AGRA and its Work
AGRA is an African-led institution that actively supports the drive towards inclusive agricultural transformation and sustainable food systems. We do this by empowering the continent’s 33 million smallholder farming households to transform their agriculture from a struggle to survive to profitable businesses. The continent’s farmers regularly face challenges, and we aspire to provide uniquely African solutions that respond to their agricultural and environmental challenges, leading to increased harvests for reduced hunger and more income.
Working in alignment with the development priorities of our focus countries, we enable farmers to access improved and high-yielding seeds, gain knowledge on sustainable farming, and linkages to profitable markets.
In our work, we aspire to build the alliances, partnerships, and networks required to drive an inclusive agricultural transformation. We work with our partners to create an equitable youth-friendly environment that harnesses the youth dividend on the continent to drive growth and facilitate open employment opportunities for young women and men. We achieve our key objectives through a focus on the following four areas of intervention:
- Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation.
- Seed systems – We trigger higher productivity by increasing the availability and access to improved seeds by farmers allowing them to increase their harvests for food security and better incomes.
- Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation.
- Inclusive markets and trade – We work to increase the linkages between farmers, and other market actors for a positive, sustained cycle of commercialization and reinvestment.
AGRA’s 2030 Strategy
The continent has, in recent years, taken steps towards inclusive agricultural transformation resulting in notable improvements in food security, with clear progress across all AGRA’s focus countries. However, with over 20% of Africans still suffering from hunger, we need to accelerate our progress and mitigate against the growing external pressures of conflict and climate on our food systems.
AGRA 2022-2030 Strategic Framework (SF2030) demonstrates our long-term vision for how we intend to contribute to, and align with, global and continental priorities, applying a food systems lens towards the goals of zero hunger, improved nutrition, an end to poverty, and climate adaptation. We have split our Strategic Framework 2030 into two 5-year strategies so that we have a clear mid-way point to evaluate progress and re-route our strategic focus if necessary. Our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan sets out to catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where the private sector thrives, and smallholders are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.
To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.
To catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where private sector thrives, and smallholder farmers are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.
- Empowering and building the resilience of small holder farmers
- Supporting the development of inclusive markets and finance to strengthen agricultural systems.
- Strengthening state capability to sustain agricultural transformation.
Implementing Our New Strategy Through People
AGRA is at the threshold of a new chapter where we begin implementing our new strategy of catalyzing inclusive, resilient and sustainable agricultural transformation. At AGRA we believe Agriculture is the single greatest opportunity to deliver inclusive economic growth, jobs, and health to the African continent.
People are the heart of our organisation and remain the true drivers of our delivery and our impact.
We are excited about a new fit-for-purpose organizational structure that is largely driven by an ambition to enhance collaboration across teams and drive sustainable growth. We have therefore purposed more focus on delivery of country programs within the new strategy giving even greater attention to optimising existing talent in addition to upscaling technical and operational resources.
We work with incredible people and partners who have roots in farming communities across the continent combined with an inclusive and diverse workforce from over 24 nationalities. Our values of (I-RISE; Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Equity) espouse our commitment to a call to action to go beyond ourselves as we arise and transform Africa’s Agriculture.
We are looking for people who are passionate about Africa, curious and collaborative to join our innovative, growing, and multidisciplinary team. Together, we can grow Africa’s food systems improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Want to join us?
Head – Youth Employment in Agriculture
The Head – Youth Employment in Agriculture has the responsibility in providing strategic leadership and guidance to AGRA’s youth-focused initiatives. The program aims to directly create up to 1.5 million dignified and fulfilling work opportunities for youth within the agricultural sector through two main employment pathways – on farm and off farm.
The Head – Youth employment in Agriculture is an exciting position responsible for providing leadership and subject matter expertise to AGRA and implementing partners on youth and young women employment.
The program is implemented at two mutually reinforcing levels: The Continental pillar includes work on strengthening regional and continental policies to enable youth work opportunities, strengthening mandated institutions to support youth employment and entrepreneurship efforts as well as climate adaptation and mitigation that improves resilience of young men and women in targeted value chains. The country pillar involves direct program delivery efforts that support job-creation around diversifying inclusive markets and trade, supporting sustainable agriculture productivity, access to capital and finance for the youth, as well as more ecosystem positioning initiatives like youth participation in governance and decision making and policy coordination for youth engagement. The candidate will primarily drive AGRA’s work at continental level and give expert advice to country teams as well.
Key Measures of Performance
The performance of this role holder will be assessed based on the achievements on:
- The quality of technical advisory and implementation of the AGRA youth employment strategy and the AGRA-Mastercard Foundation program strategies at macro, meso, and micro levels.
