Mercy Corps

Collaboration, Learning and Adapting Lead

Mercy Corps

Job Description

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps has been present in Mali since 2012, providing humanitarian assistance and improving food and nutrition security, livelihoods, governance, and Conflict Resolution for more than a half million people. Our lifesaving, early recovery and development programs contribute to Mercy Corps' overall objective in Mali to support vulnerable and at-risk populations to recover from food security crises, while building their resilience and restoring peace and stability. Mercy Corps' vision for change requires the private sector, government and civil society to work together to create meaningful and sustainable change. Mercy Corps is seeking candidates for a Collaboration, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Lead who will manage and lead the overall CLA components, with a specific focus on resilience measurement and resilience learning, for the five-year, $60 million USAID/Office of Food for Peace-funded Development Food Security Activity for Mali. This proposed program will bridge humanitarian assistance and longer-term development programming in conflict-affected areas, with the overall goal of improved food security and resilience of target communities. Program objectives focus on stabilizing vulnerable households by reducing the impact of shocks and connecting households to basic services; empowering youth as key drivers of economic and social development of their communities; and having communities drive approaches to manage natural resources and community assets sustainably and productively.

General Position Summary

The CLA Lead is a senior management position for this program, and will be responsible for collaboration and learning across programs in the implementation area. This team member will ensure the activity includes active, intentional and adaptive learning within and across interventions, and will play a critical role in incorporating 'refinement' activities and learning into implementation. The CLA Lead will use USAID's Collaboration, Learning and Adapting principles and will be responsible for improving peer-to-peer learning, sharing knowledge, strengthening capacity, and ensuring the program is using evidence and data for adaptive management. This position will play a key role in helping build an environment of evidence-based programming and adaptive management at all levels.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership, training and mentoring in the development of CLA plans, CLA tools, survey design, methodology, data Analysis, and other skills required for assessing the impact of the program, and in particular of resilience building efforts within the program.

  • Technical contributions to CLA efforts on contingency planning and resilience measurement.

  • Lead the program resilience learning agenda.

  • Collaborate with external evaluators on the design and roll out of the program baseline and evaluations, while setting up effective systems for learning. This includes conducting periodic learning sessions to discuss monitoring data, lessons learned and evaluation findings.

  • Support teams in collecting sex and age disaggregated data and using gender-sensitive Data Collection methods in order to understand and respond to program results with diverse participants.

  • Lead annual reflection sessions to discuss information collected and lessons learned.

  • Develop the program's learning agenda, including surveys, case studies and other tools to evaluate program impact, trends and lessons. Provide comprehensive analysis of learning outcomes to inform program interventions.

  • Lead developing, capturing, sharing, and testing methods, models, and tools to advance the learning objectives.

  • Work directly with the leadership team to plan, design, and or/manage specific CLA strategies and activities, such as supporting incorporation of technical, contextual and experiential learning into technical strategies, interventions, and processes.

  • Support M&E and communications staff to capture the impact of program activities.

  • Proactively support learning and information sharing across geographies, program purposes, other awards and with other implementers.

  • Support the creation of an evidence-based learning culture through consistent analysis of lessons learned and best practices to encourage adaptive management.

  • In Coordination with the M&E team, disseminate research and evaluation findings to program team and stakeholders.

  • Contribute to program visibility and advocacy work by assisting in dissemination of program research and learning information. Represent Mercy Corps in M&E and research forums with the broader humanitarian and development community.

  • Works with the program and M&E teams to adopt a holistic program-level CLA system.

  • Provides guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the CLA systems meet the needs of the program.

Capacity Building AND MENTORING
  • Develop and oversee implementation of the CLA staff and partner capacity building strategy that promotes a culture of learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.

  • Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent CLA system, including regular reflection and analysis of program monitoring data.

  • Contribute to the knowledge management repository with best practices in CLA and ensure that it is accessible to all staff and partners.

  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.

  • Ensure appropriate and continued coordination and joint planning with other USAID and donor activities, specifically the USAID Mali Resilience portfolio, host-government initiatives, and private sector engagement. Active contributor and collaborator with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of CLA best practices.

  • Work in close collaboration with the M&E Lead and partners to ensure resilience building efforts and their impact are effectively measured as well as lead the resilience learning agenda.

  • Maintain close working relationships with CLA counterparts in other relevant international actors and other stakeholders in Mali.

  • Attend learning events hosted by other partners as well as implementation of sector-specific learning events with partners and local stakeholders.

  • Support internal and external program communications.


  • Work closely with the country team's security focal point to develop and maintain systems that promote the safety and security of all team members.

  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security.

Organizational Learning

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.


  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility

Members of the CLA team


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party Works Directly With: Program team, in particular the M&E and research teams, partner organizations, Mercy Corps Mali country office, and Mercy Corps headquarters including the Performance and Quality/M&E team

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/S in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, project management or other relevant field.

  • At least five years of professional experience, with progressive responsibility, in humanitarian or development programming.

  • Experience with theoretical and practical background in M&E and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques preferred.

  • Demonstrated experience in facilitating learning and knowledge sharing processes, in establishing and managing dynamic feedback systems to capture experiential learning and unintended consequences, and fostering collaboration across teams or organizations is required.

  • Strong conceptual knowledge about theories of change, logic models, food and nutrition security indicators, M&E plans, Data Quality assurance, mobile data collection, data utilization, and gender integration into M&E.

  • Experienced in developing data quality assurance strategies, Data Management, and data visualization.

  • Demonstrated expertise and experience in data utilization strategies and can creatively think about active Data Sharing techniques.

  • Preference for experience in Food for Peace or Feed the Future M&E frameworks, and in-depth understanding of food security and resilience programming.

  • Familiarity with the Malian context.

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and French. Proficiency in local languages is desirable.

  • Excellent computer skills (especially Microsoft office applications) and ability to use information technology as a tool and resource.

Success Factors

A successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and Problem Solving. S/he will have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, be accountable for results, and understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details. S/he will be comfortable working within a complex and sensitive setting and following laws and security protocols. The CLA Lead will have a good handle on adaptive management, integration and coordination, stakeholder engagement, capacity strengthening, community-level governance and planning, facilitation, and conflict mitigation and conflict-sensitive approaches. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations. S/he must be able to summarize and simplify complex information and communicate it to a variety of audiences.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The CLA Lead is based in Bamako, Mali or a field location, with regular travel (up to 50%) to implementation areas as the security situation allows. This is an accompanied position and is eligible for R&R. The CLA Lead is entitled to individual housing. There is regular access to electricity and water, though there are occasional electrical outages. Access to quality health care is limited. There are a number of clinics in town, but serious illnesses will require evacuation. Internet is limited, but available in Mercy Corps offices. There is reasonable access to most consumer goods in Bamako. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.
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