Position title
Learning & Evaluation Officer

Firelight is seeking a Learning & Evaluation Officer to lead and carry out the monitoring, evaluation, and learning agendas for our initiatives in eastern and southern Africa. This is a remote position with extensive travel, based in eastern or southern Africa.


Firelight (www.firelightfoundation.org) is a multi-donor public charity fund which helps community-based organizations to support millions of children, families, and communities by raising funds from foundations, philanthropists, and individual donors.

Our vision: Firelight envisions a world where children and youth in eastern and southern Africa live in safe, strong, nurturing environments where they can thrive.

Our mission: Firelight builds the capacity of catalytic community-based organizations (CBOs) that are working with their communities to realize smart, sustainable, and potentially scalable community-driven solutions to the challenges faced by children and youth in eastern and southern Africa.

At this time, Firelight funds and supports CBO grantee-partners working on early childhood development, education, child rights and child protection, and adolescent girls’ initiatives in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Rwanda.


The Learning & Evaluation Team leads Firelight and supports our community-based organization (CBO) grantee-partners to use participatory, indigenous, and rigorous monitoring, evaluation, learning, and research methodologies to –

Understand the context, be responsive and relevant, and meaningfully engage and collaborate with key stakeholders;
Capture data on reach, outcomes, and impact – and be transparent and accountable about these;
Integrate learning with action so that data can guide improvements in design and implementation; and
Generate knowledge to influence and improve practice around the role of CBOs and communities in development and the effective capacity building of CBOs.
As part of this, we –

Establish and strengthen an organizational culture of learning and evidence-informed decision making – for ourselves and for our CBO grantee-partners.
Work with our colleagues to identify success indicators, evaluate, and learn about our and our CBO grantee-partners’ progress and impact in core areas of organizational capacity, community capacity and engagement, and changes in the systems affecting children and youth.
Design and implement specific monitoring, evaluation, and learning frameworks for each of our strategic initiatives, enabling us to assess effectiveness and progress on initiative-specific outcomes.
Build the capacity of CBO grantee-partners’ capacity in participatory learning and action methodologies, as well as in developing robust community-based monitoring and evaluation systems and processes.



The Learning & Evaluation Officer, as part of the Learning & Evaluation Team, will work closely with Firelight’s Initiatives Team and our CBO grantee-partners to achieve the objectives outlined above. Specifically, the Learning & Evaluation Officer will be responsible to –

Uphold and operationalize values of respect, participation, collaboration, transparency and accountability in all learning and evaluation and related processes and interactions – with CBO grantee-partners, fellow staff, and other stakeholders
Develop and implement participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning frameworks for each of our strategic initiatives, enabling us to assess progress on organization-level, community-level, and child- and family-level outcomes that are of interest to our grantee-partners, our donors, and Firelight.
Develop and implement a comprehensive and responsive strategy to build the monitoring, evaluation, and learning capacities of our CBO grantee-partners across our initiatives, so that they can effectively design and implement participatory strategies to
Partner with their communities to gather and use data to inform and improve their work;
Assess progress on organization-level, community-level, and child- and family-level outcomes of interest;
Critically reflect on and share learnings;
Generate knowledge and build evidence for the effectiveness of community-driven change.

Reporting to the Director of Learning & Evaluation, and working closely with a peer Learning & Evaluation Officer, the Learning & Evaluation Officer will:

