Senior Technical Advisor - Measurement, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL)

JOB TITLE
Senior Technical Advisor, Measurement, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL)

SUPERVISOR
Director, Measurement, Evaluation Research and Learning (MERL)

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FOUNDATION (IYF®)
For 30 years, our sole focus has been to help young people succeed. Together with partners around the world, we’ve invested in ensuring that youth develop the leadership, technical, and life skills to earn a livelihood. Whether it’s landing a first job, growing a business, or driving social change, every young person deserves the opportunity to realize his or her full potential. Rooted in the belief of youth as problem-solvers, change-makers, and leaders, our initiatives are catalysts for change. For more information, please consult www.iyfglobal.org.

PURPOSE OF THE ROLE
The Senior Technical Advisor, MERL will provide technical leadership and management for the measurement, evaluation, research and learning practice at IYF. This position provides mentorship, supervision, and quality assurance oversight to MERL technical specialists that apply IYF’s MERL Policy, implement the institutional Learning Agenda and closely collaborate with IYF’s project management teams to ensure the delivery of the highest quality, standardized MERL services and products across IYF programs and to support high-quality program delivery, identifying results and impact of IYF approaches and interventions and contributing to the evidence base. The Senior Technical Advisor will generate evidence and learning for internal and external audiences by leading the development of case studies, cross-project studies and other institution-level learning activities, and by supporting agency-level indicator reporting and analysis.  S/he will actively engage in MERL communities of practice, lead IYF’s external engagement, and liaise with Program and business development (BD) staff in IYF’s home and country offices to ensure that MERL best practices are both incorporated into and influenced by IYF’s work. This senior position sits in the Assets, Strategy, and Knowledge (ASK) unit, which serves as the technical hub of IYF and supports robust program design, implementation, evidence generation, knowledge sharing, and thought leadership.  

CORE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Provide technical leadership and oversight of MERL strategic approaches across IYF projects. Work closely with project teams as a subject matter expert and ensure quality program delivery by identifying MERL technical needs and providing technical assistance. 
  • Introduce new MERL techniques and approaches, and continuously strengthen current approaches and tools ensuring they are informed by the latest evidence and industry best practices. Develop and implement technical training for IYF staff and partners. 
  • Supervise, mentor and support project-level MERL technical leads to apply IYF’s MERL Policy, and to design, develop and oversee project MERL plans and systems. 

  • Support the development of a strategic approach to learning and knowledge sharing within and across projects, leveraging industry best practices.  

  • Lead the advancement of IYF’s Learning Agenda, including identification and implementation of research and evaluation activities and development of data visualizations and learning products.  Support the communication of program findings addressing the IYF Learning Agenda, through internal and external audiences and communities of practice that raise IYF’s visibility and contribute to the youth development sector.

  • Lead external engagement, including representing IYF in global and regional meetings and communities of practice and in communicating results, impact and learning at high-level funder meetings. 

  • Cultivate and maintain strong relationships in the international development and youth sectors and MERL communities, including representing IYF in relevant events, conferences, and communities of practice.

  • In partnership with IYF’s Knowledge Management function, ensure coordination and information sharing on program results and approaches across the IYF home and country offices.

  • Ensure that key project information, performance, and learning for assigned projects is tracked through IYF’s Systematic Tracking and Organization Records Management (STORM) System, on Salesforce, in line with IYF practices and protocols.

  • Provide technical leadership and support on strategy-level reporting for IYF’s strategic objectives, including refining measurement approaches and tools, and reporting on agency-level performance.

  • Support BD for public, corporate, and foundation donors by building IYF’s competitive knowledge base, leading or providing technical input to MERL and project design, and serving in lead roles, including lead writer, on proposal teams. 

  • Other duties as assigned (outside of CORE Responsibilities)

REQUIRED SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

  • Exceptional leadership, management, analytical, and critical thinking skills with the ability to work across a global, matrixed organization.
  • A collegial management style that emphasizes both achieving results and working in a highly skilled, multi-cultural, and cross-functional team of professional colleagues.

  • Expertise in M&E, performance measurement, social science research, evaluation, and learning and knowledge of industry best practices. Exceptional skills in designing and developing MERL systems, including theory of change, logical frameworks, learning agendas, data visualization, collaborating learning and adapting (CLA) and MERL plans.  

  • Excellent knowledge of and experience using Excel, one or more statistical software packages (e.g., SPSS, STATA, R, etc.), data and information management solutions (especially Salesforce), and data visualization applications (e.g., PowerBI, Tableau).  

  • Demonstrated ability to identify relevant and appropriate approaches to evaluation and research design.

  • Ability to assume responsibility, make sound judgments, mentor diverse staff and teams, and work independently in a fast-paced environment. 

  • Excellent Knowledge Management and Learning aptitude to strengthen internal systems, processes, and staff capacities for effective MERL.

  • Excellent writing skills, including proven experience writing technical pieces including business development proposals.

  • Exceptional oral and written English communication skills.  Ability to present in public and to senior-level stakeholders. Fluency in a second language (e.g., Spanish, Portuguese, French) is a plus. 

  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally as needed.

  • Minimum of 8 years of progressively responsible experience designing and managing MERL systems, including data collection instruments, analysis methods, and learning plans, or comparable frameworks for measurement and assessing performance, evaluating efficacy and efficiency, and broader research initiatives.  5+ years of experience using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies.

  • Bachelor’s degree in International Development, Social Sciences or closely related field is required.  Master’s Degree or above is strongly preferred. 

  • Experience developing MERL Plans for projects funded by USAID and other government and multilateral development agencies required. Knowledge and experience of USAID approaches to MERL, including collaborating, learning, adapting preferred.

  • Active participation in the MERL technical community, particularly related to economic growth, youth development and economic opportunities measurement; familiarity with key organizational players in the sector. 

JOB LEVEL
Director

CLASSIFICATION
Exempt

LOCATION
Remote – This position is open to candidates in IYF’s current countries of operations (Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Palestine). Other countries in which the candidate has existing, permanent work authorization will be considered.

TO APPLY
Please submit your cover letter and resume in English to [email protected] with Senior Technical Advisor, MERL in the subject line.

IYF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues, and we welcome applications from people of all cultures, experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives.