Assistant Research Officer- BOHEMIA

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Employment Type: 
Full time
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Kilifi and Kwale

Malaria is preventable and treatable, and yet it remains a significant public health problem around the world, particularly in Africa. Despite reductions in the burden of malaria over the past 20 years, recently these gains have stalled. To halt and overturn this trend current control methods need to be augmented with additional tools that are effective at reducing transmission, particularly in Africa where there is rising insecticide resistance and where outdoor biting vectors are becoming an increasing problem. A novel method that is currently being explored in clinical trials as a potential tool for malaria control is mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin at the start of the malaria transmission season. A large clinical trial designed to determine the efficacy of ivermectin MDA (iMDA) when given to humans and when given simultaneously to humans and livestock on malaria-related epidemiological outcomes was recently funded by UNITAID.  This trial, the Broad One Health Endectocide Based Malaria Intervention in Africa (BOHEMIA) trial is being undertaken in Mozambique and a second arm of the trial will be undertaken during the malaria transmission season in 2023 in Kenya.  Alongside the clinical trial are running a series of sub-studies, one of which is the social science sub-study.

The post-holder will join the team conducting the social science sub-study as part of the BOHEMIA trial in Kwale county, Kenya. The post holder will work closely with the BOHEMIA lead social scientist and social science research officer and other social science assistant research officers, supporting the development, coordination and implementation of the BOHEMIA social science protocol.

The overall aim of the BOHEMIA social science study is to describe the context and implementation of ivermectin mass drug administration (iMDA) in the BOHEMIA clinical trial in order to identify and understand what influences the uptake of iMDA as a strategy for the control of malaria in Kwale county, Kenya. The key objectives are:

i) to understand the local social, economic and political context to inform the development of appropriate community engagement and MDA distribution strategies;

ii) to describe individual and community experiences, perceptions and understanding of the community engagement activities undertaken for the BOHEMIA trial;

iii) to describe individual and community experiences, perceptions and understanding of the MDA activities and the effects of the MDA;

iv) to identify the likely drivers of adherence and non-adherence to the MDA; 

v) to identify key local stakeholders and understand their perceptions of the utility of MDA as an additional tool for malaria control.

The post holder will contribute to the development of data collection tools, organize and conduct empiric work including primary data collection using an ethnographic approach, living in local communities and collecting data through non-participant observations, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, with community members. He/she will work together with social science research officer, the social science lead and other staff involved in the BOHEMIA study in Kwale and at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi. The post holder will also assist with management and analysis of data (including interview transcription) and developing written outputs.



  • Social Science Research Officer


  • Field Workers

BUDGET AND RESOURCE RESPONSIBILITY: Responsible for a laptop computer, study phone, and one or more digital voice recorders and digital cameras used in this work; and for petty cash budgets associated with fieldwork activities and organizing meetings.


The primary responsibility will be to contribute to qualitative research in the BOHEMIA social science project. The post-holder will conduct research activities among the communities in Kwale county. Given the nature of the study, extended periods of fieldwork involving living in, and participating in the daily life of the study communities for several weeks at a time will be required.


  • Support, and in designated instances take primary responsibility for; community sensitization and stakeholder engagement.
  • Undertake primary data collection using ethnographic approaches, living in local communities and collecting data through non-participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.
  • Support planning for fieldwork and managing all interactions with study participants in ways that positively support ethical conduct and the collection of high-quality data.
  • Contribute to the management and analysis of data from the study and take primary responsibility for analysis in designated areas.
  • Support the dissemination of study findings as necessary, including through the preparation of drafts of reports and manuscripts for publication; making presentations at scientific meetings, and supporting feedback to study participants.
  • Actively contribute to developing their own capacity in social science and related research methods, particularly for qualitative research. This includes engaging with a wide literature on relevant topics and social science methods, active participation in pieces of training provided, and focused efforts to continuously seek and act on feedback on performance.
  • And any other duties that may be assigned from time to time.


Essential Qualifications:

  • An undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Social Science & Humanities, Public Health, Nursing, or equivalent from a recognized institution
  • At least 1 year of research experience, ideally including experience in collecting and analysing qualitative research data.
  • Computer literacy with proficiency in Microsoft applications

Desirable Criteria:

  • Applicants should ideally have experience in ethnographic research in Kenya including non-participant observations
  • Knowledge (through work, research or residence) of communities in Kwale preferred.
  • Understanding of Mijikenda languages an advantage
  • High levels of fluency in written and spoken English and Kiswahili
  • Excellent organisational and communication skills
  • Knowledge of NVivo (qualitative analysis) software will be an added advantage
  • Experience in qualitative research methods (data collection and analysis)


  • Demonstrate high levels of integrity and confidentiality
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, presentation and communication skills
  • Basic analytical, problem solving and critical thinking skills;
  • Team working and ability to work in diverse teams
  • Flexibility, adaptability, multi-tasking and attention to detail
  • Ability to take and follow instructions, show initiative, keen to learn, and proactive with the ability to work under minimal supervision
  • Conscientiousness, timeliness, and willingness to work to meet deadlines


  • Primarily field-based with ethnographic fieldwork in selected villages in Kwale county.

Working hours:

  • Requires flexibility in the hours worked. The post-holder will be expected to spend extended periods of time (several weeks) living in the study villages, participating in day-to-day life (employing an ethnographic approach as the main method of data collection.)


To apply for this post, you must be a registered user. Log into your account then go to Vacancies, view the post and click on the button: "Apply for this job".

All applicants are required to state their current/last salary. Candidates must supply an email and telephone contact that will be used when offering interviews.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates shall be required to produce ORIGINALS of their National Identity Card, academic and professional certificates, original transcripts and testimonials, detailed curriculum vitae and valid clearance certificate (certificate of good conduct) during the interviews.

The application closing date is 25 May 2022. KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) is an equal opportunity employer. Direct or indirect canvassing will lead to automatic disqualification. KWTRP does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, processing, training or any other fees).