Senior Advisor for Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL)

Posting Number: #004-24

Position Title: Senior Advisor for Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL)

Closing Date: Until Filled

Location: Washington, DC

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A. Summary Statement:

The Public Health Institute (PHI) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. As one of the largest and most comprehensive public health organizations in the nation, we are at the forefront of research and innovations to improve the efficacy of public health statewide, nationally, and internationally.

The Global Health Training, Advisory and Support Contract (GHTASC) delivers effective global health programming to advance the mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Global Health (GH) through institutional support and workforce development services from junior, mid-level, senior and expert advisory and administrative professionals.


B. Position Summary:

USAID’s Bureau for Global Health supports health programs in partner countries, advances research and innovation in areas relevant to overall Agency health objectives, and transfers new technologies through its own programmatic work, coordination with other donors, and a portfolio of grants. Global health is a global good with consequences that not only affect the people of developing nations, but also directly affect the interests of American citizens.

The Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, within USAID’s Bureau for Global Health (GH/MCHN), serves as the Agency’s technical and policy lead on maternal newborn and child health, immunization, nutrition, and environmental health, with a focus on preventing child and maternal deaths and improved nutrition, and supporting other related Agency priorities. Cross-cutting activities managed by the Office in support of this goal include private sector partnerships, social and behavior change, MCHN policy, multilateral partnerships, gender, innovation, monitoring, evaluation, research/research utilization and learning (MERL).

MCHN’s Research and Policy Division (GH/MCHN/RP) is responsible for technical leadership, guidance, and coordination to advance a systematic approach to the use of policy, behavior change, community and private sector engagement, innovation, monitoring, evaluation, research/research utilization and learning to accelerate the uptake, sustained and effective use of, and scale-up of maternal, newborn, child, water, and sanitation (WASH) and nutrition programming. The RPD is one of four divisions in the MCHN Office, which also includes the Maternal and Newborn Health Division, the Child Health and Immunization Division and the Nutrition and Environmental Health Division. RPD staff support the MERL needs of other MCHN Divisions as well as USAID Missions, the Bureau for Global Health, and the Agency at large.

The Senior Advisor for Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) in Maternal, Child Health (MCH), and Nutrition will work as an institutional support contractor (ISC) in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN), Research and Policy (RP) Division. The Senior Advisor for MERL will provide technical support in the application of MERL in support of Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths Framework for Action and the Getting to 2030: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Technical Roadmap ( The Senior Advisor for Implementation Research in the RP Division will act as the USAID point of contact for this position. The position will work in a matrix management environment and be a member of one or more formal and informal teams.

The Senior Advisor will be responsible for providing MERL support to the MCHN Office, MCH/Nutrition/WASH-focused global projects, USAID Missions and USAID bilateral awards along with special MCHN Office, Bureau for Global Health and priority Agency initiatives, such as Primary Impact and Localization, as required. There are four major areas of responsibility:

  1. Contribute to USAID’s global technical leadership in MERL for MCH, Nutrition and WASH.
  2. Provide expert MERL support to USAID Missions and USAID global and bilateral projects.
  3. Contribute to USAID’s annual reporting, portfolio reviews and budget development processes and support special initiatives.
  4. Support analysis, documentation, knowledge management and dissemination activities working in collaboration with the MCHN communications team.

MERL support provided will include guidance on improving routine and periodic measurement of coverage, quality, equity, and cost of evidence based MCH and nutrition interventions and practices, use of data for decision making and individual and organizational capacity strengthening in MERL. This position will also conduct secondary analyses of data from sample surveys, routine data/monitoring systems, and other data sources; contribute to program evaluation and cost analysis design, implementation oversight and dissemination; contribute to development and/or review of Mission, project and office learning agendas and performance monitoring plans, and share MERL evidence and best practices. The MERL Advisor will further contribute to USAID’s global leadership activities in MERL for MCH, nutrition and WASH and the overall development of MCHN Office strategies and activities, development of theories of change, and priority setting. This is anticipated to be undertaken through collaboration with other donors and multilateral agencies including the World Bank, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and by engaging with USAID Mission staff within countries.

