Job opportunity at APC: Administration and Research Assistant for Local Access Networks Project

08 September 2017

Main purpose of the job

APC's new community-based connectivity action research project "Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?" is looking for an Administration and Research Support Assistant.

The purpose of the position is to have an overall perspective of the project and it’s progress, have responsibility for implementation of the project’s internal administrative and management systems and procedures and provide support to the project coordinator. It will also require working closely with the project research team and to provide specific support for the implementation of the research activities.

This is a 14 month fixed-term position based in South Africa.

Additional details on the project are below.

Start date: 23 October 2017.

Deadline for applications: 24 September 2017

Reporting: The position will report to the project coordinator for APC’s "Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?" and work closely with other members of the project team as well as APC’s operations and finance teams.

Primary responsibilities
  1. Convene and schedule project related meetings, create agendas, keep an organised record of the meeting notes, follow-up on meeting agreements and commitments;

  2. Provide regular written updates on project implementation;

  3. Keep an updated record of the budget expenditure and process payments with support from the finance team;

  4. Provide logistical support and arrangements for project related travel and events;

  5. Compile inputs and documentation for the narrative and financial reports to donors and assist with the writing;

  6. Ensure project documentation is filed and accessible;

  7. Assist the team in preparing background materials, proof reading and dissemination of project related documentation and outputs;

  8. Liaise with the communications team to ensure maximum visibility is given to the different activities undertaken in the project;

  9. Assist with compiling and finalising terms of reference for sub-contracts as needed, in particular for authors of reports for the 2018 edition of Global Information Society Watch and communicating with them on various matters related to their participation in the publication’s production;

  10. Provide administrative and logistical support to the African School on Internet Governance;

  11. Perform other tasks, as may be required.

Qualifications, background and experience
  • University degree, preferably in social and political sciences; economic and social development; gender and feminist studies; development studies; human rights, or equivalent experience.

  • Excellent administrative, organisational and management skills related to projects, events or similar.

  • Comfort/confidence with numbers, accounts and/or budgets.

  • Enthusiasm on the topic of local and community access.

  • Track record as an inclusive network builder and team player.

  • Ability to plan and think strategically, in particular to revise practices and suggest solutions to ensure efficiency of the implementation of the project.

  • Capacity to develop work autonomously.

  • Excellent writing, documentation, filing and communication skills.

  • Excellent English.

Location

The applicant should be based in South Africa for the duration of the contract and must have excellent internet access. APC provides an equipment allowance but requires staff to have and use their own computers.

Remuneration and duration of contract

This is a 1.0 full-time equivalent contract for an initial 14-month period (renewable depending on performance and availability of funding). Remuneration is based on APC’s salary scale for the position of project administrative worker. Short-listed candidates will receive specific information on the salary range on request.

How to apply

Please send a CV and a cover letter in English that illustrates your interest in the position. You should include the following information:

  • Your experience in providing administrative and logistical support

  • Your experience in documenting and filing project progress

  • Your experience in writing background documentation and performing research assistant tasks

  • Your computer skills

  • Where you are based

  • Languages you speak and write

  • Why you would like to be part of this project

  • Why you would like to work with APC

  • Other information you think might be of importance to our assessment of your application

  • Three references: names, relationship, contact details; at least one of these should be related to a project that you have worked on.

Please send this information and further questions via email with "Admin and Research Assistant" in the subject line to: jobs@apc.org by 24 September 2017, 23.00 UTC. Please note only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Project details

Background

As a result of growing awareness of the limitations in the national operator mobile broadband model, there is increasing interest in exploring alternative strategies for reaching the unconnected. Innovations in low-cost communication technology have created new possibilities for the development of affordable, locally owned and managed communication infrastructure.

As a result, a growing number of communities and small, local and regional operators have taken a more pragmatic approach, using off-the-shelf low-cost commodity networking equipment to provide themselves and others with WiFi, GSM and fibre connections. But these innovative bottom-up initiatives are still relatively rare and may be dependent on a unique opportunity or special set of circumstances. They generally face overwhelming regulatory and financial hurdles and require technical, economic and regulatory support to meet scaling and sustainability challenges. They are also hard pressed to exchange experiences and learning systematically, which makes facing these challenges even more difficult.

Project goals

In the context of the above, the project aims to address the following research questions:

1. Are local access infrastructure models a viable alternative to connecting the unconnected, and if so, what are the circumstances that make them successful?

2. What are the benefits to the local community in terms of well-being, gender equity and social or economic development where connectivity infrastructure is locally owned?

The core of the project is based on four inter-related activities. There is one research component to look closely at the business, technology and institutional models that have been adopted in a range of community-based and local access networks, and another to identify the policy and regulatory constraints, along with the telecom data needed by these initiatives (spectrum availability, location of towers and backhaul infrastructure etc). The third component focuses on movement building and awareness raising to increase the profile of these models among policy makers and to promote information sharing and collaboration between community-based network initiatives. And finally there is an activity to provide support to special opportunities for scaling existing networks and helping start new ones. In more detail the four activity areas have the following objectives:

1. In-depth case studies and analysis

  1. Assess to what extent and how small-scale local networks can help to address unmet connectivity needs in developing countries, especially LDCs.

  2. Explore and document how local connectivity projects link to broader social, human and economic development processes.

  3. Identify and understand the gender dimensions of local access networks, the roles women play in them, the barriers to women's participation, and mechanisms to increase their participation and transforming gender roles.

  4. Identify the business and economic models and technologies that are being used and assess how effective they are.

2. Open telecom data, policy and regulation

  1. Identify the policy and regulatory barriers and opportunities for local access networks.

  2. Develop and disseminate recommendations to create a more enabling environment for local access initiatives.

  3. Identify telecom infrastructure gaps and opportunities through development of a public online digital resource of telecom infrastructure data and help create a culture of openness among regulators, operators and international agencies with regard to telecom data.

  4. Quantify the value of approaches or proposals to regulate and assign spectrum in ways that improve connectivity for marginalised populations.

3. Awareness raising and movement building

  1. Facilitate peer exchange among local connectivity stakeholders in Latin America, Africa and South Asia to build a community of practice that can share information, knowledge, skills and contacts and that will contribute to greater coordination between initiatives.

  2. Ensure that effective capacity-building resources and training strategies are available to those wishing to start or scale up local access initiatives.

  3. Share information about approaches and technologies for innovation in sustainable local access provision with local connectivity stakeholders.

  4. Establish a Local Access Support Consortium to broaden on-the-ground support from international organisations, and to guide a small grants facility to strengthen and foster the growth of local access initiatives.

4. Support for existing and emerging local connectivity initiatives (Pathfinder)

  1. Identify, develop, test and demonstrate specific innovative approaches to scaling and sustainability for existing and emerging connectivity initiatives in underserved communities.

  2. Partner with a handful of select local communities, organisations and existing local connectivity initiatives to conduct interventions and action research.

  3. Systematise learning from interventions in order to contribute to overall research outcomes and the development of good practice for emerging strategies.