Research Manager for Syria - Cash and Markets
IMPACT Initiatives, Aleppo, Syria
CASH & MARKETS RESEARCH MANAGER
Background on Impact and REACH
REACH was born in 2010 as a joint initiative of two International NGOs and the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme REACH’s purpose is to promote and facilitate the development of information products that enhance the humanitarian community’s decision making and planning capacity for emergency, reconstruction and development contexts. REACH facilitates information management for aid actors through three complementary services: (a) need and situation assessments facilitated by REACH teams; (b) situation analysis using satellite imagery; (c) provision of related database and (web)-mapping facilities and expertise.
IMPACT Initiatives is a humanitarian NGO, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The organisation manages several initiatives, including the REACH Initiative. The IMPACT team comprises specialists in data collection, management and analysis and GIS. IMPACT was launched at the initiative of ACTED, an international NGO whose headquarter is based in Paris and is present in thirty countries. The two organizations have a strong complementarity formalized in a global partnership, enabling IMPACT to benefit from ACTED’s operational support on its fields of intervention.
We are currently looking for a Research Manager to lead our Cash & Markets team for
Department: Cash and Markets Unit
Position: Research Manager
Contract duration: 1 year
Location: Amman, Jordan
Starting Date: ASAP
Into its ninth year of conflict, conditions in Syria remain highly volatile and marked by intense violence and limited humanitarian access. The scale, complexity, and severity of humanitarian needs in Syria extends the necessity for up to date, timely, and accurate information. Evidence-based planning and programming remains paramount to ensure that the response adequately meets the needs of the most vulnerable people and is tailored to different realities across communities and over time. However, informing operational and strategic planning remains highly challenging, as accessibility and security issues impede systematic data collection. A lack of predictable and consistent data undermines the ability of humanitarian actors to review their approach in light of the dynamic context. REACH has been conducting assessments on the humanitarian situation in Syria since 2013 and has over the years grown significantly both in size and in influence as an actor in the Syria response. REACH works in opposition-controlled parts of Syria and coordinates closely with OCHA, nearly all clusters, key working groups (IM and technical) within the Syria coordination system, and various NGO fora in order to identify, address, and raise awareness of key information gaps, as well as to uphold the quality of data used to inform the response.
Through these engagements, REACH has identified that the following key challenges remain: (1) the lack of a needs tracking system that brings together and shares timely and regular information on changes in needs from a variety of sources; (2) the ability to conduct coordinated large scale data collection on a more regular basis – particularly critical in the highly volatile context, and during key humanitarian milestones such as the HNO; (3) the lack information from harder to reach areas with some of the most acute needs (4) lack of ability to quickly mobilize data collection in areas experiencing sudden escalations in conflict, due to accessibility, operational and security constraints; (5) the lack of more granular and detailed information on needs and response capacity on specific newly accessible geographic areas.
Broadly speaking, REACH Syria implements assessments within four key streams:
- Monitoring of the humanitarian situation in Syria, through monthly assessments covering over 1,600 communities in Syria, market monitoring to track prices of goods as per the survival minimum expenditure basket (SMEB), and ad hoc rapid assessments in times of sudden escalations in conflict or natural disasters.
- Displacement tracking,through tracking the movement of IDPs and Returnees down to a 24-48 hour- basis, as well as monitoring the humanitarian situation inside IDP camps and informal settlements.
- Area-Based Assessments to support humanitarian actors in the coordination to identify key response gaps by comparing humanitarian needs data with response data, in a set locality – often one that has recently become accessible and/or that is recovering for instance from besiegement.
- Technical support to clusters, for example in the form of coordination and implementation of sector and multisector assessments to inform the HNO, production of thematic assessments, presentations of findings, and capacity building.
For an example of REACH Syria information products, please see below:Position Profile
Under the supervision of the Whole of Syria (WoS) Head of Programmes, the Research Manager is responsible for the management of the Cash and Markets portfolio, including all of its staff and research cycles such as Market Monitoring, Rapid Market Monitoring, Livelihoods Assessments, Market Network Analyses, and ad-hoc assessments. The Research Manager is directly accountable to the WoS Head of Programmes for strategic relevance, efficient use of resources, HQ alignment, and quality control within his/ her Unit, including implementation, resource mobilization and management, partnership framework, dissemination and evaluation of all activities conducted within his/her Unit.
In his/her mission, the Research Manager will be hosted by ACTED and will fall under the direct responsibility and management of ACTED’s Country Director and his/her delegates for all Administrative, Security, Logistics and Finance issues. S/he will therefore fully adhere to ACTED’s Security, HR, Administration and Logistics, rules and regulations.
