Senior Advisor Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)-IPA


NGO / Nonprofit Charitable Organizations

tanzania - Dar-es-Salaam or Kampala full-time Closing date - 25/11/2021

Job Summary

Minimum qualification: Bachelors degree

Minimum years of experience: 3

Job Description

About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 600 leading academics to conduct over 900 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

Innovations for Poverty Action’s Right-Fit Evidence (RFE) Unit is seeking a Senior Advisor to join our growing Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) advisory practice.

The Right-Fit Evidence Unit (RFE) at IPA is a global advisory team aimed at helping organizations make better use data and evidence to learn and adapt their programs and increase their effectiveness. In close collaboration with IPA’s sector programs, policy team, and country office teams worldwide, the unit advises organizations on how to use data and evidence to design more effective programs and create meaningful measurement routines and accompanies them through the process of analysis and adaptation. Clients include NGOs, funders, social businesses and governments.

The Senior Advisor will help develop and implement Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) advisory engagements. We expect the position to focus on a particular project in the first 18 to 24 months where IPA will be the main learning partner for a cross-country and multi-partner initiative aimed at testing early stage interventions to improve learning outcomes for vulnerable or out-of-school children in East African humanitarian settings. This provides a rare opportunity to guide a challenging and ambitious program where iterative learning is front and center, with real space for fast iterative learning cycles.

The position can either be based in Dar es Salaam or Kampala and will likely require between 15 and 25% travel (once the COVID-19 pandemic eases). The position will report primarily to an Engagement Manager from IPA’s global RFE team and will also receive support and administrative oversight from a leader in the IPA country office where it will be based (Tanzania or Uganda).

We encourage those with the following profiles to apply as these skills and interests are a particularly strong fit:

  • Management consultants with some international development experience who would be excited in a career shift to an entrepreneurial and impact-focused environment leveraging their skillset
  • M&E practitioners who are interested in broadening their scope and impact on the field by advising multiple organizations on state-of-the-art M&E practices
  • Research professionals in international development who enjoy working closely with practitioners and are interested in broadening their scope to all the types of data and evidence that can inform decisions

Irrespective of their background, RFE staff tend to learn through their work, and this position is great fit for anyone with a growth-oriented mindset.


Under the guidance of an Engagement Manager specific to each project, and sometimes with support from M&E Associates and in partnership with IPA’s country office teams, you will lead the implementation of RFE advisory engagements for clients working to improve international development outcomes (NGOs, governments, social businesses, funders, etc.), working closely with them to develop tailor-made solutions for their MEL needs and support their implementation. This includes the following responsibilities

  • Strategic and technical contribution: provision of advice and tools to advance partners’ learning goals in their programs, such as:
    • Assisting clients to identify M&E questions to test the assumptions in their theory of change, and to design cost-effective approaches to rigorously test these assumptions
    • Providing technical advice, to partners on the development and implementation of M&E plans, the design of indicators, data collection methods, and data management.
    • Co-creating prototyping and iterative learning plans to improve early-stage program activities 
    • Designing learning-oriented process evaluations
    • Project management: lead work planning and project management to ensure effective and timely implementation of our work
    • Stakeholder communication: Maintain strong communication and partnership with key stakeholders, including direct stakeholder management with leadership staff from partner organizations
    • Workshop design and implementation: Design and facilitate various kinds of external MEL-related workshops
    • Research design and analysis: Take part in the design, implementation and analysis of data collection and other evaluative work (which RFE does sometimes in complement to partners’ own MEL, including on this project)
    • Professional deliverables: Own the preparation and presentation of various types of advisory and analytical deliverables, maintaining the highest standards of communication efficiency
    • Support on the development of new RFE engagements including taking part in scoping meetings, contributing to the design of methodologies, and writing concept notes or proposals
    • While working on these engagements, you will also bring your own contributions to the ongoing improvement of RFE’s advisory service offerings.


  • Bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy, social science, or a related field
  • 3-6 years of relevant work experience, including experience in M&E (public sector), organizational performance/R&D/operational research (private sector), or experience in management consulting/other professional services
  • Superior analytical and conceptual thinking skills
  • Familiarity with statistics and data analysis (including Excel)
  • Strong client-facing and presentation skills. Ability to present information in a structured and insightful way, both in writing and orally.
  • Self-starter, entrepreneurial mindset, versatility, and ability to learn at a fast pace.
  • Passion for making data-driven decisions a reality in the international development sector.

Preferred additional qualifications

  • Master’s degree in economics, public policy, social science, or a related field
  • Experience living and working in developing countries, particularly East Africa
  • Familiarity with the concepts surrounding the Theory of Change and the core tools of M&E (both quantitative and qualitative research methods)
  • Familiarity with SurveyCTO, Open Data Kit or similar survey software
  • Ability to use Stata, R or similar statistical software

Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Senior Advisor, Right-Fit Evidence Unit”.  Most applications for research positions require you to include at minimum two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application. Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview


Our Clients