Product Research Assistant

Background:
WaterSHED is a local non-governmental organization (NGO) registered in Cambodia. WaterSHED engages local enterprises and government in the development of sustainable market-based approaches that empower households to be active and informed consumers of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) products and services. Direct assistance provided by WaterSHED encompasses areas of technical support such as business trainings and marketing support, research and design of new products and water supply schemes, and product quality assurance. Furthermore, WaterSHED also provides research and assistance related to social, behavioral, business, and financial aspects of implementation activities. WaterSHED now seeks a talented Cambodian professional to undertake the following position:

Job Description:
The Product Research Assistant will join an in-house practice area to design new water, sanitation, and hygiene products targeted at rural households in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia. WaterSHED seeks a Product Research Assistant with excellent communication skills in both Khmer and English, experience conducting field research and managing stakeholder relationships, and an interest in understanding the motivations and constraints of the consumer. Our objective is to introduce both incremental improvements as well as game-changing designs that can reshape the market opportunity for local product suppliers. Typically this means developing products and the systems around them which make them affordable, accessible, attractive, durable and easy to install.

Duration: 3 months, renewable for a year
Job Title: Product Research Assistant
Location: Phnom Penh (with regional travel)
Remuneration: Attractive salary based on skills and experience
Deadline23 June 2014

Design project: Latrine Shelter Design
WaterSHED’s Hands-Off sanitation marketing program has the goal of improving the supply of safe, sustainable, and affordable sanitation products and services through local market channels. It ignites consumer demand by directly addressing consumption barriers and focusing on the motivators for households to prioritize the purchase and use of sanitation products. It also encourages government leadership to create a receptive environment for sanitation businesses to succeed. Since 2009, it has become the largest and most cost-effective program of its kind in the world, with more than 150 local private businesses that work closely with sales agents, input suppliers, and local government. Having built a network primarily to produce and sell over 70,000 latrine core sets (the plumbing) since 2011, WaterSHED has learned that perhaps the most significant remaining barrier for rural Cambodian consumers to install a toilet is the desire to save money to build a permanent shelter (the above ground amenities including walls and roof).

This project will iteratively design and test-market a solution that will unlock access for a significant portion of the more than 70% of rural Cambodians who lack a toilet. WaterSHED’s existing network of value chain actors represents the ideal platform for introducing the necessary infrastructure – of which the most important remaining part is an affordable, attractive, and accessible shelter.

Role of Product Research Assistant
The Product Research Assistant will work closely with the WASH Product Designer to facilitate the product development process. The Product Research Assistant will help conduct field research to uncover insights about the consumers’ motivations and constraints regarding latrine shelters. The role will involve engaging with players in the construction industry, such as suppliers, contractors, and manufacturers, to identify suitable construction materials and assembly techniques as well as to establish partnerships to assist with building and delivering prototypes. The Product Research Assistant will support user testing and collect consumer feedback about each prototype.

KEY SELECTION CRITERIA

Skills & competencies:

  1. Fluency in English and Khmer, preferably with experience translating between the two languages
  2. Experience conducting field research in rural areas
  3. Experience managing relationships with stakeholders
  4. Preferred, but not required: knowledge of the construction industry

Personal Attributes:

  1. Appreciation of the objectives and values of WaterSHED
  2. Excellent communication skills
  3. Entrepreneurial, creative, initiative, dynamic and enthusiastic
  4. Good at problem solving and critical thinking with an ability to work independently
  5. Ability to work on multiple tasks and meet tight deadlines
  6. Honest and trustworthy

APPLY:
Interested applicants please send:

  1. WaterSHED application form (download)
  2. Cover letter
  3. C.V. or Resume, with the name and contact of three references

(Please do not send copies of certificates or other documentation in addition to the above).
to cambodia@watershedasia.org with the subject “Materials and Construction Specialist.” Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview. For further information about the organization: http://www.watershedasia.org.

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