As part of the Learning and Fund Design team, the Research, Evidence and Learning Design Lead will lead the design of the evidence and learning component of Comic Relief’s new long-term civil society strengthening programme, co-funded by UK aid, during the inception and design phase. The programme has the overarching aim of shifting greater power to civil society and will invest in the local philanthropy and the organisational development of civil society organisations in Ghana, Zambia and Malawi.
Reflection, learning, evidence generation and adaptation are core features that will need to be built into the programme. The postholder will also working closely with the Programme Design Lead for this programme and with a diversity of stakeholders within and outside of Comic Relief.
Leadership: Provide leadership of the evidence and learning elements of the design phase of Comic Relief’s new civil society strengthening programme, co-funded by UK aid, in line with the approved Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Business Case, MoU and budget.
Learning Strategy: Working with the Programme Design Lead & key delivery partners (‘Anchor Partner(s)’), develop the learning strategy and logframe for the programme, with a focus on generating evidence on how funders (particularly those based in the Global North) can best support African CSOs to strengthen their organisations & generate more sustainable forms of income locally.
Approach: Creatively find ways to unlock the inherent power of communities and organisations by ensuring that people with lived experience are intentionally engaged in how the programme is designed. This includes developing community-led approaches and ensuring synergy with Communications Strategy.
Partnerships: Utilising Comic Relief’s experience and learning, lead on the development of Terms of Reference and identification of key research and evidence partners to support us in delivering the Learning Strategy in programme countries (beginning in Ghana). This includes tendering, contracting and partnership inception activities.
Organisational Strengthening: Working in partnership with the Programme Design Lead, identified Anchor Partner(s) and other technical partners, and building on foundational work already completed, support the design of the framework to define, track, measure and understand the process of organisational change and strengthening (the ‘Organisational Strengthening Framework’).
Network building and sector learning: Connect with existing networks and fora engaged in the #ShiftThePower discourse, as well as other funders who share Comic Relief’s intention to shift greater power to those closest to the issues we fund, in order to ensure the programme contributes to, and benefits from, existing rich experience, knowledge and perspectives.
Alignment with existing internal practice: Work closely with the Senior Manager: Evidence and Learning to develop quality improvements to Comic Relief’s MEL approach, ensuring that learning from this programme contributes to equitable, inclusive and consistent principles, systems and processes.
Advisory support: Provide technical input to existing FCDO jointly funded programmes with an organisational strengthening component, supporting the Evidence and Learning team to meaningfully measure and evidence changes in organisational strength in a way which reinforces ownership, learning and adaptation.
Line management: Be ready to provide quality line management and professional development support to potential line reports joining the team, ensuing they have clear objectives in place and are supported to meet them.
International travel is required with this role (dependent on Covid-19 travel restrictions introduced by Comic Relief or governments).
Essential Skills and Competencies:
Significant and demonstrable technical expertise in processes, approaches, tools and methodologies that facilitate learning and evidence generation within complex programmes or organisational initiatives in different contexts.
Experience of supporting organisations and teams to plan and implement quality improvements
A deep understanding and critical engagement with the politics of evidence and a proven ability to apply analysis of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and power to evidence and learning.
Experience and knowledge of at least one of the following: collective intelligence and learning; adaptive management; organisational development and change approaches; community/constituent centred feedback, user participation and co-design.
Experience of commissioning and managing external consultants and brokering fair and equitable research and evidence partnerships.
Excellent facilitation skills, ability to promote critical thinking and reflective practice and encourage learning
Experience of working in collaboration and partnership with institutional/bilateral donors, research and academic institutes ideally, or other large institutional funders. Experience of working in partnership at a distance / remotely.
Strong emotional intelligence and political awareness to proactively challenge and persuade senior stakeholders and partners.
Strategic and analytical thinker with the ability to see the bigger picture, adopt a positive and solution-orientated approach and make appropriate and effective decisions.
Ability to listen deeply and communicate well with colleagues, with an expertise in conveying conceptual and sometimes complex information to a variety of non- technical audiences
Desirable Skills and Competencies
Demonstrable knowledge of, and experience of, organisational development and/or local philanthropy in an African context.
Experience of working in any of the programme countries (Malawi, Zambia, Ghana)
Experience of working in a grantmaking or funding organisation
Inclusivity at Comic Relief
We recognise diversity and inclusion are a source of strength in achieving our mission. We therefore welcome everyone, trusting what makes us different brings creativity, styles and experiences to help us collectively do our best work. That’s regardless of your gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and cultural identity. We especially welcome those from under-represented groups in modern grant-making and fundraising. We are on a journey, but if you join our team you will be part of a community that is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where we want you to:
Be valued for being yourself
Do your best work, and be supported to break down barriers so you can succeed
Be heard, respected, and treated as an equal, whatever your level, experience or background
Be part of a team that is committed to making this happen – with our colleagues, partners, and contributors.
Comic Relief is committed to preventing and protecting all people from harm in their interactions with us. We expect all those that act in our name to uphold our approach to doing no harm.