Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Adviser

24 March 2023 4:43pm
Apply by10/4/2023
Region Pacific,


The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Adviser is a key member of the TOMAK leadership team and is responsible for day-to-day direction-setting, MEL activity implementation, and overall management of this important technical area.


Title: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Adviser
Project: TOMAK (To’os ba Moris Di’ak) / Farming for Prosperity
Duration: 1 May 2023 – 30 April 2024, with an option to further extend to May 2026
ARF Level: C2/C3
Location: Dili, Timor-Leste, with regular travel to municipalities
Reports to: Team Leader
Manages: 2 national technical personnel, short-term advisers, sub-contracted organisations

The To’os Ba Moris Di’ak Program (TOMAK) is a 10-year agricultural livelihoods program funded by the Australian Government in Timor-Leste. Its goal is to ensure rural households live more prosperous and sustainable lives.
TOMAK Phase 1 (AUD25 million, 2016-21) aimed to enable more prosperous and sustainable rural livelihoods through an innovative mix of nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA), market systems development (MSD) and women’s economic empowerment (WEE) activities. Phase 1 was extended until June 2022 to allow for evaluative activities and the Phase 2 design update process. TOMAK Phase 2 (up to AUD20 million, 2022-26) formally commenced in July 2022.

TOMAK Phase 2 takes an integrated ‘food system’ perspective to achieve inter-linked objectives relating to food security, nutrition and agriculture-based livelihoods. The program has a strong emphasis on gender equality, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI), which is articulated in the program design and theory of change. The program is also committed to adaptive programming and will invest significant resources towards regular monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) activities, with technical support provided through a dedicated MEL team.

TOMAK is being implemented at community level in Baucau, Bobonaro and Viqueque municipalities, through government and NGO partners, with broader reach achieved through a range of systems strengthening activities with government and private sector partners.

Position Summary

The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Adviser is a key member of the TOMAK leadership team and is responsible for day-to-day direction-setting, MEL activity implementation, and overall management of this important technical area.
The MEL Adviser will lead the development of TOMAK’s Phase 2 MEL system, working closely with the program’s MEL Manager and MEL Analyst, program leadership and technical specialists. The development of the MEL system will involve developing and updating a MEL Framework, MEL Plan and reconfiguring the program’s beneficiary and activity database to house and display routine data. The Adviser will lead on defining indicator definitions, targets, and data collection procedures, outlining templates for annual planning and donor reporting, as well as articulating a regular learning and reflection strategy. Working together with the GEDSI Adviser/Team, the MEL Adviser will prioritise ensuring that key inclusion outcomes are tracked by the system. The Adviser will also be responsible for the design and implementation of TOMAK NGO partners’ MEL systems to ensure overall alignment and coherence.

At the outset of Phase 2 activity implementation, TOMAK designed and conducted a baseline study in the Phase 2 target areas. Subsequently and throughout the program, the MEL Adviser will oversee the design and implementation of annual thematic surveys to track progress towards program outcomes. The Adviser will have key responsibility for the implementation of the program’s MEL Plan, including directing inputs for key monitoring and assessment tasks as well as management of inputs provided by the MEL Manager, MEL Analyst, implementing partners and short-term personnel.
The Adviser will be responsible for linking TOMAK’s MEL Plan to monitoring and reporting requirements set out by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This includes engaging regularly with DFAT M&E personnel to supply quantitative program data against key indicators, as well as the production of qualitative data using the Stories of Significant Change methodology. The Adviser will also support the Team Leader and technical advisers to produce regular donor reports.

The Adviser will continue to foster TOMAK’s strong commitment to sharing MEL results with key stakeholders (including government and other development partners). In Phase 2, the MEL team will develop a data management strengthening strategy with MAF, which will be overseen by the Adviser and implemented by the MEL Analyst, in collaboration with other TOMAK technical team members.

The Adviser manages the MEL team (currently a MEL Manager and MEL Analyst), as well as any relevant short-term consultants/advisers. The Adviser is expected to work with the MEL team to improve MEL skills and capacity both internally and among the broader TOMAK team (through high quality trainings, skills building, mentoring), as well as with implementation partners and other stakeholders. The Adviser is also expected to coordinate closely with the TOMAK Team Leader and the program’s technical and regional teams, including working closely with the GEDSI team in designing gender-sensitive research and evaluations, and the Senior Communications Officer in collecting quality stories to contribute to the program’s qualitative data needs.

