Nutrition Research Coordinator
Since 2015, IRC has been engaged in the development and testing of innovative solutions to simplify the detection and treatment of malnutrition. The ComPAS study, conducted in Kenya and South Sudan between 2017 and 2018, demonstrated that a simplified treatment protocol was just as effective as the standard treatment protocol and less expensive. This protocol recommends the treatment of severely and moderately malnourished children in the same program using the same nutritional product and a single admission criterion: mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement. Children with MUAC <115 mm (or edema) on admission are prescribed 2 sachets of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) per day and children with MUAC between 115 and 124 mm are prescribed 1 sachet of RUTF per day. Since 2018, this protocol has also demonstrated its effectiveness in routine programmatic contexts in Mali and Somalia with more than 25,000 children successfully treated to date.
In CAR, acute malnutrition is a public health problem that affects thousands of children every year. The latest SMART nutritional survey (2019) showed a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 5.8% at the national level. The RCA has a national protocol for the integrated management of acute malnutrition. Nevertheless, the coverage of the treatment of acute malnutrition in CAR remains low. The management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in CAR is done separately and with little geographic alignment. In 2018, the geographic coverage of SAM treatment was 60% and that of MAM 25%. Faced with the challenges described a switch to a simplified and combined protocol could improve treatment coverage by bringing it to a single point of service and relying on a single supply chain. Thus, an operational pilot will be conducted to test the simplified protocol and document the feasibility, effectiveness and cost of the program. The project will be carried out in a consortium under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, and with technical and financial support from WFP and UNICEF, with technical and research support from IRC and implemented by 3 implementing partners. The role of IRC is to ensure the production of evidence on this pilot project.
Thus, the role of the Nutrition Research Coordinator will be to focus this pilot project on the simplified protocol.
Under the supervision of the Regional Coordinator of Research Projects in Nutrition of IRC and of the Deputy Director of Programs of IRC CAR, the Nutrition Research Coordinator will be technically responsible and guarantor of the relevance and the quality of the evidence produced in the framework of the pilot project on the simplified protocol.
He / she will coordinate the project between the partners, including the planning and implementation of activities. He / she will coordinate the establishment of a treatment data collection system and more generally on learning in relation to the project. He / she will coordinate the supervision of the personnel in charge of the implementation of the research activities. He / she will also coordinate the semi-annual joint supervisions of the project.
He / she will technically support the implementation of the new treatment protocol by organizing basic training and supporting practical training in the field. He / she will provide technical assistance to the field teams; continuous monitoring of implementation quality and data collection. He / she will supervise the IRC pilot team and ensure their quality of work.
He / she will carry out data analyzes, and lead the interpretation of the results and ensure the coordination and production of dissemination material and the organization and execution of the dissemination at the national level in consultation with the consortium.
1. Coordination and management of research projects:
•Ensure good coordination and communication of the project with the members of the consortium from planning to implementation and until dissemination;
•Ensure joint decision-making on the major orientations of the project (timetable, activities, progress, deliverables, etc.);
•Organize a project launch in collaboration with the members of the consortium;
•Conduct strategic discussions to define learning ideas and research in relation to the simplified protocol with the consortium;
•Conduct workshops on the practical orientations of the pilot;
•Organize the central six-monthly supervision of the pilot project;
2. Research protocol and project development
•Participate in strategic discussions to define learning ideas and research against the simplified protocol with the IRC research team at headquarters;
•Ensure the ethical respect of the pilot;
•Develop survey tools to answer learning and operational research questions and train collection teams on these surveys;
•Ensure the establishment of a data collection, monitoring and evaluation system for the care program;
•Support the establishment of a monitoring system for other activities (only supported) implemented under the project;
•Improve the quality of monitoring of the operational pilot by optimizing the use of collected data;
•Support in the development of data analysis plans for other research projects;
3. Staff recruitment and management
•Recruit, train, and supervise field researchers (officers, enumerators, etc.) on research protocol and project implementation, and data collection and management methodology.
