Monitoring and Evaluation job from IAF

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 PERFORMANCE WORK STATEMENT (PWS)

MONITORING, EVALUATION, AND LEARNING SPECIALISTS (MELS)

BACKGROUND

The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) is an independent agency of the United States Government, established by Congress in 1969 to promote sustainable grassroots development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The IAF works by providing grants and other technical assistance directly to community based organizations in the region to implement their own creative ideas for promoting inclusive and sustainable local.

As such, the IAF differs from traditional donor agencies in important ways. It works directly with diverse community-focused organizations. These may be agricultural cooperatives, youth theater groups, or vocational training centers for women; they may also be larger, intermediary organizations that offer grassroots groups credit, technical assistance, training and marketing assistance, for instance. And the IAF invests heavily in organizational strengthening. When the IAF funds projects, it is investing in that particular project, but even more so in that particular organization’s ability to thrive beyond the life of any given project. That means it works with grantees to clarify tangible goals for each project, periodically assessing grantee’s performance and exploring ways forward.

This responsive but high-touch approach relies on a dedicated team of IAF staff and in-country contractors. A key member of this team are the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialists (MELS), in-country contractors responsible for training grantees on using IAF monitoring tools, verifying the results that grantees report, and facilitating practical learning throughout the life of grants. The MELS is also critical in effectively communicating the performance of each grantee to the IAF.

SCOPE

The IAF is seeking a qualified MELS in [country] to provide monitoring, learning and evaluation services, as described in detail under Tasks (Section C) and Performance Requirements (Section J).

As part of this contract, the MELS will:

Report to and work under the supervision of the Contracting Officer Representative (COR) of IAF’s Office of Learning and Impact, which set performance expectations and provides technical guidance for monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

Work closely with their IAF country team, consisting of the Foundation Representative(s) (FR) in Washington, D.C., and the Local Liaison Advisory Service (LLAS) and Auditor who are both in-country. The MELS’s role in the country team is to share performance data, raise any performance-related concerns, and stay abreast of any relevant developments with each grantee.

Have a physical presence in their country of service for the duration of the contract (except in cases where activities are to be performed in another country as requested by the COR).

Cover the entire assigned country portfolio. The IAF has been approving between two and eight new grants per year in [country]. IAF usually awards grants for three years, many of which are subsequently extended as the IAF deems appropriate. The MELS engages with each of the grantees, typically for an orientation visit, an implementation visit every six months, and a final visit towards the end of the grant period. These visits generally range from four to six days, including preparing for the visit, travel time, interviews with the grantee partner and its beneficiaries, and writing visit reports. In some special instances, these visits (and all of their associated tasks) can take up to 12 days.

The MELS’s role is strictly limited to monitoring and analyzing performance and facilitating learning. The MELS shall not counsel or provide technical assistance to the grantee partner on grant interpretation, management, or implementation, referring these issues to the LLAS instead.

TASKS

The MELS have four main tasks, presented below in order of level of time and effort, with Task 1 accounting for the majority of the MELS’s time and effort.

Task 1. Supporting Grantee-Level Performance Monitoring and Learning

IAF grantees commit to monitoring and documenting the evolution and results of their grant, a process the IAF closely monitors through orientation, verification and learning, and close-out visits. The MELS are instrumental in this process, as described below.

Orientation. The MELS, under the leadership of the FR, participates in an orientation visit for new grantees, which typically happens within 60 days of the grantees receiving the final grant agreement. The MELS’s main responsibility during orientation is to ensure the grantee is well prepared to monitor the performance of their grant. This includes working with the grantee to ensure a shared understanding of what metrics the grantee will measure, when and how; identify and measure reliable baselines; and review the process for learning throughout the grant. 

Activities

Prepare for the orientation visit by reviewing Project Analysis and Review (PAR), particularly the project description and budget, and any other relevant documents the IAF may provide.

Review with the grantee their proposed activities, what they hope to achieve, and how they will assess whether they are moving in the right direction.

