The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) is an integrated set of activities funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is intended to provide timely, accurate, evidence-based, and transparent food security early warning information and analysis. Created in 1985 in response to famines in East and West Africa, FEWS NET provides global coverage through a mix of presence and remote monitoring. FEWS NET’s work is implemented across several pillars by a team of partners that includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Geological Survey, the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Climate Hazards Center, American Institutes for Research, and Chemonics International (Chemonics). Chemonics houses FEWS NET’s Early Warning Team (EWT), a team charged with integrated emergency food insecurity analysis through a Washington-based technical office and more than 20 FEWS NET offices.
Based on an in-depth understanding of local livelihoods, the EWT monitors information and data on factors that affect food security, such as weather conditions and climate, crops, pasture, markets and trade, and nutrition. The FEWS NET EWT produces regular reports, including Food Security Outlooks and Outlook Updates, emergency alerts, market and price updates, and global weather hazards analyses. FEWS NET makes reports available at www.fews.net and distributes them globally to governments, relief agencies, and other organizations engaged in humanitarian response and development programs.
The seventh phase of FEWS NET began in 2019. The work of FEWS NET EWT relies on close collaboration with international, regional, and national partners on food security data and information gathering and analysis. Major activities include joint monitoring and assessments, data exchanges, collaborative analysis and reporting, and technical capacity strengthening. FEWS NET supports local and regional food security networks to contribute to achieving the global objective of food security for all.
The FEWS NET Early Warning Team maintains field offices in Africa, Central America, Asia, and the Caribbean. The data assistant plays an integral role in these efforts by collating and processing data relevant to food security early warning efforts to meet decision support needs. As decision support needs evolve (expanding or contracting), so do monitoring efforts and strategies, requiring additional support and leadership. Data assistants will be responsible for ensuring the collation and processing of data collected by FEWS NET EWT field enumerators and/or monitors that are used as inputs to food security monitoring and early warning analysis.
The main responsibilities of the East Africa data assistant include, but are not limited to:
- Coordinating data collection activities by enumerators and field monitors in collaboration with country representatives (CR) in their respective countries
- Serving as a regional point of contact for all FEWS NET EWT enumerators and/or monitors. This includes administrative tasks such as confirming receipt of data to the relevant office manager/accountant (OMA) to allow for enumerator and/or monitor salary processing
- Ensuring that data are processed and prepared, as necessary, for transmission to the CR, the Regional Food Security Specialists (RFSS) and the FEWS NET Data Warehouse (FDW)
- Communicating with enumerators and/or monitors to facilitate responses to ad hoc requests about market conditions from FEWS NET EWT country, regional, or Washington DC-based offices
- Ensuring that FEWS NET EWT data are delivered to relevant partners organizations based on agreements with these organizations
- Supporting the maintenance and updating of FEWS NET EWT’s food security monitoring databases
- Ensuring that relevant food security monitoring maps and other visualizations (e.g. prices, markets functioning and access, and cross-border trade) are prepared and regularly updated in a timely manner
- Contributing to the documentation and files of the project and updating essential data used in early warning and food security monitoring and assessment
- Providing inputs requested by the CR, RFSSs and DSG analysts for all monthly reporting requirements, including Food Security Outlooks, Outlook Updates, key messages, and regular briefings to the US Government and other partners
- Contributing to regular and ad hoc markets and trade (M&T) analyses and reporting (e.g. price bulletins and regional supply and market outlooks)
- Contributing to other FEWS NET EWT information products required locally and by the Washington-based technical team
- Other related tasks that may be assigned from time to time
- Proficiency in written and spoken English is required; other local language skills are highly desirable.
- Prior relevant work experience in the food security space is required. Previous experience with the development of data collection methodologies, tools and processes, data quality control, and working with NGOs or UN agencies is highly desirable.
- Bachelor’s degree in economics, business administration, agronomy, agro climatology, or other disciplines directly relevant to socio-economic data collection and processing is required.
- Excellent planning and organizational skills are required.
- Strong data management skills and attention to detail are required.
- Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Excel is required
- Solid experience with Geographic Information System (GIS) software is highly desirable.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required. Demonstrated ability to interact positively with various food security stakeholders and coordinate effectively with remote colleagues is required.
Location and Reporting
The data assistant is a full-time position based in Nairobi, Kenya at the FEWS NET EWT office. The data assistant will work under the technical direction and supervision of the regional representative and in coordination with the deputy regional representative. To ensure enumerators and/or monitors are trained on data collection methods, the data assistant will be required to travel within the region, and other international travel may also be required, security and health conditions permitting.