Regional Research and Learning Coordinator

  • IRC
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • 09/03/2020
Full time,   Regular Position   Education Jobs in Uganda NGO Jobs in Uganda Social Sciences Jobs in Uganda

Job Description

Requisition ID: req8486

Job Title: Regional Research and Learning Coordinator

Sector: Research & Development

Employment Category: Regular

Employment Type: Full-Time

Open to Expatriates: Yes

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Job Description 

Background/IRC Summary:
PlayMatters reimagines childhood for refugees. It will bring play-based learning to 800,000 children across Ethiopia, Uganda and a to be confirmed third country. It will redefine education and cultivate a generation of lifelong builders. PlayMatters is inspired by LEGO Foundation’s call to challenge the status quo, to offer children the quality education they dream of. Children are not gaining the skills they need, teachers are under-supported and parents are overwhelmed. The systems built to serve them are failing them. PlayMatters proudly offers something different. It will be delivered by a coalition with a track record of thinking and delivering differently. We bring three distinct characteristics:
1. OUTCOMES. Everything we do is fueled by the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, creative and resilience outcomes we seek. We know learning happens when children are at the center and teachers, parents and the system surrounding them embrace children’s agency and have not only skills and resources, but the motivation to drive change.
2. RESEARCH AND LEARNING. Effective delivery requires both rigor and a big heart. With LEGO Foundation, PlayMatters will generate scientific evidence that can transform our understanding of play and learning for refugees in East Africa and around the world.
3. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP. The LEGO Foundation Humanitarian Initiative offers an opportunity to deliver and comes with the responsibility to lead. Our consortium’s members have a record mobilizing others.  
The Research Advisor will be a critical member of the PlayMatters regional project team, based in Kampala, Uganda.  The position will oversee research activities in diverse settings across Uganda and Ethiopia, and possibly one additional country in East Africa, with refugee and host communities. 
Job Overview/Summary: 
Reporting to the Sr. Technical Advisor, the Research and Learning Advisor will work closely with the Project Director, the IRC education senior researcher, and consortium partners to support the co-design and coordinate all research and learning activities and support their quality implementation. The PlayMatters research and learning portfolio has four goals: 
(1) design appropriate, acceptable programs in terms of content, delivery, and targeting using small-scale testing and prototyping, human-centered design principles, and qualitative methods; 
(2) measure the impact of our programs using rigorous and contextualized study designs; 
(3) make recommendations on how to refine program models to achieve scale and cost-efficiency; and 
(4) influence best practice in early childhood education through the project learning agenda. 
The Research Advisor will have primary responsibility for coordinating the fulfillment of these goals with across PlayMatters consortium partner agencies and the IRC Principal Investigator. 
The Research, Monitoring, and Learning Technical Lead is responsible for four key objectives: 
- Oversee successful field implementation of research and learning activities in line with approved workplans and budgets, and in line with high-quality technical standards;
- Support the co-design of rigorous, but contextually appropriate research and learning activities, in service of the project goals;
- Ensure data are routinely communicated in a relevant and timely manner so that data can be used for subsequent program design and scale up, including with partners and other humanitarian agencies;
- Maintain strong relationships with research partners at War Child Holland, Innovations for Poverty Action, Behavioral Innovations Team, Plan International, Ubongo, as well as IRC technical staff.  
Responsibilities Include: 
(1) Leadership and management for high quality research, monitoring, and learning 
• Provide technical leadership in the design of all research and learning activities in close collaboration with the Sr. Technical Advisor.  Support IRC and partners to define the program research and learning agenda, identifying constraints and potential threats to the integrity of the plan, and establish processes that result in high quality data collection. 
• Provide technical advice and management support to enable research staff to implement protocols and plans safely, ethically, and rigorously. 
• Collaborate with research partners to establish clear research and learning annual workplans, budgets, and deliverables. Identify and agree on course corrections with the Regional Project Director, Sr. Technical Advisor, and partner technical experts to keep priorities on track. 
• Provide oversight and management of the research and learning agenda.
• Oversee research and learning staff and operations. Provide supportive management to staff at country level (as needed), including management guidance, technical guidance, and operational troubleshooting.
• Oversee the development of risk mitigation strategies for research.
• Support project staff by creating and maintaining a work environment that promotes teamwork, trust, mutual respect and empowers staff to take responsibility
• Ensure IRB protocols are submitted and followed in conjunction with Sr. Technical Advisor, IRC Education Senior Researcher, and research partners.
• Collaborate closely with M&E Coordinator to define project monitoring systems, tools, and indicators. 
• Ensure high-quality data collection and management. Provide training and support to research teams for data quality control, cleaning, and management.
(2) Translating research into practice
• Assure that research and learning activities provide timely, relevant information for policy-influencing opportunities (governmental or humanitarian) or programming decisions.
• Work with consortium partners to convene policymakers, practitioners, and research to share policy lessons from completed research.
• Create user-friendly publications and presentations that synthesize and highlight the policy implications of key research results for academic audiences (e.g. journal articles), for practitioners, and for governments.
• Support regional team activities to assure that data from research and monitoring activities are used to adjust and adapt programming over time.
• Leverage existing IRC staff and partner expertise or build capacity as needed to assure front-line staff participation in the interpretation and application of results, as well as design of research and learning agendas and plans.
(3) Collaboration and accountability with internal stakeholders
• Report to Sr. Technical Advisor and Project Director about progress against approved workplans and budgets through formal and informal debriefings, annual and semi-annual reports.
• Maintain open communication with partner co-leads and country level staff to assure coherence and reasonable sequencing of work.
(4) Collaboration and accountability with external stakeholders
• Establish and maintain solid cooperation with partner organizations and government officials as we design and refine the research and learning agenda, particularly government officials who have oversight of research or human subjects projections;
• Collaborate regional project team M&E Coordinator, partners, governments, and other humanitarian actors in designing monitoring approaches for early childhood education inclusive of learning through play activities that are feasible and useful in humanitarian settings;
• Work closely with consortium partners to assure the research and learning agenda is high quality, policy-oriented, ethical, and coherent.
Key Working Relationships
• Position Reports to:  Sr. Technical Advisor, PlayMatters
• Position supervises: TBD
• Indirect Reporting: Project Director, Play Matters; Research & Innovations Unit (IRC-HQ)
Other Internal and/or external contacts: 
• Internal: IRC country program staff; Regional staff such as M&E, Communications and Advocacy; other technical units within IRC (Education, Health, Violence Prevention and Response, Economic Recovery and Development, Governance, Gender Equality) 
• External: IRC Research & Innovations leadership, War Child Holland; Innovations for Poverty Action; Behavioral Insights Team; host government officials; other consortium partner organizations; community representatives. 


