Research & Tech Systems Fellow

Title: Research & Technology Systems Fellow

Reports to: Impact Director

Timing: Year-long, July 2020 – June 2021, with flexibility on start date

Location: Based in rural Western Kenya (field-based position)

Compensation: Monthly stipend, visa/travel support, food and accommodation

Organizational Background

Lwala Community Alliance (Lwala) is a community-led innovator proving that when communities lead, change is drastic and lasting.

Lwala village, a small community in rural western Kenya, founded the organization as a response to extreme health challenges. The region experiences some of the highest HIV, maternal mortality, and infant mortality rates in East Africa. As such, community members built their area’s first health center.

From these humble beginnings, we are now the largest provider of health services for a population of over 90,000. The work extends far beyond the original hospital as we support communities in their homes, schools, and farms to advance their own comprehensive well-being. We address the complex causes of poor health through a multi-dimensional strategy, which engages community members in driving their own change.

Overview

The Research & Technology Systems Fellow role is a 1-year fellowship intended to be filled by a young professional early in their career. The successful candidate will work alongside the Monitoring & Evaluation Fellow, as co-Fellows. Both Fellows will be accommodated onsite at Lwala, in our guesthouse.

Role

Lwala’s M&E team has been expanding over the last few years to support and strengthen the organization’s high-quality programming and to carry out research on Lwala’s successes in the region. Lwala is growing its data management systems and working to carry out rigorous research simultaneously. This fellowship position would largely focus on two areas:

  • Expansion of data systems, building off of the work of the current Research and Technology Systems Fellow, and would also include assisting the Systems Administrator with management of data quality, integrity, and feedback to program teams.
  • Design and implementation of high-quality research and evaluation activities, including data quality audits; data analysis; evidence reviews; and research management tasks for the Impact Director and Vanderbilt researchers.

The Research & Technology Systems Fellow will also support team members and local community health workers in growing their technological and research literacy. Helping to build the capacity of team members in Kenya in their ability to use cutting-edge technology will directly benefit the overall programmatic capability at Lwala. Promoting best practices around evidence-based programming and generating research will ensure Lwala programs and staff utilize data for learning and impact.

The Research & Technology Systems Fellow will sit within the Monitoring & Evaluation team and report to the M&E Manager in Kenya and the Impact Director (remote). The Fellow will be working in partnership with an international co-fellow also serving a 1-year fellowship. The Fellow will work closely with the M&E Fellow, the Systems Administrator, M&E Officers, the Data Assistant, and the Community Programs Coordinator, but will interact with nearly all staff members of the organization.

Key Responsibilities

  • Participate in the ongoing development of Lwala’s data systems (35%):
    • Contribute to the build out and integration of data systems, including Salesforce, Open FN, CommCare, OpenMRS/electronic medical records system, and additional mobile data collection platforms such as RedCAP and SurveyCTO. Lead data systems expansion processes through the entire systems development lifecycle, including requirements gathering, development, testing, and user adoption. Provide guidance and leadership in the next steps of the process, collaborating closely with other members of the M&E team.
    • Participate in training the Kenya team on utilizing and developing the data systems, including training on data entry, data management, building and running reports, data quality checks, data visualization, etc.
  • Participate in program evaluations and research at Lwala (35%):
    • Help to develop program evaluation tools and structures for new and existing programs, including building and designing survey tools and maintaining data collection processes, and providing feedback to organization and program leadership on results to guide decision-making.
    • Participate in Lwala’s impact evaluation and program-specific surveys, by developing survey tools and/or generating analysis and write-up of results.
    • Provide support to the M&E team on integration of evaluation results with other ongoing monitoring, data analysis, data visualization, etc., always ensuring that evaluations are integrated with existing data management systems at Lwala, particularly Salesforce.
    • Project manage external research initiatives, including responding to data-related inquiries, providing technical guidance and support, and coordinating among relevant Lwala stakeholders.
  • Provide technical support to Kenyan staff on the following data management systems and processes, ensuring long term capacity building where possible (10%):
    • OpenFN – data integration
    • CommCare – electronic data collection and survey programming/application maintenance
    • Salesforce – data cleaning, data quality and reporting
    • Excel – data management and analysis
    • Dropbox – file organization, version control and management for productivity
    • Photo taking, storage and sharing – training and support
    • New systems being piloted – Power BI, QGIS, OpenStreetMap
  • Lead and, as needed, improve technical aspects of data quality assurance, data cleaning, data analysis, and external data sharing and reporting (10%).
  • Assist in donor reporting and proposal development as it relates to data and research (5%).
  • Assist with hosting visitors to Lwala, including Board members, donors, peer organizations and Vanderbilt students at points throughout the year (5%).
  • Other responsibilities as mutually agreed upon with supervisor.

Requirements

  • A degree in public health, economics, computer science, engineering; or another degree with some relevant experience
  • Proficiency with Stata, R or similar statistical analysis software
  • Proficiency with electronic data collection systems/languages (CommCare, ODK, REDCap) strongly preferred
  • Proficiency with languages such as JavaScript, C++, Java, or Python (JavaScript preferred)
  • Background in research, data analysis, and/or development of M&E systems
  • Experience in community development programs, international experience is preferred
  • Interest in Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and Public/Community Health
  • Some experience living in a developing country, preferably Africa
  • Ability to learn quickly and take initiative
  • Patience, resilience, and flexibility
  • Self-motivation and resourcefulness
  • A proven ability to work with teams to build capacity in technical areas
  • Successful experience working with people from different cultural backgrounds
  • Curiosity and a sense of humor

To Apply

Please reference “Research & Tech Systems Fellow” in the subject line, and send the following to Julia Higgins at juliahiggins@lwalacommunityalliance.org:

  • Current CV/resume
  • Letter of Interest detailing related skills and experience
  • 3 professional references with name, title, email, phone contact, and relationship to the applicant