Monitoring Evaluation Research and Learning (MERL) Director – Kenya

***The position is contingent upon donor approval***

About Plan International

Plan International is a rights-based development and humanitarian organization working for better lives for all children. We are independent of government and have no political or religious affiliation. Our purpose is to strive for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for more than 80 years, and are now active in more than 70 countries. Our global strategy has a specific focus on girls, as they are often the most marginalized and most often left behind. We have committed ourselves to the ambitious target of reaching 100 million girls over 5 years, to ensure they can learn, lead, decide and thrive. This is our contribution to reaching the sustainable development goals, and in particular the goals on gender equality. Our organization is transforming itself to meet this enormous challenge everywhere we work. We need bold, forward-thinking and innovative individuals to lead our country operations, driving change and delivering results that will allow us to reach our target of 100 million girls.

With over 38 years of experience in implementing its programme, Plan International Kenya (PIK) mainly operates in 11 geographical areas; Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Tharaka-Nithi, Siaya, Kwale, Kilifi, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Marsabit and Tana River.

Plan International Kenya Strategy statement

Plan International Kenya’s (PIK) strategic goal in the next five years is to end teenage pregnancies and end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women. We aim to help create an enabling environment where girls and young women are safe, valued, equally cared for, and have equal opportunities. PIK will contribute to the global strategy by aiming to reach directly approximately 2.75 million (children, including girls and young women over the period of the strategy 2022-2026 and to reach additional beneficiaries through its interventions.

Project and Position Description

Plan International Kenya is seeking suitable candidates for Programme Director, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) Director and Technical Director for an anticipated 5 year USD 27 million programme funded by the LEGO Foundation and Grundfos Foundation. The programme is expected to empower teachers to deliver inclusive, play-based learning in line with Kenya’s competency based curriculum to create an enabling environment for quality learning in schools and generating rigorous evidence on teachers professional development interventions. The programme will be implemented in refugee and host communities of Turkana and Garissa counties, with some significant national components as well.

The Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Director will provide oversight for program’s planning, evaluation, knowledge management and monitoring. He/she will identify performance indicators and develop quality assurance strategies, maintain contact with program partners and ensure all program aspects comply with institutional requirements. He/she will develop an effective communication framework to enable all parties share and access all knowledge and information. He/she will provide technical leadership to capture program intervention activities and results, ensure high-quality, timely, valid and verifiable data collection and analysis, and lead dissemination and use of analysis findings to inform project leadership as well as external stakeholders, for continuous project improvement and adaptive management. The MERL Director will be based within the Programme Management Unit in Nairobi with frequent travels to Turkana and Garissa.

Reports to: Program Director

Accountabilities and main work activities

Programme Development and implementation (55%)

  • Coordinate the development and oversee the implementation of the programme Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning framework, and ensure it responds to programme changes.
  • Ensure that the programme MERL framework continuously informs the development and adaptation of programme strategies and interventions along the programme’s path to change.
  • Work with the programme’s other directors to identify and respond to projects risks in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Co-lead the consortium’s MERL Working Group, including managing and overseeing the programme’s Research Agenda.
  • Manage the Programme’s MERL team and provide mentoring and capacity building to consortium partners.
  • Ensure the programme actively generates and disseminates robust evidence on Learning Through Play, Teacher Professional Development, Gender Transformative Education, WASH in schools, and other relevant thematic areas.
  • Oversee the implementation of research activities, through partners, and ensure that these comply with Plan International and national standards for ethical, quality research.

Working in Partnership, External engagement and representation (20%)

  • Engage and maintain cordial stakeholder relationships throughout the project cycle for effective project delivery and achievement.
  • Represent Plan International in different technical working groups at National and County level.
  • Uphold the principles of Building Better Partnerships
  • Participate fully in Technical working groups at National and county level.
  • Maintain a high level of external visibility, communication and contact at the county, sub county and ward levels.
  • Build and strengthen working relations with local structures (local administration, schools, facilities among others) and ensuring visibility of Plan International where we have interventions
  • Ensure the KCO is kept informed on any development in the County, including but not limited to major donor visits, county planning events, county commitments, targeted county meetings and engagement events, security incidences among others within the County

Financial Responsibility (5%)

  • Ensure appropriate Financial and Logistical PIK systems/ procedures are adhered to within programming
  • Develop quarterly and monthly activity costed plans and budgets as per donor approved work plan and ensure all activities are on track with appropriate scheduling, quality and timelines.
  • Overall budget management for department ensuring appropriate burn-rates are maintained and that solutions to over/under expenditure are applied;

