Job opportunity at APC: Gender and Social Impact Facilitator for Local Access Networks Project

By APC     11 August 2017

Main purpose of the job

The purpose of the position is to develop and carry out a gender analysis and social impact research strategy for APC's new community-based connectivity action research project "Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?". This will require on-site research into the social impact of community-based initiatives to build telecommunications connectivity infrastructure and to ensure the integration of feminist, gender and social impact perspectives and analysis into project planning and implementation, including the research, monitoring and evaluation.

Additional details on the project are further below.

Start date: 22 September 2017, but preferably a week earlier.

Deadline for applications: 27 August 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.

Primary responsibilities

1) Research: Carry out on-site fieldwork to assess the gender and social/development impact of each of the 10 local access initiatives that will be selected for in-depth case studies in rural areas of Latin America, Asia and Africa.

2) Project implementation: Integrate gender, feminist and social impact perspectives and analysis into the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Secondary responsibilities

1) Advocacy: Support project advocacy plans with gender, feminist and social impact learning and analysis.

2) Fundraising and resource mobilisation: Assist the team with the development of a five-year strategy to continue gender-transformative access work in APC.

Qualifications, background and experience
  • A postgraduate academic qualification in one of the following areas: social and political sciences; economic and social development; gender and feminist studies; development studies; human rights, or equivalent experience.

  • Strong research skills applied to gender and social impact analysis of development projects.

  • Understanding of development and social justice issues globally, with experience in advocacy in the fields of ICTs/internet, human rights, gender/women’s rights and development.

  • Knowledge of the basic technical, economic and social aspects of telecommunications connectivity infrastructure, for example, internet and mobile telephony.

  • Enthusiasm for networking and a track record as an inclusive network builder and team player.

  • Ability to plan and think strategically.

  • Demonstrated experience and ability to conceptualise and implement gender, feminist and social impact assessment strategies and frameworks of analysis for development-related interventions.

  • Excellent writing and analytical skills.

  • Apart from English, proficiency in Spanish or French.

Location

The applicant should preferably be a woman from and living in the global South and must have excellent internet access. APC provides an equipment allowance but requires staff to use their own computers. APC is a truly virtual organisation and does not have a physical headquarters. We do our work online.

Remuneration and duration of contract

This is a 0.75 full-time equivalent contract for an initial 12-month period (renewable depending on performance and availability of funding). The position could be expanded to a full-time position, contingent on additional funding. Remuneration is based on APC’s salary scale for the position for project associate. 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 gender, feminist and women's rights issues and analysis

  • Your experience in social impact assessment and analysis

  • Your experience in research

  • Your experience in advocacy or capacity building and networking

  • Your experience in working with different constituencies

  • Your computer skills

  • Where you are based

  • Confirmation that you are able to travel frequently

  • Languages you speak and write

  • 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 "Gender and Social Impact Facilitator" in the subject line to: jobs@apc.org by 27 August 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 Wi-Fi, 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? (Item 2 will be the focus of the appointee)

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.

The appointee will be responsible for Items 2 and 3.

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.