Free to Run

Impact and Learning Specialist

Job Expired

Job Overview

About Us

Free to Run’s (FTR) mission is to advance gender equity globally through running. We are a registered nonprofit/nongovernmental organization that has been operating community-led programs for adolescent girls and young women since 2014 in conflict zones. We are known for delivering long-term, youth-led, progressive running, leadership, rights, and health programs. However, the longer-term impact of our work is building enduring social change – decreasing barriers to public participation, increasing women in leadership, and making power structures more equitable and inclusive. Free to Run identifies as an organization working at the intersections of feminism, human rights, sport, development, and humanitarian interventions.

The organization is in a position of significant growth, in terms of our strategy, reach, impact, and operating budget. In 2024, we will embark on a new three-year strategic plan that positions us to reach 50,000 people by 2026, through direct service, capacity building for local, women-led NGOs, and building a movement of activists who are passionate about freedom and running.

Position Overview

The Impact and Learning Specialist is responsible for designing and leading our efforts to use data and evidence to understand and improve Free to Run’s programmatic impact. They will serve as a champion of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) thinking within the organization and will also be responsible for fostering and sustaining a learning and reflective culture and practice for the entire team. They will do so by facilitating meaningful learning and decision-making, asking strategic questions, overseeing data collection and analysis, identifying trends, and thoughtfully communicating results. This role requires both high-level (strategic) thinking and the ability/willingness to work in very detailed ways on gritty and practical projects and tasks.

In 2024, our direct service programs are taking place in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, with additional partner programs likely to be implemented in Central Asia and the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region. This role can be located either in our Erbil, Iraq office or remotely (with a preference for candidates based in the Middle East). This position reports to the Global Programs Manager, with significant interaction with the Executive Director and in-country Program Teams.

Core Accountabilities

Develop and Manage an Effective and Informed Impact Strategy (10%)

  • Envision an Impact strategy that aligns with Free to Run’s global strategy

  • Serve as a thought partner to the Executive Team in developing and refining macro-level goals and strategies

  • Innovate measurement strategies for emergent and hard-to-measure concepts of interest and importance to Free to Run

  • Develop and track key performance indicators related to strategy

  • Participate in organizational strategic planning, budgeting, and performance reporting activities

Design/Refine Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Tools and Systems (30%)

  • Lead the continual evolution of an organizational Theory of Change, Impact Framework and other guiding frameworks

  • Ensure indicators of performance align across organizational strategy, donor requirements, and actual program impact

  • Design/refine data collection tools, ensuring all tools are contextually optimized

  • Build and manage a (programs) database for impact data, ensuring adequate digital safety of sensitive information

  • Revise/develop organizational policies related to MEL

  • Lead risk assessment, mitigation, and response processes from a MEL perspective

Lead Team in Collecting and Regularly Analyzing Data (30%)

  • Conduct and oversee quantitative and qualitative data collection

  • Assess quality and integrity of data collected, make adjustments as needed to improve quality of data

  • Analyze Program data on regular intervals to provide real-time information to program and executive staff on progress and opportunities for improvement

  • Synthesize insights and emerging findings gained from data and external inputs

  • Provide training and support to program staff who collect and enter data

Oversee Impact Learning and Communications (internal and external) (15%)

  • Lead and refine processes for managing and reporting on MEL data, including providing actionable and timely feedback to colleagues via reports, presentations, dashboards, etc.

  • Integrate reflection and learning into Programs team practices

  • Contribute to external reports and storytelling, using FTR data insights (Annual reports, donor reports, online communications)

  • Provide information to Development staff for proposal creation

Drive Special Initiatives (5%)

  • Lead the design and implementation of special MEL projects to further Programs Team goals such as evaluations, research, and more

  • Build Impact-relevant partnerships and manage relationships with key stakeholders related to MEL, research and Impact

Engage with the Free to Run Team (10%)

  • Attend weekly team meetings and key events

  • Manage consultants and staff as needed (currently this position has no direct reports)

  • Participate in 1 on 1 meetings with manager regularly

  • Participate in Performance planning, goal setting, and evaluation activities

  • Liaise with key staff across functions of this position

  • Support the advancement of the mission of the organization by participating in strategy/goal setting and planning processes

  • Positively and proactively contribute to organizational culture, amplify and model Free to Run values


The Impact and Learning Specialist role can either be remote (ideally from the Middle East) or located in our Erbil, Iraq office. Periodic regional travel is likely (up to 30% of the time if remote).

