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PlayMatters Research Manager

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date:

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Job Overview: 

PlayMatters (2020-2025) is an education initiative funded through a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation. The program reimagines childhood for 800,000+ refugee and host-community children across Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda – children whose education and social development has been affected by displacement and trauma. Building on children’s amazing resilience and a growing evidence base supporting Learning through Play methodologies, PlayMatters cultivates holistic learning for children ages 3-12+. PlayMatters is led by the International Rescue Committee and includes Plan International, War Child Holland, Innovations for Poverty Action, the Behavioral Insights Team in partnership with the LEGO Foundation.

The PlayMatters Research Manager will directly support the PlayMatters Deputy Project Director of Research and the broader regional research team to design, implement, and disseminate IRC-led PlayMatters research activities over a six month period (October 2021 – April 2022) that are taking place in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. Specific studies include:

1.An in-depth qualitative study examining good practices for the implementation of Learning through Play interventions in early childhood development centers and primary schools in refugee and host community contexts in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania;

2.A mixed-methods implementation research study examining the quality and impact of PlayMatters interventions on holistic learning outcomes during the second year of PlayMatters; and

3.A vertical case study examining how Learning through Play for refugees and host communities is understood and operationalized across the system, from the level of the child all the way to educators, sub-national authorities, national government, and international actors.

The PlayMatters Research Manager will participate in weekly supportive check-ins with the Deputy Project Director of Research for PlayMatters. The Research Manager will be invited to all Research & Innovation team meetings and workshops and will have multiple opportunities to hear about research activities beyond PlayMatters according to his/her interests.

Major Responsibilities:

Working directly with the Deputy Project Director of Research, the PlayMatters Research Manager will provide ongoing technical research and coordination support to the research studies listed above, primarily in support of country-based research teams. This will include direct technical guidance and assistance related to research design, development of tools, and data analysis, as well as coordination of activities. The Research Officer will work directly with country-based research coordinators and university-based research teams in Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, in support of the following types of activities: organizing virtual workshops with local teams, supporting locally led research design, supporting local teams with instrument development and contextualization, organizing events focused on validating the research design with stakeholders, supporting local teams to gain IRB clearance, working out the logistics of enumerator trainings and data collection processes, supporting instrument translation and adaptation processes, support data analysis processes in partnership with country-based teams, organize learning meeting with key stakeholders, and participate in dissemination of findings. A key focus of the Research Officer’s work will be ensuring consistency and quality across the three country-based research teams.



•Master’s degree or current Masters or doctoral student in Education, Psychology, International Development, International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies, Policy Studies, or other related Social Sciences-Related discipline.

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:

•At least three years of experience working in education in low-resource environments, A background in education research, including training in both quantitative and qualitative research methods,

•At least one year of experience doing research on education in emergencies;

•At least one year of experience supporting the implementation of mixed-methods research studies focused on education, psychosocial support, or other areas related to Learning through Play;

•Strong writing skills (in English) and significant writing experience;

•Experience analyzing qualitative data using Dedoose, nVivo or other qualitative data analysis software is a plus;

•Experience analyzing quantitative data using SPSS, State, or other statistical analysis packages is a plus;

•Experience working in East Africa is a plus. 

Working Environment:  The candidate must be able to work remotely without significant technical support from IRC.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct.  These are Integrity, Service, Equality, and Accountability.  In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.


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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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