• Master’s Degree in Education, Social Sciences, or related field. 
• At least 5-10 years of progressive, relevant work experience. Important that work experience demonstrates technical skills, management skills, operations experience, as well as an understanding of humanitarian contexts. In lieu of 10 years of work experience, can accept 7 years of progressive, relevant work experience and a doctoral degree.
• Significant training in and a strong technical understanding of randomized impact evaluations, program implementation research (including qualitative and quantitative approaches), and measure development, adaptation, validation. Exposure to monitoring and evaluation methods in a humanitarian context and/or early childhood development is desirable.
• Excellent communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively in a multi-cultural environment with international and local academic researchers, government officials, NGO partners, study participants, etc. 
• Solid organizational skills: the ability to be flexible and work well under pressure, dealing with competing priorities, in a fast-paced team environment.
• Passion for connecting rigorous research to policy makers and practitioners and communicating what works and what does not work in humanitarian contexts.
• Interest in and ability to think and plan at the ‘big picture’ level.
• Demonstrated management and interpersonal skills.
• Solid understanding of the East African context and refugee education, with previous experience working in the region preferred;
• Strong communication and analytical skills, both oral and written.
• Fluency in English is required; knowledge of French and/or regional languages is a plus.
Working Environment: 
• Standard office work environment
• Travel required 25-40% 
• Position is based in the IRC Regional PlayMatters office in Kampala, Uganda
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct.  These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability.  In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.
IRC et les employés de IRC doivent adhérer aux valeurs et principes contenus dans le IRC WAY (normes de conduite professionnelle). Ce sont l’Intégrité, le Service, et la Responsabilité. En conformité avec ces valeurs, IRC opère et fait respecter les politiques sur la protection des bénéficiaires contre l’exploitation et les abus, la protection de l’enfant, le harcèlement sur les lieux de travail, l’intégrité financière, et les représailles. 
IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability. #LI-GR2


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