Share with grantees IAF’s required indicators, explaining the logic behind each one.

Facilitate a discussion with grantees to identify any additional metrics that grantees may find useful in assessing their projects.

With the grantee, establish and, if possible, measure a baseline for selected metrics.

Document grantees’ interests for what they want to learn from their projects.

Explain when and how the grantee partner will be expected to report on the selected indicators and other metrics, ensuring a shared understanding of the responsibilities of the grantee and of the MELS with data collection and analysis.

Train the grantees as needed to effectively capture the required data for monitoring and learning.

Deliverable

No later than 30 days after the visit, submit an orientation report, following the template provided by the COR. The orientation reports includes a clearly defined theory of change, selected indicators and other metrics, baselines and expected results, and possible learning questions from the grantee and/or the IAF (when the grant may be contributing to a broader country/regional learning agenda).

Implementation. In coordination with COR and FR, the MELS visits each grantee partner once every six months until the end of the grant period to review and analyze the data reported to the IAF, facilitate a reflection on the grant’s performance to date, and address any questions or challenges the grantee may be having with data collection/analysis.

Activities

Prepare for the visit by reviewing previous grant documents, from the Orientation Report onwards.

Consult with the COR and the in-country team before each visit to ask whether there are any specific issues the MELS should discuss during the visit.

Review grantee performance data files and documents and conduct interviews and focus group sessions with the grantee staff, any other partner, and participants as needed to verify the results that grantee has reported.

Address challenges with grantees around data collection and reporting.

Review factors affecting grant results as well as learning questions.

Apply and discuss any other evaluation and tracking instruments requested by the COR.

Deliverable

Within 30 days after each verification visit, the MELS submits a progress report, following the template provided by the COR. The progress report includes the verified monitoring data (ensuring it is valid, complete, consistent, accurate, verifiable, and timely), a synthesis of important results attained by the project since the last visit; and reflections that contextualize the metrics (highlighting any trends) and explain any unexpected/unmeasured result from the project.

Close-Out. Towards the end of each grant or close thereafter, as defined by the FR, the MELS visits each grantee to facilitate a discussion on the overall performance of the grant and lessons learned. The MELS is responsible for capturing this information in a project history report, following the template provided by the COR. In cases where the grant may have embodied an element or approach of particular interest to the IAF, the MELS may need to facilitate a more robust close-out workshop to capture additional data on grant performance.

 Activities

Verify, clarify and complete, if necessary, the final performance data submitted by each grantee.

Facilitate a workshop with the grantee, a sample of participants and indirect beneficiaries, the LLAS, and other IAF staff, to review the outcomes of the grant and lessons learned.

Carry out additional focus groups and interviews with grantees, direct participants, and non-participant community members, as needed, to substantiate the findings in the Project History Report.

Write a project history report, following the guidelines provided by the Office of Learning and Impact.

Deliverable

Within 60 days from the end of the final grantee partner visit, submit a project history report, following the template provided by the COR.  

Ad-hoc Data Requests. The IAF relies heavily on Progress Reports and Project Histories to share the results of IAF-funded grantees publicly. On occasion, the COR, FR, or LLAS may request the MELS to report grantee-level performance data that may not already be captured in reports but which the MELS may readily access. For simple data requests requiring a work day or less of the MEL’s time, the FR or LLAS may make such requests to the MELS and simply inform the COR. For larger data requests requiring more than a day of work from the MELS, the FR or LLAS must first obtain authorization from the COR for any such request.

Task 2. Country Portfolio Learning

In addition to facilitating learning with individual grantees, the MELS also contributes to learning across grantees in their country and, on occasion, across grantees in other countries where the IAF works. For instance, the IAF may have learning questions that pertain to country strategies, program areas, or initiatives. To answer these questions, the IAF may convene all-grantee conferences, regional workshops, webinars, or other such in-person or online exchanges. The MELS actively participates by sharing the experiences and data from the grantees they cover, including in writing, as needed.

Activities (as requested by the COR)

Actively participate in IAF-led workshops, conferences, calls, and other forms of engagement to advance the IAF’s learning agenda within a country or across countries.

Synthesize findings from grantee orientation and progress reports that help inform IAF’s learning questions and messaging.

Ensure that the learning questions grantees identify in their grant agreement inform the learning questions proposed by the IAF that cut across grantees/countries.

Deliverable

As needed, provide insights and data from orientation and progress reports to inform country and/or cross-country learning questions. Inputs should follow the guidance provided by the COR or FR.

Task 3. Evaluation

The Office of Learning and Impact selects a sample of grantees across the agency’s portfolio for evaluations. When chosen grantees are in the MELS’s country, MELSs participate in the evaluation team as determined by the COR and assigned by task order requests. Activities may range from preparatory work and coordination for other evaluators, to participating in and carrying out the evaluation. The IAF may also ask MELSs to participate in evaluations of grantees in other countries.

Task 4. Participation in IAF and related events

MELSs participate in periodic events, such as all-grantee meetings, MELS workshops and conferences, and other related events in which the FR or the Office of Learning and Impact find helpful to have MELS participation. These events may require local, regional, or international travel.

When the IAF chooses to conduct a meeting focused on monitoring, evaluation, or learning in the country for which the MELS is responsible to provide services under this Contract, the MELS may be responsible for tasks associated with the planning and logistics for the meeting. Among other tasks, these may include obtaining competitive price quotes for meeting expenses (as required by the U.S. Government), reserving hotel and meeting rooms, acquiring audio-visual materials, and coordinating field visits to grantees

DELIVERABLES (See also Performance Requirements Summary)

The MELS will submit the following deliverables to the COR, FR, and country teams:

Orientation Reports (at the beginning of grants)

Progress Reports (every six months)

Project History Reports (at the end of grants)

Contributions to country or cross-country learning (as needed)

Additional monitoring, learning and evaluation tasks, when assigned (as needed)

OTHER SERVICES

The IAF may require other technical assistance or other related services for grantee partners, IAF staff and contractors under this contract. The exact requirements for such other services will be described in appropriate task order requests. These other services shall be provided in addition to basic MELS and evaluation services as determined by the COR and priced in accordance with the daily rates. This may require the MELS to travel to other countries to carry out other services requested by the IAF. Examples of such services include:

Provide grant results verification services in other countries as requested by the COR.

Accompany IAF staff and others on field trips as requested by the COR.

Supervise and coordinate MELS responsibilities with an assistant, as needed for larger portfolios.

Performs other duties as assigned.

The Contractor is subject to worldwide availability and may be requested by the IAF to perform temporary duties (TDY) or attend conferences/meetings as required and to travel to other assignments within IAF as assigned.  Any such reassignment or transfer shall be subject to agreement of the Contractor. The Performance Work Statement as defined will remain the same; however the duties may be subject to change as determined by the COR.

QUALIFICATIONS

Required qualifications

Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social science, international development, rural development, economics, or a related field. A master’s degree in those same areas is preferred.

Minimum of 3 years of relevant work experience in monitoring and/or evaluating development projects, ideally at the grassroots level (e.g., community organizations, local associations, farmer cooperatives).

Experience in doing fieldwork in developing countries, particularly applying surveys, conducting interviews, and facilitating participative research methods.

Ability to effectively present performance data and analysis in oral and written communications. 

Demonstrate professional maturity and interpersonal skills for effective teamwork and engagement with grantees

Strong oral and written English/Spanish/Portuguese/French and Haitian Creole, depending on base country.

Willingness to undertake field visits that could involve physical exertion and discomfort, and may include the use of local transportation to isolated areas, walking and hiking to areas of difficult access, as well as health-related issues such as non-potable water, lack of access to modern medical facilities and potential exposure to disease. The MELS must be able to travel to and stay in remote areas of the country to conduct fieldwork at the grantee partners’ physical location or where grant activities are taking place.

