Save the Children is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning Specialist (MEAL) for a five-year USAID-funded Learn to Read Program in Laos valued at $19.7M. The MEAL Specialist oversees the MEAL system of the newly awarded five-year USAID-funded literacy program. The focus of Learn to Read is to improve the reading skills of children in pre-primary, grade 1, and grade 2, with a particular focus on children who do not speak Lao at home, and children with mild disabilities. The MEAL Specialist is responsible for strengthening the operationalization of the results framework, indicator definitions, monitoring and evaluation planning and execution, data collection, entry, analysis and interpretation, and the utilization of MEAL data to inform learning, assess performance, and identify required activity adjustments. The MEAL Specialist will also oversee a consultant responsible for designing the Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) strategy and executing the activities within that strategy.
The position reports directly to the Learn to Read Chief of Party (COP), and will be a member of the Senior Management Team of the Learn to Read activities.
Member of the Senior Management Team (25% of time)
- Supporting the development of an organisational culture that reflects our full spectrum values, promotes accountability and high performance, encourages a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation, and frees up our people to deliver outstanding results for children and excellent customer service for our members and donors
- Supporting the design and implementation of a coherent organizational structure that is consistent with agency practices and appropriate to programme needs
- Supporting establishment of protocols, incentives and coordination, to ensure clarity and efficiency in how each team will work together within Laos and other Save the Children offices
- Supporting the establishment, maintenance, and improvement of an active and regular working relationships with: Lao PDR government authorities, partner agencies, USAID, and local and international NGOs
Oversight and Management of MEAL Activities (25% of time)
- Provide overall leadership, supervision and guidance on MEAL activities, and facilitate MEAL strategy implementation in support of Implementing Partners and SC staff—with assistance from the project MEAL Officers.
- Coordinate and facilitate, with support from the project MEAL Officers, development of the project’s annual work plans, as well as quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports—according to donor and SCI requirements.
- Ensure, with support of the MEAL Officers, that all project MEAL documents, data, and other information required for program strategic planning and reporting are documented, prepared and submitted on time and in compliance with the requirements of USAID.
- Ensure, in collaboration with the DCOP and COP, MEAL evidence (Project performance, etc.) are used for management decision-making and continuous performance improvement.
- Responsible for reporting on progress toward achieving the project targets, translating strategic information into improved programming and delivery of services.
- Responsible for providing accountability for use of resources, and supporting internal and external capacity for using M&E for education targets.
- Provide oversight, with support and guidance of the project Finance Director and COP, of MEAL budget and ensure effective and timely utilization for the appropriate MEAL activities.
- Coordinate and oversee project baseline, midline, and end line assessments in cooperation with external evaluator(s)
Internal and External Engagement (25% of time)
- As part of CLA strategy, coordinate and facilitate learning events and ensure alignment of learning objectives and results to key priorities of government and other key stakeholders.
- Sserve as a key expert and primary contact for M&E strategies and implementation for this program.
- Provide advice, guidance, and coordination to SC, the Ministry of Education & Sports (MOES), and other collaborating organizations in the implementation and strengthening of M&E systems for the education program activities supported by USAID.
- Participate and provide input on M&E issues at technical, policy and strategic planning meetings, including meetings with partners, local government and USAID.
Staff Management, Mentorship, and Development (25% of time)
- Provide supervision, mentorship and professional development to SC MEAL staff, so that they have the required capacity to undertake their responsibilities.
- Identify training needs and participate in the development and implementation of training materials and courses for partner organizations as related to M&E.
- Recruit and manage the Learn to Read MEAL team at the national and provincial levels
- Recruit, oversee, and collaborate with CLA consultant
- Ensure clear succession plans are prepared and implemented
- Manage MEAL team; define expectations, provide leadership and technical support as needed, and evaluate direct reports regularly
- Incorporate staff development strategies and Performance Management Systems into team building process. Establish result based system and follow up.
- Manage the performance of all staff in the Program Implementation work area through:
- Effective use of the Performance Management System including the establishment of clear, measureable objectives, on-going feedback, periodic reviews and fair and unbiased evaluations;
- Coaching, mentoring and other developmental opportunities;
- Recognition and rewards for outstanding performance;
- Documentation of performance that is at standard and above and less than satisfactory, with appropriate performance improvements/ work plans
- Minimum of seven years’ experience designing and implementing MEAL programs in complex settings
- Prior work experience utilizing statistical analysis software required and prior experience assessing student learning outcomes a plus
- Experience in systems thinking and application of complex adaptive systems methodologies would be an advantage
- Substantial experience with digital data collection systems and platforms
- Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to lead and work effectively in team situations
- Excellent training and facilitation capability;
- Strong analytical and conceptual skills and the ability to think and plan strategically;
- Demonstrated creativity, innovation and initiative;
- Fluent written and spoken English required.
- Experience of working in a similar role in Laos or elsewhere in the region is an added advantage.
- Meaningful work, with a knowledge that you are changing the lives of children all around the world
- A family friendly work environment
- Highly collaborative and innovative teams
- Generous paid vacation days, holidays, family leave days, and sick time
- Healthcare plans including medical, dental, and life insurance
- Retirement savings account with matching company contributions
- Structured and formalized management development and coaching programs for mid and senior level managers
- Extensive e-learning opportunities on a variety of topics offered through our affiliation with several prestigious universities as well as language learning opportunities.