Programme and Monitoring Officer - FCDO SPARC Programme

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Organization: Cowater International
Closing date: 29 Jan 2021

* Only candidates already in possession of have a permit to work in the UK (preferred) or in Canada or in Kenya will be considered **


The drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East are faced with significant challenges associated with environmental pressures, climate change and ongoing conflicts. In response, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) launched the Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) programme in early 2020. SPARC is a six-year (2020–2025) research programme that aims to develop, broker and manage knowledge to enhance the ability of the FCDO, Her Majesty's Government and the broader development community to assist pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and farmers living in dryland communities. The programme is led by Cowater International and co-delivered with Overseas Development Institute (ODI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Mercy Corps.

SPARC's ultimate objective is to help communities in the drylands of East, North and West Africa and the Middle East to increase their resilience to recurring shocks and protracted crises. SPARC does this by supporting more effective interventions and a better understanding of the challenges in these communities. SPARC's activities include generating timely and accessible evidence through research, providing advice to the UK Government and development partners through technical assistance, creating effective knowledge networks and relationships, and providing innovative approaches and solutions, including through an innovation facility.


Reporting to the SPARC Programme Manager and working closely with the SPARC Research Lead, Fund Manager, and the MEL Lead, the Programme and Monitoring Officer will oversee the management of a portfolio of research-related activities supported by the programme. The main role of the Programme and Monitoring Officer is to manage and track the delivery of results, covering a wide range of responsibilities from financial planning and reporting, to monitoring and learning.


Specifically, the responsibilities and key expected results of the Programme and Monitoring Officer will include the following:

Research Portfolio Management (60%)

  • Manage and oversee the SPARC research portfolio, maintaining the programme's pipeline of research projects and activities, ensuring the consistent application of SPARC procedures and policies.
  • Tracks and monitors the delivery of research outputs, ensuring that documentation is properly filed and catalogued.
  • Coordinates, collects and centralises all information about programme interventions (i.e. research outputs, programme level performance indicators), assuring that relevant documentation is tracked and completed.
  • Coordinates linkages between SPARC researchers and research projects and FCDO, external partners, donors, and other governments to facilitate collaboration on joint activities, and ensure good working relationships.
  • Develops and manages sub-contracts and work orders with consortium partners and third parties for research interventions. This includes:
    • Development of Terms of Reference.
    • Monitoring progress and keeping track of and acting on contract milestones, and reporting deadlines.
    • Liaise with sub-contractors in relation to (technical and non-technical) contractual matters from contract signature to project close-out.
    • Ensuring sub-contractors comply with contractual requirements and outputs adhere to quality standards.
    • Troubleshoot and mediate conflicts as required.
  • Develops and implements team processes to ensure good workflow within the team, and makes recommendations about the content and operations to improve the work of the program.
  • Coordinate and mobilise research teams through regular meetings. This includes scheduling meetings and tracking action items afterwards.
  • Assist in organising and managing research competitions (grants) including setting guidelines, disseminating calls for proposals, identifying reviewers, and ensuring prompt review of incoming proposal.
  • Assist in the review of research outputs for quality assurance (engaging with the SPARC research team), negotiating revisions and/or additional requirements as required.
  • Support to the preparation and coordination of programme level documents such as (annual work plans, communications strategies, evaluation plans, project reports or briefings, reports to donors, reports of meetings) for the programme team, and in response to specific requests by FCDO.

Programme Monitoring and Evaluation (40%)

  • Support to the MEL Lead, ensuring ToRs and work orders are connected to SPARC aims and objectives, and the Logical Framework.
  • Support the day-to-day implementation of MEL activities as highlighted in the M&E Plan, Ensure effective partner-level collaboration and promote a culture of M&E for learning and adaptation.
  • Provide support to quarterly and annual monitoring and reporting in line with SPARC's reporting requirements to the FCDO. This includes the preparation of quarterly, mid-term, and annual reports.
  • Coordinates the implementation of monitoring and evaluation plans for the programme. This includes planning and managing project evaluations, and coordinating the preparation of project completion report.
  • Support the design of and manage all management systems for data collection and capture for tracking of outputs and LogFrame indicators.
  • Support researchers and partners in the use of the various M&E associated tools and instruments for data collection, and meeting requirements for monitoring, reporting and evaluation of research interventions.
  • Coordinate with the MEL Lead and PMU to ensure that key research/learning findings are effectively integrated/used for programme adaptation, learning and improvement.



  • A Master's degree (or equivalent) in social science or a related field, preferably in development planning, conflict studies, agricultural sciences, economics or management.
  • Formal certification in development planning, monitoring and evaluation, and/or project management is considered an asset.\

Minimum Experience:

  • A minimum of five years of international experience in a field relevant to SPARC's priorities: agriculture, livelihoods, climate change, food security, poverty reduction, conflict, pastoralism, natural resource management, gender equality and women's empowerment, or economic development
  • Experience in monitoring and evaluation of large international donor funded programmes (preferably FCDO research programmes).


  • Understanding of SPARC issues such as poverty reduction, fragile and conflict affected states, climate change, livelihoods, and food security.
  • Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods, including surveys and focus groups.
  • Knowledge of monitoring and evaluation systems and tools for large donor funded programmes.
  • Knowledge of complex, multi-layered budgets, of financial planning, reporting, monitoring of accounts, and procurement.
  • Knowledge of analytical data visualisation tools.
  • Knowledge of data collection and capture information systems, including open-source software and experience with mobile data collection tools such as Data Software for Social Good (DSFSG) (formerly ODK and ODK-X) would be considered an asset.


  • Exceptional organisational skills (working to deadlines and under pressure, prioritising workload, multi-tasking);
  • The ability to be adaptable and flexible in a challenging, high pressure environment;
  • Ability to sustain a pro-active approach to problem-solving (managing and structuring a range of responsibilities without close supervision);
  • Strong analytical and data visualisation skills with the capacity to communicate to a range of different audiences;
  • Positive attitude, initiative, strong work ethic, and commitment to teamwork;
  • Strong oral and written communication and team building skills;
  • Ability to work effectively, including remotely;
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

Language skills

  • Excellent English communication skills (oral and written);
  • Working knowledge of French is considered an advantage.

Employment conditions: This position will ideally be based in the Cowater London Office (preferred). Applicants able to work from Nairobi or Ottawa would also be considered.

* Only candidates possessing a valid working visa for the UK (preferred), Canada or Kenya will be considered **


With more than 35 years' experience, Cowater International is Canada's global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development and has managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, financial and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Cowater International also has corporate offices in Montreal, Quebec, London, United Kingdom, Brussels, Belgium and Nairobi, Kenya in addition to project offices in a wide variety of other locations across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

We thank you for your interest in building a better tomorrow with Cowater International.

How to apply:

.Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and by January 29, 2021 on our Career center via the following link:

For your application to be considered, please upload your documents as followed: Candidate Last Name, First Name, date, Title of the Position.

We thank all applicants, however only those shortlisted will be contacted.

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