Lead Researcher - Assessment of language challenges in community radio relay of COVID-19 risk communication, Afghanistan

Closing date

Contract length: 2 months

Location: home-based

Travel: none

Reporting to: Global researcher

Timeframe: 1 October to 30 November 2020

Application deadline: 30 September 2020

Due to the urgency of the vacancy, screening and interviews will commence immediately and the candidate can be selected at any stage before the closing date.


The Lead Researcher will support TWB’s Crisis Response Team and work under the supervision of the Global Researcher to deliver a research project on language issues in community radio relay of COVID-19 risk communication in Afghanistan.

The Lead Researcher will be responsible for implementing and delivering remote mixed-methods research, engaging and supervising a small team of research assistants. Responsibilities will include writing a final research report for non-academic audiences, and liaising with various partners and constituents involved in the research process.

The role might evolve during the course of the deployment as the project and activities develop, so flexibility and the willingness to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial.


Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Contribute to the design of appropriate tools (qualitative and quantitative) for this study

  • Support the identification of data collectors for this research

  • Train and supervise data collectors to ensure an efficient and effective, fully documented data collection process in line with TWB research standards

  • Administer an online survey and conduct remote phone interviews with radio broadcasters on language issues in risk communication

  • Coordinate and support the transcription and translation of all research data

  • Analyse all qualitative and quantitative data, providing visual presentation of quantitative data

  • Present initial findings within TWB and to key partners

  • Organizing and handing over all data, audio files, transcripts, translations, and other research materials to TWB

  • Participate in weekly research updates with TWB staff (phonecall)

  • Deliver a 15-page maximum editable report with an analysis of language issues in risk communication. The report will be an internal TWB report. TWB reserves the right to edit and design it before publication.


The Lead Researcher should be a creative self-starter with a strong sense of initiative and enthusiastic about the importance of increasing access to knowledge through language. The right candidate is an energetic team player who agrees with TWB´s core values and can work remotely to collaborate with team members based throughout the world. The researcher should have a good understanding of language barriers in humanitarian programming, ideally a good understanding of radio broadcasting in Afghanistan, and a strong sense of initiative. Excellent written and spoken English essential. Good working knowledge of Dari and/or Pashto is required.


  • Higher education degree in a relevant subject, Masters degree preferred

  • 2+ years of research experience, preferably in humanitarian or development contexts

  • Excellent written and spoken English, and good working knowledge of Dari and/or Pashto

  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis experience

  • Experience of conducting remote research like phone interviews

  • Experience of research in the humanitarian or development contexts

  • Good understanding of research ethics and data management

  • Ability to work remotely without significant support

  • Sociolinguistic background preferred

  • Knowledge of the media landscape in Afghanistan and/or radio broadcasting in general a plus


Translators without Borders and Internews are collaborating on a study of language barriers in community radio’s relay of COVID-19 risk communication in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, radio remains a primary information source for many households, especially in rural areas, where 75% of the population relies on radio broadcasts in order to meet information needs. Low literacy rates, insecurity, and poor infrastructure restrict access to print media, while a lack of electricity, limited broadcast areas, and the cost of equipment and subscription services keep television ownership and usage relatively low.

In the context of a major disease outbreak like the COVID-19 pandemic, community radios play a crucial role for risk communication and information relay. Yet radio broadcasters usually receive little support to adapt official risk communication to the language needs of their audience, who speak an estimated 40+ languages and up to 200 dialects. The research project will inquire into the language and communication challenges radio broadcasters face, including the challenges of translating technical or unknown words into national languages, and analyse the impact of language on community radio’s relay of risk communication.

About Translators without Borders

Translators without Borders believes that everyone has the right to give and receive information in a language and format they understand. We work with nonprofit partners and a global community of language professionals to build local language translation capacity, and raise awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information a year.

Core Values

Translators without Borders employees and volunteers are people who believe passionately about the value of this work and take personal responsibility for achieving the mission. Translators without Borders’ mission and organizational spirit embody the core values established in its strategic framework:

Excellence: As the leading voice for communicating humanitarian information in the right language, Translators without Borders is a leader in the translation industry and in the non-profit sector.

Integrity: Translators without Borders believes that every person, whether it is the people who we serve, our volunteers or our staff, has value, deserves respect and has inherent dignity.

Empowerment: Translators without Borders believes in using language to empower people around the world to control their own development and destiny.

Innovation: Translators without Borders recognizes and celebrates the power of innovation to address humanitarian and crisis issues around the world.

Sustainability: Translators without Borders recognizes that meeting our mission necessitates establishment and maintenance of a solid financial and organizational infrastructure.

Tolerance: Our staff and volunteers are highly knowledgeable and skilled; value each other, our partner and our recipients; create a supportive work environment; and, conduct themselves professionally at all times.

Translators without Borders is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourages qualified candidates of all genders and from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.**

How to apply

To apply, click here