Project Officer – Transportation Sensors and Traffic Safety

Organization
Echo Mobile
Deadline for Applications
11/20/2015
Contact Information
jobs@echomobile.org

Echo Mobile is a Nairobi-based company that builds and deploys powerful mobile-first communication, interaction, research and management information tools. We are a small team of dedicated engineers, user experience designers, M&E experts and project managers. We empower organizations to make better, quicker, data-driven decisions, and we love what we do!

Echo Mobile’s flagship product is the Echo Mobile Platform. The Echo Mobile Platform is a web-based subscription software product that leverages mobile technology to easily engage clients in two-way communication via interactive SMS, Android applications, voice and USSD. Developed in 2010, organizations across 14 countries around the globe have used the platform to communicate with millions of individuals.

In addition to this software-as-a-service product, Echo Mobile’s second line of business, Echo Mobile Consulting, provides project management consulting and custom development services. Echo Mobile Consulting works with clients to design, develop, and implement projects that use mobile communications tools to achieve their goals for data collection, social impact, or business development. As part of our consulting services we also design and develop customized data visualizations and aggregation features to complement the Echo Platform and further enable clients to achieve their goals.

Recently, Echo Mobile has developed a third product offering, Echo Sense. Echo Sense adds sensor-based data collection to the suite of Echo Mobile products. While communication tools such as SMS rely on human interpretation and action to send information, sensors remove humans bias and dependence to further improve the automation and accuracy of data collection. Sensors can be used to track and understand vehicle routes and safety; the behaviour of solar light and cookstove users; the safety and productivity of water points in remote areas; and much more.

This position will work within Echo Mobile Consulting, focused on  consulting projects that support clients seeking to use sensor technology and Echo Sense to conduct real-time data collection at scale.

The Project Officer joins Echo Mobile at a critical period of growth and the expansion of one our most exciting and groundbreaking projects. With the release of Echo Sense, Echo Mobile will be increasingly engaged in sensor-based consulting projects in Kenya and throughout Africa. Kenya’s consulting team requires a dedicated Project Officer to support the Project Manager in implementing these consulting projects on behalf of businesses, NGOs, development agencies, and international organizations. The Project Officer does not need to be a technologist or engineer, but he or she must be passionate about the power of communications technology to improve organizational and market efficiency, drive economic growth, and improve lives.

During the first year of employment, the Project Officer will be almost entirely dedicated (85%) to a large-scale research project on behalf of a university client based in the USA. This project represents a critical opportunity to establish Echo Sense. Echo Mobile has been selected as the technology service provider and project manager for a major research initiative, investigating the use of remote sensor technology in public transport vehicles (matatus) as a means of improving public safety and business efficiency. One of the most challenging components of this project is the recruitment of matatu owners and the leadership of Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) to participate. Echo Mobile has begun engaging a small number of owners and SACCOs for installation and participation, but there is much to be done! The Project Officer would serve as the tip of the spear in this effort, working with and within the matatu industry throughout Nairobi to learn and gather information; develop relationships within the industry by meeting with owners and SACCOs; organize and host events; promote and demonstrate hardware and related Android applications; register owners for participation; track and report owner feedback and industry trends; provide occasional technical support in the field; manage installations; and whatever else it takes to get the owners on board and the technology in place.

There will also be desk responsibilities around data management and reporting, and the Project Officer will occasionally be asked to contribute to high-level strategizing with Echo Consulting’s project management team based on his/her experience in the field. The Project Officer will work closely and communicate regularly with Echo Mobile’s Project Manager and Chief Technology Officer and will help coordinate part-time field staff.

In the long-term, the Project Officer will be expected to take on an expanded portfolio of Echo Sense projects with a diverse array of consulting clients, performing similar but project-specific implementation and coordination responsibilities.

Note: This position will be full-time (40+ hours per week), but will have unorthodox hours over the first year of work. In the first year, work week will be Tuesday through Saturday, and hours will be midday until evening, reflective of the matatu industry hours.

Responsibilities:

Organize and conduct regular meetings to recruit matatu owners and SACCO leaders to participate in the study.  (Locations of meetings will vary within Nairobi).

Maintain detailed digital records tracking owner and SACCO contacts, meeting notes, and registrants.

Produce regular reports on recruitment of matatu owners into the study and their feedback regarding the technology; communicate regularly, often while in transit, with Echo Project Manager.

Conduct regular, persistent follow-up with large quantities of extremely busy and often hard to reach contacts.

Conduct owner registration in the field through Android, SMS, web and paper forms.

Perform brief demonstrations of an owner-facing mobile application and the dedicated hardware devices.

Organize and host promotional events for industry representatives and owners.

Remotely coordinate at least one full time mechanic to perform device installations, as well as two part-time industry experts helping to recruit owners, and occasional teams of temporary enumerators.

Do damage control with owners when hardware and software fails at inopportune times.

Provide semi-regular tech support to owners to enable the downloading and installation of android applications and/or necessary OS updates (no engineering responsibilities).

In the long-term, be able to adapt to the needs of new clients with new sensor-based business and social impact projects, and manage competing tasks and responsibilities across projects.

Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree. Ideal degrees will be related to urban planning, urban studies, transportation, communications, mobile technology, international development, social sciences, project management, or related fields.

2-4 years of full-time work experience, ideally in positions intersecting international development, urban development, and technology.

Some experience working with informal or semi-formal markets and SMEs, ideally within the urban transportation sector.

Experience working with public transport and familiarity with the Kenyan matatu industry.

Comfort with the use and language of technology. You do NOT need to be a computer engineer or tech expert, but you should feel confident in teaching someone how to use an Android phone and explaining what an app does. Familiarity with Android mobile phones is essential.

Experience working with sensor technology is a bonus.

Proficiency in Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, WhatsApp, Microsoft Office Suite

Fluent in English. Swahili proficiency would be strongly preferred.

Key Personal Characteristics:

Dynamic, charismatic, energetic, and confident in all types of group settings and public speaking opportunities. not easily intimidated.

A great communicator, capable of forming effective working relationships with mechanics, businessmen, technologists, and others while regularly communicating via email, phone, SMS, and WhatsApp with the Echo Mobile office.

A detail-oriented multitasker. Able to manage administrative details while working on-the-move.

Adventurous and able to work on the move, in the office, in coffee shops and mechanical workshops, or wherever the work takes you.

Willing and eager to spend time hopping on all manner of transport (motorcycles, matatus, cars – whatever it takes!) to meet SACCO representatives, matatu owners, and mechanics throughout Nairobi.

Organized and persistent in managing follow-up and overcoming resistance.

Passionate about the transportation sector, traffic safety, and the potential for sensor technology to improve both.

Curious about the workings of the Kenyan matatu industry.

Comfortable working irregular hours (Tuesday through Saturday, midday until evening).

Additional Information

Please send a 1-page cover letter, highlighting the basis of your interests in this position and your relevant experiences, as well as your CV to jobs@echomobile.org with “UCB PO” in subject line. Please NO PHONE CALLS. Select candidates will be contacted directly for preliminary interviews. Applications without a cover letter and C.V. or exact subject line will not be reviewed.