Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Officer

Date of Publication: 
21 January 2020
Application Deadline: 
9 February 2020
Cowater International
Brief Description: 
Immediated Opportunity
London, UK
Commensurate with Experience
Immediated Opportunity

Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Officer, Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC)


Cowater International is excited to announce the opening of a Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Officer position to join our Water, Climate, and Environment team to deliver the DFID-funded Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) programme. The position will be part-time and based in London, UK.

As conflicts accelerate in many countries across Africa from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa, the importance of understanding the role of agro-pastoralism in food and income security, and as a driver of conflict and migration is becoming more important as a way to inform humanitarian aid. SPARC is a six-year (2020-2026), GBP 19.9 million action research programme, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by Cowater International in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Mercy Corps.

Through the generation of operationally relevant research, SPARC will address knowledge gaps to inform the next generation of policies, programmes, and technologies to help poor and vulnerable people cope with crises and meet their basic needs. The programme will support learning and knowledge sharing across development and humanitarian programmes, NGOs and government decision-makers on how to promote resilience for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the world's most conflict affected countries.


Under the supervision of the SPARC Programme Manager, and the MEL Lead, the successful candidate will engage with researchers in the UK and Africa in the design, establishment, and implementation of an effective MEL system. The MEL Officer will be based in London, UK, and will be responsible for support to and coordination of both elements of the programme’s MEL work-stream:

  1. “Internal” performance management system; and
  2. “External” beneficiary-level development and application of the MEL system.

The MEL system is expected to include a monitoring, evaluation, verification, and learning framework and instruments to support its operationalization throughout the duration of the programme. The MEL framework will provide the basis for the objectives and key evaluation questions of SPARC across programme components, thematic research areas, and sub-contracts, including accountability mechanisms to collect output and outcome level data. The MEL framework will be supported by a MEL plan and learning strategy, a performance monitoring plan, and associated data collection tools.


Specific responsibilities and key expected results of the consultant for the inception phase will include:

Programme Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Support the MEL Lead in the assessment of MEL options and data tracking system for SPARC;
  • Support to the design and establishment of an effective MEL framework and ‘internal’, and ‘external’ MEL system across SPARC programme components, research areas, and sub-contracts. The MEL framework will provide the basis for the objectives and key evaluation questions of the programme, as well as a detailed plan for implementation, including evaluation design, relevant data collection tools and sampling framework, baseline study, data quality assurance, learning strategy, and a performance monitoring plan. The MEL system and associated tools will assure:
    • Regular monitoring of all relevant project features in line with the project’s MEL framework;
    • Drafting of detailed annual monitoring plans for thematic research areas, target countries, and programme components;
    • Methodologies to measure the indicators within the theory of change and to track and report progress against approved targets;
    • Mechanisms for ensuring sex, age, and disability disaggregated data is collected and analysed at baseline and subsequent evaluation points;
    • Robust internal monitoring systems to track and report on activities and outputs against the agreed workplan, linking to the Logframe;
    • Updating and verification of the project’s Results Framework (logical framework matrix);
    • Identification of the project’s baseline data in line with appropriate indicators;
    • Guidance on how implementing partners should collect, verify, store, and report on a wide range of data including secure data;
  • Support to the development and implementation of data collection techniques and tools, including working with external service providers to develop other relevant management information systems;
  • Based on the above: drafting of a programme MEL plan and manual, not exceeding 50 pages.

Support to the preparation of the presentation of an MEL system to Programme Steering Committee for Approval.

Internal Performance Management

  • Support to the design and set- up of an internal performance management system;
  • Support to the development of a central MEL workplan;
  • Support the establishment of a MEL Management Information System (MIS), ensuring that it is effectively and regularly maintained and updated, including oversight of MIS operation by thematic research leads and programme teams;
  • Support the development of MEL templates for the preparation of submission and quality assurance of quarterly Logframe progress updates and Research Advisory Group (RAG) assessments by programme and thematic research teams.

Research and Learning

  • Coordinate with Knowledge Management Lead from SPARC partners in ODI on best practices and consortium wide system for progress monitoring;
  • Support to the design and implementation of a system to identify, analyze, document and disseminate lessons learned.

Support to Project Management

  • Ensure mainstreaming MEL in joint work planning, co-ordination between Thematic Research Leads for timely delivery of the agreed project outputs;
  • Support project staff and consultants on MEL requirements, content, formats and frequencies and manage related project risks;
  • Coordinate annual planning of MEL work and budget, in conjunction with the MEL Lead, Programme Manager and programme teams;
  • Contribute to the preparation of annual and quarterly workplans;


*** Only candidates with a valid UK work visa will be accepted for this position.***


  • A Master’s degree in a field related to international development, social sciences, economics, and/or statistics, or fields related to performance improvement and management, public policy, aid.
  • Knowledge about agriculture development, fragility and conflict, and pastoralism.
  • Formal training in monitoring and evaluation would be considered a strong asset


  • At least five years of demonstrated experience in MEL and learning, preferably on DFID-funded programmes.
  • Minimum of three years’ experience in setting up and implementation of MEL systems for complex donor-funded programmes.
  • Candidate should be able to work independently – with minimum supervision and guidance from supervisors.
  • Good knowledge and strong demonstrated experience in monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning, including participatory approaches.
  • Experience in and the ability to facilitate capacity building and training at different levels for MEL and Non-MEL staff.
  • Experience living and working in developing countries is desirable.

Essential Skills:

  • Ability to oversee the design of effective data collection and management.
  • Experience analyzing quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills, including the ability to manage priorities, work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
  • Ability to plan workload and demonstrate accountability for outputs with minimal direct supervision.
  • Excellent written and oral English and French written communication skills are required.
  • Excellent communication, and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent inter-personal, inter-cultural and teamwork skills, sound judgment and strong initiative.
  • Commitment to inclusive programming that encourages full participation of individuals regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or other marginalized status.
  • Experience with statistical packages (e.g. SPSS, STATA) and familiarity with IT applications to support MEL and information management is an added advantage.

Employment conditions:

The post will be based in London, UK, and will also travel according to needs as they arise, mainly to Nairobi, Kenya and project locations across Africa.


*** Only candidates with a valid UK work visa will be accepted for this position.***

Candidates are encouraged to apply ASAP.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The job post will be closing on February 10th, 2020. 

For your application to be considered, please upload your documents using the file format as follows: Candidate Last Name, First Name, date, Title of the Position.

We thank all applicants, however only those shortlisted will be contacted.


With more than 34 years’ experience, Cowater International is Canada’s global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development and has managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, financial and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2017, 2018 and again in 2019. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Cowater International also has corporate offices in Montreal, Quebec, Paris, France, Pretoria, South Africa, and London, United Kingdom, Nairobi, Kenya in addition to project offices in a wide variety of other locations across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

We thank you for your interest in building a better tomorrow with Cowater International. 



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