Evaluation Specialist

United Nations Children's Fund

Vientiane, Laos

Experience: 3 to 5 Years

Skill Required: Monitoring and Evaluation

The Multi-Country (MC) Evaluation Specialist post will, on the basis of efficiency and effectiveness considerations, be located in Thailand Country Office and under administrative supervision of the respective Representative. Irrespective of the location, the MC Evaluation Specialist will be accountable to the Representatives of Vietnam, Lao PDR and Thailand Country Offices with technical guidance and oversight, through matrix reporting line to the Regional Advisor, Evaluation.
The MC Evaluation Specialist works in close coordination with the PME section Chief/evaluation focal point(s) and programme staff, in the development and implementation of the Country Office costed evaluation plan, works with the Country-Offices to undertake thematic evaluations, evaluation of humanitarian action (for Level 1 emergencies), evaluability assessments, defined strategic engagement and technical support towards national evaluation processes relevant to UNICEF's mission, and other evaluative activities for which Country Offices are accountable. S/he works with the CO in engaging competent evaluators who conduct their work in accordance with the norms and standards of the UNICEF evaluation policy.
Major Responsibilities:
Evaluation Leadership:
  • Support the Country Offices under his/her responsibility and their national partners to develop and implement a plan of evaluation activities that will provide relevant and strategic information to manage Country Programmes and relevant national policies and programmes toward achieving results for children in both humanitarian and non-humanitarian environments.
The Multi-Country Evaluation Specialist will work with assigned Country Offices:
  • Guide the offices and their partners to identify priority evaluation topics in accordance with the UNICEF evaluation policy, the UNICEF Strategic Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Country Programme Document and national policies and programmes.
  • Identify the Evaluation objectives, priorities, and activities required for effective Country Office and partner Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans. In humanitarian response situations, support the Country Office adjust the prevailing evaluation plan in UNICEF Evidence Information System Integration system (EISI), in accordance with guidance for emergency situations. Likewise, adjust the evaluation plans in EISI in accordance with the transition through the stages of transition and recovery.
  • Identify gaps in knowledge and works with PME and section chiefs to ensure these are addressed. Facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration in the execution of these efforts.
  • Provide technical support to ensure that a set of evaluation performance indicators is monitored and fed into decision-making processes in the context of the multi-year and annual evaluation plans in EISI, as well as associated office-wide management plans and work plans, ensuring close follow up on the implementation of planned evaluative activities.
  • Consolidate evaluation plans within required systems and documentation, including the EISI planning platform and in the Costed Evaluation Plan that accompanies the Country Programme Document for consideration by the Executive Board. Ensure that evaluation findings and lessons learned are incorporated in the Country Programme, and other planning, and reporting documents. Support the conceptualization of MTRs (where applicable) from an evaluation perspective.
  • Monitor progress and support Country Management Teams (CMTs), Country office Annual Reports and, where applicable, Mid-term Reviews (MTR), as well as other review moments that lead to plan revisions. Provide input to management reports, including relevant sections of the Country Office Annual Report.
Evaluation Conduct and Use:
  • Ensure that UNICEF-supported evaluations are designed and implemented to established UN quality standards, and the results are disseminated in a timely fashion and used by stakeholders in order to improve programme performance and contribute to wider learning.
The Multi-Country Evaluation Specialist will support Country Offices to:
  • Undertake an evaluability assessment of themes listed in costed evaluation plans, as required, and make recommendations on changes to improve the evaluability of the programs.
  • Work with Country Offices and their partners to formulate Terms of Reference and evaluation designs of high quality. The MC Evaluation Specialist is to sign off on the TORs before they can advance to recruitment of the evaluation team. Work with the country office evaluation specialist/focal point to manage the recruitment of appropriate and highly qualified consultants.
  • The MC Specialist will closely manage and monitor the implementation of the evaluation, quality review the deliverables and will indicate when the quality is high enough that it can be accepted. As part of this role, she/he will help establish and manage the necessary governance bodies (Steering Committee; Reference Group) for their inputs into the quality assurance process.