In coordination with the WoS Head of Programmes, within his/her Unit, the Research Manager is responsible for:
- Strategic development, identification, fundraising for and implementation of impactful/relevant programmes
- Ensuring compliance with increasing research standards and applying research quality control and alignment with global Research department
- Ensuring efficient and effective management of portfolio resources (staff, operational budget)
- Ensuring compliance to processes including:
a. Grants management
b. Financial management
c. Administrative management – leave, attendance and exit form follow up
d. Asset follow up
- Management and development of staff in line with the global IMPACT training guidelines
In support to the WoS Head of Programmes, the Research Manager will actively contribute to the development of the REACH strategy of his/her Unit. In particular, within his/her Unit, s/he will support on:
1. Strategy Development and Implementation
Strategic Planning and Leadership:
- Developing short- and long-term goals for Cash and Markets Unit, and designing strategies / organising resources to achieve set objectives; locked down in Unit Strategy ToRs to be reviewed by CFP/HQ.
- Ensuring relevance and impact of implemented programmes by linking RCs to context and stakeholders
- Identification of key information gaps and need for assessments, in line with humanitarian priorities and key event/milestones that should be informed
- Staying abreast of key developments in the humanitarian sector
- Engagement with IMPACT HQ in global level strategic priorities
Strategic External Engagement
- Senior external engagement and output dissemination with key stakeholders, including, but not limited to FS/L, ER/L, CASH as well as coordination of external engagement by all Unit staff
- Development of strategic partnerships with key humanitarian stakeholders and decision makers
- Communications and consultation with CFP and other SMT members, including sharing relevant information and ensuring efficient and productive links with SMT
- Ensure coordinated and positive interactions between Unit and ACTED staff
- Support the IMPACT Country Coordinator and WoS Head of Programmes in external engagement in relation to REACH/IMPACT strategy or (when requested and with focal point) to fundraising and grants management.
- Develop proposals, concept notes, and budget in close coordination with the IMPACT Country Coordinator and WoS Head of Programmes, in line with the Unit and Country Strategies.
General Research Cycle Program Implementation:
- Ensure that all IMPACT programs contribute to supporting better aid planning and are aligned with IMPACT global, country, and Unit strategies;
- Ensure that all programs are planned in line with relevant Unit and project objectives and with IMPACT’s research cycle and other relevant guidelines;
- Supervise all stages of program implementation, receiving regular updates from team members providing inputs when required, and conducting field visits to program sites for monitoring, quality control and program staff mentoring and coaching;
- Maintain regular link with ACTED (as relevant) to facilitate the provision of logistic, administrative and security support to facilitate program implementation, as well as ensuring that IMPACT teams comply with ACTED’s security and other relevant FLAT regulations during program implementation;
- Ensure the required level of coordination with partners in program planning and implementation;
- Ensure that synergies are established and implemented between various Research Cycles within Unit in country, and link with other IMPACT Units or countries when relevant;
- Keep track of progress and delays of all program implementation. Ensure that delays or identified problems for specific programs are reported to CFP and HQ in writing and orally in a timely manner.
2. Project and Staff Management
Project and Grants Management:
Management of all relevant Project / Grant cycles within his/her Unit, maintaining communication with HQ Grants Management department (in coordination with CFP);
Follow up on internal project cycle management processes (Kick-off/end meetings, Project Factsheets, etc), as well as external reporting to donors;
Monitor output achievement and ensure a time completion of projects through review of BFUs, Project factsheet, and project reports;
Ensure that contractual obligations are met in terms of deliverables as well as narrative and financial reporting requirements, in close coordination with CFP, HQ Grants Management and (as relevant) with ACTED PD and finance departments;
Ensure contractual monitoring and evaluation indicators are identified and tracked in a timely manner;
Provide ad-hoc support to project implementation through troubleshooting and eliminating roadblocks;
Ensure adequate contribution to project and proposal follow up tools through the timely submission of monthly updated Reporting Follow Up (RFU) tool.
- Anticipate financial risks and gaps in funding;
- Control project budgets within Units to avoid under/over spending, in link with IMPACT HQ finance and (as relevant) ACTED finance;
- Ensure accurate and timely financial reporting, in link with CFP, IMPACT HQ finance and (as relevant) ACTED finance;
- Ensure accurate budget expenditure tracking and forecasting, in link with CFP, IMPACT HQ Finance (as relevant) with ACTED finance
- Line management of Unit Staff – including:
a. Leading on- and ensuring shared team values
b. Delegation of responsibilities to- and among team members
c. Monitoring and ensuring individual and team performance to ensure goal achievement, including regular meetings to assess progress in all research cycles and review of work plans
d. Conducting appraisals and provide regular and constructive feedback
e. Ensuring staff development and access to global IMPACT training opportunities
Functional management of field staff who work on RCs within Unit
In coordination with the Country Coordinator / IMPACT Executive Director, conduct induction for new staff members, including training in basic technical competencies for assessment design, implementation and analysis;
Support to the IMPACT Country Coordinator in the development and implementation of capacity training plans for REACH assessment and field team member.
