Rural agricultural workers in Zambia have consumption patterns that vary substantially over the year: high levels of consumption at harvest are accompanied by substantial reductions during the cropping season. The “hungry season” leading up to harvest appears to impose large hardships on households. For instance, during focus groups many farmers describe having to reduce the amount they are eating during this time, sometimes to as little as one meal per day. These costs raise the question of why rural households do not smooth consumption more, especially given that the hungry season is an event that occurs year after year. We are designing a study to investigate this question in rural Zambia. The project will involve a randomized trial of interventions that might alleviate constraints to households smoothing consumption. We will measure impacts using household surveys.
The volunteer will work closely with the IPA Zambia Research Manager and Research Associate on all aspects of the set-up and launch of the project. The post would be well suited to a candidate with a strong technical and theoretical background with interest in gaining experience in how to design and execute impact evaluations in practice. Key areas of involvement will include: designing survey questionnaires, piloting, designing training instruments, preparing the data flow and enforcing data quality and security protocols. The volunteer will have the opportunity to collaborate closely with the Principal Investigators Ned Augenblick (University of California, Berkeley), Kelsey Jack (Tufts University), Supreet Kaur (University of California, Berkeley) and Nicholas Swanson (University of California, Berkeley)
- Interest in development issues particularly in the agriculture sector;
- Strong academic background in Economics, International Development, Public Health or a related discipline;
- Good understanding of impact evaluation methodologies (particularly randomized controlled trials) and terminology;
- Experience with Open Data Kit (ODK) programming language is a strong plus;
- Excellent command of English, both spoken and written;
- Strong quantitative skills, knowledge of Stata is strongly preferred;
- Strong communication skills (both verbal and written);
- Familiarity with randomized controlled trials is a strong plus;
- Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and team player;
- Candidates should expect to be available for a minimum of 10 weeks, should be flexible and self-disciplined;
- Previous experience working in a developing country is a plus.
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- In the subject line: Copy exactly the following position line: IPA Zambia – Hungry Seasons – Student Volunteer
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.
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