Risk Management (10)

  • Identify and manage project risks
  • Promote compliance with Plan Kenya and donor requirements and regulations in project implementation

Safeguarding Children and Young People (Safeguarding) and Gender Equality and Inclusion (GEI) (5%)

  • Understands and puts into practice the responsibilities under Safeguarding and GEI policies and Plan International’s Code of Conduct (CoC), ensuring that concerns are reported and managed in accordance with the appropriate procedures.
  • Leads the orientation of programme staff to ensure that they are properly inducted on and understands their role in upholding Plan International’s safeguarding and GEI policies;
  • Ensures that Plan International’s global policies for Safeguarding Children and Young People and Gender Equality and Inclusion are fully embedded in project design, during implementation and as principles applied in day-to-day work of Programme team;
  • Ensures that the project contributes to Plan International’s global efforts to ensure safeguarding and GEI, including making sure that relevant reporting and data are submitted.

Other duties (5%)

  • As assigned by the line manager.

Qualifications/ experience essential:

  • Masters degree in monitoring and evaluation, project management, international development, education, economics, social sciences, or a related field.
  • At least 10 years of relevant experience, coordinating and providing MERL leadership to large and complex grants involving multiple partners.
  • Excellent qualitative and quantitative research skills, also including computer data analysis (SPSS, R, Nvivo etc.) and digital data collection (Kobo, CommCare etc.)
  • Experience managing external large scale randomised evaluations, selecting appropriate assessment tools for teacher instructional practice, child learning outcomes, and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.
  • Knowledge of reporting procedures, best practices, data management, guidelines, methods, and approaches for MERL.
  • Proven ability to represent an organization at a senior level and to build strong relationships at the local, national, and international levels.
  • Proven ability to lead diverse staff and cross-organizational teams, manage performance, foster a positive working environment, and manage issues sensitively and diplomatically.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and authoritatively on area of expertise, and influence others to reach common goals.
  • Experience in leading team, coaching, and mentoring staff and partners.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, understanding Swahili will be an advantage.

Qualifications/ experience desirable:

  • Experience working on or supporting research into programmes related to Learning Through Play as defined and understood by the LEGO Foundation.
  • Experience implementing MERL activities in both development, humanitarian and refugee settings.
  • Understanding of the education landscape in Kenya, the Ministry of Education, Kenya Teacher Service Commission, and/or Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Human-Centred Design principles.
  • Experience defining and measuring triggers for adaptive programme management.
  • A track-record of Evidence-Based Policy Research.
  • Strong connections with relevant research groups in Kenya or East Africa.

Languages required

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in Kiswahili and English is essential. Knowledge of the local language is an added advantage.


  • Ability to design, a robust M&E system
  • Ability to influence power holders about the need for and benefits of addressing needs of women and girls and how they are impacted within refugee settings.
  • Excellent relationship building skills – networking, influencing and stakeholder management skills
  • Ability to identify, analyze and monitor diverse, relevant external actors to work with and understand the purpose and implications of working with them.
  • Experience in capacity building

How to apply

To access the full job description and make an online application please follow the link below

Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the very heart of everything that Plan International stands for.

We want Plan International to reflect the diversity of the communities we work with, offering equal opportunities to everyone regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Plan International is based on a culture of inclusivity and we strive to create a workplace environment that ensures every team, in every office, in every country, is rich in diverse people, thoughts, and ideas.

We foster an organisational culture that embraces our commitment to racial justice, gender equality, girls’ rights and inclusion.

Plan International believes that in a world where children face so many threats of harm, it is our duty to ensure that we, as an organisation, do everything we can to keep children safe. This means that we have particular responsibilities to children that we come into contact with and we must not contribute in any way to harming or placing children at risk.

A range of pre-employment checks will be undertaken in conformity with Plan International’s Safeguarding Children and Young People policy. Plan International also participates in the Inter Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. In line with this scheme we will request information from applicants previous employers about any findings of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment during employment, or incidents under investigation when the applicant left employment. By submitting an application, the job applicant confirms their understanding of these recruitment procedures.

Please note that Plan International will never send unsolicited emails requesting payment from candidates.

Early application is encouraged, as we will review applications on a rolling basis throughout the advertising period.

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