AGRA

Job Reference: SILO/CESSA/07/2023

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

Specialist, Implementation & Liaison Officer. Job Reference: SILO/CESSA/07/2023

Role Purpose

The Center of Excellence for Seed Systems (CESSA)is one of the Technical Directorates in AGRA. The Seed Systems Assessment Tool (SeedSAT) is a new national seed systems assessment and diagnostic tool for AGRA’s use and implementation.  The SeedSAT tool will become a cornerstone of AGRA’s new Centre for Excellence in Seed Systems (CESSA).  The individual filling this position will work with a larger team to implement recommendations and solutions arising from SeedSAT assessments, with the ultimate goal of supporting African farmers through improved effectiveness and efficiency of national seed systems.  Successful implementation will depend upon building broader implementation partnerships and functional teams including governments, permanent actors in the private sector, and other development partners.  The purpose of this position is to provide the key liaison linkage between AGRA and other partners to successfully implement SeedSAT recommendations in line with Market Systems Development principles, to drive permanent, scalable system change in Africa’s national seed systems.

Role Summary

The position is part of the SeedSAT team within CESSA and reports to the Lead- Analysis & Knowledge Resources.  The individual in this position will serve as the key liaison between SeedSAT/CESSA and the partners essential for implementing the SeedSAT recommendations jointly agreed by AGRA and key national stakeholders, primarily government but also including other stakeholder groups (such as seed trade associations and apex farmer groups) and development partners.  The key rationale for strong government liaison from the outset is recognition that permanent systemic change in seed systems requires government buy-in and ongoing support for the proposed changes.  A highly functional liaison will be key to achieving this.

Internally, the position will coordinate closely with technical specialists for the eight technical SeedSAT thematic areas within CESSA to implement recommended solutions.  These thematic areas are:  Breeding, Variety Release and Maintenance; Early Generation Seed; Quality Commercial Seed Production; Farmer Awareness and Participation; Seed Marketing and Distribution; Policy, Legal and Regulatory; Quality Assurance; and National Planning and Coordination. The position will entail over 75% travel to countries implementing SeedSAT recommendations, ultimately anticipated to include all AGRA focus countries.  

Key Measures of Performance

  • Strong, committed partnerships with national governments to implement SeedSAT recommendations, at both high levels and technical implementation levels.
  • Investment plans developed. 
  • Effective tracking system to list, and track the status of, SeedSAT implementation liaison status, accomplishments, bottlenecks, and resolution of bottlenecks.
  • Positive working relationships and feedback from CESSA thematic area leads, based on collaborative approach to implementing solutions.
  • Positive working relationships and feedback from AGRA Country Teams supporting implementation of CESSA solutions in their countries.
  • Sustainable systemic changes successfully implemented in targeted countries.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Purpose – Liaison

  • As required by the SeedSAT Project Manager, serve as the liaison person for non-government technical and/or development partners.
  • Serve as the key point of contact for implementation of SeedSAT recommendations at a national level with designated government institutions and selected other permanent actor stakeholders.
  • Serve as a key implementation conduit with both CESSA technical specialists and AGRA Country Teams, working jointly with them to ensure timely and effective implementation of SeedSAT recommendations leading to positive systemic change benefiting farmers.

Engagement – Collaborate

  • Develop strong working relationships with the key government individuals and institutions responsible for overseeing and strengthening national seed systems with the goal of jointly bringing about increased effectiveness (in terms of quantity, quality and varietal upgrading) and efficiency (in terms of cost and timeliness) of pluralistic national seed systems, aligned with best seed system practices.
  • Build effective implementation partnerships with national government partners, with a focus on concrete and timely implementation of SeedSAT recommendations jointly selected for implementation by both AGRA and government and private sector partners.
  • Maintain strong knowledge of status of all SeedSAT implementation efforts and when government or other partners are responsible for bottlenecks or slowdowns, work to quickly resolve the issues and advance the work.

Delivery – Manage the Project Cycle

  • Working with the AGRA country teams and the full SeedSAT team, construct and maintain complete lists of critical resource persons, decision makers, and key individuals for implementation support.
  • Develop a clear, easily communicated, tracking mechanism for national government collaboration responsibilities, status, and accomplishments related to implementation of funded SeedSAT recommendations.
  • Prepare all materials required for AGRA updates, budgeting, communications, strategic planning, and other relevant purposes.

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.

Requirements

Academic and Professional Qualifications

  • Masters degree in an agriculture-related field, agricultural economics, and or business paired with relevant experience in agriculture.

Required Skills/Abilities

  • Strong general knowledge of seed systems, including best practices for effective and functional seed systems supporting farmers.
  • Ability to generally, but accurately, understand and communicate about a wide variety of technical seed issues.
  • Proven ability to manage and successfully advance a multi-faceted, multi-country set of responsibilities.
  • Minimum ten years liaison work with government institutions involved in agriculture.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills, including communication with government leaders and other high level stakeholders.
  • Able to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Able to prioritize responsibilities and adhere to deadlines.

Relevant Experience

  • Experience in Development of investment plans/proposals.
  • Experience in Negotiation skills with different donors.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills – fluency in English is a must.
  • Fluency in French is a strong positive but not required. 

Key Competencies

  • Achieving Results: Takes actions that lead to the delivery of set service targets and shows determination to meet the objectives set by others; Keeps track of and measures outcomes against own standards, over and above those set by others; Takes actions that lead to quantifiable service improvements; Manages time and resources efficiently, monitoring progress and making adjustments as necessary.
    • Managing & Sharing Knowledge: Keeps abreast of new developments in own field of competence and maintains personal contact in other parts of the organization with those who provide work- related information; Shares knowledge and learning willingly, and proactively seeks to learn from the experiences of others; Puts new learning into practice and draws on diverse sources of ideas and inspiration; Contributes to the identification of improvements to work processes and assists in implementing them.
  • Accountability:  Accepts personal responsibility for quality and timeliness of work; Takes ownership of all responsibilities within own role and honors commitments to others and to the organization; Operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Takes a conscious effort to learn about different styles of conflict resolution; Is proactive in managing conflict over differences when it arises rather than avoiding it;    Listens actively for the frames of reference and does not prejudge;  Seeks to understand and adapt to different styles when working with those who are different; Treats others as they wish to be treated; Shows readiness to change the way he/she does things to meet the needs of those from diverse backgrounds.
  • Adaptability: Accepts that things will change; Seeks clarification when faced with ambiguity or uncertainty; Demonstrates willingness to try new approaches. Devises plans of action with explicit paths and measures of accomplishment for self and/or others, and allocates suitable resources so that objectives are achieved. Strong administration skills.
  • Stakeholder Focus/Partnerships: Identifies stakeholder needs and expectations; Responds to requests efficiently and effectively; Takes action beyond explicit request within established service standards; Refers complex questions to a higher decision-making level; Meets stakeholder needs in a respectful, helpful and responsive manner; Seeks feedback to develop a clear understanding of stakeholder needs and outcomes; Uses stakeholder satisfaction monitoring methodologies to ensure stakeholder satisfaction; Adjusts service based on stakeholder feedback.
  • Teamwork: Understands the goals of the team and each team member’s role within it; willingly gives support to co-workers and works collaboratively rather than competitively; Shares experiences, knowledge and best practices with team members.

Terms of Appointment

3 Years Fixed Term (Consideration for renewal will be made subject to AGRA’s needs, available funding and performance).

Location

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 recruit@agra.org noting to quote the job reference number in the subject of your email)

To be considered, applications must be received on or before Monday 18th September 2023.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer