Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Officer for Advisory Services
Reports To: Director of Impact and Partnerships
Job Type: Full-time
Region: Central America & Mexico - South America - United States
Location: Cambridge, MA OR San Cristobal de las Casas, México OR San José, Costa Rica OR Lima, Perú (dependent on candidate preference)
Start Date: Immediately
Contact: Please apply using the form below
About Root Capital
Root Capital invests in the growth of agricultural enterprises so they can transform rural communities. These businesses purchase crops such as coffee, cocoa, or grains from smallholder farmers. With growth, they become engines of impact that can raise incomes, create jobs, empower women and young people, sustain peace and preserve vulnerable ecosystems.
We supply these businesses with vital resources: access to capital, trade and technical partners, financial training and conservation practices. We work in hard-to-serve geographies where others don’t. To date, we’ve distributed $1.4 billion to improve the lives of over six million people in farming communities.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Root Capital currently has associated offices in Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal, and Kenya.
About Our Advisory Services
Root Capital helps enterprises—often earlier stage businesses—overcome critical challenges, improve their ability to acquire and manage financing, and strengthen their governance and resilience, through interactive and tailored training. Advisory services are available to potential borrowers and existing lending clients through either centralized workshops or customized training. Enterprises participating in our customized training benefit from one-on-one consulting with experts in SGB’s management. We work directly with each enterprise to assess their current practices, develop a customized plan, and provide on-site training for enterprise staff to put new knowledge and practices into action. Our training curriculum is constantly evolving, to best answer our clients’ needs, and provide them with a high-quality and comprehensive support. Our Advisory services currently cover the following areas: financial management, governance & leadership, agronomic planning & climate resilience, business intelligence & data management, women empowerment & youth engagement.
About Our Impact Team
Root Capital’s Impact team is responsible for measuring and managing the organization’s impact. Our team holds two main functions: we monitor, measure and manage our social and environmental performance; and we conduct deep dive impact evaluations to understand the impact we have on our client businesses and their impact on smallholder communities. We design monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) systems; oversee data collection from hundreds of businesses and thousands of farmers a year; analyze that data; and communicate our findings--both internally and externally--to inform our work and contribute to building the broader fields of agricultural finance and capacity building. This new position would add to the team a workstream focused on the monitoring, evaluation and learning priorities of our Advisory Services.
Root Capital seeks an experienced monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) professional to develop and oversee a comprehensive MEL system for our Advisory Services.
The MEL Officer will collaborate extensively with Root Capital Advisory Services and other staff across our global offices to design, roll out and oversee a new Advisory MEL system. The MEL Officer will review existing MEL efforts; gather input on information needs; design, test and validate new MEL approaches; pilot ideas; train team members on the new MEL tools and processes; and oversee implementation of the new system.
The position represents an exciting opportunity for candidates with MEL experience to lead the development, operationalization and oversight of our new Advisory MEL system to help us better track, measure, learn from, and communicate the effectiveness and impact of our work, in partnership with a strong global team.
Building on existing MEL processes, develop Root Capital’s new Advisory MEL strategy and systems
- Conduct comprehensive review of existing Advisory MEL systems, data and documents to determine lessons learned, what is working, and what needs improvement.
- Contribute to updating the Advisory Services theory of change.
- Lead the selection of global Advisory input, output, and outcome indicators that serve quality control and improvement, service monitoring, continuous learning and improvement, documentation and grant reporting needs.
- Develop MEL data collection tools and processes that are appropriate for the contexts we work, services we deliver, and team tasked with collecting data.
- Identify and implement, in collaboration with our Information Technology (IT) team, appropriate and user-friendly data storage systems compatible with our other MEL IT systems.
- Create process for identifying and sharing learnings to inform program design and improvements.
- Work closely with other Impact team members to ensure cohesion and efficiency with the organization’s existing MEL systems, especially with the Impact Analyst on client-level social and environmental metrics, and our impact evaluation team.
- Produce a written Advisory MEL plan that includes all of the above components and is clear, comprehensive, and actionable, and clearly identifies the MEL-related roles and responsibilities of all involved team members.
Oversee the piloting, refinement and rollout of the Advisory MEL system
- Plan rollout of new system, including timeframes, communications and capacity building plans, pilot sites, and global launch.
- Communicate system components to relevant teams; build capacity in new processes and activities and provide required tools and technical support, coordinating closely with our regional and global Advisory teams, especially our Quality Assurance Officer.
- Lead the piloting, refinement and global rollout of the MEL system.
Ensure the successful implementation and effectiveness of the Advisory MEL system
- Clean and analyze qualitative and quantitative Advisory MEL data.
- Share regular, timely, data-driven information and learnings with the Advisory team to support program improvement and new program design.
- Produce reports, write-ups, presentations and other output from MEL data analysis.
- Contribute to the development of MEL frameworks for grant proposals and reports, in collaboration with the grant writing team.
- Work closely with our grants management team to ensure our MEL system captures the information required under our grant commitments.
- Provide ongoing capacity building in data collection and other MEL functions as needed.
- Ensure the quality of data collection, analysis and communication.
- Identify challenges with the system, devise and implement solutions, including updates to systems and processes as needed.
- As new Advisory Services are developed, ensure our existing systems and processes meet the needs of these new services and, where necessary, lead the design, testing, and implementation of MEL tools and systems for the new services.
Perform other relevant duties as assigned.
Skills & Experience
The ideal candidate will have:
- Master’s degree in social science, international development, public policy, or a closely related field.
- At least 5 years of experience working in monitoring and evaluation, with at least two of those years focused on developing MEL systems, ideally for non-profit institutions, including:
- Assessing educational, adult or business training programs for the purposes of maximizing effective training and learning (e.g. learning outcomes, trainer effectiveness, inclusiveness indicators and rapid-loop learning for program strengthening)
- Designing qualitative and quantitative indicators across logic models
- Developing data collection protocols and collecting field-level data
- Conducting and presenting data analysis, including through data visualization
- Overseeing MEL work implemented by contractors and/or internal teams, providing guidance and ensuring quality
- Strong knowledge of monitoring and learning best practices, approaches and methods.
- Academic training and professional experience in qualitative or quantitative research methods, with a preference for both.
- Experience with training or capacity building programs, ideally in a low- or medium-income country.
- Proven ability to produce and present compelling reports for both technical and non-technical stakeholders.
- Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Proficiency with statistical software (preferably Stata). Experience with Salesforce preferred.
- Superior written and oral communication skills in English. Working proficiency (ability to read and write internal communications and converse with internal staff) in Spanish is a firm requirement.
- Proven ability to lead highly participatory co-creation processes, including strong listening skills, and a customer service and solutions-oriented approach.
- Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate and work with a wide variety of audiences (Root Capital staff across our global offices, donors and investors, technical partners).
- Attention to detail. Strong organization and project management skills.
- Works well as part of a team, horizontally and across departments, with colleagues outside of direct reporting lines.
- Self-starter with the ability to flexibly manage and prioritize multiple competing tasks; ability to thrive in a dynamic and entrepreneurial team environment.
- Willingness to travel in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, often in remote areas (3-4 times per year).
- Commitment to Root Capital’s mission.
- For a U.S.-based position, must be authorized to work in the United States.
- Knowledge of impact investing, agricultural finance or agricultural development a plus.
Commensurate with experience.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Candidates are encouraged to apply using the form below as soon as possible, making sure to include a resume and cover letter. Please note that candidates moving on to the next round will be required to provide an example of a MEL plan or framework that you have developed. Finalist candidates will be required to provide at least three work-related references. More information about Root Capital is available at www.rootcapital.org.