Join Our Team – Somali Researcher

Join Our Team – Somali Researcher

VAI is currently undertaking a pilot project to identify and support at least one group of victims of atrocity crimes in Somalia to advocate for their rights and articulate their needs in conversations about reconciliation and transitional justice. The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) adopted a National Framework for Reconciliation in 2019, and its 2020-2024 National Development Plan highlights the importance of implementing and devolving this Framework to the Federal Member States (FMS). A movement within civil society has emerged that seeks to ensure the consultations on reconciliation include a focus on transitional justice. As these high-level conversations about reconciliation and transitional justice take place, it is vital that the victims of the violence for which justice is being sought are brought to the table. 

The first step of this process is to identify groups, or individuals with the potential to form into groups, who are dedicated to pursuing justice, and who want to advocate around this objective – but who currently lack the tools or platform to do so effectively, or at a high enough level. Through this project, VAI intends to find groups that can be provided with organisational development support, as well as access to legal resources, legal representation, and advocacy assistance. 

In providing these services, VAI will work in partnership with Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI). Together, they will seek to build on the experience and expertise of Northern Irish actors who have engaged in similar truth-telling initititiaves to assist victim groups in Somalia by fostering linkages and conducting technical exchanges. 

Description of Position

VAI is looking for a Somali researcher who is able to conduct a scoping exercise looking for such groups or individuals, who have experienced atrocity crimes and want to demand justice, as well as a place in the reconciliation conversation. Such groups/ individuals may include: 

  • Civilian victims of atrocities perpetrated by the current or previous governments (state or federal).
  • Civilian victims of atrocities perpetrated by armed groups. 
  • Civilian victims of drone strikes or other atrocities perpetrated by external state actors. 
  • Civilian victims of atrocities perpetrated by peacekeeping troops or other outside actors conducting military operations in Somalia.

The researcher will conduct a mapping of individuals and organisations, as well as a report in which details are recorded about who they groups or individuals are, what happened to them, what they have been doing to agitate for justice, what they want to do, and what their ideal conception of justice would look like. The researcher will also convene a workshop of those most likely to benefit from VAI services, attended by a member of VAI, to identify entry points for working with the groups. 

Terms of the position

Reports to : Deputy Director

Key tasks and results expected


  • Conduct a desk review of any resources or stories out in the public about individuals or groups who are demanding justice for atrocities committed against them
  • Find contacts for those demanding justice and set up interviews with them by phone or in person
  • Find out: 
  • A detailed account of the atrocities they experienced (including dates, times, exactly what happened, who the perpetrators were, and what lasting effects they have experienced – physically or mentally)
  • Any efforts they have made to get justice 
  • Any other campaigning, lobbying or other efforts made to bring attention to their cause 
  • What more they want to do to demand justice 
  • What their ideal conception of justice would look like

Convening workshop

  • After consultations with VAI Secretariat staff, identify individuals/ group leaders most likely to benefit from VAI’s services (maximum 6) and bring them together for a workshop (if possible, depending on where they live. Some may need to be connected through the internet).
  • Facilitate the meeting: translate for VAI staff and explain concepts using a session plan and materials provided by VAI.

Writing report

  • Write a basic containing the information described above about each individual victim and victim group identified. The report does not need to be in perfect English, as long as it is understandable. 
  • The report could also be produced as a table, with information about each group in columns. 


  • Producing invoices and receipts or other documentation to support requests for reimbursement.
  • Other administrative tasks as required by the VAI Secretariat/ Admin and Finance Manager.

Skills and qualifications required

  • At least 5 years research, including experience researching within Somalia. 
  • At least 2 years of relevant experience working with an NGO, research institution or similar. 
  • Proven and comprehensive understanding of Somalia’s history of conflict. This could be demonstrated by similar research undertaken; roles relating to conflict or Somali history; opinion pieces written; study in a relevant area, etc. 
  • Proven track record of conducting research and producing quality findings and reports (will be asked to show these reports).
  • Experience in working on human rights strongly preferred. 
  • Experience in working with victims of crimes considered an asset.
  • Ability to work independently. 
  • Sound computer skills.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills.

Position Duration and Remuneration

The researcher will be expected to work on this project for 18 days over for six weeks. There will be a probation period of two weeks, to ensure the researcher is making progress. The contract will be based on a combination of deliverables and time spent on the project. The researcher will be reimbursed 3000 USD for 18 days of work and the production of all deliverables, as well as up to 250 USD that may be reimbursed for travel and communications costs.  (The workshop costs will be covered separately.) 

This research is anticipated to take place in Mogadishu, but candidates from outside will be considered.

If interested

Please send a CV and expression of interest to Rosha Prajapati at