Work to operationalize what participatory monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning looks like within a community-driven systems change approach at Firelight and our CBO grantee-partners.
Plan and implement learning and evaluation frameworks for several of Firelight’s strategic initiatives -
Design and coordinate the implementation of participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning frameworks for each of our strategic initiatives, enabling us to assess effectiveness, progress and outcomes that are of interest to our CBO grantee-partners and their communities, our donors, and Firelight on an organization-level, community-level, and child- and family-level.
Coordinate large and small, quantitative and qualitative, research/evaluation projects in different countries to answer learning questions, test hypotheses, and/or evaluate impact.
Lead all aspects of such participatory evaluation/research projects, in collaboration with Initiative Team members, CBO grantee-partners, and consultants –
Design the evaluation/research activity and obtain necessary ethics reviews and approvals,
Develop and implement workplans in collaboration with colleagues and consultants,
Identify and adapt, or develop data collection tools,
Coordinate data collection and entry,
Consolidate and clean data,
Conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis,
Disseminate and validate the findings with CBO grantee-partners and communities,
Write up and present the findings in different formats and with different audiences – including reports for grantee-partners, donor reports, blog posts, dashboards, conference presentations, etc.
Ensure the active participation of CBO grantee-partners, and where possible, their communities, in learning and evaluation processes –
Ensure CBO grantee-partners and where possible, their communities and local stakeholders, are consulted and play an active role in the design and plan of learning and evaluation processes.
Gather feedback from CBO grantee-partners on the learning and evaluation process.
Ensure that results and learnings are shared and validated with CBO grantee-partners, and where possible, their communities and local stakeholders.
Support CBO grantee-partners to disseminate learnings with their own stakeholders, and further reflect on and apply learnings to their work moving forward.
Develop and manage budgets related to learning and evaluation processes for each initiative.
Prepare reports and summaries of evaluations and learnings to share with different stakeholders.
Build CBO grantee-partners’ capacity in participatory learning and action, as well as robust monitoring and evaluation systems and processes –
Work closely with Initiatives Team and grantee-partners to assess grantee-partners’ strengths, needs, and priorities with regards to monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
Develop and implement plans which build grantee-partners’ capacities in monitoring, evaluation, and learning, particularly in the use of data to inform, evaluate, and improve program implementation and design.
Provide ongoing training, support, and mentorship to monitoring and evaluation staff at grantee-partner organizations.
Track progress in grantee-partners’ capacity in monitoring, evaluation, and learning, and use learnings to inform and improve capacity building strategy.
As part of Learning & Evaluation Team, contribute to Firelight’s organization-wide learning and evaluation agenda –
Coordinate and engage Firelight staff and grantee partners in a culture and process of learning and adaptation.
Identify learning questions and pursue them through guided inquiry to inform organizational learning.
Support the determination and implementation of common indicators to be tracked across all of Firelight’s initiatives.
Support Firelight efforts to streamline data collection, aggregation, analysis, and dissemination using appropriate technology tools.
Conduct background research and maintain up-to-date information and statistics on children and community-based organizations in Africa to inform Firelight’s current and new initiatives.
Support the development and implementation of community-driven approaches to monitoring, evaluation, and learning across our initiatives.
Engage in analysis, reflection, and sharing to improve Firelight’s strategy and practice, and influence development practice and scholarly discourse.
Respond to information needs and requests from Initiatives Team, Executive Director, CBO grantee-partners, and donors.

Master’s degree in related field, preferably with a strong research component demonstrating training and skills in research design, implementation, and analysis.
Demonstrated mid-to senior-level experience developing and executing thoughtful monitoring, evaluation, and research plans to assess impact and improve programming.
Commitment to values of participation and inclusion, and familiarity with participatory methodologies, such as – participatory learning and action, appreciative inquiry, participatory design, participatory rural appraisal, community-based participatory research, participatory monitoring and evaluation, collaborative analysis and validation of findings, etc.
Experience and skill using analysis software, including SPSS, NVIVO, and MS Excel (or similar applications).
Sound understanding of how participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning can be used to strengthen the effectiveness and impact of community-based programs.
Demonstrated skill and experience in building the capacity of others, particularly at the community level, in developing and using participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems.
Intellectual curiosity and humility.
Strong analytic and critical thinking skills.
Attention to detail as well as ability to consider the big picture.
Ability to work independently; strong time management skills with the ability to effectively multi-task and prioritize to meet deadlines.
Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and partners. Excellent interpersonal and team skills.
Ability to maintain timely, meaningful, and collaborative communication with a multi-country, bi-continental team and a wide range of CBO grantee-partners and other collaborative partners.
Excellent written and oral communications skills in English.
Ability to travel over 50% of time; ability to maintain a fairly rigorous schedule during travel.



Training and experience in participatory learning and action and/or community-based participatory research.
Experience working directly with and supporting the action of communities and/or grassroots organizations.
Experience working with community organizations that are on the front lines of impact for at-risk children and youth.
Experience and skill in data visualization principles and techniques.
Fluency in one or more local languages spoken in Tanzania, Malawi, or Zambia.
Program development and management experience.


This is a full-time position. Hiring range is 70,000 to 90,000 USD, commensurate with experience.



Submit current CV and cover letter to via the application process on BambooHR. In your cover letter, please describe why you think you would be a good fit for the position.
Shortlisted candidates will be asked to (a) submit a sample of their independently authored writing, (b) complete two new exercises analyzing data and designing a participatory evaluation, and (c) provide a minimum of three professional references. Please do not submit these documents until requested.
The successful candidate will be required to review, sign, and adhere to Firelight’s Safeguarding and Protection Policy. A copy of this policy can be provided to applicants upon request. Firelight will also require a clear background check (including police clearance) around crimes/ convictions relating to harm/abuse to children or other vulnerable groups from the successful candidate before they join Firelight.
This posting will be open until the position is filled. The first found of review will focus on applications submitted by January 3, 2020. After this, applications will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis, until the position is filled.
Only persons shortlisted for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls please.

Apply Here

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Date posted
December 10, 2019
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Position: Learning & Evaluation Officer

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