3. Oversight of Research Cycle Management
The Research Manager will be accountable for the quality of all research conducted, and outputs produced, within his/her Unit. The RM will have the following responsibilities regarding research cycle management:
Assessment Preparation and Planning:
- Ensuring that all assessments are planned in line with relevant project and program objectives and with REACH’s research cycle and other relevant guidelines;
- Ensure that required secondary data analysis has been conducted in preparation of an assessment;
- For each assessment, review ToRs before they are sent to Geneva for validation and ensure that TORs are validated by HQ before any data collection begins;
- Ensure that ToRs are understood and used by assessment staff and stakeholders and updated as required;
- Keep track of progress and delays of all assigned assessment throughout the research cycle. Ensure that delays or identified challenges for specific assessments are reported in writing and orally in a timely manner;
- Ensure relevant stakeholders and partners are engaged in assessment design and planning.
Data collection and management
- Ensure that required enumerators are identified and trained for primary data collection;
- Monitor data collection, ensuring its correct implementation in line with agreed TORs;
- Ensure that the WoS Head of Programmes is alerted to any issues that prevent full implementation of the methodology in line with the agreed TORs; ensure that all changes to the methodology are documented throughout implementation;
- Ensure logistics, financial, administration, security and HR processes directly related to REACH have been appropriately implemented and coordinated with the relevant ACTED departments;
- Ensure regular situation updates on data collection have been produced and circulated to relevant REACH, ACTED and external counterparts. Provide support and follow up on identified challenges during the data collection process;
- Ensure that all collected data is stored in line with IMPACT’s Data Management Guidelines, and with the ToRs (data management plan Annex);
- Ensure that data is revised and cleaned, and that all revisions are recorded;
- Oversee analysis on collected data as per ToRs;
- Ensure that meaningful techniques are used to analyze the data collected;
- Ensure that data and its analysis are validated by IMPACT HQ before product drafting stage;
- Ensure that data and its analysis do not contain personal information and are validated by IMPACT HQ before sharing to external parties.
- Maintain regular communication with IMPACT HQ on progress and deadlines for written products;
- Ensure the drafting of timely and accurate assessment outputs (i.e. reports, factsheets, etc.), which comply with IMPACT’s guidelines and quality standards;
- Review all products before they are sent to the CFP or IMPACT HQ for validation;
- Ensure that all written products are validated by IMPACT HQ before external release.
Research-related external engagement, product dissemination and evaluation
- In coordination with the Country Coordinator and WoS Head of Programmes, ensure that relevant partners are consulted and involved at all stages of research cycle: the preparation of the assessment; data collection; data analysis; review of research products; product dissemination; and lessons learned; ensure that partner engagement is documented;
- Ensure that external communications with partners and key stakeholders, including relevant UN agencies, local and national government, and NGOs has been conducted and documented as appropriate for each Research Cycle;
- Under the direction of the WoS Head of Programmes, engage in the dissemination of research products, including through articles, IMPACT social media contents, targeted e- mails, presentations, meetings, etc, in line with IMPACT Dissemination and External Communication Guidelines and Research ToRs;
- Under supervision of IMPACT HQ, ensure that research products are uploaded in relevant data portals, as specified in Research ToRs;
- Ensure that lessons learned are gathered and documented at the end of each research cycle;
- Support the WoS Head of Programmes to conduct monitoring and evaluation as specified in the research ToRs and in line with IMPACT Guidelines.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- Ensure the development and application of a M&E system/plan for each program within Unit, in line with IMPACT’s M&E guidelines;
- Lead on internal and external program evaluations as necessary and ensure the execution of baseline, periodic, and final evaluations as necessary;
- Ensure learning by the Unit from relevant best practice internally and externally both nationally and globally and make learning available for other programs; organise a program review workshop and document lessons learnt at the end of each program.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION
The Research Manager will maintain the strictest confidentiality on all data collected and related processes. He/she will actively take measures to prevent the unauthorized sharing of any information and data belonging to IMPACT and its partners, or collected during his/her assignment with IMPACT.
- Excellent academic qualifications, including a Master degree in relevant discipline;
- At least 3 years of relevant working experience in humanitarian settings such as research, evaluation, assessments and programmes; preference for experience working with cash and/or livelihoods programming.
- Excellent project management skills;
- Excellent external engagement skills;
- Excellent team management skills;
- Excellent analytical skills;
- Excellent communication and drafting skills for effective reporting;
- Field/humanitarian experience needed, in monitoring and evaluation, NGOs, or other similar relevant sector;
- Ability to operate in a cross-cultural environment requiring flexibility;
- Understanding of the global and country level cluster approach an asset;
- Prior knowledge of the Syrian context an asset; basic economics understanding an asset;
- Fluency in English required; Arabic or Kurdish an asset;
- Ability to operate Microsoft Word, Excel and Project Management Software;
- Knowledge of SPSS and/or R, STATA or other statistical analysis software is an advantage;
- Ability to multitask with tight deadlines, on numerous research cycles;
- Ability to work independently and manage people remotely.
- Salary defined by the IMPACT salary grid; educational level, expertise, hardship, security, and performance are considered for pay bonus
- Additional monthly living allowance provided in country by IMPACT’s partner ACTED
- Food and lodging provided at the organisation’s guesthouse/or housing allowance (depending on contract length and country of assignment)
- Transportation costs covered, including additional return ticket + luggage allowance
- Provision of medical, life, and repatriation insurance + retirement package