Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Advisor: Mogadishu, Somalia

Mercy Corps

**This position is subject to funding and donor approval of final candidate**

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

The Program

Mercy Corps has been operating in Somalia since 2008. With a team of around 100 people and programs operating throughout the country, Mercy Corps’ overall goal is to build a peaceful and prosperous Somalia where all people feel secure, are economically empowered, and are meaningfully engaged. Mercy Corps’ current portfolio focuses on humanitarian response and resilience; inclusive economic growth; enhancing trust and accountability between communities and their government; and improving youth livelihoods and education opportunities. All Mercy Corps interventions in Somalia are implemented in a conflict- and gender-sensitive manner.

Mercy Corps is planning to submit a bid in response to a USAID opportunity for the Local Governance and Reconciliation Activity (LGRA). This will be a five-year activity, of up to $40 million, to promote more effective and legitimate local governance that offers a credible alternative to Al-Shabaab rule in southern Somalia through:

  1. supporting districts to prevent and manage conflict impartially and promote greater participation of citizens in decision-making, particularly among women, youth and historically marginalized communities.
  2. improving the performance – or effectiveness – of the Somali state by supporting districts to mobilize and manage resources, and identifying and responding to citizen priorities.

The Position

Mercy Corps is seeking a dynamic Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) Advisor to support the implementation of the LGRA. This position is expected to start in May 2023 and is contingent upon funding and donor approval.

The CLA Advisor will ensure that collaboration, learning and adaptation is not only integrated but fully operationalized in program design and implementation. This means driving coordination with others, making evidence-based decisions, and adapting iteratively throughout implementation to remain relevant and on course.

The CLA Advisor will be responsible for leading strategy discussions, providing technical assistance and developing successful mechanisms for collaboration, learning and adaptation using USAID CLA principles and framework. They will be a senior member of the program team and will apply adaptation, learning and reflection to better achieve results. They will use USAID’s CLA principles to effectively integrate real-time monitoring and learning back into the project strategy and implementation and ensure knowledge is shared with the broader stakeholders. The CLA Advisor will work in close collaboration with the MEL team and partners to ensure program outcomes are effectively measured and learning is captured. In consultation with the program team, they will be responsible for developing, coordinating, maintaining and constantly improving the program-wide CLA system, as well as implementing an internal CLA capacity-building strategy that trains and mentors staff and promotes a culture of learning.

Essential Responsibilities


● Provide leadership, training and mentoring in the development of CLA plans, CLA tools, survey design, methodology, data analysis, and other skills required for assessing the impact of the program.

● Collaborate with evaluators on the design and roll out of the program baseline and evaluations, while setting up effective systems for learning.

● Lead the program’s learning agenda, measurement and prepare/document adaptive management measures put in place (this may include sharing with wider internal/ external audience).

● Participate in the facilitation of strategic planning sessions.


● Lead program and MEL teams to adopt a holistic program-level CLA system.

● Ensure programs use the necessary CLA systems and tools, to inform and improve each individual program, as well as feed into the broader country-level CLA system and Somalia country strategy.

● Strengthen Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM) practices, work closely with the program team to come up with innovative ways of promoting CARM, and ensure programs use CARM data to inform and improve implementation as well as feeding into documentation of best practices.

● Lead on aligning, collecting and reporting on relevant technical and CLA indicators to the organizational-wide MEL systems, and other external systems as relevant.

● Ensure that teams are collecting sex- and age-disaggregated data and using gender-sensitive data collection methods to understand and respond to program results with diverse participants.

● Provide guidance, recommendations, and leadership to ensure that the CLA systems meet the needs of program leadership and help address shortfalls in CLA that affect program implementation.

● Prepare analysis from available sources including MEL findings, CARM, field challenges, and lead sessions to develop adaptive management guidance/ recommendations.

● Contribute to program design to ensure compliance with Mercy Corps’ PM@MC minimum standards and CLA best practices.

● Develop program and operational reporting templates that facilitate the acquisition, aggregation and flow of information in programs.


● Develop and oversee implementation of the CLA staff and partner capacity building strategy that promotes a culture of learning through systematic analysis and reflection of program data.

● Build the capacity of all relevant team members to develop and maintain an excellent CLA system, including regular reflection and analysis of program monitoring data.

● Work closely with the Chief of Party, program team, Human Resources and Finance to ensure that CLA skills are incorporated into all program position descriptions and positions are budgeted for.

● Contribute to the knowledge management repository with best practices in CLA and ensure that it is accessible to all staff and partners.

● Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.


● Actively contribute and collaborate with regional and global counterparts to promote the use of CLA best practices.

● Strengthen linkages with other internal resources, including the Digital Library and the Hub to enhance organizational learning where relevant to CLA.

● Participate in workshops and learning-related activities and their inclusion in the program workplan.

● Attend relevant learning events hosted by other partners as well as implementation of sector-specific learning events with partners and local stakeholders.


● As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Supervisory Responsibility

CLA Team, exact positions to be determined


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Deputy Chief of Party/Technical leads, other program staff, M&E / CLA, finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit, Program Performance and Quality team, consortium partners

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

● BA/S degree in development studies, research methods, statistics, economics, social sciences, project management, MA/S strongly preferred.

● 5+ years of progressive work experience in collaborative research and development programming required with proven use of program technology.

● Proven experience with systems thinking or systems approaches to programming.

● Proven experience developing iterative learning systems or ‘feedback loops’ within development programs or organizational learning contexts.

● Experience mentoring and building technical capacity of individuals and institutions.

● Knowledge of good governance and reconciliation programs is a plus.

● Excellent computer skills (especially Microsoft office applications) and ability to use information technology as a tool and resource.

● Demonstrated experience in training and capacity building across diverse teams and partners.

● Experience with theoretical and practical background in MEL and skilled in participatory qualitative and quantitative M&E methodologies and techniques preferred.

● Experience with data management including the ability to structure and collate data sets for ease of analysis preferred.

● Excellent project management, time management, and organizational skills. Multi-tasking skills and ability to work under pressure.

● Strong writing, editing, public speaking skills and good leadership skills.

● Ability to summarize and simplify complex information and communicate it to the targeted groups.

● Excellent stakeholder management skills.

● Exceptional English writing skills.

● Previous experience in Somalia or East Africa is preferred but not mandatory.

Success Factors

The successful candidate should have experience and expertise leading collaboration efforts and translating programmatic learning into adaptive programming. They should also have a demonstrated ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles and cultures, follow procedures, and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. They should have a proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results, understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details, problem solving, work within a complex and sensitive setting and to follow laws and security protocols. The most successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The CLA Advisor is based in Mogadishu. The location is unaccompanied. Accommodation is in group housing, with limited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. Staff have access to basic services (electricity, water, sporadic internet etc). Medical facilities are basic. Mobility in Somalia is restricted and must first be cleared with the Security Advisor. This post is eligible for Hardship and R&R. The standard Somali work week is Sunday – Thursday.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient, and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply