Lead Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) Consultant

Imani Consultants Ltd.

Job Description: Lead Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) Consultant

Who we are:

Imani Consultants Ltd. (ICL) is an economic development consultancy with offices in Blantyre and Lilongwe, Malawi. It is a regional office of the international group Imani Development International Ltd. (IDIL), which hosts offices and consultants in countries including South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Cyprus, and Scotland. ICL has been operating in Malawi since 1996, conducting a range of social and economic development assignments with specific emphasis on developing and implementing strong Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) systems over the last 20 years.

ICL’s approaches to MEL design and implementation are often guided by the OECD-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. ICL takes a learning-centric approach to MEL design, ensuring that indicators, logframes, and other metrics capture the information required to document lessons learned, successes, key barriers/challenges, and general best practices. Based on these findings, recommendations are often made to inform scale up or develop future similar initiatives.

Core elements of ICL’s MEL capability include: (1) comprehensive and insightful deployment of a range of quantitative and qualitative MEL methods/tools across the project cycle; (2) efficient collection, processing and critical analysis of data from real sources including key informant nterviews (KIIs), household surveys, focus groups discussions (FGDs); and (3) design and development of bespoke MEL frameworks tailored to clients’ requirements.

Agriculture and agribusiness are central to our work. ICL has strong experience researching, mapping, critically analysing, and making recommendations for the development of a variety of value chains (VCs) in Malawi and across the SADC region. ICL consultants have carried out evaluations and programmatic consulting services in several of Malawi’s major VCs.

We are a lean, focused and collaborative team looking for the right Lead Consultant to take us in exciting new directions. Our perfect fit will be a strong servant leader with strategic vision, project management expertise, excellent communication skills (both within the office and with external partners/clients) and an eagerness to learn and grow.

What you’ll contribute:

Expertise in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Research

  • Create polished, professional and bespoke proposals for new qualitative and quantitative consultancies, including designing appropriate research methodologies and monitoring and evaluation frameworks, with tasks such as:
    • Determining appropriate sample size and data collection methodologies
    • Designing and testing research tools
    • Overseeing the management of field teams for data collection
    • Verifying, cleaning, and analysing data
    • Report writing and presentation of results
  • Manage MEL consultancies start-to-finish, taking responsibility for financial and administrative management, including but not limited to:
    • Client communication from contracting to final presentation stages
    • Ensuring that projects are adequately resourced with sufficient personnel, including sub-contracting and overseeing associate support (i.e. enumerators, external consultants) as needed
    • Reporting and communicating results in a professional, polished format
    • Designing and adhering to budgets, including cashflow forecasting and ensuring consultancies are delivered within the stipulated budget
  • Provide relevant, well-informed, experience-backed technical advising (TA) and research services to clients in areas such as agriculture, access to finance, trade and regional integration, stakeholder engagement in value chains/market systems, and others

Team Management and Collaboration

  • Mentor, coordinate and lead a team of Consultants including Junior MEL Consultants, Data Analysts, Qualitative Researchers, and support personnel
  • Oversee goalsetting, key performance indicator establishment and tracking, performance reviews, weekly oversight over activities, and other management as required
  • Identify opportunities for capacity building and skills development for team members; provide specific support to junior consultants growing their capacity

Business Growth and Development

  • Maintain excellent networking and keep a pulse on the consulting landscape to bring in new business
  • Monitor MEL procurement listings on a regular basis for new opportunities and independently develop proposals responding to opportunities in alignment with Imani’s strategic focus areas
  • Liaise between the MEL Consulting team and Imani’s senior management in both Malawi and South Africa to ensure strategic alignment, mobilise resources, and pursue opportunities both within Malawi and the SADC region
  • Maintain a knowledge and learning management system for completed MEL projects, including project references and financial records
  • Represent Imani at engagements with public and private sector clients, stakeholders, collaborators and associates

 What you’ll gain:

  • Leading a streamlined, dynamic, progressive-thinking team of consultants and analysts in a fast-paced environment
  • Exposure to various clients and partners in several sectors and countries across the region
  • On the ground exposure to agricultural development and the challenges and opportunities it presents
  • Opportunity to produce research to inform development programmes, policymaking, and investment, with tangible impacts in Malawi
  • Opportunity to seek consultancies of interest and expand into new topic areas

Who we’re looking for:

  • Minimum of a Master’s degree in a related field (such as International Development, Economics, Agricultural Development, Social Science); PhD preferred
  • 8+ years of experience designing and implementing MEL systems, as well as practical quantitative and qualitative research (ideally in Malawi/SADC region)
  • 3+ years of progressive, demonstrable management and leadership experience
  • Experience in MEL methodologies including quantitative and qualitative approaches, CAPI data collection tools, and proficient use of data processing software, such as STATA, SPSS, NVivo, Excel etc.; knowledge and application of the DCED is a plus
  • Experience managing consulting projects in agriculture and agribusiness (in addition to MEL assignments)
  • Specific expertise in agricultural systems (including production and value chain systems, agri-finance, and smallholder farmer support/capacity building, agribusiness, private sector development, etc.)
  • Experience in project management, including financial management (specifically creating and adhering to budgets, cashflow forecasting, financial documentation)
  • Ability to write and communicate with a range of stakeholders – from smallholder farmers to government officials – clearly and concisely
  • Proactive, highly motivated and able to work with minimal supervision
  • Experience living and working in Malawi or SADC region highly preferred
  • Spoken and written fluency in English is essential; fluency in Chichewa is an asset

 If you might be the right fit:

Please submit your CV and a cover letter to blantyre@imanidevelopment.com, copying john@imanidevelopment.com and ellie@imanidevelopment.com, by Monday 31st May. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

In your cover letter, please answer the following questions:

  • In brief, what is your philosophy on development? What works, and what doesn’t?
  • What is your leadership style? How do you collaborate?
  • What are your salary expectations and start date availability?