Monitoring Evaluation, Research and Learning Specialist

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Lusaka, Zambia

a Little About Us

Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy Africa program follows a holistic approach to protect vital lands and waters, transform the way natural resources are used and managed and inspire to equip others to contribute to the shared vision of a healthy and sustainable future for Africa’s lands, waters, wildlife and people. We use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.orq or follow @nature press on Twitter.

In Zambia, TNC has a primary geographical focus on the Greater Kafue Ecosystem (GKE). This is Zambia’s largest conservation landscape, a 66,000 sq. km complex of great biodiversity value, dominated by the 22,000 sq. km Kafue National Park and nine Game Management Areas (GMAs) under communal tenure that span an additional 44,000 sq. km. TNC is working with communities and diverse public and private stakeholders in and around this ecosystem to strengthen community tenure over natural resources, develop effective natural resource governance and management systems and create sustainable conservation and wealth generation models for the landscape. One key project which supports this strategy is a five-year $10m USAID-funded Global Development Alliance (GDA) project which leverages private sector partner resources and expertise to achieve integrated outcomes for biodiversity conservation, economic prosperity, human well-being, and governance in the eastern sector of the GKE


The Monitoring Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Specialist is a core team member of a complex, multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary project that advances conservation, economic development and human wellbeing goals across a large, ecologically sensitive landscape. S/he is responsible for all monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) and related activities associated with the USAID-funded project, with technical support to this work provided by the wider TNC Zambia and TNC Africa Monitoring and Evaluation teams. The MERL Specialist position is term-limited for five years contingent on TNC being awarded the contract by USAID. Reporting to the Chief of Party, the position will be based at TNC Lusaka office

Essential Functions

The MERL Specialist develops and maintains systems to collect and analyse information on outputs and outcomes of the USAID-funded project. S/he manages the project’s core monitoring, evaluation, research and learning functions and implements these functions in accordance with the commitments to and requirements of USAID. S/he also organises and supervises the data collection of project indicators, inputs the data into the monitoring database, analyzes the monitoring data, finds the explanation for variations in the data, produces monitoring reports, documents lessons learned and success stories.

Responsibilities And Scope

  • Support monitoring, evaluation, research and learning aspects of the USAID-funded project’s work to realize landscape-level outcomes, including:
    • Manage a dashboard of metrics that measure progress toward achieving landscape-level outcomes for people, wildlife, and habitat and ensure that data collected is available to USAID, private sector partners, implementing and collaborating partners and communities.
    • Manage and provide technical oversight of key research / data collection efforts that provide information on landscape-level outcomes, including baseline and periodic socio-economic household surveys and biophysical condition and land use change assessments and biodiversity monitoring surveys.
    • Monitor implementation progress reports to ensure planned results are achieved in an efficient, effective, and timely manner
    • Conduct periodic rapid technical evaluations of project activities in the field to identify where project management and resource allocation adaptations might be needed.
    • Lead a process for sharing lessons learned and using data to inform decision-making for adaptive management of the USAID-funded project
  • Lead compliance with USAID MERL requirements, including:
    • Refine and maintain systems to collect, store, and ensure quality control of data and information for tracking of progress against targets and deliverables.
    • Ensure standardization of monitoring and data storage for USAID compliance.
    • Provide technical leadership to develop and implement the project’s sub awardees’ monitoring and evaluation framework and plans, monitoring and performance measurement activities, and establish and communicate meaningful and measurable indicators and targets.
    • Compile, review, and submit publications and data to various USAID portals including Development Experience Clearinghouse, Development Data Library, TriaNet, Implementing Partner Reporting System
    • Assist in the development of project reports and deliverables, particularly with respect to MERL aspects.
    • Ensure implementation of and reporting against project MERL plans.
    • Coordinate data quality audits and reviews
  • Participate in development of annual work plans. Ensure alignment with technical strategy, agreement on annual milestones, and inclusion of MERL activities in the work plan.
  • Coordinate quarterly Implementing Partner meetings and semi-annual and annual portfolio reviews
  • Screen activities for environmental risk according to USAID requirements, and develop and implement environmental mitigation and monitoring activities, as necessary.
  • Manage internal & host external Data Quality Assessments and Reviews

Work closely with USAID on the development and implementation of a Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Action Plan, including an action plan for identified learning questions within USAID’s Learning Agenda

Minimum Qualifications

  • BA/BS degree and 5 years’ experience in conservation, natural resources management, development studies, information management, statistics, quantitative analysis, or related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Excellent report writing, analytical and communication skills, including oral presentation skills, knowledge management and dissemination of findings in English.
  • Knowledge of USAID monitoring and evaluation processes, indicators, data quality control and reporting requirements.
  • Experience managing and supervising data collection.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience in implementing activities related to biodiversity conservation, community conservation and/or natural resource management
  • Experience implementing monitoring and evaluation for a USAID funded project.
  • Expertise in rigorous quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation analytical methods including research design and implementation, design and data analysis, rapid appraisals, etc.
  • Experience incorporating project learning into adaptive management.
  • Experience providing guidance to project staff and grantees on design, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • Experience maintaining an online database for monitoring of performance and outcomes.
  • Experience with strengthening local organizations and building local capacities for MERL.
  • Experience working in complex partnerships.
  • Geospatial knowledge.
  • Experience negotiating.
  • Experience working with multiple stakeholders.
  • Willingness to undertake field visits.


To apply for job ID 50337, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact [email protected]

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer . Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to [email protected] with  Request for Accommodation  in the subject line.

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