Chief of Staff

About AGRA

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was founded in 2006 on the belief that investing in agriculture is the surest path to reducing poverty and hunger in Africa. It works across the continent to help millions of smallholder farmers—who make up 70 percent of Africa’s population—boost their farm productivity and incomes.

AGRA has supported more than 400 projects, including efforts to develop and deliver better seeds, increase farm yields, improve soil fertility, upgrade storage facilities, improve market information systems, strengthen farmers’ associations, expand access to credit for farmers and small suppliers, and advocate for national policies that benefit smallholder farmers.

AGRA aims to play a central role in transforming the agricultural sector in Africa and its food system—in a way that is tailored to conditions in Africa and places a strong emphasis on safeguarding the environment. To that end, AGRA is building an alliance of partners—including farmers and their organizations, governments, agricultural research organizations, the private sector, local nongovernmental organizations, and civil society—to significantly and sustainably improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers, many of whom are women.

Inspired by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call for a uniquely African “green revolution” to improve smallholder farm productivity while preserving the environment, AGRA was founded through a partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It has since expanded its donor base to include governments as well as other international organizations.

AGRA is an independent organization based in Africa and led by Africans. Its board of directors, chaired from the start by Annan, includes influential African political and business leaders as well as scientists and international experts in agriculture and economic development. A team of mostly African professionals with expertise in African agricultural development issues designs and carries out AGRA’s programs.

AGRA’s primary strategy is to facilitate the creation of an efficient African food system through grants and capacity-building assistance to institutions that are helping to improve the productivity of smallholder farmers. AGRA carries out its activities in 16 countries, with a special emphasis on Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The aim is to improve production of staple crops in “breadbasket” areas that have relatively good soil, adequate rainfall, and basic infrastructure, and then replicate successful approaches in other areas and other countries with similar conditions. AGRA also supports programs in Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso, and it has recently ventured into three post-conflict locations: Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

The Role

To oversee the Office of the President and provide support and counsel to the President across the full range of her work – e.g. board relations, external relations, programs and policy, advocacy and communications, and internal management – to best ensure effective execution of all AGRA’s efforts and engagements.

Responsibilities

As part of a dynamic management team, the CoS will:

President Support and Proxy

  • Provide support and counsel to President across all work as appropriate, including meetings, events, trips, strategy and grant reviews, working groups, projects, reading materials, and correspondence
  • Drive the formulation, communication, and rigorous implementation of the President’s priorities within the organization and with external partners
  • Help set the President’s individual priorities, and develop and drive a plan that best prioritizes how she uses her own time and voice to achieve AGRA’s mission, including communication of her priorities within AGRA
  • Support the President’s leadership roles internally and externally, particularly through oversight of her external advocacy, media, profile-building, and thought leadership
  • Work with President to manage critical grantee, partner, and board relationships
  • Staff the President as needed on critical trips and in important meetings
  • Serve as the President’s proxy or liaison within and outside the organization on select programmatic and operational issues

AGRA Leadership and Staff Management

  • Serve as a member of AGRA’s management team
  • Responsible for the planning, execution, and follow up of AGRA management team meetings and retreats
  • Responsible for the planning, execution, and follow up of AGRA all-staff meetings, retreats, and events
  • Support the President in internal communication and change management, working as needed with business partners
  • Serve as key advisor to other AGRA management team members on key challenges and opportunities facing their respective areas, ranging across strategy, implementation, leadership, management, and culture
  • Manage temporary teams focused on cross-organizational issues
  • Backstop vacancies for interim leadership needs in AGRA, as necessary

Office of the President Leadership

  • Manage the Office of the President team
  • Manage the implementation of AGRA’s strategy, ensuring that processes and organizational structures are working optimally to ensure delivery of the strategy
  • Provide direction to teams across the organization (e.g. communications, resource mobilization, and monitoring and evaluation) to best advance priorities related to AGRA’s vision and positioning, brand and reputation, approach to partnerships, and ability to achieve leverage
  • Develop, oversee, and manage budget and investments executed through the President’s Office
  • Work with the Company Secretary to ensure that products for the Board are of high quality
  • Oversee other critical functions for the President’s Office, including management of fellows or advisors, as necessary

High-priority initiatives, projects, investments, and relationships

  • Manage or engage in initiatives/projects that are top priority to the President or AGRA
  • Occasionally take on relationship management for key partners
  • Lead strategic programmatic projects for which President is taking direct ownership/co-ownership
  • Manage a grant/contracts portfolio on behalf of the President
  • Represent AGRA at occasional meetings, events, and forums to build relationships and advance the institution’s priorities

Objectives

  1. Support the President in developing and implementing her individual and organizational priorities and goals for the year
    • Listen, learn, and build relationships to be effective in the role
    • Help President develop and implement priorities, time allocation, plan for travel and voice
    • Maximize President’s effectiveness and enjoyment
  1. Work with President to consolidate AGRA’s management team, staff, and board around a new and exciting vision and era
    • Org Strength: Build on momentum to ensure strong management team and staff aligned with President and strategic priorities
    • AGRA MT Effectiveness: Establish a strong management team to drive org as one team
    • Bring the board along as champions and supporters of AGRA’s new strategy and priorities
  1. Support the implementation of a few priority efforts across the organization
    • Strategy: Help land and communicate a new strategy so a year from now we’re implementing something we’re all happy with
    • Org Structure, Ops, Finance: Help envision and begin the transition to a new org structure and business/operations plan aligned with the strategy, and put in place procedures, controls, etc…
    • Partnerships: Help develop key new partnerships that shape the future of AGRA and its strategy
  1. Lead the Office of the President team and provide strategy support to deliver on priorities
    • Develop and put in place a functioning team, and build relationships and knowledge of functions
    • Begin to tell the AGRA story, solidify AGRA’s institutional identity and reputation, get others onboard, and get at the forefront of what’s happening in African agricultural transformation
    • Board/Donor Support: Bring along core donors with the new strategy and regain their trust and financial support.

If you believe you are the right candidate for this position, kindly submit your application with a detailed CV (including your e-mail address and telephone contacts to recruit@agra.org

AGRA