MERL Manager

Closing Date: Sunday, 30 January 2022

Bring your solid monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) background and proven people management experience to strengthen the impact of Te Tūao Tāwāhi - Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA's) volunteer programme in achieving positive development outcomes across the Pacific region. 

Te āhua o Te Tūrunga – The nature of the position

This new role as MERL Manager (fixed term until June 2023) is based in Wellington as part of the Finance and Programme Delivery team. You will be leading a new team and influencing performance and processes across the organisation. 

The critical areas you will deliver on are:

  • Framework development and design
  • Country and thematic reviews
  • Contributing to the Annual Report
  • Conducting pilot reviews of new types of volunteering within in-country programmes.
  • Driving our Theory of Change implementation
  • Managing an Analyst and working closely with the Principal Development Advisor.

This will include:

  • Designing frameworks and developing Terms of References documents
  • Continual monitoring and providing insights on the improvement of systems and processes to ensure that operational plans, country programmes and volunteer assignments are the best they can be
  • Quality monitoring of assignment development to ensure consistency across programmes
  • Keeping VSA updated on the development principles and the political, social, cultural, and economic issues important to developing countries

As borders open you are likely to travel for in-country evaluations where you will work with diverse cultures, eliciting information and providing feedback with sensitivity. 

As with many roles in the organisation, there will also be some additional tasks and projects that we will need your help on, and we may need you to work the occasional weekend.

Ngā tino Pūkenga/Wheako – Essential skills/experiences for the role 

You enjoy working in an autonomous role where your contribution and expertise is valued and used both at the strategic level and for day-to-day delivery of work.

Along with your solid MERL, analysis, and insight skills, you will bring:

  • Maturity and resilience for establishing a new team in a complex organisation coupled with the ability to have robust conversations with key stakeholders (both Wellington and internationally based staff).
  • Experience working with others to develop and implement new frameworks that may be unfamiliar, ensuring that these complement existing work programmes.
  • Proven experience conducting analysis and converting that to insightful, accurate and relevant future focused responses and recommendations for action.
  • Comfortable multitasking across your work and delivering results within deadlines.
  • A reputation for communicating with clarity, succinctly distilling complexity and adding value for what’s next.
  • Experience preparing and presenting reports, including to Board and Council level.
  • Sophisticated interpersonal skills, with proven ability to quickly establish trusted and productive working relationships.
  • Sound interpersonal skills and the ability to interact in a culturally respectful manner at all levels across both New Zealand and Pacific organisations.
  • Senior experience in a development agency or consulting environment (or similar).

You will need to be tech savvy, and comfortable and effective delivering remotely as you are in person - and understand how to connect and build relationships in both contexts.

Salary & Benefits:

Salary up to $95k 

Ability to work from home, with flexibility around hours

Supportive team and lots of opportunities for professional growth and development. 

Ko wai mātou – Who are we

VSA is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteering agency working within international development. VSA sends New Zealanders and people with strong connections to Aotearoa on overseas assignments to share their skills, experience, and knowledge directly with local people and communities to make real, sustainable change. 

Your mahi will contribute so that our volunteers can create new opportunities for people that will ripple across communities for generations to come.

Te tono – How to apply:

At VSA we understand the importance of cross-cultural understanding can only be achieved through the respectful mixing of cultures and identities. That understanding starts here in Aotearoa with a commitment to Te Tiriti O Waitangi. Our vision for a world with thriving communities, both locally and across the wider Pacific, starts internally with a thriving workplace. At VSA your contribution will be valued as we work, learn, and understand together.

To join us, we encourage you to apply via Please submit your application with a cover letter and CV, by no later than Sunday 30 January 2022. 

Apply Now

You can view the job description for this role above.

Interviews will be held 31 January – 4 February 2022 onsite in our Wellington Office. You will need to provide evidence of full Covid 19 vaccination to attend an interview. 

If you would like to know more about this role or VSA, or have any questions about applying, please feel free to reach out to us at

Applications are being reviewed daily and applications will close as soon as we have identified great talent

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