Present in Sierra Leone since 1999, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) supports the Sierra Leonean institutions – government, civil society, community-based organizations and private sector – to provide improved social services, decrease youth unemployment and mitigate gender based violence. The IRC does this through programs and partnerships designed to improve the life of women, youth and children by implementing Health, Education, Child Protection Youth and Gender Based Violence programming.
The IRC is seeking an experienced Research Manager to support the implementation of a Dubai Cares-funded education project in Sierra Leone as part of the Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action (3EA) initiative. The 3EA program is being initiated in Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Niger, and aims to raise levels of student engagement and performance in the classroom. In Sierra Leone this approach is focused on developing literacy skills, and supporting literacy learning in the classroom through innovative Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approaches that encourage collaboration, problem-solving, and reflective skills, and encourage a greater sense of classroom community. In Sierra Leone, IRC is implementing this initiative in 24 schools in Bo district.
As implementers of the Dubai Cares/3EA program in Sierra Leone, IRC is working in collaboration with New York University (NYU) to measure the impact of improved literacy approaches, and the ways in which they are supported by Social and Emotional Learning activities. This research is data-driven, and will explore the Fidelity of Implementation of the program – how the implementation of activities maps on to the design of the program activities. This will involve supporting the identification of research questions, and the design of data-collection tools and processes. The Research Manager will manage a small team of researchers to gather, consolidate, and initially review data in order to explore the affordances and constraints that teachers, school personnel and communities experience in the implementation of the program in the classroom.
The Research Manager should have experience in:
- Collaboratively designing and developing a Research Plan, including identifying research questions, developing appropriate tools, instruments and measurement criteria, creating a data-collection plan, and overseeing initial analysis of the data
- Managing a small team of researchers in data collection, management, and consolidation of data
- Quantitative and qualitative approaches and methodologies, particularly with school communities in rural or isolated settings
The Research Manager is a key position in the IRC Sierra Leone Dubai Cares/3EA initiative. S/he will work as the primary focal point for the research component, in conjunction with NYU, IRC Technical Units, and the IRC Sierra Leone implementation team. S/he will need to be flexible and adaptable, and be able to coordinate the research in sometimes difficult circumstances. The Research Manager will be based in Bo Town (approximately 6 hours road travel from the capital city), with frequent travel to schools, often in isolated rural settings.
In conjunction with New York University (TIES/NYU), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Education Technical Unit (EdTU) and Research, Evaluation, and Learning (REL) team, and IRC Sierra Leone 3EA team:
- Work collaboratively to identify and/or refine research questions;
- Review implementation frameworks published in academic and grey literature in the fields of education and health, and map key elements of the Sierra Leonian education context to the selected frameworks;
- Conduct site visits and key informant interviews to identify opportunities for and challenges to implementing and monitoring education programs in the Sierra Leonian school context;
- Develop/adapt an observation protocol to monitor classroom implementation, and conduct validation activities such as cognitive interviewing;
- Oversee pilot of observation protocol, including conducting descriptive and psychometric analyses of pilot data;
- Provide technical support to IRC Monitoring & Evaluation team
- Rapidly clean and analyze implementation data, and consolidate and transfer data to NYU for further analysis;
- Ensure data quality through systematic monitoring of activities and processes.
- Implementation & reporting:
- Lead training of Enumerators and Learning Coaches for observation protocol pilot;
- Supervise and guide the research team in data collection, cleaning, and initial analysis of implementation and observation data (e.g. dosage, attendance) in accordance with the established schedule and budget;
- Lead the research team to creatively overcome any difficulties in implementation data collection and refer to NYU and IRC Education Coordinator for support where necessary;
- Promote ownership of ‘problem solving’ in the same way amongst data collection and/or research team;
- Ensure the quality of implementation data and reports submitted to NYU and IRC
- Team management and leadership:
- Mentor research team in order to help them improve their research and analysis skills;
- Manage and approve research expenditures against approved sub-award budget in accordance with IRC & NYU regulations.
- Program integration:
- Liaise with NYU and IRC technical units to ensure that all research activities are well-planned and coordinated;
- Work with IRC managerial and M&E staff and school staff to build capacity in research approaches, M&E skills, and using data for quality improvement.
- Monitoring and Quality Control:
- Carry out monitoring site visits (as necessary) to review implementation and observation data collection against planned activities;
- Oversee performance of implementation and observation data collection to ensure accuracy, detail and quality of data;
- Work with the M&E Manager, and IRC Education Managers to improve the use of and learning from data
- Ph.D. or Master’s degree in education or related social science with minimum of 5 years international research experience
- Extensive experience utilizing mixed methods methodologies
- At least five years of international research experience, preferably in the education, child development, or health fields
- Prior experience conducting mixed methods implementation studies in international contexts highly desirable
- Experience developing data tracking and management systems in low-technology contexts preferred
SKILL & ABILITIES;
- Proficiency in Stata, MPlus, and other quantitative analysis programs, as well as Atlas or other qualitative coding software a plus.
- Facilitation and research training skills preferred;
- Excellent coordination and collaboration skills with education actors
- Ability and willingness for frequent and regular travel to field sites
- Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work within a team environment;
- Ability to build trust and working relationship with local education actors
- Ability to identify and solve basic issues and problems;
- Negotiation skills
- Good judgement;
- Drive for results
- Flexibility and adaptability
Please note that this job description serves only as a guide and maybe amended at any time.