Humanitarian MEAL Consultant
Over the last decade, humanitarian partners have worked in a number of crises where humanitarian access is extremely limited, such as South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Limited access poses significant challenges to humanitarian agencies in collecting, verifying, securing, and analyzing program monitoring and evaluation data. Limited access and a lack of comprehensive remote management systems have resulted in a lack of quality, verifiable data that can measure achievement of humanitarian outcomes and provide accountability to affected populations. As agencies continue to deliver humanitarian assistance in non-permissive environments, remote management is becoming more commonplace. However, there remains a dearth of information and analysis of various remote monitoring systems and tools, and little analysis of best practices in Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) systems in complex environments. There is a clear need for further research and analysis into MEAL approaches, including analyzing current humanitarian MEAL practices and identifying best practices, lessons learned, and MEAL innovations; developing case studies; and making evidence-based recommendations to improve humanitarian MEAL.
Global Communities (GC) is uniquely positioned to conduct this research, having implemented, monitored, and evaluated programming in multiple complex environments. We consistently test new MEAL tools and approaches to ensure that we are accountable to our beneficiaries and that we area mitigating the risks of operating in these volatile environments to the best of our ability. Drawing on these case studies, we can conduct an analysis of various humanitarian MEAL approaches to draw lessons learned, identify best practices, and put forward recommendations for improving MEAL systems.
GC is seeking a MEAL consultant, reporting to the GC Regional Humanitarian Advisor, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of our current and previous MEAL systems, approaches, and tools utilized in humanitarian/transition programming in order to identify best practices and provide concrete guidance for opportunities to pilot and scale innovative MEAL approaches. To do so, the consultant will review GC’s MEAL systems, tools, and approaches used over the last five years in Liberia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, in order to:
· Identify and summarize humanitarian MEAL innovations, lessons learned, and best practices from GC’s humanitarian programming using specific country case studies;
· Make evidence-based recommendations on improving humanitarian MEAL;
· Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) detailing how GC can replicate and scale MEAL best practices in future GC programming.
The consultant’s research will address the following objectives and research/learning questions:
Objective 1: Identify, institutionalize, and scale effective remote management and monitoring methodologies and technology tools in areas with limited access to enhance capacity for real-time data collection, data analysis, data sharing, and communication between field-based staff and partners, and regional and headquarter offices.
Objective 1 Research and Learning Questions:
· What GC MEAL technology applications/platforms have been most effective in enabling real-time, useful data collection and decision making? How should these applications/platforms be scaled and replicated in other humanitarian contexts?
· What GC MEAL approaches and complexity-aware MEAL methodologies have been most effective /least effective to:
o Assess program outcomes and impact within a short time horizon;
o Accurately collect, validate, and utilize monitoring data to inform programmatic decision-making;
o Capture the diverse perspectives of stakeholders in dynamic or rapidly changing situations;
o Monitor dynamic contextual factors, such as a rapidly changing political climate, that are likely to influence programming and results;
o Identify local needs and priorities in a dynamic environment;
o Distinguish how challenges, opportunities, and benefits that result from programming differ among men, women, youth, and members of marginalized groups.
· Which of the above methodologies and approaches are best suited for replication and scale in complex humanitarian programming, and under what circumstances? What resources are required to effectively scale these approaches?
Objective 2: Identify, institutionalize, and scale successful adaptive management practices that allow for the use of real-time monitoring data in programmatic strategy and decision-making.
Objective 2 Research and Learning Questions:
· How does GC utilize data to inform management decisions? How can this process be improved to better utilize beneficiary data in making real-time programmatic decisions? Data sources to be analyzed include:
o GC’s beneficiary feedback mechanism
o Social Media
o Program monitoring data collected through internal M&E staff and external M&E partners
· What technology applications/platforms has GC used most effectively in presenting data quickly
Objective 3: Identify, institutionalize, and replicate appropriate and innovative beneficiary feedback mechanisms that institute Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) as an integral part of GC’s humanitarian programming.
Objective 3 Research and Learning Questions:
· How effective has GC’s beneficiary feedback mechanism been to date at identifying and responding to beneficiary feedback? How can GC improve or expand its feedback mechanism to be more accountable to affected populations?
PRIMARY JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
· In collaboration with the humanitarian assistance team, conduct desk research on GC’s current and past programming in Liberia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, focusing on MEAL approaches and tools in complex environments where access is limited, including remote management/monitoring approaches
· Commit to weekly check-ins with supervisor to update on progress and address any administrative, logistical, or other challenges that arise
· Conduct research on humanitarian MEAL best practices more broadly to inform GC’s MEAL approaches
· Identify successful and ineffective MEAL approaches utilized and documented by other organizations, to inform best practices and lessons learned
· Conduct individual or group interviews with key stakeholders at GC headquarters, including program management teams, humanitarian assistance staff, and MEAL staff, to gain additional insights into GC’s MEAL approaches for the specific country programs
· Conduct individual or groups interviews by phone with key field staff, such as Country Directors, Program Directors, and MEAL Managers from the relevant country programs, to gain additional information on MEAL approaches and identify outstanding questions for discussion/research
· As feasible, travel to Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and/or Yemen to conduct in-depth consultations with field teams on MEAL approaches to validate the findings of the desk research and stakeholder interviews, and to discuss in detail the successes, challenges, and opportunities to scale the various approaches used in each context. Consultations may include local partners as appropriate.
· Conduct structured interviews and/or focus group discussions with beneficiaries to discuss their experiences with accountability and feedback mechanisms, to identify successes and opportunities to improve GC’s mechanisms for accountability to affected populations
· Present draft and final reports, recommendations, and SOPs to GC staff for review and comment.
The anticipated period of performance for this assignment is six months, from approximately January-June 2020.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
· Demonstrated understanding of MEAL approaches in humanitarian programming and/or complex, conflict-affected environments
· Prior experience managing and implementing MEAL for humanitarian or stabilization programming
· Excellent oral and written communication skills, coordination skills, analytic skills, and interpersonal skills
· Demonstrated ability to work independently in an effective manner
· Fluency in English, working knowledge of Arabic preferred
· Previous experience in MEAL research and analysis
· A Masters’ Degree or Bachelor’s degree in international affairs, social science, or a related field preferred
· At least 8-10 years of progressively responsible experience in the humanitarian, development, or transition field with a focus on MEAL.
· At least 3-5 years of experience in overseeing or implementing remote management/monitoring approaches in conflict-affected environments
· Equivalent combination of education and experience
An applicant or employee may request a reasonable accommodation at any time. Global Communities will make reasonable accommodations in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Essential functions include travel to areas with diverse cultures, unstable social economic environments, and difficult physical conditions that require physical endurance and mobility by foot. Employee must be able to travel independently.