The program departments of Plan’s Country Offices in West Africa have MER units whose purpose is to improve program quality and accountability through supporting and implementing high quality MER and, and, to provide evidence for programme design, planning and effectiveness.
The Planning and Monitoring Specialist is a member of the MER unit. The position holder is responsible for effective planning and monitoring to support quality projects. S/he has a critical role in the successful implementation of the MER framework.
Dimensions of Role
- Responsible for ensuring quality in project design, planning and monitoring in line with the country strategy and the Program Quality Policy (PQP)
- Accountable for corporate system monitoring and reporting
- Supports the roll out of PQP
- Responsible for all monitoring and evaluation activities being conducted in line with Plan International’s child protection and ethical principles, and promotes accountability to beneficiaries
- Member of Country Office (CO) MER unit
- Line manages one person (the Management Information Systems (MIS) officer, if in position in the CO)
Typical Responsibilities – Key End Results of Position
The design and planning of all projects in the Country Office (sponsorship and grants) comply with high quality standards and are aligned with the Country Strategy (CS) objectives Activities
- Review the design and planning of programs and projects (both sponsorship and grant funded) to ensure high quality M&E components
- Ensure the intervention logic (linkages between projects and the Country Strategy at outcome level)
- Ensure sufficient M&E budgets for all sponsorship and grants projects
- Develop the MER component for grants proposals
- Develop and ensure regular updates of M&E frameworks for grant and sponsorship projects in line with the M&E minimum requirements
- Provide support to the Situation Analysis and the Country Strategy design and planning
- Provide support to the annual review process
- Provide guidance to the MIS assistance in the review process of projects
- Coach and train other staff on high quality planning and monitoring practices
- Document and disseminate internally, learning from practices on MER and program quality
Improved accountability, program and reporting quality through highly efficient monitoring and feedback systems Activities
- Design and provide support to the implementation of participatory monitoring tools
- Support/ lead the design and set up of community based monitoring and reporting systems
- Develop and implement a countrywide program performance database to monitor key Country Strategy indicators
- Set up feedback and implement of feedback and complaint mechanisms to gather data on perceptions and opinions on Plan’s work and approach from communities and partners
- Compile national reports for management on feedback and complaints from communities/ partners
- Supervise SAP management and reporting at Country Office (CO) and Program Unit (PU) level
- Supervise the management of databases at CO and PU level (confidentiality, security, storage and destruction of data collected during E&R initiatives in line with the global E&R standards)
- Supervise GIS management and reporting at Country Office (CO) and Program Unit (PU) level
Dealing with Problems Complexity of problems handled & the degree of investigation, analysis, & creative thinking required to solve them
Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) are crucial components for ensuring high quality outcomes and impact in rights based programming. Barriers that the Planning and Monitoring Specialist will have to deal with include:
- Many staff at CO and PU level have insufficient knowledge and practice regarding design, planning and monitoring processes.
- The monitoring budget is often integrated in the running costs of projects and programs which leads to insufficient resource allocation to monitoring and feedback processes.
- The quality and availability of secondary data from programs and projects makes design, monitoring and planning very challenging.
- The budget allocated to MER capacity building is insufficient and MER capacity assessments are not undertaken.
- Most data collection is done using pen and paper methods meaning inefficiencies and data reliability issues.
The Planning and Monitoring Specialist needs to
- Be able to communicate clearly on the remits of the work;
- Be capable of providing capacity building and coaching on design, planning and monitoring matters
- Convince people to modify practices and procedures that they have grown accustomed to
- Handle challenges with pragmatism and flexibility and
Communications and Working Relationships
High level contact:
Internal: the Country Office and PU level program team, in particular the other members of the MER unit; External: Partners and consultants
Medium level contact: the Country Office operations team
Low level contact: National Office (NO) staff, RKM team at IH, the Regional Office (RO) MER team.
Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours Required to Achieve Role’s Objectives
- Knowledge of theories of child-rights programming and child protection (programmatic and safe-guarding)
- Knowledge of development issues, trends, challenges and opportunities and implications to community development
- Knowledge of measuring influencing project outcomes
- Understanding of gender transformative program/projects
- In-depth knowledge of strategic planning processes, results based management and the design of MER frameworks and demonstrated experience as a development professional in design, planning and monitoring of programs and projects
- Knowledgeable on participatory and gender sensitive monitoring tools and systems
- Knowledgeable on tool design for collecting qualitative and quantitative data for monitoring and feedback processes
- Bachelor degree in demography, measurement, planning, monitoring & evaluation, development studies, social sciences or other relevant field; master degree preferred
- At least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in design, planning and monitoring of international development projects, preferably in education, health under five, child protection and household economic security, DRM, gender and inclusion
- Strong planning skills
- Skills in developing and managing qualitative and quantitative data collections
- Working experience in community participation in development/programming and child participation in monitoring and feedback processes
- Skills for data base management (design, entry, analysis)
- Strong analytical skills
- Ability to deliver to tight deadlines
- Good presentation skills
- Language skills necessary for the recruiting Country Office
- Skills in using Microsoft Excel and other software applications relevant to MER (e.g. MAXQDA, SPSS, epi-info, CSPro or similar)
- Strong SAP skills
- Strong GIS skills
- Coaches and builds capacity of staff at CO and PU level
- Promotes innovation and learning
- Communicates clearly and effectively
- Demonstrates clear respect to all and especially children and women without discrimination
- Acts as a team player, willing to get the best outcome overall, adjusting own priorities if necessary
- Good listening skills
- Remains calm and positive under pressure and in difficult situations
Physical Environment and Demands
Typical office environment with 40% travel to program units.
Level of Contact with Children
The position will be based at the Country Office and level of contact with children is medium.