17 Sep 2019

Lead Researcher at Centre for Humanitarian Change

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Centre for Humanitarian Change (CHC) is looking for a Lead Researcher to support its research programme in Kenya and Uganda (Maintains). The research will explore how health and nutrition services can be strengthened to respond to shocks (floods, drought etc.)

Job title: Lead researcher

Reports to: Principal investigator

Location: Preferably in Nairobi or Kampala or Anywhere

Contract Period: 1 year contract with 2 month probation period

Deadline for applications: Friday 20th September 2019

Background to Maintains

5 years: 2018- 2023

Inception Phase: Sept 2018 – March 2019

6 countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone

Maintaining Essential Services after Natural Disasters (Maintains) is a five-year research programme that aims to develop an improved evidence base on how education, health, social protection, nutrition, and water and sanitation services can adapt and expand in response to shocks such as floods, droughts, cyclones and disease outbreaks. A central component of Maintains is the understanding and identification of better disaster risk financing practices, essential for the achievement of shock responsive services.

Overall Objective

To deliver, and maximise uptake of new, operationally-relevant evidence on:

  • How shocks impact on essential services in developing countries;
  • The extent to which essential services can flex and respond as a system rather than independent parts; and
  • How best essential services can prepare and respond to natural disasters.

In Uganda and Kenya Maintains is a collaboration between Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and local think tank, Centre for Humanitarian Change (CHC). Our approach to Maintains is to deliver demand-led and highly applied research in collaboration with DFID Country Offices (COs). Maintains’s Theory of Change (ToC) is based on three innovative features that will help translate excellent research into practice and avoid the pitfalls of research programmes that are overly ‘supply driven’. These will be:

  • Component 1: Research activities to build a robust base of empirical evidence
  • Component 2: Targeted support to focal countries to help programmes to learn from the Maintains research
  • Component 3: Research uptake activities to ensure that findings lead to maximum impact

OPMs practical approach emphasises an interactive process of design, research and operationalisation of results. This differs from a conventional research programme in that research and research uptake are combined in continuous cycles. This is closely aligned to CHC’s Adaptive Learning[1] approach which will be utilized for the Kenya Maintains programme.

Scope of Work

Year 1 Workplan

It is anticipated that 2 or 3 of the planned studies will start up in Year one of the programme. In particular the emerging drought in Kenya provides an opportunity to conduct a real time evaluation which will cover some of the questions under the research on CMAM surge learning and early warning systems.

Year 2 – 4 Research

Research in year 2-4 will include the following studies

  1. Exploring lessons from the community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) Surge mechanism and its replicability to other sectors and other shock contexts.
  2. Exploring perspectives and experiences on using Early Warning Information Systems.
  3. Diagnostic of finance flows in times of shocks in health, nutrition and WASH, to determine bottlenecks.

Roles and Responsibilities

Reporting to the Principal Investigator (PI) and with support from the Research Assistant, the Lead Researcher will be responsible for the following specific activities:


  • Assist the PI to develop, update and operationalise the work plan to ensure that the Maintains programme delivers on its objectives
  • As per the Maintains Quality Assurance plan, the Lead Researcher is responsible to assist the PI in quality assuring all activities related to Kenya and Uganda.
  • Ensure compliance with national and international ethics and safeguarding standards and protocols.
  • Mainstream gender and social inclusion throughout research design and reporting


  • Support the PI to develop a research protocol for each study.
  • Oversee day to day delivery of the programme
  • Have a good understanding of the DFID client contract and support the PI to deliver all obligations on time, to cost and to quality
  • Close coordination and management of Research Project risks and ensure key programme (financial, security, delivery and operational) risks are captured and escalated to the PI and actioned accordingly
  • Working with the PI, oversee the delivery of the core key performance indicators (KPIs), milestones and deliverables and advise where remediation and/or additional resources are required
  • Maintain positive relationships with DFID Kenya and Uganda and other stakeholders, particularly government officials, as well as officials from other donors, UN agencies, World Bank, partners, universities and other knowledge providers, and the broader development and humanitarian communities
  • Ensuring regular reporting and open lines of communication with DFID Kenya and Uganda and other key stakeholders, soliciting their feedback and responding to issues raised.
  • Support the PI to update work plans and deliverables and ensure quality implementation of the MEL framework, especially on monthly and quarterly reporting.
  • Apply professional expertise at all stages of the project, specifically in design of research tools, analysis of data and interpretation of results.
  • Support PI to provide a strategic overview of the work, including leading annual reflection workshops at country level to review progress and provide an opportunity to stand back and consider the broader impact and success of the work to date, discuss emerging findings and their relevance to DFID, reflect on lessons learned, identify opportunities to use an experiential learning approach to implement findings in programming, review the following year’s work plan and adapt approaches if necessary.
  • Other project specific responsibilities, as required by the PI.

Team management

  • Manage a research project team in country that can deliver Maintains objectives.
  • Manage the ongoing relationship with subcontractors, partners and consultants in the country, to ensure quality of delivery, completion of deliverables, gender and social inclusion as per the Terms of Reference, and completion and timely submission of monthly progress reporting
  • Work with the PI to establish clear roles and responsibilities within the team and put communications procedures in place so that particular challenges or proposed changes are communicated quickly and effectively;
  • Provide strong performance management – develop a reporting structure to allow regular check ins with partners at key stages of delivery, as outlined in the work plan and deliverable schedule.

Financial management

  • Develop and manage a country budget; monitor spending and ensure delivery to agreed budget, with ability to report on budget variances, and suggest revisions as required to the PI.
  • Understand DFID financial reporting requirements and ensure all reports are submitted with quarterly reports in a timely manner
  • Complete quarterly budget monitoring and forecasting with support from project administrators


  • Ensure the programme is compliant with DFID and OPM Security policies and procedures
  • Ensure the project team is in compliance with the Security and Duty of Care plan
  • Ensure project security risks are well understood and monitored and that all project team members are briefed, understand and comply with OPM and DFID requirements

Expertise and Experience Required

  • An advanced degree in health, nutrition, sociology, governance, health systems strengthening or equivalent.
  • Extensive (more than 10 years) knowledge and good understanding of health and nutrition basic service provision, system strengthening and/or disaster risk reduction, disaster response & recovery, resilience building. Preferably with experience of managing and strengthening health and nutrition services in fragile areas of East Africa.
  • Experience in managing research projects and studies, including design and use of both qualitative and quantitative data collection tools and data analysis. Preferably with experience of delivering research projects in fragile areas of East Africa.
  • Experience in undertaking technical reviews and analysis around systems performance and adaptation including lesson learning using a diversity of approaches.
  • Clear understanding of development partners thinking on development and resilience programming in Kenya and Uganda and beyond.
  • Good understanding of tools and techniques for gender and social inclusion in social research
  • Good report writing skills.
  • Experience facilitating workshops and learning forums and writing concise and action-oriented reports.

Start Date

As soon as possible


How to Apply

Interested and qualified candidates are requested to submit a covering letter, CV and names of 3 referees via email to [email protected] by close of business, 20th September 2019.

Please include the reference Lead Researcher as the subject of your email applications.

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