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Project Research Associate Job in Kenya

Encouraging Multilingual Early Reading as the Groundwork for Education (EMERGE) Project
Position: Research Associate
Deadline to Apply:13th October 2014
Start Date:November 2014

Location: Kisumu, Kenya
Eligibility: Position open to local and international hires 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), is an international non-profit research organization. 

Based in New Haven, CT, with offices in Washington, D.C. and worldwide, IPA works with development partners and academic researchers to create and evaluate approaches to solving development problems, to communicate “what works” in development and to scale up successful projects in a variety of fields, including health, education, microfinance, governance and agriculture. 

Program / Project / Initiative Summary: IPA seeks qualified applicants for the position of Research Associate for the EMERGE project (Encouraging Multilingual Early Reading as the Groundwork for Education). EMERGE is a randomized control trial which aims to improve early childhood literacy and school readiness. 

In Kenya and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, many primary school children read below grade level. While there are many causes of low literacy in primary school, a key contributing factor to the widespread lack of literacy is low level of child readiness for primary school. 

Our research focuses on an innovative, light touch early childhood intervention to improve school readiness and classroom-level pedagogy through the provision of children’s books and dialogic reading training to parents of children between 2 and 6 years of age in rural, Western Kenya. 

We will work in partnership with a local NGO, Maria’s Libraries, to distribute storybooks in official and local languages. This impact evaluation measures the impact of distributing children’s storybooks and supporting family reading on a range of child, household, and school-level outcomes. 

We seek: first, to quantify the effects of inexpensive literacy interventions on learning outcomes; second, to quantify parent behavioral responses to the availability of the new educational materials; and third, measure the change in classroom environment brought about by improved student preparation before school age. 

Following pilot activities in 2012 and 2014, we are now preparing for large-scale implementation with baseline data collection to begin in early 2015. 

This position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand field management experience from project inception to close in an organization at the cutting edge of development research.
Position Summary: The Research Associate will oversee all aspects of field work in Kenya, under the supervision of a Research Coordinator, and in close consultation with Principal Investigators.
  • Manage multiple project data collection activities, including baseline, midline, and endline surveys of parents, children and/or households;
  • Develop and pilot survey instruments;
  • Design forms for electronic data collection (using SurveyCTO) and manage survey data;
  • Train and manage teams to conduct surveys;
  • Ensure all aspects of data quality and assist with data cleaning and preliminary analysis;
  • Manage logistics for new pilot activities;
  • Manage project budget, including tracking project expenses and adherence to the project budget;
  • Work closely with principal investigators and the local partners to ensure study protocols are followed;
  • Assist with donor reporting and proposal writing;
  • Other duties as assigned.
Required Qualifications:
  • A Bachelor’s degree in economics, social science, or related field.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills.
  • Strong quantitative skills.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills. Fluency in English is required.
  • Must be flexible, self-motivating and able to work independently, detail-oriented, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player.
Desired Qualifications:
  • Master’s degree in economics, public policy, social sciences, or public health.
  • Experience hiring, training, mentoring, and managing staff; experience managing multiple teams simultaneously and prioritizing projects preferred.
  • Logistics and coordination experience preferred.
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials is a strong plus.
  • Experience living in a developing country preferred.
  • Background in economics, education, human development, or public health is a plus, but not required.
  • Familiarity with database management is a plus, but not required.
  • Familiarity with statistical software (Stata or other) is a plus, but not required.
If you are interested in applying, please follow the instructions below:
To Apply: Please send a cover letter and detailed CV, 3 references, daytime phone number(s), and email address. Your CV should include your scores or grades and other measures of academic achievement, and details about any relevant work experience.

Applications can be submitted by email to must be submit by email, please ensure that the subject line reads: “RESEARCH ASSOCIATE.” REF NO: EMERGE-2014-09-01. 

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the Research Associate-Emerge. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to

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