IPA-Zambia seeks a motivated field research and scaling coordinator to work with UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and University of Zambia researchers on a USAID-funded project in Zambia. The appointment is for one year with the possibility of extension. 

Project Description

This project addresses the challenge of seasonal hunger, a common problem in Sub-Saharan Africa: farmers harvest their crops once per year, but then run out of food before the next harvest, causing them to reduce food intake and farm investments. Over the past two years, the research team and IPA introduced a simple, low-cost planning intervention based on principles from psychology to help farmers better smooth their harvest income. An initial randomized control trial with 850 households found large effects: treated households entered the hungry season with 1 month more of food, and due to increased farm investments, had 10% higher harvest revenue. We now seek to take this successful intervention to scale. The project is funded by USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures, the UC Davis Feed the Future Innovation Lab Markets, Risk and Resilience Program, and the US National Science Foundation.

The Research and Scaling Coordinator will be responsible for supporting the scale-up. Duties involve: developing potential scale-up partners; designing and piloting new intervention models that are more amenable to scale; training policy partners to undertake the intervention at scale; over-seeing roll-out across geographically diverse project sites in Zambia; and leading the evaluation of the scale-up including overseeing survey work and other data collection.  Specifically, the Research and Scaling Coordinator will be expected to develop relationships with and work with local policy partners in Zambia (i.e. Zambian government ministries, agricultural extension training organizations, local NGOs and firms providing services to farming households, the USAID Mission in Zambia, and beyond) to guide and undertake the project scale-up. The Coordinator will also be required to spend time on the ground engaged in the details of the intervention -- to design and test concrete new approaches in villages, along with focus groups and debriefs with participants -- in order to help the project team arrive at a revised intervention design for scale-up. This person will also manage a team of local survey enumerators and project staff. If the initial scale-up in Eastern Province is successful, then the Coordinator would be tasked with developing scale-up plans throughout Zambia. This position is based in Lusaka, Zambia with frequent travel to Eastern Province project sites.

This is a challenging opportunity for an early-career professional who is passionate about global development and social science research; is keen to engage on the ground in the details of intervention design and piloting; has a strong desire to expand and deepen skills in project planning and policy partnership development; and can effectively support project scale-up in a dynamic context.

  • Support adapting and scaling the intervention in different settings effectively;
  • Interact with policy partners including the Zambian government, NGOs, other parties involved in service provision for farming households, USAID Mission in Zambia;
  • Hire, train, and manage a team of local survey enumerators and other project staff, including at least one Research Assistant;
  • Oversee piloting of different scalable versions of the treatment intervention
  • Manage project workflows and timelines;
  • Manage all aspects of project implementation in Zambia;
  • Work closely with PIs and partners to track project progress and troubleshoot challenges that arise;
  • Liaise closely with partners to ensure smooth program roll-out;
  • Support the development of sampling plans and a field management plan for conducting surveys;
  • Ensure quality control for data collection and data management activities;
  • Conduct data analysis and contribute to written project material.
  • Bachelor’s in Economics, Public Policy, Development Studies or related program;
  • Experience with research fieldwork;
  • Experience with project management;
  • Experience with data analysis using Stata or R;
  • Ability to work independently and manage complex and competing priorities;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Must be willing to reside in Zambia;
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials preferred;
  • Experience living and working in developing countries preferred.
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Coordinator, Hungry Seasons”. Most applications require you to include two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts. 

About IPA 

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 600 leading academics to conduct over 830 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at jobs@poverty-action.org or via phone at 1-202-386-6200. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. 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 jobs@poverty-action.org.

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.