- An innovative youth employment program that taps into AGRA’s agrifood systems business approach to address youth unemployment and meet the outreach, youth in work, and youth in dignified and fulfilling work opportunities ambition.
- Youth continental programs that are delivered within allocated budgets, with an oversight of expenditure to ensure value for money.
- Youth program that is supported by relevant stakeholders to promote youth employment in the agriculture sector, including advocating for policies that create an enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship, skills development, sustainable farming, inclusive markets, and access to finance.
- Youth and young women programs that are well nuanced in the climate adaptation and mitigation that improves resilience of young men and women in targeted value chains
Major Duties and Responsibilities
Purpose – Transform
- Provide strategic leadership and guidance to AGRA’s youth-focused initiatives, ensuring alignment with AGRA’s overall mission and objectives.
- Identify and promote innovative approaches to address youth unemployment in the agriculture sector and design, implement, and manage youth-focused programs, projects, and initiatives that enhance agricultural productivity, market access, and youth employment opportunities.
- Manage and coordinate the continental program to deliver on the AGRA youth strategy. Have an oversight of expenditure to ensure value-for-money within budget limits. Ensuring compliance with internal and external expectations for fiscal management including financial reporting requirements to the AGRA finance team.
- Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to promote youth employment in the agriculture and agrifood sector, including advocating for policies that create an enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship, skills development, and access to finance. Identify and support initiatives that enhance youth access to agricultural markets and value chains.
- Design and promote innovative Agri-climate entrepreneurship resulting in green jobs, climate financing, climate innovation hubs and related innovative work in agriculture and agrifood systems -climate nexus.
Engagement – Compel
- Inspiring implementing partners, grantees and like-minded organizations to join forces towards creating jobs opportunities in the countries and systemic change towards entrepreneurship on behalf of young Agripreneurs in the AGRA countries.
- Engaging and aligning key leaders to a common vision for Agripreneurship and activating them as advocates at country and continental levels.
- Enables talent management and development of existing staff, acquiring of new staff as necessary and manages team dynamics to ensure high-performance and positive employee experience.
- Communicates results through presentations, written and verbal communication.
Delivery – Define Project Cycle
- Leadership: Provide strategic leadership and guidance to AGRA’s youth-focused initiatives, ensuring alignment with AGRA’s overall mission and objectives. Foster a culture of innovation, collaboration, and accountability within the youth team.
- Strategy Development: Develop a comprehensive youth strategy aligned with AGRA’s mission and objectives, focusing on youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, leadership development, and employment in agriculture.
- Program Design and Implementation: Design, implement, and manage youthfocused programs, projects, and initiatives that enhance agricultural productivity, market access, and youth employment opportunities. Identify and promote innovative approaches to address youth unemployment in the agriculture sector. This includes unpacking the program contracting, inception, annual workplans, budgets, as well as overseeing implementation of the strategy and workplan at continental and country level towards attaining quantitative and qualitative targets for AGRA-MCF program.
- Financial management and budget control: Managing and coordinating the continental and countries annual budget to deliver on the AGRA youth strategy. Have an oversight of expenditure to ensure value-for-money within budget limits. Ensuring compliance with internal and external expectations for fiscal management including and financial reporting requirements to the AGRA finance team.
- Partnership Engagement: Build strategic partnerships with youth organizations, government agencies, NGOs, private sector entities, financial institutions and other stakeholders to leverage resources and expertise for youth employment in agriculture. Collaborate with key stakeholders to create an enabling environment for youth employment and entrepreneurship in the sector.
- Youth Leadership Development: Design and implement initiatives that empower youth particularly young women leaders in agriculture and agrifood systems, fostering their skills, knowledge, and networks. Support the development of mentorship programs, internships, and training opportunities for youth in the agriculture sector.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: Develop robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks to assess the impact and effectiveness of youth programs and initiatives and ensure timely reporting of results. Utilize data and feedback to continuously improve program outcomes and inform decision-making. Adapting the workplan to embrace the new evidence, learnings and insights from the ecosystem, evidence and platforms function of the program. Quarterly and annual narrative reporting on progress to the different levels of AGRA.
- Knowledge Sharing: Promote knowledge exchange and learning among youth, facilitating the dissemination of best practices, success stories, and lessons learned in youth-led agriculture. Support the documentation and sharing of innovative approaches in youth employment and leadership development.
- Resource Mobilization: Identify and secure funding opportunities through grant proposals, partnerships, and donor engagement to support AGRA’s youth programs and initiatives. Work closely with the Resource Mobilization team to develop compelling proposals and engage with potential donors.
