Job Reference: SS/CALA/08/2023


About AGRA 

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:

  1. Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation. 
  4. 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.

AGRA’s Vision

To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.

AGRA’s Mission

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.

AGRA’s Strategy

  • 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 optimizing 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?

The Opportunity

Senior Specialist, Institutional Strengthening & Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA). Job Reference: SS/CALA/08/2023


Role Purpose

The Senior Specialist Institutional Strengthening & CALA will act as a day-to-day technical lead responsible for implementation of the Leadership Initiative. He/ She will be responsible for sharing AGRA’s knowledge, experience, and networks, and will work directly with the partners on the design and implementation of the leadership journey including the coaching and mentorship components, curriculum development, the leadership forums, learning trips and digital learning.

Role Summary

S/He serves as a technical officer responsible for coordination of partners to effectively implement program activities to deliver on the results. He/ she will be expected to work closely with the implementing partners, the beneficiary countries, as well as other members of policy and state capability directorate. The key partners will include: The African Management Institute (AMI), the Policy LINK, various governments, private sector organizations and other program partners. S/he will be expected to participate actively in internal and external strategy discussions.  

Key Measures of Performance

  • Number of training events organized / coordinated.
  • Number of leaders trained/ benefited from leadership capacity building activities.
  • Quality of trainings provided.
  • Success of partnership activities forged and implemented under the program.
  • Number of complementary resources mobilized for the initiative.
  • Country level outcomes and impact resulting from leadership capacity building.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Purpose – Transform

  • Develop progress and results tracking matrix for the Leadership Initiative related interventions.
  • Coordinate collaborative activities between AGRA, the African Management Institute (AMI), the Policy LINK and other partners in organizing leadership capacity building activities.
  • Work directly with the partners on the design and implementation of the leadership journey including the coaching and mentorship components, curriculum development, the leadership forums, learning trips and digital learning.
  • Track and monitor implementation of the Action Learnings Projects (ALPs) by participating leaders.
  • Collaborate with other AGRA relevant units in designing new leadership programs, such as Youth Leadership Initiative, Executive Leadership Program and Leadership Initiative for Francophone Countries.
  • Contribute to state capability related proposals, particularly the ones related to enhancement of leadership capacity within the agriculture sector.
  • Enhance, through CALA’s interventions, state capability contribution to the delivery of other AGRA business lines.
  • Produce knowledge products and thought pieces related to leadership capacity building and its implication to agriculture transformation in Africa in focus countries.
  • Track and report outcomes of the leadership support to countries.

Engagement – Compel

  • Develop and coordinate implementation of the annual work plan and budget for the Leadership Initiative.
  • Taking lead in developing Leadership Initiative related proposals with support from respective thematic leads and Country Directors.
  • Providing support in developing training materials and guidelines related to the Leadership Initiative.
  • Organizing Leadership Initiative related workshops and training.
  • Providing capacity building to country teams and relevant AGRA staff on AGRA’s State Capability approach and support to the enhancement of leadership capacity.
  • Documenting good practices on Leadership Capacity Building for the agriculture sector deriving from AGRA’s investment.
  • Analyzing AGRA’s contribution in building State Capability/country and enhancing leadership capacity in the target countries.
  • Contribute to the provision and management of State Capability grants to national governments, regional and international technical assistance providers to deliver on State Capability initiative.
  • Contribute to partnership development with national, regional, and continental partners [i.e., governments, private sector, multilateral and bilateral partners, civil society] operating in the state capability space.
  • Produce program implementation progress reports (Financial and activities report by the program funders).
  • Design coordination reports and briefings.
  • Review and quality assure partners’ deliverables.

Delivery – Define the Project Cycle

  • Continuously refining CALA’s Strategy and its Theory of Change using learnings from initial cohorts.
  • Following up and monitoring the implementation of the Leadership Initiative and producing quality progress reports as required by AGRA, BMZ, as well as to the stakeholders.
  • Design, develop, and deliver capacity building programs, training workshops, and technical assistance initiatives to enhance the capabilities of staff and partner organizations.
  • Provide guidance and support in strengthening governance structures and processes under CALA.
  • Support and facilitate the work of CALA Independent Advisory Committee, in collaboration for dedicated service providers.
  • Establish and maintain effective partnerships with regional institutions, government agencies, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders to leverage resources, share best practices, and collaborate on institutional strengthening initiatives.
  • Develop and implement knowledge management systems to capture, document, and disseminate best practices, lessons learned, and success stories.
  • Learning from implementation of initial cohort, explore opportunities of turning CALA into a Fellowship for greater credibility and recognition. 
  • Lead operationalization of CALA Alumni program.

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

    • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in degree in organizational development, public administration, international development, Agronomy, Sociology, Agriculture and Livestock Sciences, Agricultural Economics, Public Administration, Economics, Rural Development, or any other relevant field.
  • A PhD degree in Agricultural Economics, Organizational Development, Public Administration, or any other related areas will be an added advantage.

Required Skills/Abilities

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and experience in working with a wide range of individuals in government, private sector, and civil society.
  • Deep understanding of the African agricultural development frameworks and stakeholders.
  • Proficient in program management, program design and M&E.
  • Demonstrated experience in resource mobilization.
  • Excellent communication, analytical and writing skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver quality results within strict deadlines. 
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken English. Working knowledge of French will be an advantage.

Relevant Experience

  • Experience linked to the provision of high-level institutional development services/ technical support in agriculture and rural development.
  • Experience in working with multi-stakeholder platforms and processes, or other complex collaboration and partner management platforms across sectors, including agriculture.
  • Experience in strengthening coordination and mutual accountability systems, as well as management of institutional partnerships.
  • Experience in building capacity and capability of government and private sector in Africa, mainly in agriculture sector. 

Key Competencies

  • Achieving Results: 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 longer-term 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 meet 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.

How to Apply

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 noting to quote the job reference number in the subject of your email)

To be considered, applications must be received on or before Thursday 12th October 2023.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer