International MEL & Research Specialist via ReliefWeb

SEED Madagascar

Fort Dauphin, , MG

International MEL & Research Specialist – Project Fatsaka (Madagascar)

Position overview:

Based in the coastal town of Fort Dauphin in the southeast of Madagascar, this post will provide specialist knowledge of monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) and research methodologies to Project Fatsaka, a Community-led Well Maintenance & Management Project. The successful candidate will lead research with the aim of developing a scalable community-led drinking water methodology that will contribute to international best practice. The project is currently being piloted in the Mahatalaky Rural Commune in the Anosy Region of Madagascar. Predominantly office-based in Fort Dauphin, the International MEL & Research Specialist will conduct regular monitoring visits to target communities in the south-eastern area of the country. This post would be suitable for an early-career MEL specialist or researcher seeking in-country research and leadership experience.

  • Title: International MEL & Research Specialist
  • Timeframe: January 2017 – November 2017
  • Probationary period: 3 months
  • Contract: Full-time; an in-country stipend of 1,000,000 Malagasy Ariary per month 
  • Reporting to: Head of Project Development (Community Health, WASH and Construction)

Project background

Fatsaka, meaning “water point” in Malagasy, is a project in its second phase of building community capacity to manage and maintain wells. Fatsaka Phase II stems from the success of a 12-month pilot project completed in June 2016, which worked alongside 13 rural communities to develop community managed rural water infrastructure. By expanding to a further 15 communities, the project seeks to ensure around 10,000 beneficiaries in the Mahatalaky Rural Commune have access to a sustainable and clean well-water supply. Fatsaka is a learning project that has innovatively adapted and adopted a CLTS methodology to shock and motivate communities into, firstly, using their local well as their water supply, and secondly, self-manging them effectively.

The project has three main aims:

  1. To reduce the risk of waterborne illnesses in the Mahatalaky Rural Commune through increasing community capacity and motivation to access clean water sources
  2. To build the capacity of commune authorities to carry out water source management requirements as outlined in national and regional legislation
  3. To further develop and implement a scalable model that increases utilisation and community-led maintenance of wells.

Primary responsibilities

As the Project Fatsaka MEL & Research Specialist, the successful candidate will help to develop a scalable model that increases the utilisation and community-led maintenance of wells. They will disseminate project methodologies and learning to the international water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) community through research papers published in journals and on online sources. Additionally, the Specialist will build capacity of the project team, wider SEED staff and local stakeholders to improve data collection, evaluation and research that aligns with international development indicators.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Develop a comprehensive MEL framework for a 10-month research programme, which encapsulates a variety of activity reviews and analysis in order to effectively measure the success of the previously pilot project

  • Ensure the MEL strategy enables reporting across indicators for a variety of stakeholders, including donors, community groups and the Government of Madagascar

  • Oversee the implementation of the MEL framework

  • Work with the International WASH Specialist and Project Manager to help guide current Phase II project activities from Phase I learning

  • Work closely with the International WASH Specialist to formulate a research strategy, ensuring project MEL captures data adhering to international development indicators

  • Contribute to project dissemination through networks, knowledge hubs and peer-reviewed journals – taking a lead on identifying and establishing routes to international publishing

  • Identify technical needs and resources required for successful MEL and make appropriate recommendations given locational and budgetary limitations

  • Build capacity of and write training modules for SEED staff and local partners in research strategies, ensuring quality of project data while promoting a sustainable research approach of the broader organisation

  • Work closely with project Community Liaison Officers to undergo effective data collection in order to support research needs

  • Contribute project learning to ensure SEED is positively represented in external meetings and affairs, including with Government Ministries at Regional and National levels, to maintain strong working partnerships and ensure support for the project and resources based on their alignment to best practice

  • Work closely with the staff in other Community Health projects to exchange information and provide mutual support

  • Provide support to the International WASH Specialist in writing and editing progress reports to the project donor

  • Support project development for the wider Community Health department as that the Head of Project Development deems appropriate

  • Any other tasks that the Head of Community Health or Head of Project Development deems appropriate and necessary within the broad outline of the role

Person specification requirements

  • Master’s degree in Community Health, WASH, International Development, Research Methods or related field

  • Experience of working/volunteering internationally in a research or MEL capacity

  • Experience in the design and development of MEL frameworks for international development and/orcommunity health sectors, including for quantitative and qualitative data

  • Experience in implementation of MEL systems

  • Experience in research design, and working with qualitative and quantitative data collection tools

  • Clear demonstrable understanding of the ethical parameters of research

  • Ability to work with staff and partners to implement MEL systems, and to build capacity across cultures

  • Demonstrable experience of information analysis and report writing, and ability to align these to KPIs

  • Excellent report writing skills for publication

  • Have the ability and desire to work with teams from different economic and cultural backgrounds and across multiple language barriers

  • Experience of working with translators

  • Have excellent communication skills, including a sound ability to adapt material for different audiences

  • Be able to work both independently and as part of a multicultural and multilingual team

  • Have passion and motivation for the work and to enthuse staff and volunteers

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to SEED’s ethos and approach and be a good ambassador for SEED at all times

  • Demonstrate proven ability to recognise and appropriately deal with challenging situations

  • Demonstrate an awareness of and comfort with increased social and professional responsibility, working at all times with cultural sensitivity and respect

  • Demonstrate the ability, social skills and confidence to give clear guidance and support to other members of the team in respect of the philosophy and procedures of SEED in order to protect both their safety and the reputation of the NGO

  • Be punctual and be able to work to tight deadlines in an organised manner and to a high standard

  • Have a flexible and patient attitude

  • Have excellent problem-solving skills

  • Fluency in French preferred, knowledge of/willingness to learn Malagasy

  • WASH Knowledge/experience preferred

Allowance and practicalities

The post holder will receive a stipend and certain contributions to living expenses. This consists of:

  • MGA1,000,000/month for the cost of living
  • £1,000 flight allowance
  • Visa covered by the project

The successful candidate will need to be equipped with their own laptop computer (non-tablet)

Country and organisation background

In Madagascar, poor access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) perpetuates the country’s status as the world’s fifth poorest country (World Bank, 2015), with over 82% of the population living below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (UNICEF, 2016). Just 35% of the rural population have access to improved water sources (WHO/UNICEF, 2015), which when combined with inadequate sanitation, contributes to the deaths of over 4,000 Malagasy children each year from diarrhoeal disease (WaterAid, 2016). Due to a lack of motivation and limited WASH knowledge, people living in rural communities often drink from contaminated surface waters. In the Mahatalaky rural commune, Project Fatsaka found that only 22% of households living further than a 9-minute walk from a clean well will use it, and instead use a contaminated surface water source (Fatsaka Baseline Study, 2017).

SEED Madagascar (previously Azafady UK) is a British-registered charity (1079121) established in 1994 and registered in England & Wales in 1999. The acronym SEED (sustainable environment, education and development) reflects the organisation’s holistic approach to projects; all of which are built around the most pressing and directly expressed needs of disadvantaged communities. Cross-departmental collaboration between SEED’s four programmes – Community Health, Sustainable Livelihoods, Environmental Conservation and Education – maximises progress towards SEED’s central mission: to build community and institutional capacity to lead and support effective conservation and sustainable development initiatives.