Data Scientist

The Humanitarian Data Exchange, Dakar Data Lab

Position Title: Consultant

Duration: Initial 2 months with extension

Location: Dakar, Senegal

Start Date: As soon as possible

Closing Date: 12 October 2016


The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) manages an open data platform – the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX). The goal of HDX is to make humanitarian data easy to find and use for analysis.

The platform includes three technical components: a dataset repository for sharing data from across the community; visualization functionality to compare data across countries and crises; and standards for the exchange of humanitarian operational data (the Humanitarian Exchange Language or HXL).

The HDX team is establishing a Data Lab in Dakar. The Data Lab will serve as an in-person service to the HDX platform and create a neutral, physical and virtual space for partners, government officials, technologists, universities, and international stakeholders to collaborate on humanitarian data. Lab services will include data processing, systems integration, capacity building and community engagement. The Lab will focus specifically on issues related to health information management, data security and mobile integration in the context  of West Africa.

The HDX Data Lab requires a Data Scientist to work with new and existing partners on data activities. The consultant will be part of the HDX Data Lab team which will include a Lab Manager and a Data Manager. The Data Lab team will work closely with staff from the OCHA regional office, based in Dakar, and with a geographically distributed HDX team.

Reporting Relationships

The consultant will report to the Lab Manager with oversight from the HDX Product Manager. He or she will be expected to work closely with the Head of the HDX Data Team.


The consultant will be responsible for the following:

  • Contribute to the development of data systems to ensure the exchange of datasets.
  • Identify data opportunities that create advantages for partner organisations.
  • Carry out data cleaning tasks and apply models, algorithms and statistical methods to mine complex datasets.
  • Contribute to the validation and cleaning of datasets to ensure the reliability of the data.
  • Interpret datasets and provide solutions in the form of visualizations.
  • Promote and use the Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL) data standard to increase interoperability of data from partner spreadsheets and systems.
  • Take part in HDX project team meetings as required.


– Clean and validated high-value datasets produced by the humanitarian community.

Data visualizations of regional data, using both print and web technologies, conveying key insights for use by partner organizations and within the HDX platform.

– Oversight and curation of data analytics for the relevant pages (e.g. country, region, crisis, or topic) in the HDX platform.


Education: A first level university degree in statistics, mathematics, physics, economics, computer science or related field is desired.

Experience profile should include one of the following:

  • Master’s degree with 0 years,
  • Bachelor’s degree with 2 years, or
  • High school diploma and 6 years of relevant experience.

The Data Scientist position is classified as: ICSC 8, LICA 8 equivalent to United Nations National Officer A (NOA – P1).

Candidate should demonstrate progressively responsible experience in the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of statistical data or related area. Knowledge of the Python programming language is required. Experience of web-development technologies is an advantage (e.g. JavaScript, HTML, CSS).

A proven understanding of statistical software for analyzing and evaluating complex data is useful  (e.g. SPSS, SAS, STATA). Knowledge of geographic (GIS) data, its analytical procedures and software is a plus.

Experience with humanitarian data and indicators is desirable as is knowledge of health systems data, databases and processes.

Language:  Fluency or Professional Proficiency French and English is required (both oral and written). French proficiency is favored over English given the team location. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

To apply, provide the information requested at this link. Do not send CVs and cover letters unless requested during the selection process.