Research Analyst, Malawi Agricultural Diversification Activity
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Project Overview and Role
The Feed the Future Malawi Agricultural Diversification Activity (AgDiv) contributes to USAID/Malawi's Feed the Future goal of sustainably reducing poverty and malnutrition in eight districts of Central and Southern Malawi. Malawi AgDiv is currently seeking a Research Analyst to conduct data analysis in support of its work fostering sustainable growth in the agricultural sector. One key aspect of fostering sustainable growth in the agricultural sector is supporting farmers to diversify away from growing tobacco into other crops. To achieve this, AgDiv is partnering with tobacco companies operating in Malawi to provide farmers with inputs, training, and market access for alternative crops.
To measure the impact of these diversification support efforts, AgDiv is working with its tobacco company partners to conduct household panel surveys capturing welfare indicators such as non-tobacco farm income, non-farm income, food security, dietary diversity, and subject welfare. The baseline survey, which will include about 2000 households, will be conducted in September and October 2019. To support this evaluation project, AgDiv seeks a Research Analyst to conduct the data cleaning and analysis, and to produce a baseline report of the findings.
The anticipated term of this contract is through February 2020, and deliverable completion is anticipated to take approximately 67 days' effort. A day is defined as 8 hours of work.
The Research Analyst will be based remotely and is responsible for conducting all data cleaning and analysis of the baseline report data, and to author a comprehensive baseline report with detailed findings from the data. The Research Analyst will work with AgDiv's M&E team, as well as its tobacco company and research partners, to ensure that analysis methods are appropriate and well-documented, and answer key questions of interest to all the partners.
Indicators to be generated from the data will include, but not be limited to, yields and profits from non-tobacco crops, use of inputs and technologies, non-farm income, shocks experienced and coping mechanisms used, household subjective views of welfare, poverty probability index, incidence of food insecurity events, and women's dietary diversity score. The data and analysis will include three different groups: treatment group A, treatment group B, and a control group.Data Cleaning & Analysis
Baseline Report Writing
- Working with unclean, de-identified data sets for treatment group A, treatment group B, and the control group, clean the data and produce three data sets for use in baseline analysis and future research;
- Analyze the cleaned, baseline data set to produce summary statistics for a list of indicators provided, disaggregated by gender of farmer, geographic area, and treatment group;
- Conduct analysis comparing the treatment groups to the control group with respect to key indicators, including performing appropriate tests of the statistical significance of differences between groups.
- Author two baseline reports for internal project use, one for each treatment group. Baseline reports should be highly detailed and follow the format of formal academic research papers, including descriptions of data collection and analysis methods, summary statistics for key indicators, and results of statistical tests comparing treatment groups to the control group. Literature reviews are not necessary.
- Data cleaning and analysis plan: a written plan for data cleaning and analysis, including programs to be used, statistical methods to be used, and key statistics to be produced
- Three clean data sets for Treatment Group A, Treatment Group B, and control group in Excel or CSV format
- Two detailed draft Baseline Reports (20+ pages each), one for Treatment Group A and one for Treatment Group B, complete with tables and figures, in Microsoft Word format
- Two Final Baseline Reports, one for Treatment Group A and one for Treatment Group B, including responses to all comments and questions from AgDiv and its partners, in Microsoft Word format
Key competencies and preferred professional expertise
- Bachelor's degree in statistics, economics, agronomy, public policy, international development, or a related field; advanced degree or enrollment in an advanced degree program preferred;
- At least two years of experience conducting statistical analysis and research, including work with large household survey data sets;
- Proficiency in, and access to, statistical analysis software such as STATA, EViews, R or RATS;
- Preference given for more years' professional experience with statistics and econometrics in the context of evaluating agriculture or other programs in a developing country context.
- Knowledge of inferential statistical techniques including multiple regression analysis;
- Knowledge of impact evaluation methods and the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches for inferring causality;
- Familiarity with indicators related to smallholder farmer outcomes, such as yields, gross margins, and dietary diversity indexes strongly preferred;
- Detail-oriented and self-motived with strong organizational skills, and ability to work independently and meet deadlines
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively as a member of a fast-moving and multicultural team while maintaining a client-centered focus, and promoting diversity and inclusion across different cultures, genders, and hierarchical levels;
- Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills;
- Sound problem solving and decision-making skills;
- Entrepreneurial and inquisitive mindset that takes initiative to learn new systems, technologies, and skills pertinent to the work of Malawi AgDiv