Evaluation Methods Expert

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Background:

SoCha (a name created by combining the terms Social and Change) is an independent monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) firm that provides bespoke solutions to social challenges. Since its inception in 2010, SoCha—a small, veteran-owned business—has grown into a full-service MEL and analytical services firm that works with USAID Missions and implementing partners around the world.

SoCha LLC is recruiting for an Evaluation Methods Expert to provide long-term advisory services on evaluations and analytical methods in the implementation of the Uganda Learning Activity (ULA), a support mechanism for USAID/Uganda. SoCha operates under subcontract to QED Group and supports the implementation of ULA. SoCha is looking for a candidate with the right mix of broad methodological expertise, international experience, and the ability to coordinate high impact studies for an international donor. The Evaluation Methods Expert will support guide SoCha efforts to improve USAID/Uganda reporting and performance management, strengthen evaluation, assessment, and analytical capacities, and increase USAID/Uganda capacity to deliver development results.

The purpose of ULA is to further strengthen the USAID/Uganda Mission’s performance and improve the performance of its implementing partners. ULA has three objectives:

  • Objective 1, Collaboration: Strengthened collaboration, both internally and with external stakeholders, enables USAID to better leverage expertise, learning and resources; and deepens local ownership.
  • Objective 2, Learning: Systematic learning, through applied research, monitoring, and evaluation, informs and improves the relevance, quality and cost- effectiveness of programs and operations
  • Objective 3, Performing: Adaptive management of program implementation and meta-level interventions to improve the quality of USAID program outcomes.

The ULA contract is currently in its third year and is expected to continue implementation until May 2024. ULA reports to the USAID/Uganda Program Office and serves all USAID/Uganda technical and support offices with monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and collaboration, adaptation, and learning (CLA) services.

Scope of Work:

ULA is structured in pillars aligned with the three objectives listed above. The Evaluation Methods Expert will work under the Objective 2 Learning Pillar under the direction of the Director of Learning and serve as SoCha’s focal point on the subcontract. The Expert will lead ULA efforts to support USAID/Uganda’s strategic learning through dedicated studies and secondary data analyses. The Expert will identify and scope opportunities for SoCha to provide MEL services to USAID/Uganda which improve overall performance management and development results. The Expert may be required to participate in the conduct of such MEL services, including evaluations. The Expert will collaborate with the ULA team, across objectives, and interact with USAID/Uganda colleagues on a regular basis. **

Roles and Responsibilities:

The Evaluation Methods Expert will support tasks and activities related to collaboration, learning, and adaptation (CLA) and generating evidence for decision making. This will include providing support to ULA to conduct monitoring, evaluation, and other learning activities. Activities include:

  • Scoping, planning, coordinating, managing, and executing
  • Strategic studies to inform the USAID/Uganda program portfolio;
  • Performance evaluations, impact evaluations, and assessments;
  • Data collection services, including desk review, in-person and online surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups, GIS data and mobile data collection on behalf of the Mission and in support of implementing partners;
  • Secondary data analyses and interactive visualizations such as data dashboards;
  • Other analytical services that range across the full qualitative, mixed method, and quantitative spectrum;
  • Participating as a core team member for evaluations, assessments, and other studies;
  • Providing technical advice and guidance on qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods analytical studies and activities;
  • Facilitation of learning activities, including sensemaking, validation, and dissemination workshops to support evaluations, assessments, and analyses, and collaborating with ULA team members on the same;
  • Support to ULA and the Mission to implement the Performance Management Plan;
  • Support the building of ULA, implementing partner, and Mission staff capacity and skills to conduct monitoring, evaluation, analysis, and learning activities, and
  • Other duties as appropriate related to achieving the goals and objectives of ULA.

LOE or Contract Length:

The ULA contract is currently in its third year and is expected to continue implementation until May 2024, depending on the availability of USAID funding.

Reporting:

The Evaluation Methods Expert will report directly to the ULA Director of Learning and will follow direction from the SoCha Project Manager for guidance from SoCha’s home office and contract administration.

Qualifications:

  • Experience leading and conducting high profile evaluations, assessments, and studies funded by major development agencies, including scoping, data collection, fieldwork, analysis, writing, presentation, and dissemination of findings.
  • Experience leading and managing teams of consultants, including training on data collection methods, coordination, monitoring, and quality assurance.
  • Experience building relationships with key stakeholders, understanding client needs, and scoping and managing assignments to address those needs.
  • Demonstrated understanding of and expertise in the use of state-of-the-art methods such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Social Network Analysis, Process Tracing through Bayesian Updating, Outcome Harvesting, Structural Equation Modeling, and Quasi-Experimental Design. Ability to use a sophisticated, methods-driven approach to analytical design, implementation and management of MEL services.
  • At least six years of experience in M&E, leading the development and implementation of monitoring, evaluation, and learning plans for international development activities, and designing and executing evaluations using various methods and techniques.
  • Master’s degree or PhD in political science, sociology, economics, public policy, international relations, geography, or a relevant field; a Bachelor’s degree and 10 years of relevant professional experience may be substituted for the education requirement.
  • Excellent English written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills and experience working with senior leadership.
  • USAID experience or experience working with similar international development agencies preferred.