•Work closely with research team to develop critical thinking research skills; develop and sustain a culture of responsibility and detail-oriented work among all field researchers.
•Build capacity of research partners involved in project implementation and data collection. Provide training and refresher training as applicable.
•Ensure continuous technical supervision of the teams under his responsibility;
•Support the continuous analysis of project data and the identification of challenges;
•Ensure that the teams under his responsibility can best support quality and ethical data collection by the implementation partners by providing technical advice and support in the field;
•Synthesize pilot data;
•Work with program teams for data analysis;
4. Finance, budget and grant monitoring
•Be the first person in charge for the follow-up of the implementation of the various activities planned in the various Grants of the research portfolio as well as for the budgetary consumption, for the preparation of the purchase requests according to the purchase plan previously planned on the project, for the organization and the success of the missions.
•Be the lead in the event of a request for modification of the project from donors, both from a narrative and financial point of view
5. Reporting and administrative tasks
•Track project outputs/ deliverables against work plan. Develop new systems as necessary to ensure the tasks/ activities are tracked and completed on time.
•Maintain electronic copies of key project files for all project partners. (IRB, MoUs or other agreements, contracts, contract amendments, budgets, TORs).
•Provide logistical support for meetings, workshops and trainings as well as travel arrangements and schedules for visiting PIs, project partners, etc.
6. Publications, reports, and dissemination
•Write reports and other internal / external products for monitoring the implementation and dissemination of research project results as well as any other type of report requested by the various donors (narrative, budget monitoring and appendices);
•Coordinate and lead the writing of the final project report as well as other project capitalization products including lessons learned, recommendations and peer-reviewed articles;
•Represent the nutrition research of IRC CAR with the various partners at the national level (academics, technicians, authorities);
•Represent IRC in the various meetings assigned by supervisors;
•Work with the Headquarters Research and Innovation project team;
•Collaborate with stakeholders and consultants engaged in research projects;
•Work with the communication team on documentation if necessary to be provided as part of external communication activities and be the focal point for field communication activities.
Qualifications and experiences
•Professional diploma in Health / Nutrition (BAC + 3 level with 5 years of experience or BAC + 5 level with 3 years of experience or BAC + 8 level)
•Minimum 3 years of research experience in the field of health / nutrition, preferably on operational research projects in the field
•Minimum 3 years of professional experience in NGOs, in particular in the management of community-based acute malnutrition (PCIMA)
•Technical understanding of CMAM required. Knowledge of simplified approaches to screening and treating malnutrition desirable
•Experience in coordinating consortium projects; proven ability to interact and lead research and field partners, other international, national and local actors in country, donors
•Previous experience in supervising and supporting field teams
•Experience of working with large budgets in excel, donor reporting, and against workplan /deliverable timelines
•Demonstrated competence in writing research articles (add references to CV)
•Ability to write clear and concise reports, while respecting fixed deadlines
•Ability to work independently while being an active member of the country team
•Computer skills required: Windows environment, Microsoft Office package, statistical software desirable (STATA, R, SAS, SPSS), experience with an electronic data collection platform (Kobo, RedCap, ODK, ComCare)
•Ability to work in unstable security environments
•Fluency in French and English is essential.
Specific security situation/housing
The coordinator will be based in Bangui, CAR with travel throughout the country. The security situation in CAR continues and is still volatile although the signature of Khartoum Peace and Reconciliation agreement that was signed in February 2019 is always seen as source of hope that the country can recover peace. The level of security remains at 3 (orange phase). The candidate should be prepared to implement programming in insecure environments. This is a non-accompanied position. The coordinator will live in shared housing.
Professional standards: IRC staff should adhere to the values and principles set out in IRC Way - Global Standards for Professional Conduct. It is about Integrity, Equality, Service and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC manages and enforces policies for the protection of beneficiaries against exploitation and abuse, the protection of children, the fight against harassment in the workplace,
Diversity, Inclusion and Gender Equality: IRC acknowledges and honors the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and consider all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, veteran status or disability. IRC is also committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits.