Current Hiring Practices and Trends in the Development Sector
- BY David Mackenzie
The QED Group, LLC, is a full-service international consulting firm determined to provide its clients with best-value services so they increase their efficiency, learning capacity, and accountability to the public in an ever more complex and interconnected world.
The USAID/Egypt Mission has contracted The QED Group LLC technical support team, referred to as SIMPLE (Services to Improve Performance Management, Enhance Learning and Evaluation), to execute a host of services to improve the efficiency of programs implemented by the Mission’s Technical Offices. These services include activity/project designs, assessments, evaluations, management information and reporting. In addition, technical assistance is to be provided to the Program Office to collect and disseminate public information and enhance the quality of data.
QED/SIMPLE is seeking an evaluation team leader (consutlant) to work with the SIMPLE evaluation team to plan, conduct, and report on the end-of-term performance evaluation of the USAID/Egypt-funded ECASE project.
QED, under the SIMPLE contract, will conduct an end-of-term performance evaluation of USAID/Egypt’s Education Consortium for Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Egypt (ECASE) project implemented by World Learning. The main goal of the ECASE activity is to enhance science and mathematics education in Egypt, through the establishment of three to five STEM public high schools in targeted governorates: Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Dakahleya and Assuit.
The overarching goal of the Egyptian STEM model schools is to create a network of self-sufficient schools with established curriculum, trained teachers, industry partnerships and operational system under the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) public schooling system to educate high performing students from across Egypt, regardless of socioeconomic status.
The STEM schools model was designed to create “centers of excellence” that embody trans-disciplinary collaboration, real world applications, critical thinking, and a pioneering spirit. The project started in August 2012 and is scheduled to close out in August 2017.
This end-of-term performance evaluation is being commissioned to evaluate the effectiveness of project activities in achieving its purpose of introducing advanced STEM model high schools; to assess progress made towards achieving the ECASE project objectives; and to make recommendations to increase project effectiveness, sustain achievements, and inform future USAID support for STEM education.
The evaluation is expected to take place from February - June 2017 with on-site work in Egypt anticipated from late-February through early-May 2017. The team leader’s estimated level of effort is 67 business days over an 18 week calendar period.
S/he will serve as team leader for the overall evaluation reporting to the SIMPLE senior evaluation specialist or his delegate. The team leader will be responsible for refining the proposed methods, designing data collection instruments, and coordinating assignments with short-term local-hired basic education evaluators for conducting key informant interviews, classroom observations and group discussions. The team leader will conduct a mixed methods performance evaluation, ensure a sound methodological approach is applied, incorporate generally accepted evaluation best practices, and use the evaluation’s input to construct a comprehensive report as per USAID guidance.
The Team Leader will be responsible for:
•Coordinating the overall evaluation including preparation, debriefing and submission of draft and final products to SIMPLE/QED.
•Leading the evaluation team by providing quality assurance oversight and supervision over all team work.
•Conducting background research and desk review of USAID provided debriefing materials.
•Providing technical support to inform the design documents and mixed methods to be used
•Collaborating on the development and finalization of the evaluation design documents including: data analysis plan, data collection instruments, key informant and group discussion protocols, data quality assurance plans, evaluation work plan and/or other relevant design documents.
•In collaboration with the SIMPLE evaluation team, pilot survey instruments as well as key informant interview and group discussion protocols.
•Conduct data collection activities.
•Supervise qualitative and quantitative analyses of evaluation related data using SPSS or Stata statistical software for quantitative data and tally sheets for categorizing emerging themes from qualitative data sources.
•Lead the preparation and PowerPoint presentation of preliminary findings and conclusions of evaluation results for debriefing relevant USAID Program Office and Project Office staff prior to departing from Cairo, Egypt.
•Preparing a draft evaluation results report and executive summary (English only) and final revised versions in response to USAID and key stakeholder comments.
•Ph.D. plus 8 years of relevant professional experience in applying mixed evaluation methods in basic education research; or; Master’s Degree plus 12 years of relevant professional experience in in the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of international programs in basic education
•Prior USAID evaluation experience.
•Evaluation design experience, including the selection of appropriate data collection and analysis methods on an evaluation question specific basis and development of detailed data analysis and evaluation work plans.
•Basic social science research skills and basic statistics, including strong data visualization skills consistent with USAID standards. Familiarity with and ability to apply a range of data collection methodologies covered by the USAID Evaluation Toolkit (http://usaidlearninglab.org/evaluation).
•Demonstrated experience preparing final results reports and PowerPoint presentations of key findings, conclusions and recommendations of field research.
•Technical expertise in basic education and STEM schools is desired.
•Good organizational and team-building skills.
•Excellent communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively in a multi-cultural environment.
•Ability to be flexible and work well under pressure, dealing with competing priorities, in a fast-paced inter-cultural team environment.
•Strong interpersonal skills and talent for productively interacting with a wide range of organizations (government agencies, schools, education-related NGO’s, teacher organizations and research institutions).
•Fluent in spoken and written English.
•Regional experience and/or knowledge of Egypt are highly desirable.
•Knowledge of Arabic language a plus.
Field experience that includes at least some but not necessarily all of the following:
•Survey research experience, including development of structured and semi-structured interview and/or observation instruments; sample size determination for specific confidence levels and confidence intervals; selection and use of survey data (and other large data sets) data entry and analysis software (Stata, SPSS or alternative)
•Conduct structured or semi-structured group interviews and/or focus groups, including the development of protocols; content analysis and other techniques for coding and transforming group/open-ended data into analyzed information (tally sheets or alternative); qualitative data analysis software (NVIVO or alternative) and/or case study documentation experience; transformation of qualitative data into a quantitative form that can be merged with other quantitative data in a mixed methods analysis.
•Applied experience with non-experimental theory testing techniques for examining program/project effects (baseline reconstruction, outcome mapping, outcome harvesting, general elimination method (modus operandi), contribution analysis, lagged regressions and/or others).
•Familiarity and experience with impact evaluation (experimental and quasi-experimental designs and associated tools (power analysis; propensity score matching; regression discontinuity) are welcome even for work on USAID performance evaluations conducted by QED.