Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Lead

Johannesburg – Gauteng

A Community Upliftment Programme in Johannesburg seeks to fill the critical role of a Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) Lead to drive and enable improved sense-making, decision-making, and action-taking across the network and Hub organization — coherently across strategy and operations, by integrating ideas and people.  You will:-
  • Lead and manage the design of systems-in-action (human and technical) to appropriately:
o Monitor activity, including via gathering and quality-assuring diverse quantitative & qualitative data.
o Analyze data for information as well as quality.
o Develop data-analytic insights and/or intelligence.
o Develop key performance indicators.
o Inform responding; and
o Deliver regular reporting on the above.
  • Contribute to the conceptual development of and deliver the written detail of investors and/or funder concept notes and full proposals.
  • Conceptualize and develop evaluation briefs and/or concept notes; terms of reference & requests for proposals; and co-design of evaluations with external service providers and experts.
  • Produce funder implementation reports.
  • Ensure that as we grow and evolve existing programs and develop new programs, there is a review and adjustment of monitoring and evaluation systems. This includes analysis of large-scale randomized evaluation data in Southern Africa in the quest to bridge the ‘last mile of evidence’ – achieving both internal and external validity on ‘what works’ at scale.
  • Including designing small-scale decision-focused randomized controlled trials to answer curriculum enhancement and delivery model questions.
  • Responsible for designing non-randomized M&E systems and tools to assess whether we are achieving impact on a scale.
  • Responsible for building a thriving MEL team and supporting external research and implementing partners.
  • Interpret and execute the Company’s strategy into a departmental plan with specific objectives and targets and communicate to the team.
  • Develop and keep up to date the MEL strategy and framework, in line with organizational strategy.
  • Compile, implement and enforce departmental procedures in support of the business strategy.
  • Evaluate and optimize departmental systems and procedures in support of the business plan/strategy.
  • Ensure that the organizational structures and processes contribute to the achievement of the Company’s goals and objectives.
  • Commission applicable IT systems for accumulating departmental efficiencies and enhancement of M&E controls.
  • Participate in relevant networks, reference groups, and collaborative efforts to further strategic goals.
  • Lead project design and implementation and provide technical oversight. This includes ensuring programs are implemented with fidelity to the research design, strategic decision-making, as well as analysing datasets and generating policy-relevant recommendations.
  • Connect day-to-day learning with global learning agendas. Co-write papers, memos and articles summarizing results and takeaways for a global audience.
  • Conducting background research and literature reviews on current and new high-potential programs and codifying theories of change to facilitate evidence-based program design.
  • Analysis of large datasets and translation into actionable insights and better decision-making on a day-to-day basis.
  • Design, lead and manage participatory processes to establish appropriate regional and country-wide M&E systems.
  • Provide input and participate in programme design and proposal development.
  • Design, lead and manage participatory data collection, analysis, and reporting for M&E Systems (Evaluation of Regional Structure, other regional monitoring, and evaluation tools and systems).
  • Design, coordinate and/or deliver a cohesive training and capacity-building programme for Leads and partner organization staff that transfers and enhances the capacity to design, introduce and implement appropriate M&E systems.
  • Develop and/or participate in the development of guidance and frameworks for regional procedures, policies, and processes that will institutionalize and support high-quality Design, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting.
  • Lead in the establishment of M&E guidance and tools for strategic programming sectors and social change technical areas (advocacy, conflict transformation/peacebuilding, and partnership) as well as for general management.
  • Develop and maintain an enabling environment for M&E within the organization; build staff capacity in the department and provide direct M&E technical support.
People & Team Management:
  • Lead the Department and manage and coach staff.
  • Develop and oversee integrated work plan for the department and coordinate technical assistance and related initiatives.
  • Lead and support further development and implementation of regional Knowledge and Management Learning Strategy.
  • Manage external service providers and short-term contractors as needed.
  • Serve on organizational EXCO, to guide organizational strategy and development.
  • Support the recruitment of the needed skills into the organization to ensure required strategic competency levels.
  • Identify ideas to increase motivation and competencies in the department.
  • Ensure succession plans are in place.
  • Ensure that the team has clear work expectations and goals.
  • Communicate and explain the impact of decisions on the department and organization.
  • Management of a 5 – 10-person team on activities such as surveying, monitoring, data entry, data cleaning and data analysis.
Programme Support and Technical Support:
  • Develop and maintain easy-to-use, useful databases for all field information; possible types of information including survey monitoring data, pilot data and more.
  • Survey design for Rapid Impact Assessments – a fusion of prediction & causal techniques – drawn from the technology sector (such as Google and Amazon) and economics, public policy, and public health – to rigorously assess the impact of day-to-day changes made in our curricula. This enables us to get leading indications of impact before running large-scale RCTs.
  • Supporting partners to adapt, test, and scale programming.
  • Collaboration across multiple departments and building out the team into a growing, cutting-edge rigorous M&E unit that fuses research and practice in-house for the organization.
  • Communicate and disseminate information on M&E standards, policies, practices, and indicators by coordinating with M&E officer(s) in other regions in developing best practices and sharing lessons learned.
  • Assist Leads in designing programmes and projects to pursue funding for strategic programming areas either through direct involvement or mentoring practice.
  • Support M&E Officer(s) in providing hands-on technical assistance in all aspects of Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation, including development and implementation of M&E systems and tools, reviewing project proposals, leading, or assisting in mid-term and final evaluations.
