Research Lead

at Rift Valley Institute
Published March 22, 2022
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Category Research  
Job Type Full Time  


Job purpose


The Research Lead for the Somali Dialogue Platform is responsible for the development, delivery and promotion of the Platform’s analysis and research work. The Research Lead has overall responsibility for delivery of the programme’s research and analysis components, including coordinating regular political and policy analysis and managing multi-stakeholder social science research projects, to support, shape and inform the programme’s efforts to enable political consensus in Somalia.


A full job description -- including salary and benefits -- and information about the Somali Dialogue Platform and Rift Valley Institute can be found here.




Lead the development and delivery of the Platform’s research and analysis work (60%)


  • Lead the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of the Platform’s research and analysis activities, ensuring the research programme is informed by a high level of analytical, evaluative and innovative thinking to develop the Platform


  • Work closely with the Platform representatives, staff, Somali partners and external actors to ensure the design of research activities and outputs is appropriate.


  • Work closely with other Platform senior staff to set overall strategy, planning and approach, and ensure research work is seamlessly integrated with other activities


  • 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, as well as consultant copy-editors and graphic designers


  • Support dissemination and uptake strategies for research findings and analytical insights through dissemination in various formats including 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 (40%)


  • Manage the budget for the Platform’s research activities ensuring they are within budget and demonstrate value-for-money, working closely with the Platform Team Leader and Grant and operations Manager


  • Line-Manage and support the Research Coordinator and research consultants, managing the changing composition of the research team, and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff and consultants undertaking research.


  • Support and mentor junior researchers working on the Platform


  • Ensure Platform research activities are conducted adherence with RVI’s values and ethics


Person Specification


Knowledge and Qualifications


Minimum of a Masters degree in a relevant field of study

Excellent and detailed understanding of current and historical political dynamics in Somalia and the region

Excellent grasp of social science research design and methodology and concepts especially qualitative methods

Expertise and knowledge in the field of peacebuilding, democratisation, federalism, and state-building.

Commitment to the Platform’s core vision and principles



A minimum of five-year’s 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.

Track-record in developing relationships with other research organisations and supporting partners to deliver effective research products.

Experience in complex data management processes for large qualitative research projects

Experience of training and mentoring researchers.

Track record of delivering policy-relevant research to a range of high-level audiences (UN, government, institutional donors)

Experience in programme financial management.

Skills and Abilities


An ability to write and present highly complex issues and information

Excellent writing and editing skills in English essential; fluency in Somali is highly desirable.

Demonstrable ability to implement advanced and innovative research methodologies and data analysis (including mixed methods),

Excellent political analysis skills

Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to lead and inspire and teach others

Ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic and political environment and willing to iterate job role as part of a collaborative process of shaping an innovative peacebuilding programme

Cultural sensitivity and experience of working with diverse constituencies


How to apply


Applicants must submit a CV, a cover letter explaining their interest in, and suitability for the position, and the names of three references. We encourage early applications. Only selected, qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews. RVI is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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