United States of America: Embedded Evaluator, Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (Lab Scaling Evaluation)

Organization: Social Impact
Country: United States of America
Closing date: 31 Mar 2017

Embedded Evaluator, Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (Lab Scaling Evaluation), Washington, DC

Social Impact (SI) is a Washington, DC-area international development management consulting firm. SI’s mission is to improve the effectiveness of international development programs in improving people’s lives. We provide a full range of management consulting, technical assistance, and training services to strengthen international development programs, organizations, and policies. We provide services globally in the areas of monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, project and program design, organizational capacity building, and gender and social analysis. SI services cross-cut all development sectors including democracy and governance, health and education, the environment, and economic growth. SI’s clients include US government agencies such as USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the US Department of State, bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, foundations, and non-profits.


Under USAID/Global Development Lab’s (henceforth “the Lab”) Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning Innovations (MERLIN) program, and Social Impact (SI), in partnership with Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI), will pilot up to six Developmental Evaluations (DEs) of USAID-funded projects covering a myriad of sectors and geographies under the DEPA-MERL contract through September 2019. DE—designed to support innovative, complex programming—supports the continuous adaptation of development interventions by embedding an evaluator into a program throughout its life to continuously provide feedback and inject evaluative thinking into the program’s implementation. This DE will examine the Lab’s own efforts to develop and share expertise on scaling USAID’s work.

Established in 2014, the Lab’s two-fold mission is to 1) produce breakthrough development innovations by sourcing, testing, and scaling proven solutions and 2) accelerate the transformation of the development enterprise, by opening development to people everywhere with good ideas, promoting new and deepening existing partnerships, bringing data and evidence to bear, and harnessing scientific and technological advances. The Lab is comprised of The Center for Data, Analysis and Research; The Center for Development Innovation (CDI); The Center for Global Solutions; The Center for Transformational Partnerships; The Center for Mission Engagement and Operations; The Office of Evaluation and Impact Assessment (EIA); and The Office of Engagement and Communications.

As part of its mandate, the Lab seeks to develop and share expertise on how to scale development solutions at different levels and in various sectors, starting with an examination of its own programming. Roughly one year ago, the Lab pivoted its nascent approach to scaling through the creation of the three lab-wide priorities (LWPs): LWP1 – Lab Ebola Recovery; LWP2 – Digital Development for the Feed the Future (D2FTF); and LWP3 – Beyond the Grid x (BTGx). In addition, the Lab decided to scale its Digital Financial Services (DFS) programming. Finally, the Lab decided to embed some of the responsibilities held in the disbanded scale team within the CDI acceleration team. At the same time, the Lab agreed to undertake active learning to enable it to get smarter about the viability of different approaches to scale. To date, that learning has not been approached systematically.

Proposed Developmental Evaluation Approach

The consortium seeks a skilled evaluator to design and implement a DE of the Global Development Lab’s own work on scaling. The DE will help identify the different types and levels of scaling attempted and achieved by Lab programs, particularly D2FTF, BTGx, DFS, and CDI. The DE will help the Lab evaluate and learn in real time and capture that learning into a more comprehensive report about the effectiveness of its scaling efforts. This will guide both current and future Lab scaling priorities, including helpings identify future LWPs and similar efforts.

Through the DEPA-MERL pilot, various Lab entities (e.g. D2FTF, BTGx, DFS, CDI, and EIA) would also be part of a kickoff/acculturation workshop and process, which would bring all the partners together to build buy-in to the DE process, a culture of learning and adaptability from the evidence collected throughout the DE, and familiarity with working with the embedded evaluator (EE). This will enable a good kickstart to the process, and a chance to bring the stakeholders together and on-board with the DE scope, approach, and stakeholder responsibilities.

A DE will also ensure rigorous documentation of the learnings throughout the process, enabling them to be shared, replicated, and for in-depth review for how decisions were made and adaptations came about. This documentation facilitates informed iterations within the program, revisiting decisions to try different approaches when desired, and supports other similar consortia and initiatives in their learning and approaches to collective impact and complex partnerships.

The DEPA consortium anticipates that the DE will begin in April 2017 and last through September 2019–roughly the remaining life of the Lab’s current five-year strategy. The consortium anticipates that the EE would sit with part of the Lab’s team at USAID’s headquarters in Washington, DC throughout the life of the DE with travel as needed throughout the year to meet with partners or other stakeholders and/or collect additional data.

The EE will have additional technical support from the DEPA team throughout the implementation of the DE.


The evaluator will have overall responsibility for the design and implementation of the DE and ensuring its quality. He/she will be responsible for the following:

  • Facilitate an acculturation workshop for the Lab stakeholders which will help to collaboratively conceptualize and develop the DE design and approach (learning framework, methodology, work plans, reporting, etc.)
  • Develop a living workplan for the evaluation, including an agreed set of deliverables (which may change over time, depending on the needs of the program)
  • Provide quality assurance of all deliverables, including regular intermediate report logs (that track details of DE and document all events that occur i.e. planned and unplanned and associated outcomes) and the final report of the evaluation;
  • Facilitate regular meetings with program leadership and M&E staff to collect data;
  • Conduct analysis of the data collected and present digestible analysis regularly to program staff and key partners through data-review process and other participatory meetings;
  • Track and communicate high quality information to program, USAID staff, and key partners on the program’s progress that can inform timely and data-driven decision-making; regularly record decision-making, program changes and/or changes in the environment in report log; and
  • Collaborate with DEPA-MERL consortium on performance evaluation of the DE, including regular debriefs with consortium to identify key development episodes both prospectively and in real time, and to document lessons learned about DE implementation.

The evaluator will be supported by team members from the DEPA-MERL consortium and report to the Program Manager for the DEPA-MERL contract at Social Impact, Inc.



  • Technical knowledge, skills and expertise in evaluation design, concepts, and approaches, and evaluating complexity, in particular;
  • Facilitation skills, particularly related to programmatic and organizational learning;
  • Soft skills associated with Developmental Evaluation, including;

  • Respect for local stakeholders and partners, ethical research (maintains confidentiality and anonymity when required), flexibility, energy, humility, willingness to learn on the go, and ability to resolve conflicts.

  • Strong analytical skills to support both qualitative and quantitative research;

  • Excellent oral and written communication and report writing skills in English;

  • Keen attention to detail, especially related to documenting data and associated processes;

  • Graduate degree in Social Science, Organizational Theory/Behavior/Communications, International Development, or related focus.

Strongly Preferred

  • Programming and/or evaluation experience in scaling in international development;
  • Leadership and strategic thinking skills;

  • Active listening, proactive learning, and time management skills with readiness to be in a learning role;

  • Previous experience and comfort with working for multiple stakeholders with competing priorities/interests;

  • Familiarity with USAID organizational structure/context;

  • Active security clearance.

Come join our energetic and innovative team! We offer you the opportunity to play a leading role in the growth of our company, work as part of a creative and committed team, and make a difference in the well-being of our world.

To learn more about Social Impact, please visit our website: http://www.socialimpact.com

SI is an EEO/AA/ADA Veterans Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Only selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. Please, no phone calls. e

How to apply:

Please submit through the posting on SI’s Careers Page

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