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Research Coordinator – Hungry Seasons Project at Center for Effective Global Action

  • Full Time
  • Zomba
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary: 00

Center for Effective Global Action


UC Berkeley seeks a motivated field research coordinator to work with UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara researchers, as well as One Acre Fund, on a USAID-funded project addressing seasonal hunger through a planning intervention in Malawi. Seeking an immediate hire with a short term commitment. Opportunities to extend for a year or more are possible.

Approximate hours per week: Full time

Status of employee: Consultant/contractor

Desired start date: January 1, 2024

Duration: 1 year

Location:  This position is based in Malawi (Zomba).

Project Description

This project addresses the challenge of seasonal hunger, a common problem in Sub-Saharan Africa: farmers harvest maize once per year, but then run out of food before the next harvest, causing them to reduce food intake and farm investments each year. Over the past two years, the research team introduced a simple, low-cost planning intervention based on principles from psychology to help farmers better smooth their maize. An initial randomized control trial with 850 households in Zambia found large effects: treated households entered the hungry season with 1 month more of food, and due to increased farm investments, had 10% higher harvest revenue. We now seek to take this successful intervention to scale. The project has been funded by USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures, the UC Davis Feed the Future Innovation Lab Markets, Risk and Resilience Program, and the US National Science Foundation.

The Research Coordinator will be responsible for working with a new implementing partner in Malawi, One Acre Fund, in collaboration with researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara. Duties involve: updating project instruments and tools; over-seeing pilot data collection and then national roll-out across geographically diverse project sites in Malawi; and leading the evaluation of the national scale-up including overseeing survey work and other data collection.  Specifically, the Research Coordinator will be expected to work closely with One Acre Fund, research partners at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, and local survey firms in Malawi to guide and undertake a pilot for project scale-up. The Coordinator will also be required to spend time on the ground engaged in the details of the intervention — to design and test concrete new approaches in villages, along with focus groups and debriefs with participants — in order to help the project team arrive at a revised intervention design for scale-up. This person will also manage a team of local survey enumerators and project staff. If the initial pilot data collection in Zomba is successful, then the Coordinator would be tasked with developing scale-up plans with One Acre Fund throughout Malawi. This position is based in Zomba, Malawi with frequent travel to Zomba project sites as well as project sites throughout Malawi.

This is a challenging opportunity for an early-career professional who is passionate about global development and social science research; is keen to engage on the ground in the details of intervention design and piloting; has a strong desire to expand and deepen skills in project planning and policy partnership development; and can effectively support project scale-up in a dynamic context. It has the potential to offer either short term exposure to field research or a springboard to longer term engagement with the scale up project.


  • Support adapting and scaling the intervention in different settings effectively;
  • Interact with research partners including One Acre Fund, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, local Malawi survey firms
  • Hire, train, and manage a team of local survey enumerators and other project staff, potentially including at least one Research Assistant;
  • Oversee piloting of different scalable versions of the treatment intervention
  • Manage project workflows and timelines;
  • Manage all aspects of project implementation in Malawi;
  • Work closely with PIs and partners to track project progress and troubleshoot challenges that arise;
  • Liaise closely with partners to ensure smooth program roll-out;
  • Support the development of sampling plans and a field management plan for conducting surveys;
  • Ensure quality control for data collection and data management activities;
  • Conduct data analysis and contribute to written project material.


  • Bachelor’s in Economics, Public Policy, Development Studies or related program;
  • Experience with research fieldwork;
  • Experience with project management;
  • Experience with data analysis using Stata or R;
  • Ability to work independently and manage complex and competing priorities;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Must be willing to reside in Malawi;
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials preferred;
  • Experience living and working in developing countries preferred.


Commensurate with experience.