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Nutrition Research Manager - South Sudan

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Casie Tesfai

Senior Nutrition Advisor - IRC

Normal user

19 Sep 2016, 18:57

Nutrition Research Manager

Sector: Research
Location: South Sudan
Employee Type: Regular
Employee Category: Full Time

Job Purpose/Objective:

The IRC is leading a program of operational research to integrate the treatment of SAM into iCCM in South Sudan in order to improve access to treatment of acute malnutrition as well as address the dual and interacting risk factors for child mortality. There are several studies that show promising results with regard to how community-based models such as iCCM to treat SAM can be implemented. However, there are also several key knowledge gaps that remain, particularly around how to simplify the SAM treatment protocol so that low-literate community health workers can adequately treat and monitor children. The IRC has been implementing iCCM in South Sudan since 2005 and has demonstrated that low-literacy community healthcare workers can deliver high-quality and highly effective medical treatments – even in remote, emergency affected areas– if protocols are designed specifically for their use and they are trained and supported properly. Building on this expertise, the IRC has developed a simplified toolkit to enable low-literate community health workers to also treat SAM.

The IRC will implement a study on the feasibility and acceptability of these simplified tools among a subsample of its current cadre of iCCM community health workers. The study will allow IRC to gain valuable feedback from their experience treating SAM and observe actual practices and ultimately determine if, using a simplified treatment algorithm and tools, existing iCCM program infrastructure and community health workers can be used to deliver treatment for acute malnutrition.

Scope :

As part of the global Nutrition and iCCM research team and working under the guidance and supervision of the Nutrition Coordinator, Nutrition Technical Advisor and Field Coordinator, the Nutrition Research Manager will be responsible for the overall supervision of 2 Nutrition Research Officers performing data collection on 36 iCCM community-based distributors (CBDs) in Aweil South. S/he will work closely with the Nutrition Research Officers to ensure high-quality quantitative and qualitative data collection and reporting of research study data by training and supervising Officers on treatment and study protocol and implementation as well as building their capacity for critical-thinking research skills. The Nutrition Research Manager will provide both on-site and remote supervision through on the job training and coaching and performing data audits to monitor accuracy and maintenance of research indicators. S/he will also work closely with Officers to maintain records of research study supply and support pre-positioning efforts. Alongside the Officers and the Nutrition Technical Coordinator in Juba, s/he will also build and maintain strong relationships with clinic staff, county officials and MoH at the county level.

Upon successful completion of the research study enrollment and data collection, the Nutrition Research Manager will contribute to the data analysis, write-up and editing, as required for publishing academic articles, briefing papers, case studies, etc. S/he will be eligible for co-authorship on all publications related to the research study.

Key Responsibilities:


- Supervise and coordinate the implementation and monitoring of the research study in line with research protocol, proposal targets and work plan timelines
- Promote strict adherence to research protocol by stakeholders through effective communication to Nutrition Research Officers, clinic facility staff and enrolled patients
- Coordinate with Nutrition Technical Advisor and Nutrition Coordinator to develop training curricula and study implementation plans
- Develop system for uploading recorded data. Maintain data collection and data quality management procedures at all times
- Conduct data audits based on agreed methodology(s) including surveys, process monitoring, and other rapid methods
- Coordinate with Nutrition Coordinator, MoH and other county stakeholders to ensure maximum effectiveness of the research study

Human Resources:

- Participate in hiring and training of Nutrition Research Officers; provide continuous on the job training and coaching as necessary; build Officers’ capacity to support other program staff ( for example, iCCM team staff, Nutrition team etc.)
- Provide direct and routine supervision of Nutrition Research Officers; monitor performance according to their job description and provide oral and written feedback in a timely manner
- Review personnel issues and concerns of research staff; determine and implement solutions, escalate issues to Nutrition Coordinator and assist with determining and implementing solutions

Supply Chain:

- Work with the supply chain team to develop accurate and timely supply orders
- Support Officers’ to monitor utilization of research study issued nutrition supplies; monitor and track research study assets
- Review of all nutrition program purchase requisitions

Monitoring and Reporting:

- Reviewing uploaded data and performing on-site audits, closely monitor research data to ensure accuracy, quality and alignment with study indicators; provide immediate corrective action/instruction to minimize error
- Attend and/or host research project meetings
- Keep Nutrition Coordinator/Technical Advisor informed on all developments through regular reports

Budget and grant management:

- Prepare and implement detailed ECF Research related program spending, procurement and work plans
- Contribute to quality program reports, consistent with both IRC and donor requirements
- Participate in proposal writing and budget development processes
- Participate in Grants Opening, Mid-Term and Closing meetings.
- Prepare internal and external reports within agreed deadlines using IRC and donor formats, as required.
- Assure appropriate and timely spending of grants to achieve program goals, grant reporting contributions, use and distribution of supplies and resources.
- Prepare a monthly progress report for the Nutrition Coordinator and copy Field coordinator.
- Ensuring effective implementation of M&E systems throughout the lifetime of the project in collaboration with and supported by the Nutrition coordinator.
- Manage the project budget; oversee all budget expenditures and ensure they are allowable and allocable according to IRC and donor regulations; review monthly - - Budget vs. Actual and expenditure sheets and collaborate with the Finance department to ensure accurate expenditures and reporting.

Strategic Planning:

- Monitor evolving needs of the target communities and adjust the programmatic priorities as necessary in collaboration with program teams in Panyijar County.
- Contribute technical inputs to program reports and proposals.
Identify opportunities for program development; lead technical assessments as a basis for iCCM nutrition program development when necessary in the state.
- Work closely with the Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Coordinators to develop a comprehensive, holistic, and integrated iCCM- Nutrition strategy that aligns with IRC’s South Sudan Country Strategic Action Plan and the MOH’s community health policies and strategies at state level.

Coordination and Representation:

- Plan and coordinate IRC South Sudan Nutrition research interventions
- Ensure Collaboration Nutrition with the iCCM team to ensure a holistic approach in line with IRC’s Program Framework principles
- Represent IRC to UN, international and national NGOs, and Ministries of Health, for nutrition coordination as needed
- Oversee implementation of funding, including budget forecasting, development of spending plans in cooperation with the Health and Nutrition Coordinators and Grants Manager
- Represent IRC to donor agencies, with respect to iCCM and Nutrition programming, as designated by Field Coordinator and the Nutrition Coordinator
- Maintain regular contact with all partners, including the State Ministry of Health, UN agencies and other NGOs.
- Conduct regular meetings with, Research, Nutrition and iCCM program staff as well as other key programs and operations staff to discuss program progress and challenges
- Develop and maintain effective working relationships with all stakeholders - including community leaders, NGOs, UN agencies, community based organizations and other IRC sectors to enhance cooperation and coordination.
- Represent the IRC in all relevant humanitarian coordination meetings, ensuring that IRC efforts and resources are engaged in a planned and well-coordinated manner.
- Ensure that the humanitarian community is aware of IRC’s community case management activities and advocate for follow-on actions by other agencies as needed;
- Actively participate in coordination mechanism with network partners and host community to ensure information sharing, coordination of interventions and enable meaningful participation of host communities.
- Liaise with partners, particularly through the Health cluster/working group/coordination mechanism, to share findings and any issues of relevance and/or concern related to the community case management projects.

Systems Compliance and Improvement:

- IRC-Southern Sudan specific finance, logistics, IT, security, communications and human resource/administration policies and procedures.
- Any new procedures and guidelines designated in circulars from Country Director and DDO.

Policy compliance – Mandatory Reporting Policy (MRP):

Ensure any violations of the IRC Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Code of Conduct are reported to the CD. The reporting of violations is an obligation on the part of all staff members.
Assist where necessary in undertaking activities that aim to prevent the occurrence of sexual abuse and exploitation of beneficiaries by IRC and other humanitarian workers.

Ensuring the non disclosure of any information whatsoever relating to the practices and business of IRC acquired in the course of duty, to any other person or organization without authority, except in the normal execution of duty.


Position Reports to: Nutrition Coordinator and Field Coordinator for day to day activities.
Position directly supervises: National Research team
Indirect Reporting: this position has a dotted “supports” line to Nutrition TA, Nutrition Specialist and TU Research Collaborators including the external Epidemiologist.
Other Internal contacts: Other Program Coordinators, operation department heads and Program Managers
External contacts: Relevant other stakeholders e.g. UN bodies, local and national government authorities such as CHDs, SMoH etc.


-Health/Nutrition professional and/or social scientists (MD, RN, BSTAT, Epidemiology and Development studies with strong research background ) or any other qualifications relevant to the job with strong public health background
-Technical understanding of CMAM required; a minimum of 3 years of professional experience in nutrition, public health, nutrition planning and management and/or in relevant areas of infant and child health/nutrition care at program management level required and experience in nutrition IMAM (CMAM) programs and researches in health and Nutrition , designing and/or implementing nutrition research studies or evaluations required
-Knowledge in mhealth data collection software and platforms; experience troubleshooting electronic data collection issues preferred
-Strong analytical skills, sound judgment and the capacity to think and plan strategically, including the ability to produce high quality implementation plans
-Excellent communication skills; demonstrated patience and effective leadership in communicating new topics to diverse audiences; experience providing job coaching or on the job training
-Familiarity with IRC iCCM and/or nutrition programs and partners preferred
-Ability to work with considerable flexibility (for example: outside business hours in rural areas
-At least two years’ experience in coordinating, implementing and managing health programs in developing countries.
-Experience in grant management and report writing is preferred
-Ability to validate and interpret health data
-Excellent computer skills and competency in Microsoft Word, Excel, access and PowerPoint
-Excellent organizational skills and ability to determine priorities and meet multiple deadlines
-Detail-oriented with good multi-tasking abilities and communication skills, both oral and written
-Able to work well both within a team and independently, in a challenging and fast-moving multicultural environment.
-Previous experience with operational research preferred
-Previous experience working with low literacy, rural populations preferred.
-Experience in emergencies and/or in unstable security environments preferred; previous work experience in South Sudan or neighborhood a plus.


Security level: orange. The situation overall seems calm but remains tense and unpredictable; concerns include criminality, presence of armed troops, communal violence, and looting


Housing in IRC compounds with common latrines and individual showers and living area. All IRC sites have electricity and internet at least several hours per day. Food is the individual’s responsibility but cooks are provided for and all laundry services in the fields are provided by the IRC field offices.

Key Result Areas :

-Successful implementation of research study as per the proposal targets and work plan timelines
-Capacity building of Research Officers; promotion of critical-thinking research skills and culture of responsibility and detail-oriented work among officers
-Accuracy of research study data as per the research data collection protocols; collection, input, and analysis
-Timely supply and/or pre-positioning of research study supplies to study sites
-Timely submission of research study related reports
-Representation of IRC at internal and external meetings, forums, presentations etc.
IRC leading the way from harm to home.

IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

If you need assistance in the application or hiring process to accommodate a disability, you may request an accommodation at any time. Please contact Talent Acquisitions at As required by law, the IRC will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with a known disability.

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