Junior Research Associate via DevNetJobs

Positive Planet International

Maseru, , LS

Positive Planet International seeks to engage a Junior Research Associate for a new ‘access to energy and economic development’ project in Lesotho. 

Positive Planet International
Positive Planet International (PPI) was created out of the growth and transformation of Planet Finance, a non-profit organisation created in 1998 with a mandate to alleviate poverty through access to financial services and inclusive markets. PPI’s mission is to create conditions of a better world for future generations all over the world. Its headquarters are located in Paris, France, and its activities are carried out in more than 40 countries, managed by local branches in Africa, Europe and in the Middle East.

PPI prioritises seven key areas: access to entrepreneurship, access to financial services, access to markets, access to energy, access to education, access to water, sanitation, housing and access to health and mobilises its experts in these sectors.

Positive Planet International in Southern and East Africa
PPI’s Southern and East Africa Regional office is based in Johannesburg, in South Africa, managing projects in many countries in the region such as South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania and Lesotho. PPI started its operations in South Africa in 2008 in Cape Town with a three-year EU funded project and throughout the past decade has worked on different projects primarily with a focus on development finance. 

Project Description
Context: The Kingdom of Lesotho has a population of 2.2 million people (World Bank, 2016). This mountainous, land-locked country was recognised by the World Economic Forum, in 2013, for being in the top 10 countries in Africa in terms of gender equality, setting it apart in the region. Lesotho is an agrarian society: 50% of the rural population relies on farming as their main livelihood source, of which 90% are subsistence farmers, and up to 80% of the population engage in some form of agricultural activity (Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), 2016). The available statistics on energy access vary considerably, from at best 27% of the country’s population having access to electricity (World Bank 2014) to just over 20% (Trading Economics 2016). This is significantly lower in rural areas at an estimated 10% (compared to 47% in urban areas). There is a high reliance on biomass (35%) and fossil fuels (38%), with current renewable energy access levels being very low (4%).

Overall objective: The project seeks to contribute to the socio-economic development of rural households in Lesotho through access to energy efficient and renewable energy (EERE) services and technologies. The main mechanism for achieving this objective is to establish a sustainable social enterprise that will distribute the needed EERE technology to rural populations to meet differing needs.

Specific objective: For at least one household energy need to be met within 5,000 rural households in five Districts of Lesotho through the distribution of EERE technology solutions on a sustainable basis, by Rural Self-help Development Agency (RSDA). 

Partner: RSDA, a well-established NGO in Lesotho is partnering with PPI on this project. It works to empower rural Basotho communities to develop their self-initiative, self-determination and self-responsibility. Since 1991, RSDA has supported rural Basotho with a focus on sustainable agriculture, natural resource management and other initiatives to help rural Basotho graduate out of extreme poverty.

Funder: European Union

Job description
The Research Associate, will be based in Maseru and report to the Project Manager in Maseru. The Research Associate will be responsible for supporting all the day-to-day project activities and attainment of the Project objectives. He/she will provide support to the project team and will engage with the project partner (RSDA) and other stakeholders and service providers. Specific tasks and responsibilities of the Research Associate will include:

Project Coordination – 80%

  • Supporting the implementation of the activities in collaboration with the team
  • Participating in drafting of deliverables in collaboration with the Project Manager
  • Participating in financial and technical reporting for the EU in collaboration with the Project Manager
  • Ensuring the relationships with the stakeholders involved in the project
  • Participating in the monthly internal reports 
  • Reporting to the Local Project Manager
  • Conducting desk research
  • Gathering data from RSDA on the completion of different activities
  • Coordinating with the project team on different activities and supporting as needed with preparation, documentation and follow-up locally

Business Development & PPI’s representation – 20%

  • Contributing to local communication actions linked to the project
  • Ensuring the visibility of the project
  • Screening of business opportunities in Lesotho and South Africa 


  • At least an Honour’s or Master’s Degree in Project Management/Economics or other related fields
  • At least 3 years of professional experience
  • Previous experience with the EU is an asset
  • Previous experience in the region preferred
  • Prior studies or work in renewable energy and/or business models at the base of the pyramid
  • Experience in carrying out desk research and knowledge of research methodology 
  • Strong research, proposal and report writing skills
  • Strong written and spoken communication skills in English, including academic and report writing skills
  • Proficiency with MS Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and Publishers (advantageous)
  • Passionate, proactive, creative professional with great attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills


  • Localisation: Maseru, Lesotho (in the premises of the partner RSDA)
  • Duration: 36 months (from 1 March 2018 until 29 February 2021)
  • Compensation: Based on Positive Planet International salary grid 
  • Documents to be sent: CV and Cover Letter 
  • Deadline for application: 21 February 2018

Please send your Cover Letter and Resume in English to [email protected] before the 21 February 2018.