M&E Specialist (USAID)

PM Consulting Group
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Private Sector
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


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M&E Specialist USAID Unit of the Secretariat for the Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge for Development


In late October of 2019 in Stockholm, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Government (Sida), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will launch Water and Energy for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development. 

The Grand Challenges for Development (GCD) program is an innovation and acceleration initiative that began in 2011. Through GCDs, USAID and its partners are sourcing and accelerating the best science and technology-focused small and growing enterprises, entrepreneurs, and businesses that have the potential to solve specific development challenges. Small and growing enterprises (SGEs) can come from anywhere in the world. Implementation must take place in a developing or emerging country. 

The Water and Energy for Food (“WE4F”) challenge fund is a partnership between the Government of Sweden (Sida), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (hereafter the founding partners ). 1 Through WE4F, the partners want to expand the scale of innovations that impact the sectors food and water, food and energy or all three sectors of the nexus (food, water, energy) to increase the sustainability of agricultural food value chains, improving energy and water efficiency, as well as to improve climate resilient agriculture in developing countries and emerging markets in accordance with the SDGs, with a particular focus on the poor and women. 

To achieve this goal, the effort must include partners from the private sector, NGOs, other research institutions, and other donors who share the common goal of increasing food production through sustainable water and energy usage. A key consideration of this effort is to ensure feedback loops are created that integrate local conditions and new knowledge into both national and international policy and decision-making as well as integrate capacity development, knowledge management, and financial and non-financial instruments in a smart way to create an enabling environment in the partner countries. 

Overall WE4F Structure 

The overall structure for the WE4F Challenge Fund envisions a steering structure consisting of 

  • a Steering Committee, 
  • one Secretariat with two units, and 

1 Founding partners of the WE4F Challenge Fund; however, the fund remains open towards other donors. 

  • one Regional Innovation Hub per region. 

The Secretariat will be responsible for global scaling efforts as well as the management and coordination of the Regional Innovation Hubs, whose number can be increased over time. 

Scope and Objectives 

The USAID secretariat is seeking a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Specialist to support the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) program. The M&E Specialist will co-lead both the data collection and the co-lead the analysis of WE4F awardee’s results, along with other members of the 2 units of the secretariat, the WE4F external evaluator and the Regional Innovation Hubs. This will allow the program to make evidence-based decisions about milestone based funding, the allocation of technical assistance, and lessons learned for future challenge funds. 

The purpose of this role is to co-create and build the M&E processes and systems through which WE4F will carry out out the M&E activities. The specialist will leverage existing data to drive unique insights regarding innovator challenges and successes and program challenges and successes, and will also look for new sources of data, including that from remote sensing technologies. 

Dynamics of the working relationship: The M&E Specialist will work directly and interact daily with the USAID client and other staff members in the 2 units of the Secretariat. S/he will engage with 2-3 Regional Innovation Hubs (MENA and S/SE Asia; potentially S. Africa) who are expected to support a combined 70+ innovators over the next 4 years.The selected candidate will assess the validity of reported results and will analyze trends across the portfolio of innovations, aggregate awardee level data into program level data, as well as provide data and analysis for the Regional Innovation Hub metric targets. The M&E candidate will need to: 

  • Understand that WE4F has existing M&E systems and procedures, and that the M&E Specialist role requires managing and maintenance of existing systems, as well as some innovation to create new systems 
  • Focus on data input, data analysis, and data monitoring 
  • Ensure that we continue to obtain the right data from WE4F innovators through the Regional Innovation Hubs. This includes an ability to respect WE4F innovator’s time and understand the limitations of WE4F data collection activities and the burden that it places on WE4F innovators. 
  • Recognize the client-centered nature of the M&E Specialist role and that the position directly reports on M&E technical aspects to the Regional Hub Coordinator of the USAID unit of the Secretariat. Therefore the M&E Specialist needs to be highly responsive to client requests and take prescriptive direction from the Steering Committee. 
  • Work hand-in-hand with the other members of both the 2 units of the WE4F Secretariat to organize, process, and manage WE4F innovator and WE4F Regional Innovation Hub data, recognizing that there are some documents that will not be provided from USAID and GiZ (if applicable) due to security/SBU classifications. 
  • Recognize that WE4F data and analysis under the WE4F M&E framework directly contributes to the larger USAID/LAB and USAID M&E frameworks, as well as GiZ (if applicable), MFA-NL, and Sida M&E Frameworks. 
  • Appreciate and tolerate the difference between taking orders (prescriptive work environment) and working with latitude (independent work environment). 

M&E Specialist Duties and Responsibilities 

Specifically for this role, the M&E Manager is expected to perform the following duties: 

  • Setting up adequate M&E organizational structures for the USAID unit of the Secretariat 
  • Developing clear, operational and enforceable M&E templates for the different tasks and responsibilities for both the Secretariat, the Regional Innovation Hubs, and WE4F awardees. 
  • Functioning as a resource point to clarify the M&E guidelines of the Steering Committee to the Regional Innovation Hubs during the regional selection process, if necessary
  • Ensuring that final decisions regarding the selection of new or old innovators to be taken by the Steering Committee are sufficiently prepared, and that the necessary M&E documentation and processes are in place 
  • Coordinating uniform monitoring activities across the two units of the Secretariat and the Regional innovation hubs in order to be able to provide adequate reports on outputs, outcomes and impacts achieved. 
  • Preparing the template for the program annual reports which is ultimately approved by the Steering Committee. 
  • Preparing the Terms of Reference / standards for evaluations (including baseline), which is ultimately approved by the Steering Committee (in coordination with the GiZ unit of the Secretariat). 
  • In coordination with the Partner Liaison, providing direction and oversight to the WE4F Field evaluators program, including global coordination and coordination with the Regional Innovation Hubs. 

Desirable Skills for This Position are: 

  • Ability to work with minimal supervision 
  • Ability to encourage and facilitate cooperation; foster commitment and team spirit 
  • Knowledge of international development and humanitarian assistance concepts, approaches, programs and issues highly desirable. 
  • Skills to select, organize, and present appropriate information in a concise and coherent manner and to relate such information to broad areas of development and humanitarian assistance policy. 
  • Experience providing backstopping support to USAID-funded projects and US government contracts compliance a plus. 
  • Knowledge and experience using SalesForce a plus 
  • Ability to edit program documents and project deliverables. 
  • Background/experience in water/ag nexus-related issues is desirable, but not mandatory. 
  • Values humility, integrity, and personal responsibility. 
  • Able to support our Employee & Contractor Performance Charter. 

Required Skills & Qualifications 

  • Fluency in Excel/Google Sheets/pivot tables 
  • Strong background with data analysis and data management techniques using SPSS/STATA, or similar programs 
  • M&E experience, preferably working with a USAID Grand Challenge Program 
  • Strong evidence of technical writing ability 
  • Experience with data visualization software (Tableau or other) 
  • Ability to travel for up to 1 month per year on short term coordination meetings, monitoring site visits, and events. 

Employee & Contractor Performance Charter 

We do what we say we are going to do. We expect the best of each other. We help each other to succeed. We take informed risks. We create efficiencies. We know innovation and disruption involves chaos. We have a recognized bias towards action and results. We apply creativity to business problems. We channel ideas and energy into solutions that matter. We incubate and accelerate diverse and innovative partnerships. We influence through pivots, failures, and lessons learned. We do development differently. We execute.