Research Lead
Job TypeFull Time
Experience5 years
Job FieldData Science / Research
Job Description/Requirements

The Somali Dialogue Platform (the ‘Platform’) is a multi-year programme funded by the FCDO, USAID, BUILD and DANIDA. The Somali Dialogue Platform provides a neutral space for political dialogue on contentious issues in Somalia’s political settlement, such as designing and implementing election systems and clarifying the federal settlement. The overall goal of the Platform is to ensure a ‘high-level and sufficiently inclusive range of political stakeholders to regularly and constructively negotiate and seek solutions on contentious political settlement issues in trusted, Somali-owned dialogue spaces’.

The Rift Valley Institute is seeking a highly experienced and dynamic person to manage the Platform’s political analysis and research work. The Research Lead has overall responsibility for delivery of the programme’s research and analysis components, including conducting regular political analysis and managing multi-stakeholder social science research projects, to support, shape and inform the programme’s political engagement work. The Research Lead will work closely with the Team Leader and the Platform’s Engagement Lead to design relevant research and analytical activities and product that maximize impact. S/he will collaborate with research partners and network of experts to deliver research that will achieve the overall objective of facilitating a stronger political settlement in Somalia.


Description of Duties

Lead the Platform’s research and analysis work


  • Lead the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of the Platform’s research and analysis activities. Workclosely with the Platform representatives, staff, Somali partners and policy makers to ensure the appropriate design of research activities and outputs
  • Ensure the Platform’s research is based on robust design and methodologies, and is relevant and responsive to the needs of stakeholders in political dialogues.
  • Establish and oversee rigorous systems for data collection, management and analysis
  • Undertake primary research when appropriate (literature reviews, key informant interviews) and analysis of primary data
  • Manage and oversee the production of research outputs and publications, with support from RVI’s publications team.
  • Manage the Platform’s stakeholder mapping process
  • Maintain a consistent database of relevant research and political analysis to inform the Platform’s own research and ensure triangulation with existing evidence
  • Plan and implement dissemination and uptake strategies for research findings and analytical insights through dissemination in various formats (print, online publishing, social media) and for presentations in donor briefings, policy advisory workshops and engagement events.
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with Somali organisations from whom the Platform can commission high-quality research outputs
  • Identify and manage consultants that can support the Platform’s research activities.
    Programme management
  • Support the collection of evidence to promote programme learning and to measure and communicate the impact of research activities
  • Lead on financial and budget management for the Platform’s research activities ensuring they are within budget and providing value-for-money
  • Monitor and support mitigations of risks arising from the political context and the Platform’s engagement work
  • Manage, and support RVI staff and consultants working on research activities
  • Support and mentor junior researchers working on the Platform
  • Minimum of a Masters degree in a relevant field of study.
  • A minimum of five years experience in leading, designing and implementing social science and political research projects in fragile environments, including conducting field research, commissioning research, managing research teams and the production of research outputs.
  • Demonstrable commitment to the Platform’s core vision and principles
  • Track record of delivering policy-relevant research to a range of high-level audiences (UN, government, institutional donors)
  • Demonstrable ability to implement and innovate research methodologies and data analysis (including mixed methods), and stakeholder mapping processes
  • Experience in complex data management processes for large qualitative research projects
  • Excellent political analysis skills and understanding of current and historical political dynamics in Somalia
  • Thematic expertise and knowledge in the field of peacebuilding, democratisation, and state-building
  • Track-record in developing relationships with other research organisations and supporting partners to deliver effective research products.
  • Experience of training and mentoring researchers.
  • Excellent writing and editing skills in English; Fluency in Somali is also required.
  • Cultural sensitivity and experience of working with diverse constituencies.
  • Strong oral presentation and communication skills.
  • Experience in programme financial management.


Click “APPLY FOR JOB” button above o apply for this job.

For further information see www.riftvalley.net or write to recruitment@riftvalley.net. Applicants must submit a CV, a cover letter explaining their interest in, and suitability for the position, a recent writing sample, and the names of three references. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we encourage early applications. Only selected, qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews.

RVI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

About Rift Valley Institute

The Rift Valley Institute (RVI) is an independent, non-profit organization, founded in Sudan in 2001, currently working in seven countries in Eastern and Central Africa. The aim of the Institute is to advance useful knowledge of the region and its diverse communities, bringing a better understanding of local realities to bear on social and political action. The RVI works with institutions in the region to develop and implement long-term programmes that combine action-oriented research with education and public information.