Program / Department Summary
USAID's Office of Food For Peace recently awarded funding to a Mercy Corps-led consortium of Kenyan and international partners for a 5-year Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) in Turkana and Samburu Counties. Through a phased approach that emphasizes evidence gap analysis, as well as partnership, learning, and co-creation with government, civil society, communities, and the private sector, this program aims to drive sustained reductions in acute malnutrition in both counties.
The Mercy Corps’ NAWIRI consortium brings together the global leadership, research capacity, technical expertise, and implementation experience necessary to partner with local institutions to test, adapt, and scale evidence-based solutions. The program requires a robust county-centered design with government leadership, active engagement from communities, the private sector, and civil society. Together we will sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition for vulnerable populations in Turkana and Samburu counties.
General Position Summary
The Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor will provide overall technical leadership and vision for agriculture-based livelihoods for improved nutrition in Turkana and Samburu. S/He will provide in-depth technical guidance and mentoring in climate-smart agriculture (fruits, vegetables, field crops, livestock) and natural resources management (namely rangelands) approaches for NAWIRI activities in Samburu and Turkana. The Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor will partner closely with program leadership, other technical leads, research and learning leads and field teams to ensure climate-smart approaches are integrated into the design and implementation of program activities. S/He will work closely with relevant county government officials to prioritise activities and investments.
This position requires a technical lead that understands the tightly interconnected relationship between natural resources management, agriculture-based (crops & livestock) livelihoods, seasonality, risk and resilience and the sustained nutrition of women and children in the arid and semi-arid lands in Turkana and Samburu. S/He will be responsible for the development of high quality implementation strategies and plans for the agricultural sector. The strategies and plans will include tools for participatory planning, implementation and monitoring of the sector strategies and plans. The Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor will be responsible for providing technical support and strategic direction to Field Directors and field-based livelihoods staff who oversee programme implementation.
Essential Job Functions
VISION AND STRATEGY
- Support the Deputy Chief of Party (DCoP) by providing vision and strategy to the program’s agriculture (crop & livestock) and natural resources management approach and how it integrates into the overall technical direction and implementation.
- Forge strong, institutional linkages and maintain a productive working relationship with USAID, Government of Kenya, the CRS consortium, PREG Partners, and other relevant partners in agriculture and NRM-related activities.
- Assist in defining and analyzing NAWIRI practices and priorities across all partners; identifying opportunities for integration and synergies within other sectors such as nutrition, health, alternative livelihoods, and governance.
- Recognize opportunities for innovative action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed; promote and model a culture of learning and adaptive management.
- Ensure that cross-cutting aspects of the program such as nutrition, gender equity, social inclusion, youth, and water systems are included and well integrated into the agriculture resilience strategy and activities.
- Collaborate with different program components including research, implementation, monitoring & evaluation (M&E) and learning to drive overall effectiveness and coherence of program strategy. Represent NAWIRI at all relevant drylands -related meetings/workshops and other stakeholder meetings as requested
- Upon start-up, review all program documents and relevant literature including county plans and priorities.
- Lead agriculture resilience thinking and collaborate with learning and technical leads to finalize a learning agenda and design pilot activities. Design will be based on technical expertise, county priorities, and evidence gaps in knowledge and understanding.
- Participate in the value chains and climate risk assessments to prioritise climate-smart livelihoods
- Coordinate the provision of tailor-made information to producers on crop/livestock suitability, climate risks and cost effectiveness/viability of interventions;
- Identify and analyse the barriers for the uptake of climate smart technologies and formulate recommendations to government and CBO implementation partners.
- Co-design climate smart interventions based on farming systems approaches and farmer typology and profiling.
- Partner with the Alternative Livelihoods and Inclusive Markets Advisor to develop and train in the use of household economies analysis tools and templates that include season risk and recovery costs and opportunities.
- Support the testing of profitable climate smart innovations with smallholder farmers in collaboration with the research partners;
- Contribute technical expertise that feeds into a dynamic community of practice of NAWIRI staff and partners; sharing best practices across all NAWIRI areas and workstreams, while seeking opportunities to build NAWIRI staff’s capabilities.
