Action Against Hunger-USA is part of the Action Against Hunger International network, which provides humanitarian relief in over 40 countries worldwide in the sectors of nutrition, health, water/sanitation, and food security. Action Against Hunger-USA, an independent NGO, currently manages operations in 8 countries: Kenya, South Sudan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Haiti and Somalia. Action Against Hunger-USA has over $75 million in programs, and approximately 2000 staff based in in the various country offices, Head Quarter in New York City and Operational Centre in Nairobi. Additional growth is anticipated.
Summary of Position
University College London (UCL) Institute for Global Health and Action Against Hunger are planning to jointly conduct a research study project entitled “Improving Vaccination Awareness & Coverage in Somalia (IVACS)”, an 18-months research project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The IVACS project will aim to assess whether community women’s Abaay-Abaay (Sister-Sister) groups can successfully adopt an adapted Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach to improve caregivers’ knowledge and increase vaccination coverage, in humanitarian contexts in southern Somalia. The study aim is to ensure more effective humanitarian interventions, by strengthening the evidence base on the use of a novel form of PLA in the form of Abaay Abaay groups to improve caregivers’ knowledge and increase vaccination coverage in contexts of protracted displacement.
The study will use quantitative and qualitative methods and will likely use digital data gathering (DDG) devices for recording information. The qualitative data will be used to help inform the design of the intervention during the piloting stage and to understand the context of the study, the fidelity of the intervention implementation, and any unexpected outcomes of the interventions. Data will be collected using interviews, focus group discussions (FDG), and observation notes. The qualitative data collection will be undertaken by the field study coordinator, who will be trained in qualitative methods.
The Research Officer will work under technical supervision of the UCL Study Coordinator and will formally report to research coordinator. He/she will play a key role within the IVACS study and will lead field-level quantitative and qualitative data collection. Working closely alongside the UCL Study Coordinator, Action Against Hunger’s research coordinator, and other project staff.
The research officer will engage internally with the Health and Nutrition officers and community volunteers supporting preventive interventions at community level as well data collection teams. He/She is also expected to attend external Abaay-Abaay group meetings regularly in research target areas to collect information to understand their profile. The profile will also on need basis engage the UCL Study Coordinator on the implementation of IVACs study.
The Research Officer will oversee implementation of IVACs study at implementation level, more so the mapping of community level groups, training of data collection teams, collection of qualitative data.
Essential job duties.
IVACS Research Officer (100% LOE)
The candidate will:
- Develop strong familiarity with the study methodology and tools to ensure proper supervision of the data collection team
- Support the contextual and formative research phase by:
- Helping map out the existence of Abaay-Abaay groups in the camps and how often they meet
- Attend Abaay-Abaay group meetings regularly to collect information to understand their profile
- Help in the development of the training manual
- Lead in the testing phase of the material
- Lead enumerators in conducting household surveys and visits in a timely and efficient manner
- Communicate and clarify data collection methodology, tools and procedures to the data collection teams in the field
- Ensure close coordination and clear communication with UCL Study Coordinator at all times
- Raise questions and report issues as they arise
- Collect DDG tools from enumerators at the end of the day and deliver them to the UCL study coordinator as needed
- Answer questions from the UCL Study Coordinator about errors and inconsistencies in submitted questionnaires
- Ensure high level of data accuracy across the different data collection modalities
- Ensure optimum referral mechanism and follow up for sick and malnourished children with proper referral slips, as needed
- Help finalise the study tools, i.e. focus groups discussions (FGD) topic guides and interview guides, for the qualitative study.
- Conduct fieldwork in targeted IDP camps within the study area of Afgoye Corridor, Mogadishu, which will involve visiting IDP households to conduct Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Informant Interviews (KIIs); the Research Officer will take the lead in qualitative data collection to ensure high quality data is collected so as to ensure full and correct understanding of the issues.
- Translate the Somali transcripts into English.
- Upload all recordings, transcripts, and other documents from the project to a secure data storage drive and ensuring all files are shared with the UCL team.
- Review drafts to help finalise a report that describes, in brief, the activities undertaken, and the methods used in enough detail for use in peer-reviewed publications.
Required Qualifications and Professional Experience.
The ideal candidate will have experience working in research projects and/or monitoring and evaluation in the field. We are seeking an individual who is adept at following study protocols, who has good judgment and problem-solving skills, and has strong communication skills and documentation habits. The person needs to have well-developed interpersonal skills (to be able to develop good rapport with data collectors and study participants) and be familiar with qualitative research methodologies.
Master’s degree in social sciences, public health, nutrition, anthropology, or a related field preferred, or bachelor’s degree in the same fields with 3 years’ experience.
Required Skills & Competencies.
- Research experience relevant to public health in a community context, knowledge of research methodologies and associated ethical processes (e.g. informed consent)
- Strong experience in qualitative research: proven ability to conduct interviews/FGDs, skilfully probe responses to verify understanding, and write high quality transcripts and translations
- Demonstrated experience in working with IDPs/Somalia context with volunteers/health workers in a sensitive and respectful manner
- Fluent in written and spoken Somali and English; translation experience an added advantage. Maay would be an added advantage but is not required
- Excellent analytical, problem solving, planning, organization, interpersonal and reporting skills
- Proven ability and willingness to learn quickly and take guidance, to fit quickly and effectively into an existing team and work in a collaborative manner to reach shared objectives
- Willingness and ability to make regular field visits to Afgoye IDP sites, as part of the field study team
- Commitment to strict adherence to AAH’s security protocols, Code of Conduct and associated policies, Data Protection, and Accountability principles.