Ethnological Advisor

Terms of Reference

Ethnological Advisor (International)

Location: Hanoi (main office), Lao Cai, Son La
Assignment duration: 1 year with possibility for extension
Days: 25 (approximately)
Start date: April 2019
Deadline to apply: 5pm, 1 April 2019


With more than 30 years of experience, CowaterSogema is Canada’s global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development. We have managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe for clients such as DFID, DFAT Australia, the World Bank and Global Affairs Canada. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, economic and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2017 and 2018.


CowaterSogema is seeking to recruit a highly qualified international professional as Ethnological Advisor as a member of the Technical Panel for the Aus4Equality|Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program.

The GREAT Program is a flagship initiative of the Australian aid program in Vietnam – it commenced in November 2017 and will run for five years (2017 to 2021). The Program seeks to promote women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in the ethnically diverse north-west region of Vietnam. The primary beneficiaries are women living in the provinces of Son La and Lao Cai, while an overarching emphasis is placed on the inclusion of women from ethnic minority communities as these provinces are home to twelve and twenty-six ethnic groups respectively.

The objectives of the Aus4Equality|GREAT Program are:

  • Objective 1 – Empowering local women: Women living in local communities have increased capacity, space and choices to beneficially engage with agriculture and tourism businesses.
  • Objective 2 – Inclusive businesses partnerships: Selected private sector actors within the agriculture and tourism sectors innovate to profitably and sustainably trade with more women entrepreneurs and operate in gender sensitive ways.
  • Objective 3 – Improving sector governance and policy: Government agencies reinforce policies, and enact plans, regulations and services that enable more inclusive socio-economic development.

Key approaches applied by the program include: Market system development (MSD), Partnership, Adaptive Management, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI), Women’s Economic Empowerment and Innovation. The program will partner with 50-80 partners to deliver results, including private sector actors, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and research institutions.

The program is tackling complex issues and pathways to women’s economic empowerment will be multiple, unpredictable, non-linear, and not always well-understood. Tailored responses are also needed to deal with ethnic diversity. Given the complexity, the program gives a high degree of emphasis to research and systematic learning to gain a good understanding of ethnographical and ethnological issues in the region in order to inform the Program’s interventions and enhance the Program’s effectiveness.


The Ethnological Advisor will work part time for the Program as a member of the Technical Panel to provide technical advice and contribute expert knowledge on ethnological issues to help ensure the Program addresses the needs of the ethnic groups. Reporting to the Team Leader, the Advisor will work closely with the Program’s technical team and monitoring, evaluation, research and learning team to provide advice and inputs as needed. The Advisor will also help build up capacity for the Program’s team, provincial management units (PMUs) and implementing partners (IPs) on relevant ethnological topics.

Core Responsibilities

  • Be the expert adviser regarding ethnic minorities and bring ethnologic perspectives to the products, services, activities, capabilities, data and research activities of Aus4Equality | GREAT.
  • Work closely with the Team Leader and Senior Management Team to understand the evidence needs, research approaches, data requirements and sources, and research partner arrangements, roles and responsibilities.
  • Based on strategic goals, provincial engagement strategies and Partner activities, formulate and incorporate the relevant ethnologic perspectives, including:
    • Identification of key ethnologic insights required for the Program;
    • Formulation of plans for appropriate ethnographic observations, methods and analyses required in studies; and
    • Assess Performance of Partners through an ethnologic lens.
  • Seek out opportunities for Program findings and stories to be communicated and published that highlight the ethnologic work undertaken by the Program including target publications and forums.

Provide Advice and Insights:

  • Provide broad expertise to management and Partners to inform high quality development/improvements on their designs, strategies, approaches and activities that are sensitive and inclusive of ethnic minorities.
  • Collaborate with the team to ensure quality of reporting, media and communications that includes ethnic minorities voices and perspectives.
  • Provide broad ethnologic expertise for the Program during design and planning stages of Partner grants.


  • Technical advice on longitudinal study and beneficiary survey - the Program is conducting a longitudinal study and beneficiary survey to gain an in-depth understanding about the Program-created changes and change process in ethnological, social and cultural norms and practices relating to WEE of the ethnic groups in the targeted areas.
  • Participate and provide input/advice to the Program’s six-monthly performance review process as a member of the Technical Panel.
  • Participate in the Reflect/Refocus workshops to inform the Program’s and Partner’s workplan development for subsequent periods and provide expert knowledge and guide/facilitate partners’ discussion on working on WEE with ethnic minorities.
  • Participate in the development of the Annual Workplan.
  • Conduct capacity building sessions for the Program’s team, PMUs and IPs as required.


Demonstrated Knowledge and Skills:

  • Extensive knowledge of ethnic minorities in Northern Vietnam with previous work carrying out ethnographic studies in these areas.
  • Extensive and broad knowledge of ethnography methods, developments and trends related to ethnic minorities in Northern Vietnam.
  • Understanding of research design and concepts.
  • Ability to search, understand, and synthesize/summarize the existing scientific literature in support of publication development.
  • Proven critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Strong collaboration and teaming skills.
  • Strong reporting and writing skills.
  • Excellent skills in qualitative research, data processing and analysis.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.
  • Practical experience with international development projects.
  • An understanding of women’s economic empowerment is preferred.

Required Technical and Professional Expertise

  • Tertiary qualification in anthropology, psychology, sociology or closely related field (with a focus on ethnology and ethnological analysis).
  • 15 years of research/working experience with ethnic minority communities.

The successful candidate needs to have the right to live and work in Vietnam.


Please apply by providing a CV and a Cover letter to [email protected] by the due date, 5pm 1 April 2019, with the position title in the subject of the email.

Job Details
Organisation Name: 
Aus4Equality|GREAT Program
Hanoi, Lao Cai, Son La
Application Deadline: 
Mon, 2019-04-01