- Where need is identified, recruit and manage internal MC or external technical experts to provided added depth of knowledge in climate smart crop husbandry and livestock technologies and techniques, rangeland management, post harvest handling and food preservation, or similar issues that may require greater technical understanding.
- Collaborate closely with NAWIRI Research and Learning teams to adapt as needed based on incoming information.
- Use learning to develop and scale up implementation strategy, approaches and activities; integrating agriculture resilience into additional technical areas as needed.
- Assist in activity budgeting and target setting.
- Provide direct training and other capacity-building assistance to NAWIRI staff, field teams and partners.
- Work with Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) partners to strengthen linkages with other actors to enhance organizational learning which directly impacts staff performance and productivity. In the event of a natural disaster, lead design and budgeting of livelihood protection and recovery emergency response activities
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Coordinate with the NAWIRI team in the Nairobi and counties to build systems that promote participant accountability by ensuring that those most impacted by ag-based livelihood issues are represented during program-facilitated community dialogue events, assessments and activities.
- Collaborate with county leadership and lead county-based agriculture, livestock and natural resources staff to ensure that communities are informed about our programs and what we do, are comfortable giving feedback and that feedback is used to improve the quality of our programs.
- Coordinate closely with Institutional Strengthening Lead to strengthen the technical knowledge, information analysis, prioritization, budgeting and cross-sectoral integration of relevant county government officials and local organizations.
- Develop and implement plans to mentor and coach colleagues to build their capacity to enable them to develop high quality reports and other documents. Collaborate with NAWIRI learning team to develop and maintain a culture of learning between programs through consistent sharing during reflection points and through analysis and interpretation of M&E data, processes and systems
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING
- Support the integration of geo-spatial data analysis for learning, decision making and monitoring.
- Collaborate with M&E team to develop and implement a relevant monitoring and tracking systems.
- In coordination with the learning team, manage the institutional knowledge within the NAWIRI program and contribute to wider knowledge management;
- As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO BENEFICIARIES
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
- Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues
Technical oversight of field based activities undertaken by NAWIRI staff and partners.
- Reports Directly To: Deputy Chief of Party, NAWIRI
- Works Directly With: Strategic Learning Lead, Research Design Lead, Institutional Strengthening Lead, the M&E team, partner agencies, local government, USAID and support departments (Finance, HR and Operations). Coordinates with HQ Program Performance team and the Technical Support Unit (TSU)
Knowledge and Experience
- Advanced degree in a drylands agriculture, livestock production, agro-ecology, environment, natural resources management, or resilience program.
- A minimum of 5 years experience in a technical role on an international development program related to food security and nutrition.
- 3 or more years experience working in rural economies in the ASAL counties highly required.
- Experience on a USAID-funded program preferred
- Demonstrated expertise and ability to investigate and provide consultative services on a broad range of technical questions and policy issues including natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, extensive livestock production, pastoralism and policy reform.
- Demonstrable familiarity with Kenya’s ASAL, agriculture, livestock and natural resources sectors political and policy environment.
- Proficient analytical skills that demonstrate an understanding of the current concepts, priorities, and issues in program monitoring, data collection, and evaluation.
- Experience in the design or implementation of formative or implementation research with qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methodologies required.
- Highly developed written and oral communications skills as well as strong interpersonal communication and team building skills to ensure effective coordination within USAID and effective advocacy of Agency positions externally with both specialist as well as non-specialist audiences.
- Advanced computer skills and experience developing data management systems.
- Team player who takes initiative and is a problem-solver.
- Effective verbal and written communication, multitasking and organizational skills.
- Ability to manage priorities autonomously
A successful Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor will be a master trainer with the ability to effectively build capacity across team members and partners. S/he will have demonstrated ability to follow procedures and meet deadlines with flexibility and creativity in planning and problem solving. The Climate Smart Agriculture Advisor will have proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative and be accountable for results.