Technical Research Advisor

at Graça Machel Trust
Location Investment Place, Block C 10th Road Hyde Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
Date Posted December 24, 2021
Category Research
Job Type Full-Time




The Graça Machel Trust is a Pan-African advocacy organisation focused on children’s rights and women’s economic and social empowerment.


Over the last decade, the Trust has worked to “Multiply the Faces and Amplify the Voices” of African women and children. Through our collaboration with partners, at all levels, we have helped promote and strengthen women and children’s networks to drive social and economic change.


The Trust acts as a catalyst, working across the continent to advocate for the protection of children’s rights and dignity, and amplifying women’s movements by harnessing and promoting their contributions to the economic, social, and political development of Africa. We work with global, regional, and local partners who are passionate about creating profound change. Through our advocacy efforts we seek to influence decision-makers to create societies that value social justice and promote and protect the rights of women and children.


Project Description:


Back2School project is a Graça Machel Trust project in partnership with the Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF) that aims to generate evidence supporting scaling an accelerated learning program for out-of-school children. The program facilitates the reintegration of out-of-school rural girls into the mainstream education system in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to improve their education outcomes. The Trust will refine the Complementary Basic Education for Tanzania (COBET) model, an accelerated learning programme in Tanzania, by generating knowledge on effective approaches to adapt, scale and promote uptake in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.


The project’s expected outcomes include i) An enhanced COBET model; ii) evidence on its effectiveness in reintegrating girls into mainstream education; iii) practical approaches for adapting and scaling the refined model and iv) improved capacity of education stakeholders to, adjust and scale the model in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.


Task description & responsibilities of Technical Research Advisor:


The Graça Machel Trust seeks a Technical Research Advisor with extensive experience in applied research for large-scale research projects in the education sector. The Advisor will lead the research protocol development process and oversee the overall conduct of the research project, offering guidance and advice on matters connected to the research.


The Advisor will be responsible for the following research activities at outlined milestones of the research project:


  • Examine national and regional education policy frameworks for Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania and analyse the implication of these frameworks on the application of the enhanced COBET model


  • Lead the research protocol design process and develop the research methodology and design at all milestones of the research project including:


  • Develop research design, methodology, tools & quality assurance guidelines


  • Develop and formulate research questions


  • Test the research tools


  • Provide any necessary training and ongoing coaching to data collectors and research partners


  • Provide technical oversight to the research partners both in person and virtually


  • Troubleshoot as needed to ensure smooth implementation of research activities


  • Supervise and coordinate the research, data collection, analysis and reporting process at each milestone of the project, performing quality assurance checks on research processes and products. The relevant milestones are as follows:


Milestone 1: Critical review of the effectiveness of the (COBET) model


  • The project’s first milestone will review the effectiveness of the existing COBET model in Tanzania by gathering technical evidence & data on the effectiveness of the model and reviewing the core pillars of the model with the aim to identify gaps, barriers, best practices and success factors of its implementation and results. The review will also assess the capacity of the education system to apply the core pillars of the COBET model.


Milestone 2: Refine the model based on the evaluation outcome and lessons from similar accelerated learning models in Ethiopia and Kenya


  • In the second milestone, existing accelerated learning models in in Kenya and Ethiopia will be identified and assessed to identify critical elements, including implementation approaches and strategies, that can be incorporated into the COBET model. The research will include an assessment of the contexts within which the model will be tested. The project will present the identified critical elements to critical stakeholders for their validation before these are incorporated into an enhanced model. The new model will similarly be subject to review by education stakeholders and then tested in Tanzania. Results of the testing will be disseminated to relevant knowledge users in the three countries.


Milestone 3: Adaptation for testing and scale-up in Ethiopia and Kenya


  • The project’s third milestone will test the enhanced COBET model in specific sites of Kenya and Ethiopia in order to assess the value-add of the new model in scaling impact. The research will compare effectiveness and performance of the sites before and after testing. As with milestones 1 and 2, the adaptation and testing in Kenya and Ethiopia will generate knowledge on the success factors and strengths of the enhanced model, particularly those that can be adapted and scaled in different contexts. Knowledge mobilisation and dissemination of these findings to promote scaling of the model in the three countries will also be conducted, and the adaptation process will be tested.


Milestone 4: Capacity building of the Educational Stakeholders


  • The project’s final milestone focuses on building the capability and securing the buy-in of education stakeholders to adapt, implement and/or scale the enhanced model and its components. The Advisor is to develop tools and guidelines to facilitate the uptake of the enhanced model and to develop and disseminate quality assurance guidelines for the enhanced model.


Anticipated reporting requirements and deliverables to submit to GMT include:


The Technical Research Advisor will deliver the following:


  • Contextual analyses of the regional and national education policy frameworks for Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania that examines their impact on the enhanced COBET model


  • Tools and guidelines for applying evidence to scale impact


  • Oversee and coordinate the submission of the following deliverables to the Graça Machel Trust


  • All Field reports in English describe the training, field-testing and data collection process, outlining basic essential characteristics of the sample/data collected, and the final data collection tools.


  • Verbatim transcripts in English of all FGDs and KIIs and any other data collected.


  • A weekly update consisting of a synthesis of daily briefings with research partners


  • Input into the analyses of findings from the fieldwork.


  • Input into the final written reports.


Required Skills:


  • At least a Master’s degree in a relevant field (Research, Education, or other social science)


  • Demonstrated significant experience (at least ten years) in quantitative and qualitative research design, implementation, analysis and reporting particularly within the Education sector.


  • Significant facilitation and interviewing skills.


  • Significant experience in large scale research.


  • Strong project management experience and capacity


  • Fluency in English


  • Familiarity with research approaches to scale development impact with a gender lend is an advantage


  • Familiarity with or prior work experience in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania is an advantage


How to apply

Interested individuals are asked to submit a proposal that includes:


  • A technical narrative describing how they will accomplish the tasks described above.


  • A detailed budget with budget notes


  • A CV that clearly shows relevant research experience accumulated from similar assignments and brief paragraph summaries of 3-4 examples of similar work completed in the past two (2) years.


  • 3-4 references regarding the individual’s work capacity can be contacted


Applications should be sent to the following email address