Position Available

Head of Research, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL), Africa

What are we looking for?

Based on the intersecting crises including environmental and climate, human rights abuses, patriarchy, race and inequality amongst others, Natural Justice is in a key phase to expand its work to stand behind more communities across Africa. Central to this is increasing our research and monitoring, evaluation and learning across the organisation in order to continuing improve upon our strategies to address environmental injustices, build and share these with our community partners in the continent.

Natural Justice seeks a Head of Research and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) who will collaborate with and oversee our research teams. You will work across the organisation to lead the development and implementation of an ambitious, high-quality and impactful research and MEL strategy, working closely with our research and programme teams. 

You will lead the compilation and analysis of data from the organisation’s legal empowerment, litigation and advocacy work and utilise the learnings to enhance our programmes and methodologies, in collaboration with our community partners, environmental defenders and lawyers, to increase the scale and impact of the environmental justice strategies – and to help improve law and policy across Africa.

You will work with a passionate team of researchers, lawyers and community environmental legal officers and legal fellows, campaign and communication officers, programme managers, hub directors, director of programmes and development and the executive. You will contribute to ensuring Natural Justice effectively stands behind communities.

The position will be responsible for creating, developing and implementing a new research and MEL strategy at an exciting time for the organisation – as it seeks to grow its collaborations, partnerships and impact in Africa.

How to Apply:

Applications should be submitted via email to applications@naturaljustice.org with ‘Head of Research and MEL’ in the subject line.

Applications must include:

  1. A motivation letter that indicates: a) why you are interested in this position and how research and MEL can assist in the fight for environmental justice in Africa; and b) aspects of your background that demonstrate the required competence for this role;
  2. A detailed CV with three contactable references; and
  3. Two samples of your past written work (for example, articles or cases you were involved in).

Please ensure that your application speaks to the required qualifications, experience, personal profile and key roles and responsibilities. Please do not apply if you do not meet the required experience.

The position can be based in any of the Natural Justice Hubs: Cape Town, Nairobi or Dakar.

Deadline: 31 August 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Key Roles and Responsibilities – Head of Research and MEL

  • Strategic Development and Thought Leadership
  • Develop and oversee the implementation of the organisation’s research and MEL strategies.
  • Initiate, plan, implement and manage continent-wide research projects and activities (including timelines, deliverables and budgeting).
  • Develop and implement a learning agenda relevant for the programmes, ensuring learnings inform the improvement of strategies, are adapted to methodologies for communities and lawyers to utilise and shared via tools such as shared digital platforms and webinars.
  • Design and coordinate MEL plans, database, and formats across the organisation.
  • Provide guidance and thought leadership to the research teams in the organisation’s Hubs.
  • Research and MEL
  • Oversee the collection of monitoring data and data analysis.
  • Develop and implement MEL methodologies in line with the organisation’s programmes and coordinate support and training of the community partners to implement research and MEL methodologies.
  • The development of robust monitoring plans for quantitative and qualitative reporting on programme and project performance indicators.
  • The development of high-quality database(s) for programmes across the organisation.
  • The development of work plans, budgets, technical reports, and deliverables, in conjunction with hub directors and programme heads.
  • Developing quarterly and annual evaluations of programme/project activities for use across the organisation.
  • Sharing, discussing and applying the lessons learnt from monitoring data in the development of new projects, programmes of work and strategies.
  • Ensure that the research and programme teams review and adjust research and MEL plans and tools accordingly.
  • Develop and guide reflection sessions across the organisation’s Hubs to systematically analyse data for programmatic use, and to document and incorporate lessons learned into project design and implementation.
  • To ensure collation, analysis, and presentation of MEL information from partners is well captured in the MEL system.
  • Support the development and implementation of feedback mechanisms to understand the views of community partners and other partners, and ensure the feedback is documented, addressed, analysed, and utilized by Natural Justice programmes.
  • To coordinate and support programme/project learning events.
  • Assist in the conceptualisation of, conduct research and write opinions on core programme issues, including land rights, climate change, environmental compliance, impacts of major projects and citizens advocacy.
  • Project and Knowledge Management  
  • Lead and develop an overall knowledge management system for the organisation and ensure its implementation.
  • Networking and Communications       
  • Contribute to the communications and campaign strategies and outputs of the organisation.
  • Identify and interact with relevant researchers or institutes, organisations, or other relevant stakeholders from government, NGO, private and academics in the region.
  • Attend and represent Natural Justice in conferences and events that are relevant to the respective research.
  • Strengthening staff and partner capacity       
  • To provide technical assistance to support partners to improve monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning systems and processes; in particular, the collection of quantitative & qualitative information from various sources related to influencing strategies.
  • To oversee the building of capacity of community partners in research and MEL.
  • To verify MEL data received from partners and project staff and investigate inconsistencies.
  • The application of practical feminist principles in the research, monitoring, evaluation and learning practice across the organisation.
  • Support staff to engage in quality monitoring and evaluating project performance and to incorporate participatory methods into MEL systems in the project.
  • To guide, support and mentor the research and MEL team in the organisation
  • Initiate and co-ordinate the development of community accessible materials, with the assistance of programme teams.
  • Fundraising
  • Provide input into the fundraising strategy.
  • Develop concepts and work with the Management Team around the overall fundraising and, specifically, in terms of funding for research and MEL components.
  • Contribute to the research and MEL components of funding applications and reports.
  • Work with the Director of Programmes, Hub Directors and research managers to identify funding sources.
  • Reporting
  • To compile data from project activities into overall reports reflecting activities, outputs and outcomes to guide management decision making, provide accountability to partners, share learning and demonstrate impact.
  • Routinely monitoring of project performance against targets and preparing of periodic reports on MEL activities of the project.
  • To compile project monitoring data into overall reports reflecting activities, outputs and outcomes to guide management decision making, provide accountability to stakeholders, share learning and demonstrate impact.
  • Travel
  • Ability to undertake frequent local travel, and international travel as required.

Selection Criteria

Minimum Academic Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in economics, statistics, mathematics, actuarial science, environmental studies or other relevant social science discipline.
  • Master’s degree in research, law, political science, economics (cooperation and human development), statistics, mathematics, environment, climate change and adaptation or other relevant social science discipline.


  • At least 7-8 years of demonstrated work expertise in research and MEL.
  • Experience in gathering, analyzing, and presenting quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Excellent knowledge and experience in establishing and maintaining effective monitoring and evaluation systems for development projects, including MEL for influencing and campaigning.
  • Experience with conducting primary and/or desktop research and preparing clear and analytical reports and publications (with proof of published work).
  • Experience-related research or project experiences to policy advocacy.
  • Demonstrated experience advocating for environmental justice.
  • Candidate should be able to work independently – with minimum supervision and guidance from supervisors.
  • Demonstrated skills and experience in leading high-performing teams in person and remotely.
  • Good knowledge of pan African and international politics and political processes.

Knowledge and skills:

  • Fluency in English.
  • Proficiency in French is an added advantage as a large part of the team are French speaking.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent Knowledge and experience in establishing and maintaining effective research and MEL systems for development projects, and an added advantage if related to legal advocacy, influencing and movement building.
  • Good exposure to working for development organisations; experience working in a project management set up is desirable.
  • Good experience leading an organisation or a unit within and organisation. This includes people management, resources and programmes.
  • Demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, genders, and orientations.

Closing Date

31 August 2021

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