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Social Sciences Research
International Development Group
180X5 Requisition #
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RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute providing research, development, and technical services to government and commercial clients worldwide. The Food Security and Agriculture Division within the International Development Group is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning and Adapting (MERLA) Specialist to join the team. The successful candidate will be able to manage MERLA processes for the division, as well as research and impact evaluation projects, successful start-up and implementation of FS&Ag projects, capacity building of FS&Ag M&E staff across projects, and business development. S/he will work collaboratively with RTI’s MERLA team to ensure integration of RTI’s MERLA approach into FS&Ag work.
This position requires travel (both international and domestic) of to 20% time and will be based in Washington, DC or RTP, NC.
  • Support successful start-up and implementation of FS&Ag projects, ensuring appropriate M&E platforms are set up and project staff are oriented in MERLA approach.
  • Take the lead in and work with other FS&Ag staff to conduct evaluations, comparative analyses, acceptability studies, and other M&E tasks in support of projects, using mixed methods
  • Analyze project M&E data, baseline survey results, and other quantitative and qualitative data and generate results in easy-to-understand visual formats
  • Work with FS&Ag communications team to ensure that results are captured in briefs, reports and other documentation.
  • Carry out data quality assessments (DQAs) of FS&Ag projects: design and implement DQA protocols, use DQA findings to improve data collection, reporting, management and analysis.
  • Support capacity building of FS&Ag M&E staff in DQA, indicator development and other identified M&E needs.
  • Lead the design and write-up of M&E plans, Performance Management Plans (PMPs), logframes and results frameworks, as well as relevant narrative sections in proposals.
  • Take active lead in identifying and pursuing stand-alone new business opportunities in MERLA/impact evaluation.
  • Generate indicators --as needed-- for proposals and projects.
  • Collaborate with strategic partners across IDG and RTI to identify areas for MERLA support and engagement. 
  • Develop a Learning Agenda and ensure systems and processes for continual learning and adaptation within the division, and provide recommendations to changes in approaches, interventions, performance monitoring, and/or work plans as necessary.
  • Contribute to the development of technical publications and ensure tracking, documentation and publication (where appropriate) of project MERLA best practices and lessons learned.
  • Stay abreast of MERLA related processes, tools, and language, recognized by USAID and other international development organizations and advise on their use, adaptation and integration into FS&Ag projects.
Minimum Qualifications:
  • Master’s degree in international development, business, agriculture or relevant field and minimum of 9 years of experience in international development programming, including specialized experience in monitoring, evaluation and learning.
  • Proven understanding of USAID monitoring, evaluation and CLA regulations and approaches.
  • Demonstrated experience in mixed-methods research and analysis.
  • Excellent quantitative and qualitative research skills.
  • Strong analytical skills and understanding of research methods for participatory learning methods.
  • Experience in an agricultural research environment is a plus.
  • Strong leadership, interpersonal and training skills and the ability to work across teams and with associates and build capacity for reporting against project indicators.
  • Excellent oral and written communication in English, including technical reports and peer-reviewed articles.
  • Ability to travel up to 20% of the time, including fragile environments.
  • Must be eligible to work in the US.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ability to develop and implement a MERLA strategy for the division through integration of industry best practices, improvement of PMP development, and proactive engagement with projects.
  • Solid understanding of and experience in the food security and agriculture sector, including Feed the Future programming.
  • International field experience in developing countries.
  • Fluency in French or Spanish.


Physical and mental demands of this role include those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job, as outlined above.  Examples include:  remaining in a stationary position for long periods of time; operating a computer and other office machinery; thinking, learning, and concentrating effectively and frequently communicating with other people, both within RTI and outside of RTI; frequently moving about inside and travel between offices and laboratories; frequently conducting laboratory site inspections (if applicable), ability to handle the stress associated in meeting frequent, multiple and tight deadlines, ability to work in excess of 40 hours per week as workload and deadlines may require, consistent demonstration of mental stability and ability to have regular, reliable and predictable attendance.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job, per RTI procedure 4.2.1. 

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach—one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities, and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.
For USA Job Postings Only: RTI participates in the US Government E-Verify program. Further information regarding the E-Verify program and laws that are designed to protect you against discrimination relating to your legal right to work in the US can be found here.
For San Francisco, CA USA Job Postings Only: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records. Further information is available here.
We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Further information is available here.

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