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Research & Context Analysis Coordinator at Mercy Corps

Mercy CorpsBorno, Nigeria Project Management
Full Time
Since 1979, we have helped people grappling with the toughest hardships survive - and then thrive. That’s the heart of our approach: We help communities turn crisis into opportunity. Throughout our history, Mercy Corps has demonstrated innovation, timeliness and the ability to adapt quickly to changing realities.

General Position Summary

The Research and Context Analysis Coordinator (RCAC) will be part of a small team responsible for the development of rich, timely context analysis primarily in the northeastern states (but increasingly across all of Nigeria), including mapping of conflict dynamics and the humanitarian situation, to inform program decision-making, assurance of safety and security for Mercy Corps staff and assets and those of our partners and the communities we serve, and to shape policy messages to local, national, regional, and international actors.

As an essential member of the Nigeria Context Analysis Team (NCAT), the RCAC is the primary individual responsible for designing and carrying out primary research, data collection, and information gathering activities conducted by the unit. At the design phase, the RCAC will work with the NCAT Lead and other team members to identify and conceptualize key initiatives to be carried out by the team. Critically, they will work to ensure research activities are relevant to the context, are sensitive to conflict and local dynamics, and ensure and maximize the collection of rich data.

The RCAC assists the country program to understand the complex crisis in northeast Nigeria and adapt programs and operations in the present environment. The RCAC will develop a diverse network of field contacts to investigate, verify and analyze information in order to develop critical insights on different dimensions of the crisis. Areas of focus include the social, cultural, political and economic dynamics that shape the crisis and identifying areas where additional insights can inform the humanitarian response in the northeast and elsewhere in Nigeria. They will be responsible for managing and supervising Mercy Corps field researchers as well as temporary field teams throughout data collection activities.

The RCAC must be familiar with the general context in Nigeria and will further cultivate an extensive range of information sources. The ability to filter, triangulate and interpret information in order to generate credible analysis is critical to ensure insights are evidence-based. The RCAC will at times gather information themselves via interviews and other modalities. Furthermore, the RCAC is critical to identify information gaps and how they impact programs and promote organizational approaches that maximize contextual understanding. As part of this work, is also expected to monitor and compile secondary sources, including news reports and government announcements.

The RCAC will be based in Maiduguri, Borno State and undertake regular travel across the northeast, including deep field sites, as well as other locations throughout Nigeria in order to ensure comprehensive findings are developed that represent the northeast states. The RCAC is expected to develop contacts and recruit field staff in areas outside of the northeast to ensure Mercy Corps’ capacity to rapidly gather information on the ground from a wide range of locations.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Data Collection and Reporting

  • Investigate identified topics to close information gaps and report on evolving situations to generate a rich understanding of complex situations.
  • Maintain an evolving network of relationships across Nigeria in order to leverage diverse perspectives and deepen insights.
  • Manage and guide field researchers and temporary hires on various research initiatives.
  • Assist with the identification of emerging issues within the humanitarian space where further analysis could support decision making.
  • Support with tracking and organizing of information and analyzing trends affecting Nigeria with particular focus on the northeast.
  • Conduct regular field visits to gather up-to-date information related to crisis issues.
  • Write field visit summaries that contribute to informative regular reporting.
  • Oversee and ensure quality control transcripts and field notes from field teams.
  • Contribute to the development of regular analysis reports.
  • Provide a historical perspective specific to northeast Nigeria.
  • Contribute to the development of and review of data collection tools for sensitivities and consider implications of trends across different genders, ages, ethnicities, religions and geographical locations.
  • Ensure findings are handled with care and conflict sensitivity is applied to both analytic processes and products.
  • Maintain an understanding of priority issues within the humanitarian community and corresponding analytical needs.

Programming and Operations

  • Contribute to expanding and maintaining internal analysis systems
  • Support ongoing relationships with Mercy Corps’ program teams, in particular teams located in outlying areas of northeast Nigeria.
  • Maintain familiarity with Mercy Corps’ programming to monitor and assist with plans to mitigate risks.
  • Develop and maintain an awareness of humanitarian principles, international humanitarian law and Mercy Corps’ culture and values.
  • Support strong internal communication processes and the accuracy of information provided to various stakeholders.
  • Coordinate travel to various areas and associated logistics.
  • Ensure any equipment, supplies, or materials required by Nigeria Context Analysis Team (NCAT) are procured.


  • Contribute actively to the wider humanitarian community by regularly participating in working groups and meeting with partner entities.
  • Provide analysis to partners and the wider humanitarian community as needed.
  • Present as needed to Mercy Corps staff and other relevant actors on the findings and analysis of the Nigeria Context Analysis Team (NCAT).


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Assist security teams in their security assessments based on knowledge, experience, and field observations.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.


As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient, and relevant to the communities they serve we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves. 


  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
  • Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Supervisory Responsibility: NAT Researchers, Community Facilitators, Field Teams.


  • Reports Directly To: Team Lead, Nigeria Context Analysis
  • Works Directly With: Programs Management (Nigeria), Field Management (Nigeria), Various External Stakeholders, New Initiatives and Partnerships Manager, Director of Programs, Humanitarian Response and Sustainable Solutions Director, Country Management Team.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Minimum of bachelor’s degree in social science or related field; or equivalent work experience.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in conflict analysis, investigative journalism, research or another related field.
  • Knowledge of, and experience in, northeast Nigeria is required. Knowledge of other regions and neighboring countries highly desired.
  • Knowledge of research methods, qualitative and quantitative data collection is essential.
  • Demonstrated experience with information collection and analysis.
  • Demonstrated experience managing research initiatives at all phases, including tool/methodological design, sampling, budget management, field team supervision, and data processing and management.
  • Ability to build and maintain networks of information sources across different geographic locations, sectors, and perspectives.
  • Proven experience liaising with civilian, traditional and security authorities.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including communication (listening, speaking, writing) is required.
  • Willingness to work and travel in often difficult and insecure environments.
  • Competency in internet research and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
  • Fluency in Hausa and/or Kanuri is required.

Method of Application

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