MERLA Director, USAID Sri Lanka Economic Modernization Activity

Website RTI International

About the job


Research Triangle Institute (RTI)

has over 30 years’ experience assisting governments, communities, and the private sector. As a not-for-profit, independent research institute based in North Carolina, USA, RTI has roughly 6,000 employees with global experience implementing international development projects. RTI’s Sustainable Growth & Resilience (SG&R) technical unit within the International Development Group brings together RTI experts and capabilities across food security, agriculture, energy, environment, water, governance, and economic opportunity. SG&R will leverage RTI’s experience designing and delivering multisectoral programming and technical solutions to respond to climate change, build resilience, and promote economic growth around the world.

SG&R’s Global Food Security and Agriculture portfolio

is working to strengthen agricultural markets, engage youth and women as critical leaders of the on- and off-farm workforce, and tackle the dual burden of malnutrition around the globe. RTI’s work is helping foster stronger food systems, reduce malnutrition in all its forms, build resilience and engage the next generation of food security leaders. RTI is currently partnering on nearly 30 projects in East Africa, including activities focused on private sector-driven agricultural growth in Rwanda and market systems development in Kenya.

Project Description

The purpose of the anticipated USAID Sri Lanka Economic Modernization Activity is to enhance Sri Lankan economic competitiveness through an improved business enabling environment, increased small and medium business export competitiveness, and upgraded workforce capacity. Key activity themes may include greater agriculture sector efficiency and competitiveness and inclusive, accessible, and desirable jobs.

Position Description

RTI is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning and Adapting (MERLA) Director for the anticipated USAID Sri Lanka Economic Modernization Activity. The MERLA Director will lead and guide the team on MERLA and Collaboration related activities and ensure responsive reporting, and ongoing learning and adapting across the project.

The MERLA Director will be based in Colombo, Sri Lanka and report to the Chief of Party.

Position is contingent upon award and funding


  • Leads the development, implementation, refinement, and harmonization of the project’s MERLA system.
  • Develops and operationalizes indicators, sets targets, and monitors progress; ensures they are informed by and feeds into program decisions.
  • Establishes systems for gathering, reporting, and analyzing performance data in compliance with USAID guidelines and best practices.
  • Assesses data quality through (1) system validation rules and checks in the activity database, and (2) periodic data quality assessments (DQAs).
  • Designs data collection processes adhering to data quality.
  • Monitors progress against targets and prepares quality reports; contributes to other project reports such as annual work plans.
  • Leads and proactively reviews/analyzes project activities and their outputs and outcomes to continuously learn from and adapt ongoing project implementation; provides feedback to the technical team on where to improve.
  • Documents best practices and lessons learned and uses data and regular learning sessions to drive program design, adaptation, and decision-making.
  • Integrates data collection and learning throughout all project activities.
  • Build capacity of partners and stakeholders for data collection and data use for learning.
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s Degree and 12 years of experience, Master’s degree and 10 years of experience, PhD and 6 years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • At least 7 years of experience in MERLA and data analysis for donor-funded programs (USAID programming strongly preferred).
  • Proficiency in designing and implementing monitoring and evaluation frameworks, data collection tools, and data management systems.
  • Demonstrated experience using data and learning to inform program decision-making.
  • Experience in MERLA activities for an agriculture value chains project is preferred.

Knowledge, Skills, And Abilities

  • Knowledge of USAID reporting procedures, best practices, guidelines, methods, and approaches for MERLA.
  • Strong knowledge of monitoring and evaluation methodologies, data analysis, and reporting techniques.
  • Excellent analytical, communication, and written skills; familiarity with USAID rules and regulations is a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead design and implementation of monitoring systems, databases, and data collection tools.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to travel and work throughout Sri Lanka and in difficult terrain/conditions at times.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Fluency in one or more local languages strongly preferred.

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