Working Hours

The Impact and Learning Specialist position is a full-time role, estimated at 40 hours per week. Due to the nature of the organization’s business, hours may fluctuate outside regular core hours (to accommodate U.S., MENA, and Afghanistan hours at times), with the possibility of nights or weekends, depending on the needs of the organization.

Compensation and Benefits

Based on experience. Aligned with the market rate for an NGO MEL specialist in the geography where the hired candidate is located. Free to Run salaries are moderately competitive in the NGO market.

Generous benefits package includes paid time off for 10-20 public holidays and 10-20 vacation days (aligned with norms and laws in the country of residence), 10 personal health days, a technology stipend, contribution to health insurance (in geographies where it is standard practice for employers to contribute), and discounted pro deals on outdoor gear and apparel. Furthermore, one of the most powerful benefits of working at Free to Run is the opportunity to be part of a global team of people passionate about working in girls’/women’s/human rights through sport.

Education, Experience, Skills and Competencies

Below is what we are looking for as we evaluate applications.  Candidates don’t need to have all these experiences and competencies but should be able to display strengths across multiple areas.


  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field required, higher graduate level work appreciated but not required.


  • Fluent English (verbal and written) is required. Arabic, Dari, and/or other languages are appreciated but not required


  • At least 5 years of MEL and/or research experience (required) thematically related to gender justice, human rights, migration, adolescents, sport for development and/or humanitarian context (preferred)

  • Experience in designing, implementing, and operating MEL Systems with proven data management and analysis skills

  • Experience with data collection in geographically-relevant or thematically relevant areas

  • Working cross-culturally (required), especially in countries where Free to Run operates or in conflict zones (preferred)

Skills and Competencies

  • Microsoft Office and Google Workspace/Google Business (Gmail, Drive, Calendar)

  • Data Synthesis, Analysis and Management – Ability to develop systems and processes to collect and manage information and data, conduct data cleaning

  • Comfort with utilizing qualitative and quantitative data for analysis using relevant software programs

  • Ability to effectively present and visualize data in an audience-appropriate manner

  • Clear Communication – Ability to present information in English in an easily understandable and succinct way to a range of audiences including grantee partners, staff, Board members, and donors and key stakeholders (written, oral and using data visualizations)

  • Familiarity with feminist/human-rights responsive MEL principals and methods (including but not limited to participatory methodologies, human-centered design)

  • Ability to successfully facilitate learning and evaluation-related meetings, dialogues, and capacity building sessions.

  • Strong analytic abilities, including creative and strategic thinking and capacity for collaborative brainstorming

  • Superb project management and organizational skills. Close attention to detail and follow-through, including time management and document flow.

  • Ability to give inputs to data-driven decisions and drive continuous improvement of program outcomes

  • Ability to envision and build systems (see the ‘big picture’) while paying impeccable attention to detail in a fast-paced environment

Organization-wide Requirements

  • Self-starting, industrious, and able to work independently towards clear goals

  • Ability to work in dynamic, fast-paced, and at times, ambiguous non-profit/NGO environments (the hustle factor)

  • Interest in international girls’, women’s, and human rights and/or running/outdoor sports (preferred)

  • Demonstrable ability to work collaboratively with people from diverse racial, ethnic, geographic, religious, sexual orientation, gender, and generational backgrounds

Free to Run is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We don’t just accept differences — we celebrate, support and thrive on them for the benefit of our team, our programs, and our organizational strength. We are proud to be an affirmative action employer, committed to diversity, equity and inclusion of ALL people in our hiring and employment practices. We encourage applications from people who have non-dominant identities based on race, ethnicity, migration status, ability, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, etc.

To Apply for this Position: Please prepare a cover letter and CV/resume in PDF form and submit your application here (  Contact [email protected] if you have any challenges with your submission.

More Information

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