Staff Profile
Mr Witness Olex Tapani Alfonso
Junior Research Fellow

Witness Olex Tapani Alfonso is a Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Research of the University of Malawi. He holds a Master of Arts in Development studies degree from the University of Malawi and Bachelor of Arts degree from Mzuzu University. He boasts of over 8 years of experience conducting research and managing projects in Malawi. He worked as a Senior Research Associate and Team Leader at the Institute of Public Opinion and Research (IPOR) for 7 years before he joined the Centre for Social Research as a Junior Research Fellow in 2022.  Alfonso is an expert in both qualitative and quantitative research designs, fieldwork management, and data analysis.

Research Expertise

Mr Alfonso’s main research interest areas are poverty and sustainable livelihoods, public health and development and governance but he is a well-rounded individual who has been involved in a number of studies in other areas as well. Over the last 8 years he has led and been a team member of largescale research projects in the areas of public health, poverty and sustainable livelihoods, governance and local development, migration and human rights, education policies and systems, global development, social protection, and Political economy. Alfonso has worked on research projects with both local and international researchers and organization that include Centre for Evaluation and Development (Germany), World Bank, Samuel Hall International, African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC, Kenya),University of Notre Dame, University of North Carolina, Programme on Governance and Local Development at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Overseas Development Institute, M&C Saatchi World Services, Girl Effect Malawi, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Afrobarometer, UNICEF Malawi, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and the World Bank. He is currently the Fieldwork Operations Lead for the Afrobarometer Malawi team and Co-investigator on the PROMOTE Project randomized controlled trial evaluating the eeffectiveness of conditional cash transfers, subsidized child care and life skills training on adolescent mothers’ schooling, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health outcomes in Malawi (2022-2024).


  1. Field operations lead: Malawi Afrobarometer survey team (2023-2029)

  2. Co-Investigator: Effectiveness of conditional cash transfers, subsidized child care and life skills training on adolescent mothers’ schooling, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health outcomes in Burkina Faso and Malawi: The PROMOTE Project randomized controlled trial protocol. 2022-2024. Supported by APHRC

  3. Co-Investigator: Children Voices consultation for the development of UNICEF Malawi Programme document 2024-2028. Sociology Department and Centre for Social Research. UNICEF Malawi. (December 2022-February 2023)

  4. Consultant (National Researcher): IOM: The development of a practical guide and a TORs on effectiveness and accessible reporting mechanisms for men and women migrant workers. Samuel Hall International (Sept 2022-January 2023)

  5. Co-Study Coordinator: Community Rapid Assessment of Cholera Outbreak in Malawi for UNICEF Malawi and Ministry of Health (September and October 2022)

  6. Co-investigator: Development of standards for the Child and Youth Friendly Communities Initiative for Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts. In collaboration with Sociology Department supported by UNICEF Malawi (August to November 2022)

  7. Lead Researcher: Evaluation of the Malawi Education Sector Improvement Project- Malawi Public Schools Survey (2020-June 2022). Centre for Evaluation and Development for World Bank and Ministry of Education

  8. Consultant: Impact of Covid-19 on Poverty Ascents and Descents households in Malawi (January to April 2021). Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

  9. Researcher: Collective Action and Solid Waste Collection in Zomba city (2018-2020). Metaketa Project. University of Illinois

  10. Research Team Member: Malawi Pre-Election and Governance Survey (May-June 2020). Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa

  11. Research Team Member: Malawi Covid-19 Survey (April-May 2020). Programme for Governance and Local Development

  12. Field Manager: Governance and Local Development Survey: Understanding Social Institutions in Sub Saharan Africa. Programme for Governance and Local Development; University of Gothenburg, Sweden (September –November 2019)

  13. Consultant: Assessment of Mainstreaming Youth Friendly Health Services on Service Quality and Voluntary Contraceptive Uptake: Measure Evaluation, UNC (Sept-December 2018)

  14. Co-Investigator: Mid line and End line evaluation of the United in Building and Advancing Life Expectations Project (UBALE; Sept-Nov 2018 and August-October 2019)

  15. Consultant: Chifumira Kudzira Community Dialogues Nutrition Project-Story Workshop funded by UNICEF

  16. Researcher: Sociological Analysis of Traditional Authorities in Malawi -USAID (Qualitative and Quantitative study)-March-June 2018)

  17. Researcher: Qualitative research on Malawi Resilience and Sustainable Poverty Escapes. Overseas Development Institute (March-April 2018)

  18. Researcher: Qualitative study on assessing the Institutional Coordination of Malawi’s Social protection Sector. Overseas Development Institute (June-July 2018)

  19. Co-Principal Investigator: Evaluation of Zathu Programme. M&C Saatch for Girl Effect Malawi (September-November 2017)

  20. Field Manager: Understanding the Information Needs, Communication Patterns, Preferences and Media Consumption Habits of Malawian Youth (partnered with M&C Saatch World Services for UNICEF Malawi: November to December 2016)

  21. Field Manager: Chiefs in Democracy Study: A study conducted for Chancellor College’s Political and Administrative Studies department supported by NORHED