- Labor market and Youth Employment: Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to promote youth employment in the agriculture and agrifood sector, including advocating for policies that create an enabling environment for youth and young women entrepreneurship, skills development, and access to finance. Identify and support initiatives that enhance youth access to agricultural markets and value chains.
Model the IRISE Values & Be a Culture Carrier
- Integrity: Uphold moral convictions and always doing the right thing.
- Respect: Value differences and embrace diversity and inclusion.
- Innovation: Strive for excellence and embracing continuous improvement, bold creativity, and change.
- Stewardship: Be responsible for actions undertaken and resources entrusted.
- Equity: Be governed by fairness in all undertakings.
Academic and Professional Qualifications
- Minimum of Master’s (Ph.D. is a strong selling point) in labor economics, agriculture economics, agribusiness management, or any relevant qualification with a focus on trade, market systems, and or economic policy.
- Strong analytical skills and demonstrable ability to engage government, development partners, and private sector.
- Fluency in English is required, and knowledge of French and/or Portuguese is an added advantage.
- Strong strategic leader with an experience in developing and managing strong partnerships and relationships inside and outside the organization, managing conflicts, and building consensus.
- Comfortably engages with senior decision-makers within organization and constructively challenges.
- Strong relationships with key national, regional, and international partners working on youth employment in agriculture, trade, and market systems development.
- Familiarity with green jobs, climate-related entrepreneurship, Aware of the new opportunities and priorities for youth development in agriculture.
- Extensive experience in labour market economics or agriculture economics focused Agri labour market, agribusiness analysis, advisory, project/business management and government engagement is essential.
- Strong understanding of Africa’s landscape as it relates to youths and women participation in agriculture, agrifood businesses, and intra-regional food market and trade.
- Colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
- Achieving Results Effectively: Shows determination to achieve goals over time; resists any pressure to be deflected from this attainment; Prepares to challenge others and address poor performance where this is impacting on effective service delivery; Takes calculated risks, based on learning and experience, to achieve longerterm service improvements.
- Managing & Sharing Knowledge: Encourages knowledge-sharing across units/departments and ensures that knowledge is captured, recorded, and disseminated appropriately; Demonstrates individual responsibility for defining and delivering on the organization’s priorities; Takes others’ perspectives into account when communicating, negotiating, or presenting arguments; Keeps teams informed of decisions and directives of senior management and communicates them in a manner that ensures understanding and acceptance. Seeks and documents knowledge acquired during implementation and sharing within/without the organization to contribute to achievement of the overall organizational goals.
- Accountability: Proactively seeks responsibility in delivering towards the goals of the organization with appropriate stakeholders; Plans and organizes work with a clear and deliberate focus, ensuring commitments are easily identified and progress is widely communicated; Stands by the actions of team or department, publicly accepting ownership; Takes responsibility of own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
- Diversity & Inclusion: Takes every opportunity to ensure that project teams and work groups are diverse; Encourages and capitalizes on the diverse contributions and strengths of team members; Practices inclusive behaviors in groups and intervenes with sensitivity when exclusionary behaviors occur; Encourages innovation and creativity in the workplace; Embraces diversity as a resource to benefit the organization and its members; Supports systems, procedures, and practices which promote diversity in the workplace; Leverages the benefits differences can add.
- Adaptability: Publicly supports and adapts to major/fundamental changes that show promise of improving established ways of operating; Seeks opportunities for change in order to achieve improvement in work processes, systems, etc.; Maintains composure and shows self-control in the face of challenges and change; Adapts to new ideas and initiatives across a wide variety of issues or situations; Shifts priorities, changes style and responds with new approaches as needed to deal with new or changing demands.
- Stakeholder Focus/Partnerships: Tracks trends and developments that will affect own organization’s ability to meet current and future stakeholder needs; Identifies benefits for stakeholders; looks for ways to add value; Seeks out and involves clients or prospective stakeholders in assessing services, solutions or products to identify ways to improve; Establishes service standards and develops strategies to ensure staff meets them; Creates stakeholder-centric processes for others to use; that are relevant and efficient; Networking – Ability to establish mutually beneficial relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.
- Teamwork: Fosters a sense of team spirit by developing a shared understanding, accountability, and enthusiasm for the team’s work; Displays a high level of cultural awareness, sensitivity to different ways of working and leverages individual’s strengths in order to build a better team; Shares credit for team accomplishments and ensures that the contribution of others is recognized; Helps created a positive team spirit, putting aside personal considerations to help the team achieve its goals.
Terms of Appointment
3 Years Fixed Term (Consideration for renewal will be made subject to AGRA’s needs, available funding and performance)
Based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel, approximately 30% per month/year.
How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 4th October 2023. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by AGRA to undertake this assignment.