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Research Specialist, Malawi
Volunteer Opportunity



WHERE: Lilongwe, Malawi
WHEN: October 2017 to April 2018
DURATION: Six months
REPORTING TO: Heather Hale, Program Manager
DEADLINE: September 8, 2017

NOTE: This is a voluntary assignment. Domestic and international airfare, ground transport, visa, travel insurance, out of country accommodation and a monthly stipend of $1,250 will be covered by CCA.



The INVEST Co-op Malawi Project seeks to improve the economic wellbeing of 50,000 small producers (Soya, ground nuts, beans, and maize). Through an integrated co-operative approach, the program will benefit producers by increasing production and productivity, increasing access to markets, and increasing access to financial services. CCA is also proposing to partner with local agricultural, finance and insurance co-operative companies to introduce agricultural insurance products to these farmers to help them manage their risks. It is believed that offering insurance through an integrated co-operative model will lower risks, administration costs, and claim processing times.


Project Partners:

Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) is an umbrella body of farmers and farmer organizations in Malawi which was established in 2003 under the Trustees Incorporation with the aim of creating a conducive policy environment for farmers in Malawi. It is founded on three key operational areas namely; institutional development, policy and advocacy, and agribusiness and market access.

Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) is the apex organization for Savings and Credit Co- operatives in Malawi. MUSCCO provides training, liquidity management, representative and advocacy services to its member organizations to improved financial, management and governance capacity. MUSCCO’s aim is to improve financial access to the underserved communities of Malawi.



The agricultural sector employs nearly 90% of Malawi’s working age population and contributes 30% of GDP. The majority engage in small scale agriculture which suffers from low productivity resulting from a reliance on rain fed irrigation, low quality inputs, insufficient agricultural extension services, limited access to market, and inadequate financial services, exacerbated by increasingly erratic weather conditions due to climate change.

This assignment will support the strengthening and development of agricultural co-operative and co-operative development practitioners in Malawi. Currently, the agricultural co-operative movement in Malawi is weak and there is no national federation of agricultural co-operatives. The credit union (SACCO) system is quite strong but to date harmonized efforts have been ad hoc. There are no national institutes dedicated to co-operative education or training. Co-operative knowledge and training is dispersed, no-standardized ad hoc and takes place as piece meal activities initiative by various organizations which do not coordinate with each other. This assignment is part of a capacity building program to strengthen the capacity of co-operative sector in Malawi.



The goal of this assignment is to conduct research and share information and experiences that is relevant and specific to co-operatives in Malawi.


  • Activities in the assignment include the following:
    • Conduct research in the thematic priority areas that is determined jointly by the supervisors, project team and the intern (e.g. Co-operative development, integrated co-operative model, gender, environment, good governance);
    • Compiling best practices, lessons learnt, experiences and stories on key thematic development areas (e.g. Co-operative development, integrated co-operative model, gender, environment, good governance);
    • Provide support to the INVEST Co-op Team’s meetings, workshops, conferences, where applicable.
    At the end of the placement, the following output will be expected:
    • A research report in the thematic priority areas that is determined jointly by the supervisor, project team, and the volunteer.



The successful applicant must possess the following skills, experiences and personal characteristics:
• Undergraduate or graduate-level education in economics, agriculture, public policy, international development, or other relevant social sciences.
• Experience planning and implementing community-based research projects.
• Experience using both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.
• Experience with systematic search and screening (e.g. systematic reviews) of research literature.
• Administrative and/or project management experience.
• Strong experience analysing data using MS Excel, particularly using pivot tables.
• Excellent capacity to analyze, develop recommendations and capture lessons learned.
• Experience creating and facilitating group learning/training sessions.
• Knowledge in community participation methodologies.
• Experience and knowledge of co-operatives principles, preferably in a developing context.
• Excellent capacity to analyze, develop recommendations and capture lessons learned.
• Excellent analytical writing skills in English.
• One-three years’ experience
• Flexible and adaptable
• Demonstrated ability and interest in communicating and interacting effectively with people of a different culture.
• Ability to be multi-functional and work in dynamic situations; be flexible and adapt to change.
• Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.




Please submit a resume and letter of intent by end of business day September 8, 2017 to Volunteer Manager, Laurie Tennian at You must be eligible to work in Canada. Successful candidates will be required to obtain a police check from their local police/RCMP detachment. No phone calls please. All applicants are thanked for their interest in CCA; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.



The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is a not-for-profit co-operative which establishes and strengthens co- operatives, credit unions and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in less developed countries. CCA proudly delivers programs for the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) and other organizations which help poor communities fight poverty and create more secure lives through community-owned co-ops. For more information on CCA, please visit the website at:



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