  • Oversee and update the theory of change and M&E standard indicator framework.
  • Support the Monitoring and Evaluation team to ensure smooth operation and strengthening of M&E system, via adherence to and improvement of M&E Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Support the M&E team to develop, test, refine and deploy data collection tools; and to oversee M&E database to ensure streamlined, efficient management, analysis, and use of data.
  • Democratise access to and use of data across the organization and ensure data use is integrated into organizational operations.
  • Support the Network team to oversee the strategy and operations of the Call Centre to ensure high-quality, timeous network support, data collection, and support for core business processes.
  • Support MEL staff to coordinate between the M&E function and other departments to ensure alignment and collaboration.
  • Promote a culture of innovation across, by contributing to the design of new projects, sharing relevant research and resources, running ideas-generation and problem-solving workshops, and running formal and “brown bag” discussions and learning sessions in collaboration with different departments.
  • Plan and implement internal evaluation and quality assurance processes, support external evaluations, and contribute to the research agenda.
  • Collate franchisor quarterly and annual reports to gather learnings, challenges, and innovations and share them with the network to improve franchise implementation.
  • Establish and maintain mechanisms for capturing, analysing, reporting/sharing, and applying M&E findings, information, lessons learned, and best practices to the organization.
  • Keep up-to-date technologically and apply new knowledge to your job.
  • Working in collaboration with the IT Department on improvements on our and other data collection systems and processes.
  • Providing timeous monthly dashboards to Relationship managers and the CEO for the respective franchisors.
  • Improving monthly dashboards by developing and improving existing systems to promote learning and innovation from trends.
  • Oversee accurate and timeous support to users of the system.
  • Keep track of the changes on the system to be able to support franchisors and coaches to improve the end-user experience.
  • Develop a data quality assurance system to ensure the accuracy of data on all platforms.
  • Ensure that quality assurance is rigorously applied before data is added to the system.
  • Check completeness of data and contacting franchisors/ trainers to support them on how to complete it.
Communication and Stakeholder Management:
  • Ensure funder reports are delivered on time, accurate, and of high quality.
  • Develop good working relations with senior staff, funders, and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Exchange information and experience and actively lead organizational learning efforts.
  • Serve as primary contact person for M, E&L-related matters and support efforts to enhance agency M, E&L systems, and standards.
  • Support and contribute to the development of a Management Information System through the implementation and coordination of standardized reports.
  • Represent the technical content of M, E&L systems externally to donors and other organizations.
  • Establish and maintain an effective working relationship with suppliers, media representatives, implementing partners, and funders.
  • Communicate opportunities to relevant stakeholders that will improve franchise sustainability and quality delivery.
  • Support the CEO and Exco in their dialogue with key funders, to ensure that the organization’s M&E activities are meaningful and achievable.
Financial Management:
  • Manage reporting to funders, ensure reporting deadlines are met, and ensure reports are of a high standard.
  • Manage the budget for the department, ensuring effective cost allocation and use of company resources.
  • Optimise asset utilization and efficiency.
  • Oversee the SLA terms and conditions with customers and suppliers.
  • Be accountable for your work to the Leadership Team, Board, staff, and funders.
  • Update online systems, email inboxes, and company websites.
  • Perform ad hoc tasks as and when required.
  • At least 10 years’ relevant experience in research, monitoring and evaluation, non-profit programme development and delivery, the education sector, and/or other relevant experience.
  • Bachelor or Masters’ degree in economics, statistics, public policy, public health, or a related discipline from an internationally recognized university, a PhD is a plus.
  • At least 5 – 10 years of relevant experience in research management, program design and/or evaluation, including the design and execution of surveys, focus groups, & interviews, preferably within the context of randomized controlled trials or scaled M&E systems and in low-income or developing country settings.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage various tasks effectively & coordinate amongst project members and departments.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills are essential, in particular, the ability to communicate complex thoughts and ideas simply and effectively and tailor communications to the audience.
  • Strong ability to turn a visual reality or imagined outcome into a codified set of steps, actions, and goals on paper.
  • The individual must be a highly motivated self-starter who can creatively ensure that the engagement between different delegations (mainly Innovation, Curriculum and Research) is cohesive, while ensuring that the main decisions are evidence-based.
  • Energy, motivation, and stamina – The role can be demanding and, at times, subject to external pressures for timely completion. The candidate must be adaptive, creative, organized, and highly motivated.
  • This role needs someone to see the big picture of strategy and systems; and to attend to and wrestle with the details of monitoring practices, key performance indicators, and data quality.
  • Clear curiosity and learning orientation are crucial.
  • Excellent research skills, including the ability to design, conduct, interpret and communicate both quantitative and qualitative research; experience managing external research projects desirable.
  • Experience working in education, literacy development, early childhood development and/or behaviour change campaigns is advantageous.
  • Experience leading a diverse team, managing staff, developing and managing budgets, and working across departmental boundaries.
  • To succeed, the incumbent needs to be able to manage people, including through goal setting, ongoing feedback, performance-and-development conversation, and coaching, and to create the conditions in which a team can perform and improve.
  • Strong time-management skills, and demonstrated ability to work proactively and independently, meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment, and juggle multiple projects.
  • Strong Microsoft Office skills and experience using various software for analytics and modelling.
Fluent English written and oral communication skills, fluency in additional South African Language(s) strongly preferred.