Project Coordinator – Catch Up Plus

 

Deadline: 30th June 2022

Duty Post: Lusaka, Zambia

 

VVOB is an international NGO with programmes and projects in 10 countries worldwide.

Hello! We’re excited to see you found your way to this job opening. That must mean you share our ambition to ensure learners around the world enjoy their fundamental human right to quality education, without exception. We’re looking forward to hearing from you. But first things first. Allow us to introduce ourselves, drawing on the great mystery behind our name. Since our establishment in 1982, ‘VVOB’ has evolved from a complex (Dutch) acronym to a stand-alone concept meaning education for development:

 

  • VVOB stands for ‘commitment’ – to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
  • VVOB stands for ‘integrity’ and ‘mutual respect’ – in working with our partner organisations across 10 countries / 3 continents.
  • VVOB stands for ‘quality’ and ‘innovation’ – of everything we do in our effort to improve education worldwide. Do you still feel like you’re in the right place? Great, because we’re hiring a Project Coordinator for our VVOB country team in Zambia.

 

VVOB in Zambia

In Zambia, VVOB is working in partnership with the Ministry of Education. We are building capacity on Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL). Our key focus points in ECE are ‘Learning through Play’ and ‘Emergent Literacy’. We are currently reaching 8 provinces with our work in ECE. The evidence-based TaRL approach helps learners in Grades 3, 4 and 5 to develop basic reading and numeracy skills. TaRL (or Catch Up – as it is known in Zambia) now reaches more than 400.000 learners spread over 6 provinces. Our ambition is to support MoGE in scaling the ‘Learning through Play’, ‘Emergent Literacy’ and ‘Teaching at the Right Level’ work.

 

Purpose of the function

As Catch Up Plus Project Coordinator you contribute to the ambitions of VVOB and Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa by coordinating specific Catch Up/TaRL interventions particularly as pertains to ongoing research activities in specific Provinces (Western, Central and Southern provinces) and ensuring the impact, sustainability, relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of the project. You will support the Ministry of Education (MoE) officials at province and district levels to ensure activities are implemented according to agreed work plans, budgets and TaRL principles. You ensure that assigned research on the Catch Up and Catch Up Plus Programme is implemented with quality.

 

Catch Up/Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL)

The evidence-based Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach, pioneered by Pratham in India, helps learners develop basic reading and numeracy skills. It has been evaluated and proven to be effective through many randomized evaluations. In a TaRL classroom, learners are assessed on basic reading and numeracy using a simple tool, they are grouped by learning level, rather than by grade, for a dedicated time when they focus on building foundational skills through activities and materials appropriate for each group. As learners progress, they move to the next learning group and continue to grow. In Zambia, the contextualized TaRL approach is known as “Catch Up” and was piloted by MoE in 2016-17 with support from partners, including VVOB. It is currently being implemented by MoE in over 2700 primary schools in Southern, Eastern, Lusaka, Northern, Muchinga, Western and Luapula provinces, with support from several partners. MoE has an ambition of making Catch Up/TaRL a national remedial teaching program, and preparations for expansion into new provinces and districts in 2022 are underway. A comprehensive research study to understand the impact of Catch Up and a possible enhancements (what we are calling “Catch Up Plus”) is planned to run alongside expanded programme roll out in the coming years. This position works to support the implementation and research objectives to ensure maximized program quality and learning.

 

More specifically, as Catch up Plus Project Coordinator, you are responsible for:

  • Ensuring good project management, including amongst others: planning, budgeting, monitoring, and a timely realization of key milestones and final project outcomes for the roll out of the Catch Up Plus intervention in the three main provinces (Central, Western and Southern);
  • Being the link between the TaRL Africa Research and technical team, VVOB management team, the Catch Up technical and district teams, the M&E team and the finance and logistics team for the relevant provinces activities. You ensure that all relevant staff are involved, listened to, advised, supported and
    guided;
  • Advising, motivating and supporting colleagues of the Catch Up Plus and TaRL Africa research and technical project team in their work to contribute to project results.
  • Identifying and communicating relevant project-related information towards a wide range of stakeholders (partners, donors, internally);
  • Working in close collaboration with the TaRL Africa and VVOB Principal Investigators, Research/Education Manager, Technical Lead and to offer technical advice, guidance and support to facilitate capacity development and project results;
  •  Leading field implementation and provide regular updates on Catch Up Plus and TaRL research implementation;
  • Leading and acquiring required government approvals and support for implementation of Catch Up Plus and relevant research activities;
  • Working in close collaboration with the VVOB and TaRL Africa research team on innovation design, testing and reporting;
  • Managing field implementation including field and programme teams;

 

If you’re our Project Coordinator, your workweek at the office will include the following highlights:

  • In the regular online TaRL Africa and Catch-Up project team meeting you give an update on activities and status of implementation, highlighting issues where you need guidance from colleagues, or an action to be taken by the central team.
  • You work on the logistics planning for the next training or monitoring session that is coming up, liaising with other relevant project coordinators to ensure that activities being planned within a province are aligned. You check with the research and operations manager if you can temporarily have extra support resources dedicated to your work.
  • Lunch! A perfect time to have an informal exchange on best practices with VVOB colleagues in the Lusaka office. You meet with ZICs/ District officials to review and reflect on Catch Up Plus implementation and develop a support plan as required.
  • You carry out joint monitoring with the PRCC to districts that have reported specific challenges. You meet with the district officers, Catch Up Plus implementation staff and VVOB District Coaches to identify challenges and come up with solutions.
  • You have a meeting with relevant Catch-Up staff to train them on a new tool to verify classroom assessments.
  • You take part in a Teams/Zoom meeting with technical experts from TaRL Africa and VVOB to co-design content for an upcoming Catch-Up and other innovation training and roll-out. You are well prepared with ideas based on your work in the field.

 

This is a national position, open to Zambian nationals

Your expertise and experience

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field or equivalent in field experience.
  • At least 5 years of demonstrable experience in project coordination and project management (planning, budgeting, coordinating, monitoring and report writing), preferably working on projects which strengthen government systems and structures.
  • Experience with change management and capacity development processes in the context of educational systems.
  • Good understanding of the education landscape in Zambia
  • Excellent computer skills in a wide range of software including Microsoft packages and WhatsApp
  • At least 2 years working experience in the international development sector.
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently within the provinces
  • Experience with working in a multicultural team.
  • Language skills: Fluent in English. Knowledge of local languages an advantage.
  • Ability to inspire and motivate both vvob provincial staff and MoE staff to put in their
    very best!

 

Matching competences

  • VVOB core competences:
  • Result Orientation
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Cooperation

Function specific competencies:

  • Communication Skills
  • Planning and Organization
  • 360° Empathy
  • Agility
  • Problem Analysis and Judgement

 

What we’re offering

  • A full-time position for over 24-month contract
  • 25% gratuity at year’s end
  • In-patient and out-patient medical package for you and your legal dependents (as proven by marriage
    certificate and birth certificate(s))
  • Education allowance for your legal children
  • Transport allowance and housing allowance in line with the Zambian employment legislation
  • Supportive environment enabling continuous professional development
  • An opportunity to work in a very well liked, evidence-based project aimed at ensuring that learners in
    across Zambia acquire foundational literacy and numeracy skills!

 

Please inspire us when you send your motivation letter and a detailed CV no later than 30 June 2022 to [email protected]

Shortlisted candidates will take a written test, go through an interview process and reference checks, before a final offer.

VVOB firmly believes that quality education can only be achieved if equity is ensured. Qualities of people prevail, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or disability.