Temporary Senior Cash Learning Advisor

Mercy Corps
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Apr 29

Position description

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.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) and Research and Learning (R&L) teams work closely together to support quality programming and evidence-driven learning across Mercy Corps global programs.

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject-matter experts help set agency strategy and provide consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to field offices worldwide, in some of the world’s toughest places. TSU team members lead research, foster organizational learning, represent Mercy Corps to external audiences, and develop partnerships. The TSU is also integral to global business development and revenue. Within the TSU, the Cash team is responsible for supporting innovative and effective Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) programming, with a focus on delivering impact at scale. The Cash TSU also leads the Cash Matrix team, a cross-organizational body focused on supporting connected elements of CVA programming, such as quality assurance, technology, and food security.

The Research and Learning team enhances Mercy Corps’ ability to deliver high impact programming, learn from that programming, and influence major debates and decisions affecting our work by supporting the generation and use of high quality evidence. A key priority for Mercy Corps is to expand our research, evidence, learning and influence on issues cash-based programming. Mercy Corps requires a Senior Cash Learning Advisor to advance our work in these areas.

General Position Summary

 

The Senior Cash Learning Advisor is a resourceful, motivated, and analytically capable individual who will provide technical support on Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and collaboratively define and drive the research and learning agenda related to cash, with a focus on social protection and other key topics related to market recovery, food security, and economic opportunities. They will make critical contributions to the following objectives:

  • Promote innovative and evidence-informed CVA program strategies: The position will ensure Mercy Corps’ CVA programs are designed to test innovations and build upon the best available evidence. This will entail sourcing, synthesizing, and integrating existing evidence – from Mercy Corps and external sources – into our sectoral strategies, technical approaches, and program designs.

 

  • Design and provide technical support to evidence-generating CVA programs: The Senior Advisor will identify and help execute research and learning opportunities that align with Mercy Corps priorities for evidence on CVA programming. This will require being closely engaged in the development of new proposals and programs, especially those that focus on delivery at scale, and integrating strong learning agendas and/or research designs that support adaptive management and contribute to the evidence-base on CVA.

 

  • Support evidence-based influence on CVA: The position will bring to bear Mercy Corps’ evidence and learning on CVA programs and issues to shape major debates and decisions affecting our field and the outcomes we seek to achieve. As a leading spokesperson on this topic, the Senior Advisor will leverage evidence to inform donors, governments, and other humanitarian and development actors’ policies and practices around CVA.

 

The position will report to the Director of Markets and Cash within Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit, and work in close collaboration with the Senior Director of Research and Learning, to achieve programming goals and influence policies and practices of national and global actors toward more impactful, effective and principled CVA programming.

 


Essential Job Responsibilities

STRATEGY AND PRIORITY SETTING

  • Facilitate the development and regular updating of a research and learning agenda on topics connected to cash, delivery at scale, social protection, and market recovery, and their links with food security and economic opportunity outcomes.
  • Work closely with the R&L, TSU, and country teams, including Ukraine, to define and align learning agendas on cash-related topics.
  • Assist global, regional and country program leaders in identifying, planning, and addressing priority research and learning needs, with a major focus on Mercy Corps’ crisis response, including in/around Ukraine.
  • Track global policy developments affecting cash programming, social protection, delivery at scale, and economic recovery to stay abreast of noteworthy emerging trends, and to identify opportunities for research and analysis to influence the policies and trends. Keep up to date on relevant strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups. Work with Mercy Corps to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence relevant external debates, decisions, or materials.
  • Stay abreast of Mercy Corps project developments, designs, and implementation that provide opportunities for research and learning, including through reading reports and building and maintaining relationships with country program managers and directors.

PROGRAM AND PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Gather/analyze data and complete assessments to determine program needs and priorities and Mercy Corps’ competitive advantage for funding. Review and collaborate on design of proposals, concept notes, and program strategies related to CVA for funding from donors including foundations, corporations, and US, European, and UN agencies.
  • Work with country teams and other members of the Cash Matrix team to drive forward strategic initiatives such as collaborative cash delivery models, cash and social protection, opportunities to link cash with financial inclusion, and markets in crisis.
  • Work with Mercy Corps’ other departments on the piloting, evidence-building, and growth of tech-based CVA, in line with agency priorities.

PROGRAM QUALITY

  • Participate as an active, integrated member of the team providing technical support to a portfolio of field programs that are central to Mercy Corps’ cash learning agenda.
  • Help program teams gather, develop and/or refine, and disseminate materials that support quality implementation related to core learning agenda topics. This could include tools such as training presentations and manuals, guidance notes, best practices and lessons learned, program examples, and monitoring tools.
  • Strengthen capacity of Mercy Corps staff to better design and implement CVA programs, building on and contributing to an evidence base for innovative and effective cash programming.

EVIDENCE GENERATION

  • Support the design of studies, including defining research questions, and advising on data collection methods, instruments, analysis plans, and partnerships.
  • As needed, review and/or author key learning products, evidence-based approach documents, and research pieces.
  • Play a key role in supporting and coordinating as the primary liaison between the country programs and the MC Research and Learning team, and other relevant global teams, such as Program Performance and Quality (PaQ), and relevant Technical Support Unit teams, to develop and implement research projects.

 

COMMUNICATION AND USE OF EVIDENCE

  • In collaboration with regional, country, and HQ teams, promote awareness and use of significant CVA-related research findings among regional and country teams in new, ongoing, and past programs.
  • Promote external awareness and uptake of research through publishing in widely-read outlets, participating and presenting in relevant forums, and leveraging connections with technical experts, policy makers and thought leaders.
  • As needed, represent and drive Mercy Corps participation in relevant cash collaboration bodies and manage strategic partnerships including to share our evidence and insights on CVA issues.

 


Supervisory Responsibility

  • As needed, manages and and coordinates the work of consultants and external researchers, data analysts, research assistants, and interns

Accountability

Reports Directly To: Director, Markets and Cash

Works Directly With: Country Technical Program Director/managers, TSU (Food Security, T4D, Markets, Protection, Financial Inclusion), and Global Research and Learning team.

 

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.


Knowledge and Experience

  • A MA/S or equivalent degree in International Development, International Relations, or equivalent experience in a relevant field.
  • 5-7 years of demonstrated skills in programming and policy-relevant research, including past experience working with humanitarian issues and complex emergencies.
  • Knowledgeable about latest industry trends on CVA programming and layering cash with market support interventions.
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to effectively gather and make sense of large amounts of information from various sources.
  • Ability to summarize and persuasively communicate complex information in written and verbal form to different audiences.
  • Demonstrated skills with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Experience with designing or managing experimental or quasi-experimental impact evaluations is desirable.
  • Experience with policy engagement with proven capabilities using research and evidence to influence decisions and policy makers, politicians, donors, and other key actors.
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to effectively multi-task, work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
  • English proficiency and excellent oral and written French language skills preferred.
  • Experience conducting research in fragile, conflict affected contexts.
  • Track record of publishing in journals and/or media outlets, is a plus.


Success Factors

To be successful in this role, the Senior Cash Learning Advisor will demonstrate significant experience supporting CVA programs and research in the field, further enhancing their ability to adjust technical theories to meet real world complexities while advancing learning agendas. The individual should be able to take initiatives and operate with minimal supervision. The Advisor will have the proven ability to influence donors, partners, and peer organizations toward innovative programs and best practices. They will build and maintain external relationships with HQ-based partners and donors and with the various coordination platforms, as well as demonstrating the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts.

Application instructions

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