Programme Manager – Meal

Save the Children International

TITLE:  Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Manager, SCI Zambia

TEAM/PROGRAMME: Programme Development & Quality

LOCATION: Lusaka, Zambia



CHILD SAFEGUARDING: (select only one)

Level 2: either the post holder will have access to personal data about children and/or young people as part of their work; or the post holder will be working in a ‘regulated’ position (accountant, barrister, solicitor, legal executive); therefore, a police check will be required (at ‘standard’ level in the UK or equivalent in other countries).


The Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Manager will be responsible for providing leadership to strengthen organizational capacity to design and implement effective monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning systems. S/he will have an integral leadership role within the Programme Development and Quality (PDQ) department and work closely with Technical Specialists, Programme Managers and other departments.  S/he will actively seek to incorporate innovation, best practices, and lessons learned for improvement of programme quality. The role will include capacity building of MEAL and programme/partner staff; strategic and annual planning, internal reporting, as well as programme development.


Reports to: Programme Quality & Development Director

Staff reporting to this post: 1+ (the role will have either direct or matrix line management of project MEAL staff)

Role Dimensions: The role is expected to foster relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders including Save the Children members, the Country Office Programme Development & Quality team, advocacy colleagues, Regional Advisors, technical counterparts in other organisation, donors etc. The role is also expected to engage with internal technical working groups and communities of practice.

Context : Development and Development-Humanitarian Nexus

Primary Technical area: Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning.


Design and Implementation of a MEAL System that meets SCI standards

  • Lead the development and implementation of a MEAL System for the Zambia County Office.  This requires close collaboration with the Programme Ops and PDQ Departments and must be in line with SCI’s Quality Framework. Project-specific MEAL systems need to meet demands and standards of different donors.
  • Lead use of monitoring frameworks, tools and processes to measure performance and quality. This includes supporting thematic and operation staff to develop and monitor Quality Benchmarks.
  • Lead routine collection, analysis and use of evidence, including disaggregation for gender, disability and the most marginalised and deprived, to document impact, innovate and learn what work for children, and inform management, policy and programme solutions. This includes needs and baseline assessments, feasibility studies, evaluations and research.
  • Lead use of systems that safely and appropriately ensure accountability to children and communities with whom we work by building trusting and collaborative relationships through information sharing and two-way communication, participation, and feedback and reporting mechanisms.
  • Work with New Business Development, the Program Operations Department, and PDQ Thematic Sector teams to ensure that all projects have quality assurance mechanisms integrated into their design and implementation.
  • Explore innovative opportunities to pilot approaches that are new or could expand to further areas of programming.
  • Ensure that KPIs related to MEAL activities are regularly met through institutionalisation of robust systems for tracking, reporting and following up improvement actions.
  • Foster innovation by identifying opportunities to pilot new approaches and to upgrade tools, systems and process based on advances in the aid sector.
  • MEAL Structure and Capacity

    Review the country’s MEAL structure and ensure it is fit for purpose

  • Ensure MEAL, Programme and PDQ staff have and understand clearly defined roles and responsibilities that are also understood by Program Ops and PDQ teams.
  • Identify capacity gaps and design and deliver MEAL capacity building for MEAL, programme and partner staff and foster an organizational culture which prioritizes MEAL leading to quality programming
  • Strategic and Annual Planning

    Ensure that evidence and learning is brought together across thematic and operational regions to develop a Country Strategic Plan (including participating in a Child Needs Situational Assessment).

  • Support the development of the Country Annual Plan (CAP) including identifying future evaluations and ensure that data is accurate.
  • Internal Reporting
  • Ensure accurate data collection and processing for all regular reporting including internal reports such as the Country Annual Report, the Programme Quality KPIs, categorised emergency sit reps, and “Total Reach”.
  • Support MEAL aspects of donor reporting, including review of baseline, mid-term, endline or any other donor/project specific studies.
  • Respond to any internal or SC member request for specific information including production of geographic, thematic or programme-specific data.
  • Programme Development and Partnerships

    Work closely with the Programme Ops team to ensure MEAL plays an integral role at every stage of the project lifecycle, leading to enhanced quality, accountability, management and impact.

  • As a contributor to proposal development, ensure development of strong logical frameworks and review and improve MEAL technical narrative and budgets within proposals, support development of SMART indicators with technical teams, ensure quality mechanisms are in place, and ensure consistency with the CO and SCI MEAL strategies.
  • Advocacy & Representation:

    Support CO advocacy efforts by providing evidence based data in line with identified priority advocacy objectives and assist to identify key opportunities for Save the Children Zambia to position itself as the leading organisation for championing children’s rights in Zambia.

  • BEHAVIOURS (Values in Practice)


    Holds self-accountable for making decisions, managing resources efficiently, achieving and role modelling Save the Children values.

  • Ambition:

    Sets ambitious and challenging goals for themselves and their team, takes responsibility for their own personal development and encourages their team to do the same.

  • Collaboration:

    Builds and maintains effective relationships, with their team, colleagues, Members and external partners and supporters.

  • Creativity:
  • Develops and encourages new and innovative solutions
  • Willing to take disciplined risks.
  • Integrity:
  • Honest, encourages openness and transparency; demonstrates highest levels of integrity
  • The post holder must commit to work in an international agency that respects racial diversity and fights racism in all forms; and to model positive behaviours and respect to all colleagues, partners and communities.

    Master’s degree in relevant field or equivalent field experience



    Minimum of 5-7 years of programming experience within the aid sector, preferably linked to one of Save the Children’s priority technical sectors (Child Poverty, Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Education, Health & Nutrition), and with the majority of that time focused on overseeing comprehensive MEAL systems that ensure programme effectiveness and quality.

  • Understanding of both emergency and development contexts, with a preference for experience in both contexts.
  • Experience adhering to international quality standards (Red Cross Code of Conduct, Sphere, CHS) or equivalent.
  • Experience and knowledge of monitoring systems, including robust and responsible data collection and use.
  • Experience and knowledge of evidence generation and learning on what works (and doesn’t work) for children, including designing/commissioning, implementing and applying: needs assessments, baseline studies, evaluations and research, learning workshops and learning agendas.
  • Experience and knowledge of systems for accountability to children and communities, including information sharing, participation of adults and children, and feedback and reporting mechanisms. Ability to prepare and facilitate technical MEAL trainings and workshops across countries in the region (including remotely). Direct experience working with communities in participatory activities.
  • Desirable

    Experience or knowledge of working and living in relevant region/context

  • Experience of promoting quality and impact through at least one cross-cutting area: gender equality and inclusion, adaptive and safer programming; child rights; disability; migration and displacement.
  • Experience and knowledge of Save the Children’s structure, mandate and child focus.

    Technical competencies:

    Ensures linkages across portfolio ensuring quality and coherence of MEAL systems and evidence gathering

  • Manages resources and capacities to develop and maintain quality MEAL systems
  • Facilitates strategic alignment of data to global priorities
  • Additional job responsibilities

    The duties and responsibilities as set out above are not exhaustive and the role holder may be required to carry out additional duties within reasonableness of their level of skills and experience.

  • Equal Opportunities

    The role holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with the SCI Equal Opportunities and Diversity policies and procedures.

  • Child Safeguarding:

    We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.

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