Research Associate Job in Kenya, May 2018

Research Associate Job in Kenya, May 2018


Research Associate Job in Kenya, May 2018

Precision Agriculture for Development, Inc. (PAD) seeks a Research Associate to support PAD research, operations, and scale-up activities in Kenya by managing the implementation of mobile phone interventions and research projects in collaboration with one or more key partners.


PAD was established with a keen eye towards rigorous evaluation and constant experimentation. Each of our programs and partnerships have a strong complement of research, ranging from large- and small-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to A/B tests to pilot trials. Most of PAD’s research projects are led by Shawn Cole (Harvard Business School) and Michael Kremer (Harvard University). PAD’s research activities are also supported by affiliated researchers from other institutions and are overseen by PAD’s Boston-based Senior Researcher.


Kenyan and East African citizens are strongly encouraged to apply.


Organization background

PAD is a US-based non-profit organization with a mission to support smallholder farmers in developing countries by providing customized agricultural information and services that increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. PAD is pioneering a model for agricultural extension: delivering farmers personalized agricultural advice via their mobile phones. PAD implements this model in collaboration with partner organizations and gathers evidence on its impact. PAD aims to improve the lives of 100 million farmers in developing countries with its services.


The initial phase of PAD’s work consisted of testing the impact of similar mobile phone-based agricultural extension services in multiple contexts across the developing world. That research found that while careful attention to design and context and careful evaluation was critical, mobile phone-based agricultural extension could increase adoption of appropriate farm management practices, yields, and incomes, with point estimates suggesting a benefit cost ratio of 10/1. Based on our initial evidence around a proof of concept technology, PAD began working with partners capable of scaling and further testing this approach, while simultaneously continuing to build its own research efforts.


A key element of our approach is helping partners with wide reach – such as governments, contract farming organizations, telecommunications firms, agribusiness, and NGOs – to design, build, evaluate, and improve customized mobile phone-based agricultural advisory systems. We help partners structure and improve their service offerings through incorporation of the latest availability technologies and data as well as insights from behavioral economics and social learning theory. Taking a global approach, we bring experience on what has worked elsewhere to every engagement and continue to optimize to local contexts using A/B testing and rigorous evaluation.


PAD currently has operations in four countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan), is advising a partner in Rwanda, and is working towards new endeavors in Ecuador and Uganda. These opportunities have allowed PAD to reach over 345,000 farmers by end-2017, both with our own services and research efforts as well as through partnerships.



The Kenya Research Associate will be responsible for the following main tasks:

  • Supervise the implementation of field operations and research activities;
  • Support and manage the development of SMS platforms to disseminate information to smallholder farmers via their mobile phones;
  • Monitor and analyze usage of the SMS services;
  • Hire, train, and supervise local staff;
  • Supervise data management activities, clean and analyze data;
  • Work with PAD team to ensure that all projects and operations adhere to policies, protocols, and timelines;
  • Develop and update project documentation regularly;
  • Assist in managing partner relations, and working with external stakeholders for implementation of field operations.



Required Qualifications and Experience:

  • A bachelor’s degree in economics, agricultural economics, public policy, statistics, or a closely related field.
  • Fluency in English. Demonstrated strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills, detail-oriented, and ability to work independently and be supervised remotely.
  • 1-2 years’ work experience running or managing research projects.
  • Excellent knowledge of Stata or R or similar software for data analysis.
  • Ability to work under time pressure and solve problems in field.
  • Good understanding of economics and familiarity with randomized evaluations.

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

  • Master’s degree in economics, agricultural economics, public policy, statistics, or a closely related field.
  • Proficient in using SurveyCTO or a similar program for survey design.
  • Experience working on randomized evaluations.
  • Experience working on agricultural programs.
  • Experience managing teams and working in groups.
  • Previous work experience in Kenya or East African countries.



Position details

  • Full time
  • Start date: ASAP
  • Location: Nairobi, Kenya (or Western Kenya, open to discussion) with frequent travel to Western Kenya
  • Compensation: commensurate with experience

How to Apply

To apply: Submit a CV, cover letter, and contact information for three references to [email protected]. Please reference “Kenya Research Associate” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.