The MEL Adviser should have high level leadership skills, whilst still being willing to roll up their sleeves to get work done. The Adviser will have the ability to collaborate with diverse teams and effectively communicate and oversee the program’s MEL requirements. Strong organisational skills and the ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines are a must. The Adviser should be an excellent communicator, capable of expressing the program’s vision and desired outcomes through a range of formats and with a variety of stakeholders. The Adviser should be willing to travel regularly to the field (Baucau, Bobonaro and Viqueque municipalities) including to rural/farming communities as required.

Duties and responsibilities

• In collaboration with TOMAK’s technical teams, develop and lead the implementation of the TOMAK Phase 2 MEL system, including annual reviews to the MEL Plan and ensuring linkages to DFAT’s reporting requirements;
• In collaboration with the GEDSI Adviser/team, ensure the program is adequately tracking inclusion data and outcomes through the MEL system;
• Produce high-quality narrative baseline and assessment reports and provide inputs to key program reports, particularly the six-monthly progress presentation and the annual progress report to DFAT;
• Lead the design of research methodologies for specific assessments/studies (e.g. annual thematic surveys), including the development of qualitative and quantitative tools;
• Provide quality assurance and oversight to the program’s beneficiary and activity database, together with the MEL Manager, MEL Analyst and implementing partners;
• Maintain and develop a pipeline of stories in close coordination with the Team Leader, technical and regional teams and the Senior Communications Officer;
• Engage closely with the DFAT M&E Adviser to provide data to feed into DFAT reporting requirements. This includes inputs against quantitative indicators as well as the development of Stories of Significant Change that align with qualitative indicators;
• Support the development and quality assurance of MEL plans and regular reporting by implementing partners;
• Incorporate the use of innovative technologies to support data collection and analysis, specifically but not limited to Ona, KoboToolbox and PowerBI;
• Directly supervise and support the MEL Manager and the MEL Analyst through provision of coaching to support planning and implementation of the MEL system, as well as supporting the broader TOMAK team to improve program-wide M&E knowledge and capacity;
• As a member of the TOMAK leadership team, play an active role in stakeholder engagement and the development of key deliverables including writing sections of the annual workplan and annual report, and presenting at donor briefings;
• Recruit and manage any short-term personnel required for key MEL assignments to ensure delivery of high-quality deliverables (incl. data analysis, evaluations, research etc.);
• Participate in relevant MEL-related networks (including those convened by DFAT) to ensure regular communication and coordination with other programs, organisations and agencies.

Skills and experience required:

1. Demonstrated international development experience in designing and implementing MEL plans and activities, particularly in the areas of agricultural productivity, food systems, food and nutrition security (at least 7 years);
2. Demonstrated M&E technical capacity, including in both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis;
3. Excellent research skills, including in the design of research methodologies and tools and the ability to synthesise rich multi-methods data and produce high quality written MEL outputs;
4. Demonstrated commitment to designing and implementing MEL activities that are GEDSI-sensitive;
5. Demonstrated high level organisational skills and the ability to manage multiple tasks, competing priorities and complete assignments within timeframes;
6. Experience in capacity building, including training and on the job mentoring of staff, strong leadership and team management skills;
7. Excellent communication skills, analytical and report writing skills;
8. Exceptional interpersonal and cross-cultural skills and the ability to develop highly productive relationships within a large team and across key stakeholders;
9. Demonstrated capacity to work collegially with government, private sector, civil society and other partner organisations and to manage effective partnership arrangements;
10. Post-graduate qualifications relating to international development, agriculture,rural/development economics, health,or similar;
11. Prior working experience in Timor-Leste is preferred and fluency in Tetum language is desirable.

To apply:

For further information or to submit your application, please email Kirstie Chambers on with the email subject line “MEL LT Adviser”. Application close COB Monday 10 April 2023 (AEST).

Applications should include:
- a cover letter which addresses the Terms of Reference
- an up-to-date CV (no more than 3 pages)
- a recent example of authored MEL-related document (analysis, report, study)

Adam Smith International is an equal opportunity employer – women and candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications received, only short-listed applicants will be contacted.