  • Work closely with external evaluation consultants/teams to enable them to deliver results according to the agreed Terms of Reference. Exercise sufficient oversight so that quality is assured, and any quality issues are detected soon enough that timely remedial action is possible.
  • Develop and implement a multi-method communication plan to disseminate the evaluation report to intended audiences via user-friendly methods. Fosters organizational accountability and learning based on the outcomes of the evaluations, working with other Evaluation Managers in the region. Promotes further dissemination and use of evaluation to internal and external audiences (including national government, development partners, CSOs and private sector partners. Regularly documents emerging good practices of evaluation use in the countries under her/his responsibility.
  • Support stakeholders to prepare a formal management response that reflects their reaction/views on the evaluation recommendations. Assist the COs to monitor and report on the implementation of agreed management response actions. At a larger scale, support the CO to find means to engage partners around the value of the evaluation, with a consistent goal of increasing utilization and reach.
  • Support country-led evaluations of policies and programmes and the consideration of the results by partners.
Evaluation Capacity Strengthening and Partnership building:
  • Ensure that evaluation capacities of Country Office staff and national partners - including government and civil society- are strengthened, enabling them to increasingly engage in and lead evidence generating processes. Ensure that the Country Office is effectively linked to wider UNICEF capacity building developments in a way that both contributes to and benefits from organizational learning.
The Multi-Country Evaluation Specialist will support Country Offices to:
  • Build and strengthen strategic partnerships through networking and advocacy with local/national governments and sub-regional governmental bodies, UN system agency partners, donors, NGOs, funding organization, research institutes, including universities, and the private sector. Promotes joint Govt/UNICEF evaluations that rigorously assess national policies, programmes and innovative models.
  • Ensure that sufficient systems and procedures are in place within the COs under his/her responsibility for appropriate ethics reviews of evidence activities as per the UNICEF Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation and Data Collection and Analysis.
  • Foster policy-level and academic partnerships to support national evaluation capacity development initiatives. Ensure that evaluation capacities of country office staff and national partners - government and civil society- are strengthened enabling relevant Government units to increasingly engage in and lead evaluation processes.
  • The MC Evaluation Specialist is expected to be a well-informed focal point on a range of learning options and themes related to evaluations, and a first point of contact for the COs to arrange upskilling efforts.
Qualifications of Successful Candidate:
  • An Advanced University Degree (master’s degree or higher) in the social sciences, economics, public policy, statistics, or in research methods or other relevant areas is required. A degree or certification/
  • accreditation in Evaluation is a significant advantage.
Work Experience:
  • At least 8 years of professional experience in implementing equity-focused evaluations and managing the evaluation function at national and international level. Experience in development and/or humanitarian settings is required.
  • Strong track record for leading and managing evaluations that are of high relevance, quality, credibility, and use, and for achieving these outcomes with an equally strong track record for demonstrating behavioral independence as well as solid consultation skills.
  • Experience with building staff and organizational capacities in Evaluation.
  • Experience in supporting national evaluation capacity and working with professional evaluation associations.
  • Proven experience in establishing effective partnerships in both development and humanitarian environments.
  • Experience in evaluation design and in conducting evaluations as per UNICEF and UNEG norms and standards for Evaluation in the UN System.
  • Familiarity with methods used in conducting both 'up-stream' evaluations (e.g., focusing on policies, strategies, and systems), as well as 'down-stream' evaluations (e.g., focusing on delivery of programmes and projects) is an asset.
  • Experience in related evidence functions is an asset, including Social Policy, Public Policy, Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis, Research, Programme Audit, and Programme Planning and Monitoring. Experience in these areas cannot be substituted for the Evaluation experience but it is an advantage.
  • Proven experience and competencies in working with, influencing and leading teams comprised of diverse background, level of expertise and at multiple geographical locations.
  • Experience in the East Asia & Pacific region is advantageous.
Language Requirements: 
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a prominent language of the duty stations covered by the MC Evaluation Post is an asset.