Mental Health Psychosocial Support Specialist (Afar)

at Haramaya University- Project
Location Harar, Ethiopia
Date Posted November 27, 2022
Category Management
Job Type Full-time
Currency ETB


Overall Purpose of the job

The post-holder will be based in Harar, Ethiopia, where LSHTM collaborates with Haramaya University through the Hararghe Health Research partnership (HHR). A programme of multi-disciplinary research is developing based on the initial investment of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the site for Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS). This includes social science, clinical surveillance, demographic surveillance, microbiology and pathology. An international standard laboratory has been built to support this work. The post-holder will lead the development and management of HHR’s operations, focusing on strengthening HR, finance, procurement and other operational systems and site infrastructure to enable long-term sustainability and future growth of the partnership. The post-holder will sit on the HHR management committee and is a senior professional services staff member whose responsibilities impact on all staff in HHR, which currently employs 60 staff and part-funds a further 100 staff.

Hararghe Health Research Partnership

Haramaya University (HU) and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) developed an MOU in 2016 to establish a collaborative research partnership to deliver the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) programme ( in Ethiopia. The partnership built on the strengths of HU’s demographic surveillance sites in Harar, Haramaya and Kersa, and its relationship with Hiwot Fana Hospital. LSHTM provided world class expertise in public and international health across a range of disciplines. The partnership has expanded to include other collaborative research projects, with other funders (such as Wellcome Trust). To reflect its geographical base, focus on health research, and the relationship between Haramaya University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the collaborative research programme is known as the Hararghe Health Research partnership (HHR).


The CHAMPS Network ( has a global vision to provide accurate, timely and reliable data on the causes of death and sickness for children under five from locations with high mortality and morbidity. CHAMPS currently operates in eight sites – six in sub-Saharan Africa and one each in India and Bangladesh. Emory University in Atlanta, USA, coordinates the CHAMPS Network, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Service Delivery

  • Lead the HHR project office team in Harar, Ethiopia, to ensure the effective management and operations of HHR and its constituent research grants.
  • Develop and monitor finance policies and procedures for HHR that integrate effectively with Haramaya University (HU) finance policies and are compliant with institutional (HU and LSHTM) guidelines, and national and international good financial practice.
  • Establish standardised HR processes for HHR that extend from HU’s HR policies, ensuring compliance with Ethiopian employment law.  This includes the development of a new remuneration scale, staff benefits, performance management and disciplinary procedures.
  • Develop procurement processes for HHR in consultation with HU’s procurement department and senior management that build on existing HU procurement policy and documentation and ensure the continued improvement and management of HHR procurement systems.
  • Lead the HHR procurement process in Ethiopia, working closely with the HU Logistics and Maintenance Officer and LSHTM Project Coordinator to ensure a well-functioning system from order request to shipment arrival on-site.
  • Work with the Head of Labs, Chief Technology Officer and other key project staff to develop a Laboratory, Clinical and IT Inventory Management System, and system for managing other consumables and assets.
  • Lead on identifying suppliers and directly supervising building and refurbishment works across HHR research sites (Harar, Haramaya, Kersa, Water), abiding by LSHTM and HU procurement policy as relevant.
  • Oversee the conduct of regular site checks, liaising with and HU colleagues to make decisions on routine and emerging maintenance requirements.
  • Together with the PIs from HU and LSHTM, be responsible for the safety and security decisions affecting over 150 HHR staff, taking into consideration the local and national context, and develop and monitor security policies and procedures for HHR, in line with HU and LSHTM specialist advice.
  • Develop, test, and initiate, where relevant, emergency safety procedures for LSHTM and HU staff, including cascade communications and evacuation plans.
  • Develop robust processes to monitor vehicle mileage and consumption of fuel for vehicles, generators and other machines, and be responsible for oversight of these processes.
  • Develop and oversee vehicle fleet maintenance procedures, which includes planning timely preventive and curative maintenance of all project vehicles.
  • Work in accordance with institutional policies to ensure HHR is operating in line with HU, Ethiopian, LSHTM and UK/EA regulations as applicable.


  • Develop and communicate HHR operations and logistics SOPs and policies to project staff as appropriate, providing clear information and guidance to staff whose work is impacted.
  • Communicate relevant issues to the Principal Investigators, site leads and thematic leads, giving advice for action.
  • Oversee the compilation of reports, guidelines and policies, ensuring that these are accurate and distributed in a timely manner.

Teamwork and Motivation

  • Provide leadership, direction and professional supervision with respect to operational systems to support the work of HHR. This includes finance, HR, procurement, asset management, facilities, health and safety, and security.
  • Attend and contribute to team meetings and participate in external professional meetings/conferences related to the project.

Liaison and Networking

  • Liaise with and provide technical advice to HU senior administrators, including the University President, Executive Director of the College of Health Sciences and Heads of Finance, Procurement, HR, Transport and Facilities on operational and logistical issues.  This includes negotiating challenging and potentially contentious issues, and providing expert, reliable and timely advice to senior colleagues on how such issues might be solved.
  • Maintain a connection with LSHTM operations via the LSHTM Project Coordinator and LSHTM central service teams.
  • Network with senior operational staff in other research sites in sub-Saharan Africa to share best practice and find ways to overcome complex operational challenges.

