Monitoring, Evaluation, Research & Learning Director

Location: Washington, DC


Pathfinder is currently looking for a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Director to lead the implementation of MERL activities for an upcoming 1-year USAID-funded program. The primary focus of this global program will support interventions that will build upon and expand USAID’s efforts to leverage the roles of communities to strengthen and adapt existing community health platforms to support national policies and implementation plans for COVID-19 preparedness and response (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and continuity of existing primary healthcare services based on national guidelines and needs/priorities to create lasting structures for future response.

The MERL Director will establish and oversee a MERL system that supports effective management and collaborative and strategic learning across project teams, partners, clients/donors and stakeholders to ensure that lessons learned are integrated into project implementation to continuously improve quality of interventions and outcomes in the COVID-19 response effort, particularly using USAID’s collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) framework.

This position is contingent upon donor approval and funding. The position will be based in DC with extensive travel to target countries and will report to the project director. Pathfinder may be willing to consider this as a non-US-based position for candidates with exemplary qualifications.

Key Job Outcomes:

  • With Project Management Team and staff, design and guide annual implementation of the NPI GH COVID-19 Round MERL plan (including selection of indicators and annual targets) and learning agenda;
  • Work with USAID to finalize the NPI GH COVID-19 Round theory of change, conceptual framework, and MERL plan;
  • Participate in country co-creation activities to ensure alignment between global-level and country-level MERL plans and guide development of field-level measurement plans based on country needs and stages of development;
  • Lead and oversee implementation of special studies, for example studies to address the project’s learning questions.
  • Ensure efficient data flows from local partners and regional offices and conduct regular data quality assessments.
  • Provide technical oversight to ensure the systematic collection, analysis, synthesis, use, translation, and dissemination of data and learning (including among project grantees) to inform programmatic decision-making and the global evidence base for NPI GH COVID-19 Round;
  • Foster a culture of collaborative learning and adaptation (CLA) within the project, ensuring that MERL and research activities are timely, relevant, and used iteratively to improve program performance;
  • Participate in global knowledge sharing and learning forums and working groups to ensure a feedback loop between country learning and global policy conversations;
  • Ensure MERL activities are in line with USAID’s Evaluation Policy, Open Data Policy, the Journey to Self-Reliance, the Transformation Agenda and key technical guidance and frameworks;
  • Contribute to the design and implementation of capacity strengthening on a variety of MERL topics, including data for decision making and learning, at the country level;
  • Establish and maintain highly collaborative working relationships with USAID Washington, USAID Missions, and relevant in-country stakeholders;
  • Collaborate with NPI GH COVID-19 technical leads to coordinate the MERL agenda/strategy across both global and country programming;
  • Supervise project staff; ensure the technical capacity of team members and provide technical assistance and backstopping when required;
  • Supervise capacity building for local partners’ (LPs) and locally-established partners’ (LEP) M&E staff, grantee staff, and/or host-country counterparts in M&E (likely through direct technical assistance);
  • Promote sustainability of project activities with effective networking, linkages to other programs, capacity building of project staff, and institutional strengthening in support of the journey to self-reliance; and
  • Ensure documentation and dissemination of findings, impact, innovations, and lessons learned.
  • Develop and lead the project’s research agenda

Minimally Required Job-Specific Competencies:

  • Demonstrated analytical skills and experience with identifying and evaluating evidence-based interventions and state-of-the-art approaches for disease-related rapid response programming;
  • Has demonstrated experience in using research and monitoring information for decision making and program adaptations, especially in health programs;
  • Has demonstrated experience using digital technologies to support monitoring, evaluation and analytics;
  • Has demonstrated experience in effectively guiding counterparts in selection of indicators for monitoring performance, outputs and health outcomes;
  • Has demonstrated experience building the capacity of host country counterparts in improving data quality, data management and analysis, and use of data for understanding program performance and solving problems;
  • Has a clear understanding of collaboration, learning, and adapting (CLA), adaptive management and USAID evaluation policy and reporting guidelines;

Minimally Required Organizational Competencies:

  • Software Applications: Advanced knowledge of MS Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Outlook.
  • Communication and Influencing Skills: Proven ability to influence others through diplomacy and proven oral and written communication skills.
  • Passion for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Commitment to family planning, reproductive health services, gender, maternal, child health services, and eradication of harmful traditional practices.
  • Self-Management and Teamwork: Ability to work independently or as a member of the team, ability to be detailed-oriented, and ability to manage stress effectively in a fast-pace environment.
  • Matrix Management: Ability to thrive in a matrix organization.
  • Confidentiality: Ability to maintain confidentiality on work related matters

Required Education, Training and Experience:

  • Master’s degree or higher in social science, public health, or clinical-related field with a concentration on monitoring and evaluation, statistics, research or related field,
  • Minimum 10 years’ experience designing, managing and/or implementing health management information systems, data quality assurance, database management, data analysis and use, and reporting,
  • Minimum five years designing and managing/implementing evaluations, and analyzing qualitative and/or quantitative data internationally;
  • Has lived and/or worked in low or middle income countries for at least 5 years (can be part of the 10 years’ experience in the first bullet);
  • Fluent English oral and written communication skills.
  • Fluency in an additional language is preferred but not required.

Other Information:

  • Willingness to travel as needed.

About Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International is driven by the conviction that all people, regardless of where they live, have the right to decide whether and when to have children, to exist free from fear and stigma, and to lead the lives they choose. Since 1957, we have partnered with local governments, communities, and health systems in developing countries to remove barriers to critical sexual and reproductive health services. Together, we expand access to contraception, promote healthy pregnancies, save women’s lives, and stop the spread of new HIV infections, wherever the need is most urgent. Our work ensures millions of women, men, and young people are able to choose their own paths forward.