Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Director – Kenya

* This role is subject to funding and donor approval. The final selected candidate will be asked to provide 3-5 references and a letter of commitment

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program

Since 2008, Mercy Corps Kenya has worked to build strong, peaceful communities. Programming including governance, social cohesion, humanitarian response, market systems development, and climate change adaptation programming, among others. Through our work across a diversity of program activities, Mercy Corps supports the establishment and cultivation of resilient livelihoods.

Mercy Corps is seeking a dynamic Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Lead to support the implementation of an anticipated Kenya Local Food Systems Activity. The proposed program aims convene the private sector, civil society, and government as partners with Kenyan communities to drive inclusive growth and well-being. The program will promote inclusive agricultural growth, strengthen the resilience of people and systems, improve nutrition, and integrate gender, youth, climate smart approaches, and social inclusion.

The Position

The CLA Lead will ensure that collaboration, learning and adaptation is not only integrated but fully operationalized in program design and implementation. This means driving coordination with others, making evidence-based decisions, and iteratively adapting throughout implementation to remain relevant and on course.

The CLA Lead will be responsible for leading strategy discussions, providing technical assistance and developing successful mechanisms for collaboration, learning and adaptation using USAID CLA principles and framework. They will use USAID’s Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation (CLA) principles to effectively integrate real time monitoring and learning back into the project strategy and implementation and ensure knowledge is shared with the broader stakeholders. The CLA Lead will work in close collaboration with the Mercy Corps Performance and Quality (PaQ) team, MEL staff, program learning staff, and partners to ensure program outcomes are effectively measured, learning is captured and the approach is adapted. In consultation with the program team, they will be responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the program-wide CLA system, as well as implementing an internal CLA capacity-building strategy that trains and mentors staff and promotes a culture of learning.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Provide leadership, training and mentoring in the development of CLA Plans, CLA tools, survey design, methodology, data analysis, and other skills required for assessing the impact of the program.
  • Provide technical contributions to CLA efforts to ensure the program aligns with any Government of Kenya standards; Gender Diversity and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) standards; and Conflict Sensitivity into all activities as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with external evaluators on the design and roll out of the program baseline, midterm and final evaluations, while setting up effective systems for learning.
  • Lead the program’s learning agenda, measurement and prepare/document adaptive management measures put in place (this may include sharing with wider internal/ external audience).
  • Drive the implementation of frequent pause and reflect meetings, which contribute to adaptive management.
  • Participate in the facilitation of strategic planning sessions.


  • Lead program and MEL teams to adopt a holistic program-level CLA system.
  • Ensures programs use the necessary CLA systems and tools, to inform and improve each individual program, as well as feed into the broader country-level CLA system, CARM, and Kenya country strategy.
  • Strengthen CARM (Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism) practices, work closely with the program team to come up with innovative ways of promoting CARM, and ensure programs use Community Accountability and Reporting Mechanism data to inform and improve implementation as well as feeding into documentation of best practices.
  • Lead on aligning, collecting and reporting on relevant food security, nutrition, and CLA indicators to the organizational-wide MEL systems, and other external systems as relevant.
  • Ensure that teams are collecting sex and age disaggregated data and using gender sensitive data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse participants.
  • Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the CLA systems meet the needs of program leadership and help address shortfalls in CLA that affect program implementation.
  • Prepare analysis from available sources including MEL findings (e.g. lessons learned, program monitoring, and surveys/ evaluations), CARM, field challenges, and lead sessions to develop adaptive management guidance/ recommendations.
  • Contribute to program design to ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ PM@MC minimum standards and CLA best practices.
  • Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information in programs.


  • Develop and oversee implementation of the CLA staff and partner capacity building strategy that promotes a culture of learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.
  • Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent CLA system, including regular reflection and analysis of program monitoring data.
  • Work closely with the Chief of Party (CoP), program team, Human Resources and Finance to ensure that CLA skills are incorporated into all program position descriptions and positions are budgeted for.
  • Contribute to the knowledge management repository with best practices in CLA and ensure that it is accessible to all staff and partners.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.


  • Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of CLA best practices.
  • Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library and the Hub to enhance organizational learning where relevant to CLA.
  • Maintain close working relationships with CLA counterparts in other relevant international actors and food security, cash and education actors in Liberia and the region.
  • Participate in workshops and learning-related activities and their inclusion in the program workplan.
  • Attend relevant learning events hosted by other partners as well as implementation of sector-specific learning events with partners and local stakeholders.


  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.


  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to program participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility

CLA Team


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Program, PaQ, MEL, CARM, HR, TSU (Technical Support Unit), finance and operations teams

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • BA/S degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, project management, MA/S strongly preferred.
  • 5+ years of progressive work experience in collaborative research and development programming required with proven use of program technology.
  • Experience with theoretical and practical background in MEL and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques preferred.
  • Experience with data management including the ability to structure and collate data sets for ease of analysis preferred.
  • Proven experience with systems thinking or systems approaches to programming.
  • Proven experience developing iterative learning systems or ‘feedback loops’ within development programs or organizational learning contexts.
  • Experience mentoring and building technical capacity of individuals and institutions.
  • Knowledge of food security, cash transfer and/or school feeding programs is a plus.
  • Excellent computer skills (especially Microsoft office applications) and ability to use information technology as a tool and resource.
  • Demonstrated experience in training and capacity building across diverse teams and partners.
  • Excellent project management, time management, and organizational skills. Multi-tasking skills and ability to work under pressure.
  • Strong writing, editing, public speaking skills and good leadership skills.
  • Ability to summarize and simplify complex information and communicate it to the targeted groups.
  • Excellent stakeholder management skills.
  • Exceptional English writing skills.
  • Previous experience in Kenya or similar context is essential

Success Factors

The successful candidate should have experience and expertise leading collaboration efforts and translating programmatic learning into adaptive programming. They should also have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. They should have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The CLA Director is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The location is accompanied and secure. Housing is individual accommodation with nearly unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are many international schools within Kenya and staff have good access to basic services. This position requires 30% travel by road and flight to field offices and areas which may lack basic services found in Nairobi. [TM1] [ML2]

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient, and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply

Please apply here:

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