Program Cycle Specialist

Location: Washington
Practice Area: International Conservation
Employment Type: Direct Hire
Start Date: 04/01/21

Environmental Incentives

Environmental Incentives’ mission is to enhance the environment that sustains healthy communities. We empower public and private sector leaders to maximize their effectiveness using performance-driven conservation and development tools and practices. Since our establishment in 2004, we have become a leading advisor on evidence-based adaptive management across the United States and internationally. We apply expertise and tools to help our clients get the most from their programmatic investments by strengthening performance management. EI’s International Practice works across multiple technical sectors with client offices at USAID including the Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning, the Office of Forestry and Biodiversity, and the Office of Water. Other clients include the Walton Family Foundation, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Training Resources Group.

Environmental Incentives is a certified B Corporation.


Environmental Incentives (EI) is seeking mission-driven individuals with skills in international development program design, research, monitoring, evaluation, and organizational learning to join the USAID Program Cycle Mechanism team. PCM has multiple openings for positions based in Washington, DC or in a USAID Mission. These openings may include Fellowships (dedicated support to a single office for a term of one to two years) or Technical Assistance positions (supporting multiple offices on a medium- or long-term basis). Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed in response to requests from USAID Washington and Mission offices.

The first round of applicants will be reviewed on or before March 15, 2021 for positions that may start in early to mid-April. Mission-based positions may be fulfilled remotely. A subsequent cohort may start in August 2021.

Position Description

PCM Specialists will be members of a network providing technical support and advisory services to USAID.  They  will work across design, strategy development, monitoring, evaluation, and the set of USAID organizational learning practices (collaborating, learning, and adapting or CLA) to ensure cohesive connection between the generation of evidence and applying that learning for strategy development and project and activity design. PCM Specialists bolster capacity in USAID Washington and Mission offices to plan for, undertake, and use high-quality program-cycle-related products and processes to achieve better development outcomes. It does this by providing technical expertise that strengthens the capacity of USAID staff in program-cycle related skills and provides the Agency with improved access and capabilities to apply state-of-the-art practices.

Strategic learning and collaboration are fundamental to an adaptive approach to development. By collaborating, learning, and adapting throughout the Program Cycle, USAID aims to strengthen programming and maximize development outcomes. A learning-focused and adaptive approach helps ensure that our programs are coordinated with others, grounded in evidence, and adjusted as necessary to remain relevant and effective throughout implementation.

PCM Specialists are recruited for their skills in design, research, monitoring, evaluation, and organizational learning functions and are matched to requests from specific USAID Missions and Washington offices scopes of work as part of the recruitment process.


PCM Specialists will serve in an advisory and capacity-building role for program-cycle-related functions (e.g., strategic planning, design, monitoring, evaluation, and CLA) within operating units. They are meant to supplement rather than substitute for existing Agency capacity. PCM Specialists will fill a critical gap by working collaboratively with USAID teams to develop high quality products and processes that will serve as solid examples, models and guidance for future staff, as well as build the capacity of the staff involved in the process so that they are prepared to take the lead.

The specific tasks will be determined by the needs of a specific office. In general, PCM Specialists will:

  • Build capacity and provide expert advice to USAID staff on cohesive implementation of the USAID programming operational guidance as reflected in the USAID Program Cycle.
  • Provide TA to facilitate the integration of systems thinking, local ownership, and CLA practice into the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and adaptation of USAID programming.
  • Provide support to strengthen USAID internal processes, procedures, and systems to improve the generation and utilization of data and evidence for adaptive management.
  • Develop and deliver materials and presentations to familiarize staff and partners with developing theories of change, developing monitoring approaches, designing evaluations, and applying CLA principles and practice.
  • Convene/Participate in communities of practice or working groups to share and encourage good practices.
  • Document learning about Program Cycle implementation and provide feedback back to PPL on the implementation and/or challenges of Program Cycle guidance, tools, methods, and approaches.

Each PCM Specialist may specialize in a functional area of the Program Cycle (e.g., Design Specialist, MEL specialist, M&E adviser, or CLA advisor), but will be expected to bridge work across these disciplines. Successful candidates will join a cohort of PCM Specialists and participate in an orientation to all the Program Cycle disciplines. For specific positions, responsibilities may be focused on:

Strategy and Design Focused Work

  • Support the development of Country Development Cooperation Strategies.
  • Develop and apply tools and approaches in support of adaptive theories of change in design and MEL systems.
  • Support USAID staff to integrate a systems approach into design and strategic planning work.
  • Design and organize design workshops that incorporate various stakeholders into the process, including co-creation workshops (across Program Cycle components), which include external stakeholders.

M&E and CLA Focused-Work

  • Guide USAID operating units in Program Cycle implementation, including developing performance management plans (PMPs) and project and/or activity MEL plans.
  • Develop appropriate monitoring and evaluation frameworks to maximize learning and adapting in strategy development and design.
  • Collect and synthesize learning from monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities and assist Mission staff in translating findings into strategic and adaptive decision-making.
  • Develop tools and provide advice on developing and selecting indicators and assure data quality.
  • Assist in developing, capturing, sharing, and applying methods, models, and tools to further CLA in the Program Cycle.
  • Provide TA and other support to learning advisors and champions to facilitate CLA.
  • Disseminate monitoring and evaluation findings and create communication products in various formats to inform decision makers, USAID staff and practitioners.
  • Provide support in knowledge management systems for M&E and/or CLA.
  • Work across USAID teams to create learning agendas and CLA plans.
  • Use organizational learning techniques to support a culture of learning.


  • At least a master’s degree or equivalent experience in a relevant discipline.
  • At least five (mid-level) years of experience, seven to ten (intermediate), or 12+ years (senior-level) with foreign assistance monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management, organizational learning, and/or strategic learning.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and capacity to adapt to and operate in environments of uncertainty.
  • Experience with catalyzing programmatic learning and adaptive management in USAID or other foreign assistance agencies (including large NGOs, contractors, or international organizations).
  • Experience designing and implementing international development programs with USAID and/or other large development assistance agencies (including large NGOs, contractors, or international organizations).
  • Experience providing advice to international development managers in the field; including working in the field or supporting field projects to achieve an operational mission or to implement a project or activity.
  • Experience facilitating groups, meetings, or events desired.
  • Background in capacity-building, adult learning and/or learning facilitation or related experience desired.
  • Experience convening people in large organizations (in a work environment or as a volunteer) to build consensus and achieve a particular outcome.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Fluent English required and additional languages desired.
  • Eligibility to obtain and maintain a USG facility access or security clearance for work in the United States is required.
  • For mission-based assignments: Ability and willingness to temporarily relocate to foreign locations (as feasible given COVID-19 travel restrictions)
Criminal background check required.

Base Station

The position will be based in Washington, DC or in a USAID Mission. Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the position will begin remotely.


Environmental Incentives also offers a competitive benefits package that includes generous annual leave, holiday and sick time, retirement plan options, professional development opportunities and health coverage. Salaries depend on qualifications and location.

Environmental Incentives is an Equal Opportunity Employer

We are committed to developing an inclusive work environment for all employees, where diversity of thought, style, culture and skill is valued in support of individual performance and potential, as well as our business goals and mission. We prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

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