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Research, Evidence and Learning Design Lead

Comic Relief
London (Central), London (Greater)
£41,500 - £45,000pa
Closing date
24 Mar 2021
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Job Details

Research, Evidence and Learning Design Lead

12 Month Fixed Term Contract

£41,500 - £45,000

London and Currently Remote

As part of the Learning and Fund Design team, the Research, Evidence and Learning Design Lead is a one-year fixed term contract to 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.  This exciting, strategic programme with the overarching aim of shifting greater power to civil society will invest in the organisational development of civil society organisations in Ghana, Zambia and Malawi and offer training and support in local resource mobilisation. Reflection, learning, evidence generation and adaptation are core features that will need to be built into the programme. With oversight and support from the Head of Learning and Fund Design, the Research, Evidence and Learning Design Lead will ensure all evidence and learning deliverables for the design phase of the programme are completed on time, to a high quality, and driven by the programme’s values. 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.                                                              

Key responsibilities:

  • Leadership: Provide leadership of the research, 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 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. Develop community-led storytelling approaches and ensure synergy with Communications Strategy.
  • 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.
  • Technical 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 Framework: 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’).
  • Logframe: Working with the Programme Design Lead, and Anchor Partner(s), develop the programme logframe to be agreed with FCDO and form the basis of Comic Relief’s reporting to them.
  • 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 formal and informal monitoring, evaluation and learning of complex and high value organisational strengthening initiatives in different contexts.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of, and experience of, organisational development and/or local philanthropy in an African context. Experience working on these issues in Ghana, Malawi or Zambia is a plus.
  • 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 of designing and delivering interventions using at least two of the following: collective intelligence and learning; people centred design; behavioural insights; adaptive management; 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 partnership with a bilateral donor, ideally, or other large institutional funders.
  • Effective relationship builder with strong emotional intelligence and political awareness to proactively challenge and persuade senior stakeholders and partners.  Experience of working in partnership at a distance / remotely.
  • 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.
  • Strong communicator and planner with a flexible, engaging and inspirational style.

To apply please visit our website via the link and apply online.

Role closes - 12:00pm, 24th Mar 2021 GMT (Europe/London

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, age, ethnicity, 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.


Our mission, thanks to our comedy heritage and the fantastic relationship we enjoy with the BBC, is 'positive change through the power of entertainment'.

And our biggest tool, in trying to achieve these two goals, is the ability to inspire people across the whole country especially those who don’t normally do charity - to do charity.

As the world has changed and become more complex over the last two decades, so Comic Relief has had to adapt and change too but the fundamentals remain the same - a just world free from poverty. In trying to achieve that vision we make this promise to the people who make those efforts possible - our supporters:

"In order to run itself in a professional and effective way Comic Relief incurs necessary costs. Raising funds, making grants and organisational overheads cost real money.

Despite these costs, Comic Relief is still able to promise that for every pound the charity gets directly from the public, a pound goes to help transform the lives of people living with poverty and social injustice. If Sport Relief raises £20 million, Comic Relief will spend at least £20 million doing just that.

It can make this promise because its operating budget is covered in cash or in kind from all types of supporters like corporate sponsors and donors, suppliers, generous individuals and government (including Gift Aid) as well as from investment income and interest"


Comic Relief is obviously a charity - but it's also a business too.

The money we raise is allocated to a wide range of grants and social investments aimed at delivering real and long-lasting change to the poorest, most vulnerable people at home and across the world; as well as informing the public and young people in particular about global citizenship and the underlying causes of extreme poverty.

That money comes in from a number of different sources. Traditional charitable fundraising obviously plays a vital role. The public contribute to Comic Relief's annual campaigns by raising money through sponsorship and by making donations online, by post, by telephone and through major banks and building societies. This support, from almost the very day Comic Relief was formed, has been both humbling and inspirational.

On the business side of things, Comic Relief works with key corporate partners to produce products and promotions that are profitable. The clearest example of this is the Red Nose that is the emblem of Red Nose Day.

Where possible these products tie-in with the charity's commitment to delivering benefits to poor farmers and producers. The Red Nose Day 2007 T-shirt for instance was made with fair trade cotton from Mali, Cameroon and Senegal and there will be a fair trade Maraba Bourbon coffee grown in Rwanda, a country to which Comic Relief has had a clear commitment since the appalling genocide of 1994.

Another way Comic Relief raises funds is via the creativity made available to the charity. Comedians from time to time offer access to key brands like Little Britain for commercial exploitation. The charity also develops and owns key sub-brands like Robbie the Reindeer and Monkey, both of which deliver a revenue too.

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