Position Title: Field Research Coordinator, Relapse Study
Number of positions: One(1)
Reporting to: Head of Health and Nutrition Department (functionally); Principal Investigator (technically)
Duty Station: Mogadishu, Somalia
Contract duration: 18 Months.
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
Action Against Hunger (AAH) has received new awards to conduct research in Somalia. The first includes a two-year contract from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) for the Identifying the Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Relapse after Recovery from Severe Acute Malnutrition Globally project. The project is led by AAH, in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The goal of this research project is to measure relapse rates among children who are discharged from outpatient therapeutic programs (OTP) following successful treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In addition to measuring relapse to SAM, the project aims to better understand overall child health and nutrition outcomes during the year following SAM treatment (e.g. linear growth, illness, relapse to moderate acute malnutrition [MAM]). Secondary outcomes will also include exploring the programmatic costs associated with relapse as well as individual-level and programmatic-level risk factors associated with relapse, in particular WASH-related risk factors. The study will be implemented in four different countries – Mali, Chad, South Sudan, and Somalia.
The second study is the Improving Vaccination Awareness & Coverage in Somalia (IVACS) study in collaboration with University College London (UCL) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). A women’s group Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach has been used in recent years to help reduce neonatal and maternal mortality and has the potential to improve health care seeking and utilization for various outcomes, including immunization. In this study, an adapted PLA approach, using traditional Somali Abaay-Abaay (Sister-Sister) groups and facility issued home-based health record cards, will be developed for use in humanitarian contexts in southern Somalia, and its impact on knowledge, addressing caretaker concerns, and improving utilization of routine vaccination services will be tested.
Finally, Action Against Hunger has been awarded a sub-award to implement the Wash Evidence Challenge Surprise Soaps project in Somalia, funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, and led by the LSHTM. Building on initial evidence generated by a pilot study in Iraq, this study seeks to improve handwashing behaviors by children living in humanitarian contexts by embedding small plastic toys within soaps to encourage its use after critical hand-washing moments.
The Field Research Coordinator will contribute to the successful implementation of these studies by providing high-level oversight of research activities in the country and collaborating closely with the PDQ, Health and Nutrition and WASH departments in the country.
The Field Research Coordinator will be primarily responsible for implementing the research studies in Somalia in collaboration with the Action Against Hunger Somalia colleagues. He/she will serve as the main in-country point of contact for all matters related to the above studies for colleagues at Action Against Hunger-US headquarters and external partners. The candidate for this position will play a strategic role in managing the current Action Against Hunger Somalia research portfolio and contribute to its growth.
The Field Research Coordinator is expected to engage internally with the Health and Nutrition and WASH and PDQ departments on regular basis during the implementation of the research studies. Externally the incumbent is expected to engage with relevant government line ministries, respective clusters and working groups on planned and ongoing research studies routinely and on need basis.
The Field research Coordinator will oversee implementation of research studies by AAH in Somalia in addition to ensuring ethical clearances, approval and adherence to research protocols for all ongoing research activities. **
Essential job duties.
Relapse Study Responsibilities (75% Level of Effort):
The Field Research Coordinator will be based in Mogadishu and serve as the main point-of-contact in-country for all elements of the project. The Field Research Coordinator will have primary responsibility for the collection of data for the project, as well as maintaining overall data quality. Specific duties include:
· Serve as the in-country point of contact and liaise with relevant government ministries as needed for ethical approval processes
· Coordinate closely with the Principal Investigator by participating in regular (weekly/bi-weekly) calls to communicate progress in recruitment, enrollment, and completion of follow-up visits by participants, as well as submitting weekly reports regarding data collection and study activities
· Train and manage all data collectors recruited for the study
· Oversee proper informed consent process by data collectors
· Ensure quality of data collection and fidelity of study protocol implementation
· Work closely with community health workers / volunteers (CHW/Vs) as well as CMAM clinic staff to identify and enroll participants into the study
· Track enrollment progression of both post-SAM children and non-SAM children
· Enter all data into electronic data bases and reconcile any data entry errors with original hard copy forms
· Track participant completion of follow-up appointments and manage the CHWs who travel to the field to encourage caregivers to return to the clinic for their follow-up visit
· Oversee anthropometric measurements by data collectors and OTP clinic staff during follow-up visits to ensure accuracy in data
· Oversee household surveys, water sample collection and analysis, food sample collection and analysis and rectal swab collection, and ensure compliance with study protocols with support from LSHTM
· Collaborate closely with Action Against Hunger Nutrition and WASH Heads of Departments
· Collaborate closely with OTP clinic staff to obtain OTP clinic data of each post-SAM participant and transfer data from clinic forms into electronic database for the research project
· Performs other duties as assigned
IVACS Project Responsibilities (15% Level of Effort):
Provide high level and strategic oversight of IVACS activities. Specific duties include:
· Submit, follow up, and achieve in-country IRB approval for the study protocol, as well as liaise with relevant line ministries to communicate study updates as needed
· Provide oversight to the development of study materials and behavior change communication materials
· Provide strategic oversight to the Action Against Hunger Somalia team in conducting formative research activities, including community mapping, surveys of existing activities and resources, and identifying existing community structures
· Ensure close coordination and clear communication with Action Against Hunger HQ staff and the UCL Study Coordinator
· Ensure a high level of data accuracy through periodic data quality checks and oversight of implicated research staff
· Assist in the final analysis of study data and results
Surprise Soaps (10% Level of Effort):
As part of the Surprise Soaps Study, the coordinator will provide high-level oversight of Surprise Soaps activities. Duties include:
· Serve as the in-country point of contact to achieve in-country IRB approval and liaise with relevant line ministries as necessary to provide updates
· Hire and train enumerators and supervisors in coordination with the MEAL department
· Coordinate the implementation of field level
· Oversee data collection
· Perform analysis of data collected by enumerators.
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 other in-country stakeholders) and be familiar with Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programming.
· At least a master’s degree from an accredited college or university in a major such as social or health science with 2 years relevant experience in the field; or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a major such as social or health science with 5 years relevant experience in the field
Required Skills & Competencies.
· Experience organizing and participating in field-level data collection as part of a research study or program monitoring and evaluation;
· Training in and proven knowledge around nutrition programming in low-income countries;
· Knowledge of MS Office Suite required and comfortable working with computers with minimal IT support.
· Experience with mobile data collection tools (eg ODK) (preferred but not required)
· Ability to live and work in a developing country with travel to remote locations for the duration of data collection
· Fluent in English
· Proven experience with field work, preferably the country where the study takes place
· Possess strong organizational skills, attention to detail.
· Possess significant team management skills.
· Ability to take initiative and prioritize multiple tasks with minimum supervision.
· Genuine interest in and commitment to the mission and principles of Action Against Hunger.
· Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to work both independently and as a member of a team.