Innovations for Poverty Action seeks a qualified Senior M&E Associate to provide Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) advisory and technical support to the Ministry of General Education in Zambia.
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is an international research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems.
IPA’s Right-Fit Evidence Unit helps organizations build strong and tailored Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) systems, which balance the need for information on impact with the need for operational data to support management decisions. The unit helps implementers, donors, and governments figure out what data and evidence to gather, how to do it in a cost-effective way, and ultimately how to turn the promise of data-informed program and policy decisions into reality.
IPA has been engaging with Zambia’s Ministry of General Education (MoGE) for almost 10 years and has conducted multiple policy-relevant education research projects in close collaboration with them. Responding to MoGE demand for support beyond impact evaluations, IPA has decided to strengthen its ability to be responsive and offer more comprehensive MEL support to the education sector, putting a strong focus on long-term empowerment and capacity strengthening. This position will support these activities, reporting to the Right Fit Evidence Engagement Manager with mentorship from IPA Zambia’s Sr. Policy Associate.
A primary goal for the associate will be to collaborate with the MoGE and the Sr. Policy Associate to lay the groundwork for an embedded Evidence Unit within the MoGE. The mandate of the unit will be to assist the MoGE in improving the reliability, timeliness, integration, and usability of these datasets to drive greater use of evidence within the Ministry. For example, the associate may conduct activities like:
- Mapping the data needs of various directorates within the Ministry against the existing data available, complemented with an assessment of its quality
- Producing “policy briefs” on key policy questions that can be answered by analyzing or linking the Ministry’s own data
- Supporting MoGE directorates to draft theories of change for project activities, by reviewing program documents and relevant literature
- Assist the MoGE to identify MEL questions to test the assumptions in their theories of change, and provide advice on the strength of key assumptions
- Advising MoGE directorates on developing and maintaining MEL plans
- Train MoGE team members in how to analyze and summarize MEL data
- Provide guidance to MoGE directorates’ ongoing monitoring activities, including by recommending implementation quality indicators and data sources
- Assist MoGE and IPA to prepare materials, organize logistics, and document outcomes for MEL workshops and meetings
- Take an active role in the development and performance of new engagements for the Unit
In a closely related workstream, the associate will spend roughly 20% of his or her time supporting next steps on an IPA and International Growth Center (IGC) project on teacher allocation (further details on the project findings to date are available here). In response to the MoGE’s desire to improve teacher allocation, the Sr. M&E Associate will work with the project’s Principal Investigator to help design a data collection tool to collect information from the districts on current teacher locations and compensation. The associate will also assist in the cleaning, analysis, and use of this information to inform senior policymaker decisions.
- Bachelor’s degree in international public policy, education, social science, or related fields.
- 2-5 years of relevant work experience
- Hands-on experience supporting data systems or Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning systems. Familiarity with the challenges surrounding causal attribution
- Experience in quantitative and qualitative data collection, management and analysis
- Experience working in the education sector of a developing country, ideally in close interaction with government stakeholders
- Demonstrated ability to coach and train others in MEL methodologies
- Superior analytical, quantitative, and conceptual thinking skills
- Strong client-facing and presentation skills
- Cultural sensitivity and demonstrated ability to work successfully with diverse constituencies
- Ability to present information in a structured and insightful way, both in writing and orally
- Self-starter, entrepreneurial mindset, versatility, and strong multi-tasking skills
- Passion for making data-driven decision a reality in the development sector
- High level of proficiency with Stata, Microsoft Access/SQL and Microsoft Excel
Preferred additional qualifications
- Master’s degree in economics, public policy, social science, or a related field
- Experience in management consulting or other professional services
- Demonstrated ability to coach and train others in statistics, data analysis or MEL methodologies
- Experience working with large-scale data systems such as government databases
- Familiarity with the concepts surrounding the Theory of Change and the core tools of MEL (both quantitative and qualitative research methods)
- Proficiency with R, Python and ARCGIS or QGIS
- Familiarity with SurveyCTO, Open Data Kit or similar survey software, SMS or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology
Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Senior M&E Associate, Zambia”. Most applications for research positions require you to include at minimum two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.
Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application.
Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.