The successful candidate will have a wide range of MERL expertise and practical experience applying this expertise to the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, modification and scale up of evidence-based health-related programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Specifically, the candidate should have experience with program process, performance, and impact evaluation; implementation research; context and performance monitoring and innovative complexity aware monitoring and evaluation methods (e.g., Most Significant Change), as well as approaches to building MERL capacity among local actors and entities. In addition, experience in conducting cost analysis is preferred.

Employment Type: Full Time

Full salary range for this position is $133,380 to $200,720 per year, with the starting salary determined based on candidate’s knowledge, skills, experience, as well as budget availability.


C. Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Provide expert MERL support to USAID Missions, bilateral projects, and, as appropriate, Global Projects.

  • Provide expert MERL technical assistance to Missions in development of their Country Development Cooperation Strategies, new procurements, portfolio-wide performance monitoring plans, and/or analysis and development of portfolio-wide evaluations and learning agendas.
  • Serve as an MCHN Office MERL technical Advisor to one or more USAID country support teams.
  • Support efforts by Missions and LMIC stakeholders to use MERL data for decision making, accountability, and reporting to develop and strengthen policies, strategies, programs, and domestic resource mobilization that advances mortality reduction.
  • Serve as a Technical Advisor for USAID global and/or country bilateral projects.
  • Review and provide guidance on project workplans, theories of change, performance monitoring plans, learning agendas, study protocols, data collection tools, learning products, and external evaluation scopes of work.
  • Support capacity building in MERL for USAID mission staff and LMIC partner country counterparts.
  • Facilitate sharing and adoption of MERL best practices by USAID Missions as well as bilateral and global programs.

Contribute to USAID annual review, reporting and budget development processes and support special initiatives.

  • Conduct data analysis and data visualization to develop data and knowledge projects working in support of the MCHN communications team in support of dissemination of key messages, strategies, learning products, and evidence to priority stakeholder groups including Congress, MCH advocates, and Missions, and LMIC evidence champions.
  • Contribute to MCHN Office portfolio reviews and associated presentations and reports.
  • Contribute to reports to guide decision making by USAID/Washington and mission staff as well as reporting to Congress and other stakeholders. This includes drafting and review of annual reports and operational plans.
  • Respond to Agency taskers and other requests for information.
  • Participate in work plan development for agencies charged with collecting and analyzing MCHN data required for USAID reporting.
  • Support revision of and reporting on MCHN Office OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).
  • Provide MERL support to special projects that advance PCMD (e.g., USAID’s Primary Impact, Localization and other special initiatives, as required).

Support Documentation, Knowledge Management and Dissemination Activities

  • Stay current and share new knowledge on state-of-the art technical, policy, and programmatic developments in MERL for MCH, nutrition and WASH.
  • Facilitate global sharing of MERL best and promising practices from USAID MCHN-supported programs.
  • Help prepare and submit papers to professional journals and meetings.
  • Develop presentations of MCH, nutrition and WASH information to identify emerging trends and programmatic results and challenges to share with MCHN stakeholders, including Missions.

Contribute to USAID’s global technical leadership in MERL for MCH, Nutrition and WASH

  • Providing strategic guidance and expertise in global activities. Assist with the preparation and/or review of USAID strategies and plans to address needs at the global level. Advise on analyses to inform multidisciplinary program strategies.
  • Advance USAID’s global leadership role in MERL for MCH, Nutrition and WASH. Liaise with MCH MERL activities and stakeholders at relevant US Government Agencies, multilateral technical agencies, and donors (UNICEF, World Bank, WHO, regional development banks, CDC, private foundations).
  • Support USAID’s participation in MCH MERL technical working groups, task forces, and high-level professional meetings.
  • Help represent USAID MCH MERL interests in global, regional, and national-level MCH, nutrition, and health and development conferences, technical meetings/consultations and other dialogues.
  • Follow global developments and provide recommendations to USAID regarding the application of emerging evidence to USAID’s technical and strategic approaches.


Travel domestically and internationally (up to 25% of the time).

Perform other duties as assigned.


D. Qualification Requirements:

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree and 10 years of relevant experience, or bachelor’s degree and 12 years of relevant experience, or Associate’s degree and 14 years of relevant experience, or High School graduate and 16 years of relevant experience.

