One senior and one junior post-doc for research on Economic Empowerment and Sex Work in Kenya and Ethiopia, Université d’Amsterdam (pays-Bas) — LIMITE : 10/09/2014

The VU University Amsterdam, Department of Sociology in collaboration with the Kenya AIDS Control Project (University of Nairobi) and the International Centre for Reproductive Health-Kenya; are looking for two post-doctoral researchers to participate in the research project “Creating Opportunities? Economic Empowerment, Political Positioning and Participation of Sex Workers in Kenya and Ethiopia”. This project is funded by the Dutch Organization WOTRO (Science for Global Development) and is a project within the Program “Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development”.  One post-doc will be based in Nairobi and the other one in Mombasa. The positions for the duration of a maximum of 30 months.

Recently, empowerment, political positioning and participation of sex workers have become issues on the global human rights agenda. Locally, however, sex workers remain vulnerable, stigmatized and excluded. This research addresses the specific context of sex work(ers) in Ethiopia and Kenya by  conducting a research projects in three phases. Using a stakeholder analysis, the first component maps strategic actors´ practices and policies, including tensions and collaboration with sex workers. The second focuses on  economic empowerment and its potential to contribute to financial stability, increase resilience, and prevent HIV/AIDS. These two components converge in the third action-oriented phase aimed at sharing  knowledge to generate change. Uniquely, this program involves local and regional stakeholders throughout the research project. Hence, it develops strategic and context specific knowledge essential for inclusive development of sex workers, strengthening social and economic capital of their communities, and advancing and sharing knowledge to achieve human rights goals. The research project will  predominantly use qualitative and participatory methods, but also includes survey methods. Data will also be collected through workshops with policymakers, policy advisors as well as service providers, law enforcers and media.

This innovative use of methodologies demands that the researchers are able to “think out of the box”, be creative and take initiatives. The post-docs in Kenya will maintain regular contact with their colleagues in Ethiopia. The post-doc located in the Netherlands will coordinate the research between the two countries.

The research questions:

Phase 1: For the stakeholder analysis:

  1. In what ways do institutional, legislative and (inter)national directives and practices increase the SWs’ vulnerability?
  2. Which (by)laws and regulations positively influence the SWs’ situations?
  1. What are the moments of dialogue between stakeholders and SW-led organizations and what factors  obstruct the transformation of these dialogues into further collaboration?

Phase 2: For the Economic empowerment research phase:

  1. How does economic autonomy/dependence, financial (il)literacy and financial (in)security contribute to or hamper the decision-making power and opportunities for SWs regarding their livelihoods, sexual health and resilience to violence?

Phase 2: Action Oriented Research:

  1. How does the translation of the research outcomes into advocacy-oriented knowledge sharing activities strengthen SWs rights and enhance their inclusion in society?

Qualifications:  For Position One: Senior Post Doc:

Required

  • A PhD in a relevant discipline (social sciences, public health, anthropology, development studies) awarded within the last 5 years.
  • Experience in qualitative research and knowledge of survey methods and SPSS.
  • Strong analytical and writing skills, demonstrated through peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Previous research experience in Kenya.
  • Strong presentation skills, demonstrated through presentation of papers at international conferences.
  • Ability to develop and maintain networks and to engage with a range of stakeholders.
  • Approaches sex work from a human rights perspective.
  • Is familiar with the academic and political debates regarding sex work.
  • To be able to commit to long periods in the field.

Desired:

  • Knowledge of key languages
  • Previous experience in conducting research on the sex work industry.

Renumeration: Full time position for maximum 30 months, equivalent of 1000 Euros per month.

Application process:

Applicants should include:

•A substantive cover letter documenting relevant experience and reasons for interest in the

position. The letter should also reflect your knowledge of the sex work industry in Kenya (maximum 2 pages).

•A full CV.

•Two academic writing samples.

•The names of three professional references (with contact details).

Qualifications:  For Position two: Junior Post Doc:

Required

  • A PhD in a relevant discipline (social sciences, public health, anthropology, development studies) awarded within the last 2years.
  • Experience in qualitative research.
  • Strong analytical and writing skills, demonstrated through peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Previous research experience in Kenya.
  • Strong presentation skills, demonstrated through presentation of papers at international conferences.
  • Ability to develop and maintain networks and to engage with a range of stakeholders.
  • Approaches sex work from a human rights perspective.
  • Is familiar with the academic and political debates regarding sex work.
  • To be able to commit to long periods in the field.

Desired:

  • Experience in organizing events and conferences
    • Knowledge of key languages
    • Knowledge of survey methods and SPSS
    • Previous experience in conducting research on the sex work industry.

Renumeration: Full time position for maximum 30 months, equivalent of 800 Euros per month.

Application process:

Applicants should include:

•A substantive cover letter documenting relevant experience and reasons for interest in the

position. The letter should also reflect your knowledge of the sex work industry in Kenya (maximum 2 pages).

•A full CV.

•Two academic writing samples.

•The names of three professional references (with contact details).

For more information contact Dr. Lorraine Nencel: l.s.nencel@vu.nl


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