Decision Making

  • Lead the HHR project office team including work allocation and decision-making on priority tasks for self and others.
  • Lead the strategy for development and implementation of HHR on-site operational processes in coordination with PIs, site leads and management staff.
  • Advise on the assessment and selection of qualified external suppliers for site goods.
  • Direct the development and possible implementation of guidelines and policies related to operational processes.

Planning and Organising

  • Apply appropriate project management tools to operations implementation projects and update the overarching project management plan with scheduled activities.
  • Oversee the creation and management of standard operating procedures (SOPs) where necessary.
  • Together with the PI and Site lead, provide strategic direction to the development of the site, bringing operational considerations to match scientific ambitions.

Initiative and Problem Solving

  • Identify pragmatic solutions to operational challenges, and work with tenacity, creativity and determination to overcome difficulties.
  • Manage risk and ensure that solutions to problems are implemented in line with change control processes.

Analysis and Research

Contribute to project planning and development discussions, and to the academic life of the research group.

Additional Information Sensory and physical demands

  • The post holder will be working extensively with a visual display unit in their daily work.

Work environment

  • The post is based at the College of Health and Medical Sciences of Haramaya University in Harar, Ethiopia and will involve local travel between the college, the field sites and the main University Campus (all within one hour by vehicle).  Most HHR staff live within Harar town which is a low-resource setting with basic infrastructure.
  • Limited international travel may be required to attend relevant training and CHAMPS network meetings.

Pastoral care and welfare

  • The post holder is expected to act in a supportive, caring and respectful manner towards colleagues and collaborators based at Haramaya University.

Team development

  • Works in a consultative fashion with other department heads, such as research and operations, in order to support, improvement in their efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Lead on building capacity amongst the College of Health and Medical Sciences staff working on projects within HHR, using the post-holder’s own skills knowledge and experience.
  • Conduct staff appraisals for direct reports including the HHR Project Manager and advise on development opportunities for all staff within the HHR Project Management Office.


All staff at LSHTM are also expected to:

  • Act at all times in the School’s best interests;
  • Treat School staff, students and visitors with courtesy and respect at all times;
  • Comply fully with School policies, procedures and administrative processes relevant to the role, including when acting as Principal Investigator, accepting academic, managerial, financing and ethical responsibility for a project;
  • Uphold and support the School’s values (as set out in the School Strategy);
  • Act as ambassadors for the School when hosting visitors or attending external events.

Generic duties and responsibilities of all LSHTM employees

  • This job description reflects the present requirements of the post but may be altered at any time in the future as duties and responsibilities change and/or develop providing there is full consultation with the post-holder.
  • The post-holder will carry out any other duties, tasks or responsibilities as reasonably requested by the line manager, Dean of Faculty, Head of Department or Director of Professional Service.
  • The post holder will be responsible and accountable for ensuring all School policies, procedures, Regulations and employment legislative requirements are adhered to including equality and diversity and health and safety.

This job description is not a definitive or exhaustive list of responsibilities but identifies the key responsibilities and tasks of the post holder.  The specific objectives of the post holder will be subject to review as part of the individual performance review (appraisal) process.

Department /Division/Unit: Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Faculty/Professional Service: Epidemiology and Population Health

Location:  Harar, Ethiopia

Reports to: Site Lead (Associate/Assistant Professor – TBA)

Accountable to: Principal Investigators & Faculty Operating Officer

Responsible for: Direct line management of: HHR Project Manager

Grade: PSP  6

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Job Requirements


  • This form lists the essential and desirable requirements needed by the post holder to be able to perform the job effectively.
  • Applicants will be shortlisted solely on the extent to which they meet these requirements.
Competency EvidenceE/D 
Education, Qualifications and Training
  • Post-graduate degree in Business Administration or a related subject, or equivalent experience.
  • Substantial management experience in a business operations role, ideally within an educational or research institution.
  •  Substantial experience of finance systems and management, and procurement systems and processes, including contracting suppliers.
  •  Substantial experience in HR operations and policy development.
  •  Experience in health and safety systems development, ideally within a research facility or overseas setting.
  •  Experience in transport and/or facility management.
  • Experience of living and working in a low-income country.
  •  Experience of delivering training.
  •  Experience living in a challenging environment.









  • Excellent oral and written communication skills (including fluency in English).
  • IT skills including competence in Microsoft Office.
  •  Fluency in Amharic and/or Afaan Oromo.
  •  Professional qualification in one or more of the operational functions of Finance, HR, Health and Safety, and membership of a professional body where applicable.
  • Understanding of and interest in research and health service delivery.




Personal Qualities
  • Ability to work closely and build relationships with national and international colleagues.
  • Ability to negotiate effectively with senior officials, having understood and taken consideration of complex political issues, in service of improving operational policies and procedures.
  • Resilience, determination and creativity in the face of challenges.



E-Essential: Requirement without which the job could not be done

D-Desirable: Requirements that would enable the candidate to perform the job well

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