Other Qualifications:

  • Expertise with mixed qualitative and quantitative analytical methods.
  • Experience providing MCHN or comparable technical programming guidance (e.g., malaria, TB) based on MERL findings.
  • Experience in data analysis and creating data visualizations including charts, graphs, infographics and/or geographic information system maps of MCH, Nutrition and/or WASH data on quality, equity and/or coverage.
  • Experience with context and performance monitoring, including development and oversight of performance monitoring plans.
  • Experience implementing one or more relevant adaptive management approaches inclusive of complexity-aware monitoring and evaluation methods such as Most Significant Change and Outcome Harvesting.
  • Experience conducting and/or planning cost analyses for MCH, Nutrition and/or WASH interventions and programs (e.g., cost economy, cost-efficiency, cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, investment cases).
  • Experience designing and implementing program evaluations and implementation research studies and supporting use of the findings to improve national policies and/or program design and implementation.
  • Experience developing and implementing project theories of change and learning agendas.
  • Experience applying individual and organizational capacity strengthening approaches for MERL in LMIC, or comparable settings.
  • Experience developing project performance and learning products including performance reports, research reports, technical and policy briefs, peer reviewed manuscripts and presentations for technical meetings and conferences.
  • Proficiency in one or more of the following applications: Stata, R, SPSS, Dedoose, NVivo, ArcGIS, QGIS, DHIS2, Tableau, PowerBI, Canva/Venngage (or equivalent).
  • Project management experience, including strategic planning, workplan development, scope of work and concept note development, budget development and sub-award management.
  • Fluency in a language in addition to English such as French, Spanish, Kiswahili, or Portuguese preferred.
  • Ability to travel internationally and domestically up to 25% of the time.
  • US citizenship or permanent residency with the ability to obtain and maintain facility access.


E. Competencies

  • Innovation: Employee takes initiative to propose new ideas/approaches and demonstrates ability to find new and better ways to accomplish work.
  • Customer Service: Handles customer questions and complaints, communicates with customers, handles service problems politely and efficiently, always available for customers, follows procedure to solve customer problems, understands company products and services, maintains pleasant and professional image.
  • Accountability: Takes ownership of work responsibilities and holds high standards. Keeps commitments and takes appropriate actions to ensure obligations are met. Pursues efficiency and effectiveness and adheres to Organization policies and procedures.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Employee demonstrates ability to work in cooperation with others and communicate effectively with co-workers, supervisors, subordinates, clients, and other outside contacts.
  • Continual Learning: Assesses and recognizes own strengths and weaknesses; pursues professional development that is aligned with organizational role, contribution, and goals. Proactively shares knowledge with others to foster learning across the Organization.



Prior to submitting your application your resume must include relevant paid and non-paid experience showing dates held with month, year and hours worked per week for each position. Please ensure that all relevant experience and education is documented on your resume. There is no limitation to resume length; updates to resumes will not be accepted during the interview and selection process.



Per the PHI Workforce Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, it is a condition of employment for all domestic based employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless they are granted a reasonable accommodation under applicable law.


New hires need to provide proof of full vaccination prior to their start date or apply for an exemption/accommodation within three business days after their start date. Depending on the circumstances, new hires who do not comply with this Policy, or who cannot be reasonably accommodated, will either have their employment suspended or terminated. Candidates who are non-compliant will have their offers rescinded.


This position described in this announcement falls under a contract with the Federal Government, and therefore is subject to the provisions put forward in OMB Circular A-76 which prohibit contractors from performing inherently governmental functions.  Specifically, employees placed in agency positions will not perform inherently governmental functions, nor supervise any personnel other than the contractor’s own staff, nor make final decisions or sign documents that commit the U.S. Government



The Public Health Institute is committed to a policy that provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition including genetic characteristics, physical or mental disability, veteran status, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, and to make all employment decisions so as to further this principle of equal employment opportunity. To this end, the PHI will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition including genetic characteristics, physical or mental disability, veteran status, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, and will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are offered employment and employees are treated during employment without regard to these characteristics.

For further information regarding Equal Employment Opportunity, copy and paste the following URL into your web browser:


The Public Health Institute is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Recruitment Team at least 48 hours in advance at

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