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UCPO are hiring a Senior Research Manager

Speak Up Africa is a Policy and Advocacy Action Tank dedicated to catalyzing leadership,  enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa.  Through our platforms and relationships and with the help of our partners, we ensure that  policy makers meet implementers; those solutions are showcased and that every sector – from  individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes  critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health  and sustainable development.  

Job Title: Senior Research ManagerProject: Ouagadougou  Partnership Coordination UnitCountry Location: Dakar, Senegal
Division: ProgramsFunctional Level: Sr. ManagementDate: April 7, 2022
Job Family: Programs – General Exempt Status:Reporting To: Director,  Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit

SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT 

The Ouagadougou Partnership’s purpose is to accelerate the use of family planning services in  nine countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal,  and Togo. In December 2012, the Partnership created a Coordination Unit based in Dakar,  Senegal to help the Partnership reach its goals. In 2020, the Partnership hired Speak Up Africa  to serve as host for the Coordination Unit in Dakar and to help the Partnership increase the  number of women using modern contraceptives by at least 6.5 million in OP countries  between 2020 and 2030. 

The mission of the Coordination Unit is to: (1) Facilitate Partnership processes; (2) Help  countries complete and regularly review and renew their Costed Implementation Plans (CIPs);  (3) Assist countries with plan implementation and advocacy to mobilize resources for their  CIPs; (4) Track progress against objectives; and (5) Share information inside and outside the  Partnership. 

BACKGROUND ON OP RESEARCH NETWORK 

The Senior Research Manager (SRM) of the Ouagadougou Partnership will be a new member  of the senior leadership team of the Coordination Unit (OPCU), responsible for directing the  OP Research Agenda and related projects. The OP Research Agenda is an ambitious new effort,  generously supported by the OPCU’s fiscal sponsors, to focus research dollars and attention  on key policy-relevant research questions holding back family planning progress in OP  countries. Indeed, while research institutions and researchers have long provided important  input to the OP, the advice has been informal, periodic, and not always timely for current  policy debates. The OP’s new strategy calls for the OPCU to link local and regional research communities more tightly to the OP’s policy agenda and to help increase local research  capacity.  

Specifically, the Network will be designed to: 

1. Undertake and publicize important policy-relevant family planning research as  requested by policymakers in various OP countries  

2. Provide opportunities for West African researchers to build skills and find employment  using their work to advise on West African health policies 

The OP Coordination Unit (OPCU) will serve as the initial hub for this new institution, with the  SRM serving as its first leader, with formal guidance and direction from an Advisory Council of  involved donors, governments, researchers, advocates, and family planning users. The core of  this effort will be supported by pooled funding provided initially by the OPCU core supporters  ($1.1M currently allocated for regranting in 2022 and 2023 combined) and complemented by  additional parallel funding from donors. 

SUMMARY OF ROLE 

The SRM will lead all activities associated with the Network, including in 2022 and 2023  working with a variety of stakeholders to identify priority research needs and gaps, recruiting  and assisting the Advisory Council, soliciting donor contributions to the pooled fund or parallel  funding, finalizing project selection, and managing all grants funded by pooled resources. The  SRM will also work closely with OPCU staff and other OP stakeholders to align other OP  activities with the Network, including by capitalizing on the OP Annual Meeting to solicit ideas  and share results; aligning Network regrants with existing Coordination, Learning, and  Exchange Fund (CELF) grants; and otherwise generate leverage from and for Network  outcomes. In addition, the SRM will work with the OPCU capable communications team to  promote the Network and requests for proposals (RFPs), solicit contributions, publicize results,  and contribute to associated advocacy efforts. 

While specific goals, work plans, and timelines for the SRM will be developed in partnership  with the OPCU Director, the Senior Technical and Operations Manager and with the Network  Advisory Council, two outcomes are central to the SRM’s work in 2022 and beyond: 

Institute a regional FP Research Advisory Council and hold semi-annual meetings to  guide the OP Research Network. The Advisory Council will be comprised of ~5 individuals  representing (1) regional and local research institutions, (2) OP country governments,  (3) FP advocates and civil society organizations, and (4) donors. The seats will have a  staggered rotation schedule, initially mixing one- and two-year terms. Candidates have  been identified and the SRM will as a first task lead outreach and agree with the OPCU  Director on a first cohort of members. 

The SRM will then in 2022 and in 2023 work directly with the Advisory Council to  establish research needs, vet and select proposals for pooled funding, advise on parallel  research funding, and work with grantees to manage OPCU-funded projects for desired  outcomes.  

Use research grant funding to undertake and publicize important policy-relevant  family planning research as requested by policymakers in OP countries. The SRM will 

use the OPCU platform and relationships to help policymakers in OP countries identify  common and crucial FP research and policy needs, working closely with its many  stakeholders and the Advisory Council described above. The SRM will work with the  Advisory Council to establish policy-relevant objectives and specific criteria for selected  projects, and then deliver funding against those priorities.  

While many details will be decided with the Advisory Council, the SRM and OPCU will, beginning in January 2023, provide 5-10 grants of between $100k and $300k to  proposals cosponsored by an OP country policymaker and a local or regional research  institution (defined as an institution headquartered in one of the nine OP countries).  While project-specific outcomes are not yet identified, the SRM will work with grantees  to agree on policy outcomes and identify metrics to assess progress. 

2022 milestones for which the SRM will be responsible include: 

  • Q1, 2022: First Advisory Council cohort established 
  • Q2, 2022: Priority research topics and associated RFPs drafted; Advisory Council first  meeting to review objectives, procedures, and RFPs  
  • Q3, 2022: RFPs launched; proposals solicited and reviewed by OPCU 
  • Q4, 2022: Advisory Council second meeting to finalize proposal selection; regrants  begun to be provided by Jan 1, 2023  

Under this timeline, the SRM would regrant $1.1M across 5-10 projects, to be used over the  course of 2023. In 2023, the SRM would turn attention to direct management of these regrants  and also re-embark on the steps described above to launch a similar round of RFPs by the end  of the year. Note that developments in 2022, including other donors’ interest and funding,  may cause plans for 2023 to be revisited. 

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS 

Technical leadership 

  • Identify priority policy-relevant research questions that the OP Network can help answer  to spur faster or better implementation of FP projects and programs 
  • Assess local and regional research institutions for their current and potential capacity to  lead timely, policy-relevant FP research projects 
  • Work closely with OP country government decision-makers to tailor OP research  Network goals and operations to best serve those constituencies 
  • Lead regranting processes, including on RFPs, selection, tracking of results, and  publicization of results among OP stakeholders 

Process leadership 

Build relationships with local and regional research institutions to refine OP Research  Network requests and processes to help countries as-rapidly-as-possible meet their  additional users of modern contraception goals 

Our remuneration package 

We offer an exciting role with a great team and the following remuneration package:  • Formal work contract: Regional Contract 

  • Duration : 18 month with possibility extension 
  • Based: Dakar, SENEGAL  
  • Salary according to the grid 
  • Insurance  
  • Flights 

How to apply  

Please send your applications to [email protected] The closing date for applications is  April 30, 2022. Please specify the title of the position in the subject line and send 3 references 

Note. – Given the urgency of this position, the vacancy may close before the deadline. 

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