Director, Measurement, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL)

The International Youth Foundation (IYF), a global nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives and conditions of young people worldwide, is seeking a Director of Measurement, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) to strengthen and lead IYF’s MERL Practice. The ideal candidate will have strong analytical, organizational, and interpersonal skills, experience in leading research and evaluation and M&E plans, and a demonstrated commitment to international development.

Provide strategic direction, leadership and management for the Measurement, Evaluation, Research & Learning practice at IYF. In partnership with a dynamic and committed team of technical specialists worldwide, this position oversees MERL on the strategy and project levels. This senior position provides mentorship, supervision, and/or matrixed management oversight to a team of MERL specialists that develops and applies project MERL frameworks, implements the institutional Learning Agenda, and closely collaborates with IYF’s Assets, Strategy and Knowledge unit to support robust program design, implementation, and knowledge sharing. This full-time position is based in Baltimore, MD, USA.


  • Lead the advancement of IYF’s Learning Agenda, including identification and implementation of research and evaluation activities, through partnership with MERL technical leads and key program staff.  Initiate independent evaluation and research projects, including partnerships and fundraising.
  • In collaboration with key staff, strengthen and refine IYF’s MERL approaches and toolkits, and develop and implement training for staff and partners.
  • Develop and oversee a strategic approach to learning and knowledge sharing within and across projects, leveraging industry best practices.
  • Ensure IYF’s MERL system, processes, tools and capacities reflect industry best practices and support the organization in the identification of accurate results, interpretation of data and information from diverse sources and approaches, and integration of learning into project teams, the organization, and key stakeholders.  Ensure that key project information, performance, and learning is tracked through IYF’s Systematic Tracking and Organization Records Management (STORM) System, on Salesforce, through adherence to IYF practices and protocols.
  • Lead measurement, analysis, and communication of program achievement toward the strategy-level objectives and outcome indicators.
  • Support MERL technical leads to design, develop and oversee project MERL plans (e.g. theories of change, logical frameworks, performance measurement frameworks, data collection and analysis plans, and evaluation and learning plans) and deliver technical assistance, including training, to project staff including implementing partners.
  • Cultivate and maintain strong relationships in the international development, youth agency, youth economic opportunities, systems change, and MERL communities.  Represent IYF in relevant events, conferences, and Communities of Practice. 
  • Conduct other duties, as assigned.


  • Exceptional leadership, management, analytical, and critical thinking skills with the ability to work across a global, matrixed organization.
  • A collegial management style that emphasizes both achieving results and working in a highly skilled, multi-cultural and cross-functional team of professional colleagues.
  • Expertise in M&E, performance measurement, social science research, evaluation, and learning and knowledge of industry best practices.  Exceptional skills in designing and developing MERL systems, including theory of change, logical frameworks, learning agendas, and MERL plans.  Demonstrated ability to identify relevant and appropriate approaches to evaluation and research design.
  • Strong Knowledge Management and Learning aptitude to strengthen internal systems, processes, and staff capacities for effective MERL.
  • Ability to assume responsibility, make sound judgments, supervise and mentor diverse staff and teams, and work independently in a fast-paced environment.
  • Exceptional oral and written English communication skills.  Fluency in a second language a plus.
  • Strong computer skills using MS Office, one or more types of statistical software packages (e.g., SPSS, STATA, R, etc.) and data and information management solutions (especially Salesforce).  Excellent knowledge of and experience using Excel.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally as needed.


  • Minimum of 8 years of progressively responsible experience in designing and managing MERL systems, including data collection instruments, analysis methods, and learning plans, or comparable frameworks for measurement and assessing performance, evaluating efficacy and efficiency, and broader research initiatives.  5+ years of experience using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies
  • Bachelor’s degree in International Development, Economics, Social Sciences, or closely related field is required.  Master’s Degree is strongly preferred.
  • Experience designing evaluations and/ or research projects and managing external teams of researchers.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively use, analyze, and interpret quantitative and qualitative data to understand results and make evidence-informed recommendations.
  • Demonstrated experience in MERL capacity strengthening in multi-cultural environments and for a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Experience in developing MERL Plans for development interventions and business development opportunities from USAID and other government and multilateral development agencies preferred. 
  • Knowledge and experience of USAID approaches to MERL, including collaborating, learning, adapting preferred.
  • Knowledge of and experience with programs that support youth development, employment, and social services (e.g. education) a plus.

Baltimore, MD USA

Director, Assets, Strategy and Knowledge (ASK)

Please submit the following documents via email to with "MERL Director" in the subject line:

The International Youth Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues, and we welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.