Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Advisor: Zambia


Location: Lusaka, Zambia
Duration: Fixed Term: January 2021 – January 2022, with the possibility of renewal
Reports to: VVOB Education Manager with support from TaRL Africa Measurement & Monitoring Team
Apply by: January 6th, 2021

Would you like to contribute to the improvement of the quality of education worldwide?
Hello! We are excited to see you found your way to this job opening. That must mean you share our ambition to ensure learners around the world enjoy their fundamental human right to quality education, without exception. We are looking forward to hearing from you. But first things first. Allow us to introduce ourselves. VVOB – education for development is a non-profit organisation that focuses on improving the quality of education. VVOB has its global headquarters in Brussels and is currently implementing education programs in 10 countries. TaRL Africa is a joint venture by Pratham and J-PAL. The TaRL Africa team supports partners working to address the learning crisis in primary schools in Africa through the evidence-based TaRL approach.

About Teaching at the Right Level: The evidence-based Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach, pioneered by Pratham in India, helps learners develop basic reading and numeracy skills. It has been evaluated and proven to be effective by many randomized evaluations. In a TaRL classroom: learners are assessed on basic reading and numeracy using a simple tool; grouped by learning level, rather than by grade, for a dedicated time when they focus building foundational skills through activities and materials appropriate for each group. As learners progress, they move to the next learning group and continue to grow.

In Zambia, the TaRL approach is locally known as “Catch Up” and was piloted by the Zambia Ministry of General Education (MoGE) in 2016-17. It is currently being implemented by MoGE in over 1800 primary schools in the 27 districts of Southern and Eastern province, with support from VVOB, TaRL Africa, UNICEF and USAID. MoGE has an ambition of making it a national programme, and preparations for expansion into new provinces in 2021 are underway.

About the role

VVOB in partnership with Teaching at the Right Level Africa (TaRL Africa) seeks a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) advisor to support the measurement and monitoring component of “Catch Up” – a large-scale education program in Zambia. The MEAL advisor will work together with VVOB, TaRL Africa central team and Ministry of General Education (MoGE) to design a monitoring strategy to be integrated into existing government systems. The MEAL advisor will also collaborate with the Ministry of General Education officials to build capacity around the understanding and use of data. This role provides a unique opportunity to improve the learning outcomes of primary school children in Zambia and to be part of a leading evidence-based initiative tackling the learning crisis in Africa.

The position is suitable for candidates interested in working at the intersection of data and public policy implementation. The role will be based at the VVOB office in Lusaka, with extensive travel within Zambia, including to rural areas. The jobholder will report to both the VVOB Catch Up Education Manager and TaRL Africa Measurement and Monitoring team.

This post is a local position open to Zambian nationals.


Main responsibilities include:

1. Work with the Ministry, VVOB and TaRL Africa Central team to develop robust data collection systems that integrate into existing Ministry structures:

  • Understand the program objectives and different stakeholder needs to develop measurement and data aggregation tools in collaboration with MoGE officials.
  • Develop a deep understanding of MoGE’s different measurement & monitoring systems to collaborate and explore synergies wherever possible.
  • Design, implement and oversee project M&E plans and systems, ensuring that MEAL systems track all performance indicators required by the various donors.
  • Keep track of all project data in a systematic manner and provide regular, timely analysis of data to relevant stakeholders.
  • Provide clear guidance and quality assurance over all M&E processes in the project.

2. Government capacity building:

  • Create strategies and systems for government departments to access and use TaRL data regularly for targeted support and decision making
  • Design and lead capacity-building workshops on the use of TaRL data
  • Regularly visit district structures and schools in different localities across Zambia to support government officers and examine measurement challenges within schools.

3. Data analysis and dissemination:

  • Analyze program data & share key insights with Government departments, VVOB and TaRL Africa team on the successes, challenges, lessons learnt and highlight areas that require urgent attention
  • Coordinate reflection meetings during program implementation to review the program and troubleshoot, as necessary.
  • Coordinate with the education advisors, TaRL advisors, relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to collect and analyze data from project activities to inform project progress and contribute to the development of annual work plans and performance reports to stakeholders and donors.
  • Conduct visits to field sites to observe, monitor, provide guidance and support to ensure that quality data is collected and analyzed regularly and effectively. Plan and maintains systems to collect and analyze data on inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact of the programme.

4. Critically assess Monitoring & Evaluation systems:

  • Work with EMIS and Quality Assurance departments to continually refine monitoring tools, response mechanisms and reflection systems.
  • Pilot new measurement ideas & conduct regular school visits to assess effectiveness.
  • Engage with other organisations to learn about their M&E systems & best practices

5. Coordinate with international teams on research and learning efforts:

  • The MEAL Advisor facilitates M&E for learning within the Catch-Up implementation team.
  • Coordinate with in-country team members on learning objectives and future larger research projects, including impact evaluations.
  • Liaise with team members at VVOB and TaRL Africa on learning priorities.

6. Any other task as assigned by the Catch-Up Education Manager or the VVOB Country Programme Manager

Education and Qualifications

  • Minimum qualification a Bachelor degree, preferably a Master degree in social sciences, statistics, economics, education, development studies, public health, or a related field.
  • For Master degree holders, a minimum of one-year experience working in a similar M&E focused position. For Bachelor degree holders, minimum 3 years work experience in an M&E focused position.
  • Excellent data analysis skills
  • Ability to think analytically and critically, keeping the big picture in mind
  • Experience working with data manipulation software, including data collection, analysis & visualization platforms (Required: Excel; Strongly preferred: STATA, Survey CTO, Tableau)
  • Excellent communication skills in English, including writing, conversing, and presenting.
  • Self-starter with an attitude to get the job done
  • Familiarity with M&E frameworks and systems
  • Strong interpersonal skills with cross-cultural teams
  • Passionate about improving children’s learning in Zambia using data
  • Willingness to travel frequently and flexibly, including in very rural areas.
  • Applicant should be a Zambian national.


  • Experience working in the development and/or education sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Good command of written and spoken Zambian languages like Nyanja/Tonga/Bemba/Lozi
  • Familiarity with national and regional learning assessment data
  • Familiarity with econometric and program evaluation techniques


VVOB core competencies: 

  • Results and goal oriented
  • Lifelong learning and improvement
  • Cooperation within a team and with other stakeholders

Function specific competencies:

  • Reliability
  • Strong communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong organizing skills
  • 360° empathy
  • Proactivity and work with minimum supervision

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their CV and motivational letter by email to – the subject line of your email should read as follows: CUMEAL

All applications that do not have this subject line will not be considered.

Deadline: Wednesday 6th January 2021 – 17:00 Central African Time (CAT). Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to complete an assessment, followed by two interviews