Innovations for Poverty Action Biochar Project Associate Job in Bungoma, Western Kenya June 2014


Position: Project Associate
Deadline to Apply: 1st July 2014
Start Date: ASAP
Location: Bungoma, Western Kenya
Eligibility: Position open to local Kenyan hires only

About Innovations for Poverty Action: Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a non-profit research organization that creates and evaluates approaches to solving development problems. IPA disseminates the results of its evaluations to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors around the world.

“Scaling Biochar” is a randomized impact evaluation of a new agricultural technology that might benefit smallholder farmers. 
Biochar is a soil amendment made from organic materials such as crop residues. 
Via the process of pyrolysis (which is akin to charcoal production), these materials are converted to biochar. Biochar has been shown to improve crop yields substantially on degraded soils, improve response to fertilizer, and sequester carbon, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation. 

We will analyze whether biochar is readily adopted by newly-sensitized smallholders, and the benefits of adoption for those who choose to adopt.

The project has been underway since February 2013, and implementation work is largely complete. The final tasks remaining involve collecting the final round of survey data, and conducting the final randomized biochar offers to the farmers in our sample.

The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand field management experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. The principal investigator is Andrew Crane-Droesch at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Project Associate will work closely with the IPA-Kenya Country Office and the PIs (academic researchers) to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to: 
  • managing survey teams, logistic planning, programming surveys, helping with the design of survey questionnaires, collecting qualitative data (i.e. focus groups), running pilot exercises, assisting with project design, checking and analyzing data, cleaning data and assisting in preliminary analysis, assisting in the writing of project reports and policy memos, financial accounting, HR, and various administrative tasks. 
The Project Associate will be based in Bungoma, Kenya.
A 4 month commitment is required for this position with a possibility of extension.

Qualifications and Experience:

Required Qualifications:
  • A Bachelor’s degree in economics, social sciences, environmental science, agriculture, public policy, or related fields
  • Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills
  • Strong computer skills with the ability to quickly assimilate new software
  • Fluency and good communication skills in English. Swahili strongly desirable.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, a team player
Desired Qualifications:
  • Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, or related fields
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Knowledge of R (strongly preferred), Stata, or other data analysis software
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials
  • Experience hiring, training, mentoring, and managing staff
If you are interested in applying, please follow the instructions below:

To Apply: Please send a cover letter and detailed CV, 3 references, daytime phone number(s), and email address. “Please title your CV with YOURNAME_CV and your cover letter with YOURNAME_Cover.” Your CV should include your scores or grades and other measures of academic achievement, and details about any relevant work experience.

Applications can be submitted by email to 
If you submit by email, please ensure that the subject line reads: “PROJECT ASSOCIATE.” REF NO: BIOCHAR-2014-06-01. 
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the Project Associate-Biochar. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to
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