Social Solutions

MECap Learning/Organizational Development Fellows for USAID

US-DC-Washington | Other
10 months ago
ID
2015-1052

Overview

Social Solutions International, Inc. (Social Solutions)* is accepting curricula vitae (CVs) from mid- to senior-level organizational learning and knowledge management specialists who are available and interested in a six-month to two-year posting to contribute to the strengthening of collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This is an exciting opportunity with a competitive package, to be directly involved in building the capacity of USAID to strengthen the discipline of development and improve development outcomes.

 

Learning Fellows will be members of a technical assistance (TA) team that manages the Expanding Monitoring and Evaluation Capacities task order (MECap) for the Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning. MECap bolsters capacity in USAID missions and operating units to plan for, undertake, and use high quality M&E to achieve better development outcomes. It does this by providing technical expertise and support that strengthens the capacity of USAID staff in M&E skills, extends LER’s ability to communicate and collaborate with external M&E practitioners and USAID staff, and provides the Agency with improved access and capabilities to apply state-of-the-art practices. MECAP coordinates closely with other PPL/LER and Agency awards and utilizes a facilitating and mentoring approach in all of its work.

 

Placements may be in an operating unit in USAID/Washington and/or one or more of the USAID overseas missions. Fellows will complete a DC-rotation regardless of their final placement. The Fellows will be placed utilizing a cohort model. 

 

BACKGROUND ON CLA

 

Strategic learning and collaboration are fundamental to an adaptive approach to development. By embedding collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) throughout the Program Cycle, USAID aims to strengthen our programming and maximize development outcomes. A learning-focused and adaptive approach helps ensure that our programs are coordinated with others, grounded in evidence, and adjusted as necessary to remain relevant and effective throughout implementation.

A systematic and deliberate approach to CLA includes:

 

Collaborating:

  • Engaging with key stakeholders, thought leaders and development actors to understand the country context, design programs appropriately and keep abreast of changes.
  • Coordinating efforts within the mission and among partners and other stakeholders to increase synergies and extend the mission’s influence and impact beyond its project funding.

Learning:

  • Generating, capturing, sharing, analyzing and applying information and knowledge, including performance monitoring data, findings from evaluations, research, practice, and experience.
  • Understanding the theory of change behind programming, identifying potential gaps in technical knowledge and developing plans to fill them.
  • Pausing periodically to reflect on and synthesize new learning, and employing participatory development methodologies that catalyze learning for stakeholders.

Adapting:

  • Applying learning to make iterative course corrections during implementation to increase the impact of development assistance.

Responsibilities

Learning Fellows will serve as an Advisor for Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) within operating units. They are meant to supplement rather than substitute for existing Agency capacity, particularly in cases where surge capacity is needed to meet unanticipated demand, or where an operating unit has been unable to fill a position with the requisite expertise. Fellows will fill a critical gap by working with USAID teams to develop high quality products and processes that will serve as solid examples, models and guidance for future staff, as well as build the capacity of the staff involved in the process so that they are prepared to take the lead.


The specific tasks to be accomplished by a Fellow will be determined to some extent by the needs of a specific operating unit but will most likely include:

 

  • Helping facilitate units in planning, designing and/or managing specific CLA strategies and activities.
  • Assisting in developing, capturing, sharing and testing methods, models and tools to further CLA in the program cycle.
  • Providing expert advice to USAID staff and partners on collaborating, learning and adapting.
  • Providing TA and other support to learning advisors and champions to facilitate CLA in Mission programs.
  • Developing and delivering written materials and briefings to familiarize staff and partners with CLA principles, methods, tools and approaches, potentially in collaboration with partners.
  • Working closely with sector specialists for local governance and local systems strengthening, agriculture, environment, global health and other fields to identify key CLA priorities and plan and develop relevant CLA activities.
  • Disseminating information about CLA and create communications products in various formats to inform decision makers, mission staff and practitioners.
  • Developing and conducting trainings, workshops, facilitated learning conversations and other capacity-building opportunities around collaborating, learning and adapting
  • Supporting incorporation of technical, contextual and experiential learning into program cycle processes.

Qualifications

  • At least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline.
  • At least five years of experience (mid-level) or 10 years (senior-level) in knowledge management, organizational learning and/or strategic learning, preferably in an international development context.
  • Experience with catalyzing programmatic learning and adaptive management in USAID or other foreign assistance agencies (including large NGOs, contractors or international organizations).
  • Experience designing and implementing international development programs with USAID and/or other large development assistance agencies (including large NGOs, contractors, or international organizations).
  • Experience providing advice to international development managers in the field; including working in the field or supporting field projects to achieve an operational mission or to implement a project or activity.
  • Experience facilitating groups, meetings, or events.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and capacity to adapt to and operate in environments of uncertainty.
  • Experience convening people in large organizations (in a work environment or as a volunteer) to build consensus and achieve a particular outcome.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Fluent English required and additional languages desired.
  • Eligibility to obtain and maintain a USG security clearance is required.

Social Solutions International, Inc. (Social Solutions) is a research and evaluation consulting firm dedicated to improving the welfare of underserved populations worldwide. As the prime contractor for MECAP, Social Solutions manages a team of core staff and subcontractors, including CAMRIS International, IMPAQ International, and Iris Group, Inc. It also has partnerships with the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University.

 

*Social Solutions is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, protected veteran status, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 

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