Competencies

Openness and sensitivity to multicultural and multi-disciplinary settings.

Interest in learning new approaches to metrics and analysis.

A curious, analytical mind.

QUALITY PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

The IAF will assess the performance of the MELS yearly through the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS). The IAF may also conduct a Quality Performance Assessment (QPA), a process that requires close collaboration from the MELS, including through a possible joint grantee visit.

DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS

Language. All reports submitted by the MELS to the IAF shall be in the principal language of the country.  All communications with the COR shall be preferably in English or Spanish, but if not, then in the principal language of the country.

Guidance and Instructions. The MELS shall follow existing and new guidance from the Office of Learning and Impact on data collection, quality control, submission, and synthesis. The MELS shall meet in country with the COR and other IAF staff, as requested, to receive new guidance or instructions, and to report on result data collection, and other tasks set forth in this contract.

Filing System. The MELS shall establish a filing system for documents on individual grants and their results.  These files are confidential, and shall be available to IAF staff and independent consultants authorized by the COR.

IAF Data Ownership. At the end of the contract, all data files and documentation of grants shall be returned to the IAF. All electronic files shall be compatible with software already existing in the IAF, which is currently MS Office 2013 (Word, Excel) and/or Google.  All data and information collected during the contract shall be regarded as confidential and shall not be released to third parties without prior approval from the IAF.  

QUALITY CONTROL

The MELS is required to immediately notify the COR of problems or situations that could negatively impact compliance with the provisions of the contract and obligation, and to inform the COR of the plan the MELS will implement to resolve problems.

PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS

The MELS is responsible for performing the requirements of this contract in accordance with the Performance Requirements Summary (PRS) detailed below. These performance standards are meant to ensure the MELS clarity on what constitutes quality deliverables. The COR will abide by these standards to evaluate the performance of MELS through the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System.

Performance Requirement Summary

 

Method of surveillance for all performance requirements: 100% Inspection by COR.

Incentive/disincentive for all performance requirements:

Incentive: Consistently meets/exceeds performance standard, favorable comments may be documented on Past Performance.

Disincentive: If Contractor does not consistently meet performance standard, unfavorable comments may be documented on Past Performance.

Deliverable

Performance Standard

In addition to following the IAF Guidelines for Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation in preparing each deliverable, the MELS will be expected to…

Orientation reports

Submit an accurate and complete Orientation Report to the COR within 30 days of the orientation visit.

 

The COR will record the date received for each report and will review each report to ensure it follows the IAF Guidelines, including the following criteria:

The data reported are valid, complete, consistent, accurate, verifiable, and timely.

The analysis is well-substantiated.

The narrative is clearly written.

 

Progress reports

Visit each grantee within 30 days of receiving a grantee’s results report and submit the progress report to the COR within 30 days of the visit.

 

The COR will record the date received for each report and will review each report to ensure it follows the IAF Guidelines, including the following criteria:

The data reported are valid, complete, consistent, accurate, verifiable, and timely.

The analysis is well-substantiated.

The narrative is clearly written.

 

Project history reports

 

Visit each grantee for close-out within 30 days of the end of the grant, facilitate a close out workshop when needed. Submission of a complete project history report to the COR within 60 days of close out visit/workshop.

 

The COR will record the date received for each report and will review each report to ensure it follows the IAF Guidelines, including the following criteria:

The data reported are valid, complete, consistent, accurate, verifiable, and timely.

The analysis is well-substantiated.

The narrative is clearly written.

 

Ad hoc data requests

Provide timely, accurate, and complete responses to performance data requests.

Contributions to country or cross-country learning

Actively participate in learning workshops and exchanges, providing well substantiated evidence from grants in portfolio, including through written responses and analysis as needed.

Additional IAF monitoring, learning and evaluation tasks, as assigned

Accurate and complete based on task.

Other duties as assigned

Accurate and complete based on task.

 
Submission contact/email: Miguel Cuevas mcuevas@iaf.gov

 


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