging stakeholders from civil society and public and private sectors in consensus-oriented decision making, collaborative problem solving, and adaptive learning.

Policy LINK in Ethiopia

USAID/Policy LINK Ethiopia is a five-year activity with the overall objective of supporting the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and other policy system actors in their aspiration to develop an inclusive policy development process. Specifically, the activity will facilitate the transition towards a policy development paradigm driven by multiple stakeholders.

This approach to policymaking will strengthen the capacities of Ethiopia’s main agricultural policy system actors and institutions and support them to engage stakeholders traditionally excluded from decision-making, including academia, financial institutions, the judiciary, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private sector representatives from the national, regional, and local levels.

This approach is underpinned by Policy LINK’s overarching theory of change focused on increasing human and social capital, engaging policy system actors in collaborative processes, and developing mechanisms for collaborative governance and dynamic learning systems and platforms to sustain collective action.

Position Objectives

Good MEL is central to the success of the activity and a core part of our implementation approach. Learning will provide rapid, continuous, and actionable feedback to policy actors and to the project, enabling them to adapt and improve. Because of the multiple and diverse set of activities envisaged, a variety of tools and methods will be used to design and implement MEL systems that meet the needs of stakeholders and the project.

The Policy LINK Ethiopia MEL Systems Lead will provide thought leadership and lead implementation of the activities of the Learning Systems function which includes Collaborating, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) as well as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), in coordination and collaboration with the Policy LINK Ethiopia Developmental Evaluator. Furthermore, the position will provide leadership in areas of knowledge management, institutional learning, and related topics as they relate to strengthening the policy system. The MEL Systems Lead will provide consultative analysis and knowledge management expertise, and operational and technical support, as well as oversee the country programs CLA and M&E in coordination with the Policy LINK’s global MEL team. The activity has identified indicators to measure the project’s overall progress and outcomes. The position will lead the collection of quantitative and qualitative data to support these indicators.

The MEL Systems Lead will continually reinforce Policy LINK’s agreed-upon core purpose and principles, and ensure all decision-making is rooted in those purposes and principles. They will contribute to foster a learning environment in which personal and team growth is supported, with a shared understanding that the “team” always comes before the “individual.”


The Policy LINK Ethiopia MEL Systems Lead will be responsible for the following anticipated tasks:

Data management, analysis and reporting

· Develop and manage all project performance monitoring activities and systems, including necessary data management and visualization, software, and data collection instruments, to collect, store, manage, analyze, and report M&E data on output, outcome, and impact indicators. **

· Liaise with multiple stakeholders for timely data collection, verification, and feedback. **

· Conduct regular and ad-hoc data analysis and work closely with the broader MEL team, other technical leads to develop reports (monthly, quarterly, annual) to demonstrate progress and facilitate continuous learning for policy system actors, USAID, and project management. **

· Ensure data is entered into indicator reporting systems as required (directly input as appropriate). **

· Support Policy System Actors, Policy LINK and USAID in the development and dissemination of thought leadership and learning content including the preparation of responses and products.**

Collaborative Learning and Adaptation and Organizational Development

· Lead the development and implementation of buy-in specific CLA and M&E strategies, including indicator selection, target setting, data collection methods, and data verification to track buy-in level performance and provide evidence to inform buy-in specific learning questions and ensure data is aligned with objectives.

· Support/Lead capacity building efforts of both hard and soft skills related to Collaborating, Learning, Adapting, Monitoring, and Evaluation (CLAME) and other relevant skills.

· Track and communicate high-quality information to stakeholders to inform timely and data-driven decision-making; regularly record decision-making, program changes, and/or changes in the environment in a report log.

· Participate in regular project management planning meetings and provide analytical feedback and support to inform technical decisions. **

· Work with the Developmental Evaluator to coordinate, deduplicate, and maximize all available data, learnings, and recommendations to support the project and associated stakeholders. **

Planning and implementation

· Participate in or lead relevant and regular planning processes, including partners and stakeholders to adapt and improve the activity MEL plan; update, annually or as needed, the activities MEL Plan.

· Directly support sub-contractors and grantees to track performance indicators and capture learning, as needed.

· Integrate MEL data collection and reporting requirements into SOWs for any grants, and subcontractor task orders, ensuring they are incorporated into deliverables or milestones.

· Responsible for leading the mid and end of project evaluation and as necessary support the evaluation requirements of USAID/Ethiopia mission.

Data Quality Assurance

· Responsible for overall data quality control; conducting data verification and other quality assurance activities, including spot-checks, data quality assessments (DQAs), etc. to ensure accuracy of MEL data and reporting documents.


The Ethiopia MEL Systems Lead will report to the Ethiopia Country Lead but also work very closely with and as part of Policy LINK’s global MEL team, especially with the Developmental Evaluator.


Ethiopian citizens are highly encouraged to apply for this position.

Education  **

· A Master’s degree in a discipline that demonstrates complementarity to the scope of requirements.

Required Experience  **

· 8+ years of relevant work experience especially providing MEL support to a donor-funded project.

· Working knowledge of USAID, Feed the Future, or other donor MEL guidance and policy.

· Demonstrated ability to coordinate with multiple stakeholders for data collection, data verification, reporting and dissemination.

· Demonstrated experience in data analysis and data visualization.

  • Excellent writing, communications and data management skills and attention to detail. This includes the ability to work in teams and communicate effectively across different cultures.

· Flexibility and willingness to perform assigned and additional duties and work under unpredictable conditions.

  • An understanding of the Ethiopia or general policy development context.

· Critical thinker, self-starter, and able to work with minimal supervision and within established deadlines.

Desired Qualifications

  • Demonstrated MEL experience in the areas of policy development, agriculture, market systems, private sector engagement and related areas.
  • Experience building capacity of staff and partner organizations in MEL.

KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Planning and implementation In liaison with the key project partners, producer organisations, project team and the Head of Region, lead in overall planning, budgeting and implementation…