Project Manager for RapidSMS at UNICEF

Job title: Project Manager for RapidSMS School Monitoring

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF is an organisation mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

Closing date: 26 Jan 2011

Location: Uganda - Kampala


UNICEF Uganda is looking for a skilled project manager (with at least a working knowledge of data management, primary and secondary education, and the educational system in Uganda) to lead the roll-out of mobile phone based tool to complement UNICEF's strategy of Child Friendly Schools.

Direct project participants (and users of the mobile phone reporting system) are expected to be community-based and youth organizations, members of the Girls Education Movement, School Management Committees, District Education Officers and School Inspectors, as well as others to be identified at a later date.

This project intends to provide a tool to these stakeholders with the following features:

1) routine tracking of high priority indicators, such as teacher absenteeism and linking the collected information with the EMIS and DEMIS database;

2) social monitoring of general issues needing attention, such as unclean water, with an emphasis on building awareness of community entitlements;

3) linkages to other systems, such as the Child Helpline, for serious issues requiring professional follow-up.

The primary SMS/web application framework that will be used is RapidSMS, but there are other data collection projects in Uganda running concurrently, and we will want the data to be integrated on a common website/dashboard.

RapidSMS is UNICEF's open source framework for developing SMS applications used for data collection, logistics coordination and communication projects, allowing any mobile phone to interact with the web. It allows people to SMS information to a server that then can graph, map and respond to the entries. Various implementations have been used to track food distribution during a famine in Ethiopia and collect malnutrition data in Malawi.


Below are the key tasks to be completed:

1. Conduct background research on the existing Education Management Information System (EMIS) and the under-development District Education Management Information System (DEMIS), as well as any other major computer / mobile based initiatives currently being deployed to support the Ministry of Education.

2. Work carefully with UNICEF Learning team and the MoES to develop the pilot project plan and tentative plan for national roll-out, timeline, budget, and strategy for government ownership and management.

3.Meet with key stakeholders and users, and work with MoES counterparts to develop the details of the application in line with government work plans and the Education Management Information System (EMIS).

4. Work closely with the T4D Specialist and Software Programmer(s) to design the

information flow, collection process and how the data collected through RapidSMS

projects and others will be visualized.

5. Conduct user experience and bug testing for the system.

6. Create written guidelines for system use and administration for district, school and community level users

7. Hold demo/training sessions with MoES, UNICEF staff and other partners.

8. Roll-out the “learning phase” of the monitoring system in the 4 identified districts.

9. Conduct routine data cleaning and monitoring / direct follow-up of pilot, with gradual handover to government counterparts.

10. Document all aspects of training and project roll - out (print, photo and video).


1. Inception report, with project scope, containing measurable objectives, monitoring & evaluation strategy (Week 2)

2. Project implementation strategy and initial technical schematic / design (Week 4)

3. Software development version 1.0 tested and completed (Week 10)

4. Deployed Education Monitoring system, operational at District and community level,

collecting and displaying data on easy-to-use dashboard (Week 16)

5. Documented project design, deployment and maintenance procedures, with clearly defined (and implemented) hand-over strategy (Week 20)

6. Ongoing documentation of project (blog, photos, videos)


It is required that the project manager has:

  • at least 3 years progressive experience with demonstrated results as a project manager
  • experience with community based development, participatory rural appraisal (PRA)

methodologies, and/or ethnographic research

It is highly recommended that the project manager have:

  • experience managing development of software applications
  • experience with monitoring and evaluation
  • at least 2 years of experience in East Africa and lives in region

It is advantageous for the project manager to have:

  • previous experience with mobile phone or other technology applications in Africa
  • experience working with Education Management Information Systems
  • experience working or coordinating with governmental agencies in Africa
  • experience working with open source applications
  • knowledge of environment in which UNICEF operates, and understanding of the constraints of working in a developing-world environment

Additionally, the project manager must be:

  • willing to work within the constraints of information technology in the developing world (low bandwidth, thin clients, etc). Final projects need to be lightweight and simple; issues of translation of interfaces need to be taken into account
  • willing to travel (sometimes on short notice) and develop software in the field, directly with end-users, in sometimes challenging conditions
  • willing to live in Kampala, Uganda

How to apply

Send letter of interest, CV and any relevant sample work (links or attachments) to or


Apply by 26 January 2011

Reference Code: RW_8D287T-16


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