SCALE Collaboration & Learning Specialist for Agriculture/NRM - Technical Support Unit

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy



Country: United States of America
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 23 Feb 2021

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program / Department / Team Summary

The Strengthening Capacity in Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Environment (SCALE) program is a five-year Associated Award funded by the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) through the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program. SCALE is designed to further improve the impact, sustainability, and scalability of BHA’s programming in agriculture, natural resource management, and alternative livelihoods in emergency and development settings. Specifically, the program focuses on sustainable and climate-sensitive approaches that foster resilient agricultural systems, and enhance income opportunities within or outside agricultural systems. This program is managed through Mercy Corps’ Agriculture Technical Support Unit (TSU) and is in its fourth year.

The Position

The SCALE Collaboration and Learning Specialist - Agriculture / NRM will coordinate with the Program Director to implement the information sharing, research, and learning component of the SCALE program in agriculture, natural resource management, and off-farm livelihoods for both emergency and development settings. They will be responsible for implementing a sustainable knowledge sharing and learning strategy adapted to the needs of staff at different levels. This includes documenting and sharing best practice and lessons learned, developing guidance documents based on lessons learned, supporting research activities, facilitating communities of practice around specific technical areas, facilitating communication with technical networks, other USAID awards, and local partners/institutions; and leading technical knowledge-sharing events at HQ and field levels.

Essential Responsibilities

STRATEGY & PLANNING

  • Contribute to the development and adjustment of SCALE’s knowledge sharing and learning strategy, adapting as needed to ensure SCALE’s work is responsive to implementers’ needs.
  • Contribute to industry work in agriculture, NRM and alternative livelihoods by using a systems-based learning approach: incorporate and share key scientific and development research, build strong networks of learning partners at HQ and within BHA implementing countries, and establish sustainable sharing and learning mechanisms to enhance program impact.
  • Build external visibility on relevant technical areas.

PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

  • Identify, document and share best practice and lessons learned related to agriculture and NRM interventions taking place in, or relevant to, BHA-funded development and emergency programs. Develop tools and guidance documents based on lessons learned.
  • Facilitate communities of practice (including via peer-to-peer discussions, Facebook group, etc), building participants’ capacity to sustainably continue their functioning after SCALE ends.
  • Lead SCALE’s Creative Adaptation Award process and Facilitator of the Year Initiative, recognizing innovative programming pivots and outstanding trainers within the food security community.
  • Lead knowledge sharing events at HQ and field levels, remotely and in-person. Ensure delivery of learning activities on time, target and budget, using M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
  • Contribute to research, assessments and influential analyses of technologies, practices and approaches taking place in, or relevant to, BHA-funded programs.
  • Identify and disseminate relevant research studies and findings from academia and other external stakeholders. Help to incorporate those best practices and learnings into SCALE’s work.
  • Identify the need for, and support the development of, contracts for specialist consultants during program implementation.
  • Contribute to the maintenance of systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to the needs of BHA implementing partners and USAID missions and consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
  • Ensure all interventions adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and beneficiary accountability standards.

MONITORING, EVALUATION & IMPACT MEASUREMENT

  • Implement activities to assess and document the impact of knowledge sharing and learning and interventions.
  • Support the maintenance of SCALE’s M&E systems, including ensuring data is accurately captured, organized and available for adaptive management and reporting.

FINANCE & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT

  • Ensure compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps regulations.
  • Draft and/or review scopes of work to hire and manage any technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.
  • Contribute to quarterly and annual reports to USAID.

REPRESENTATION, THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AND PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

  • Identify, build and manage strategic partnerships with USAID (within and outside DC) and USAID-funded programs, as well as with relevant partner programs, networks and stakeholders.
  • Represent SCALE and Mercy Corps with different stakeholders, in relevant practitioner and learning networks and at key events, as well as through developing industry wide papers, conference presentations, and online fora.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall program targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Actively engage in internal relationship building.
  • Work with the team to maintain a strong roster of consulting resources to fill technical needs that are not available in house.

Supervisory Responsibility

N/A

Accountability

Reports Directly To: SCALE Program Director

Works Directly With: SCALE Agriculture Advisor - Capacity Strengthening and other SCALE part-time staff, Agriculture and other relevant TSU, Save the Children PRO-WASH associate award staff, IDEAL staff and other BHA-funded mechanisms such as IMPEL and PCS.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in agriculture, food security or related field.
  • At least 6 years of relevant work experience.
  • Additional background/expertise in any of the following: natural resource management, agroecology, permaculture, agricultural markets, social and behavioral change methodologies.
  • A minimum of 4 years of experience leading knowledge sharing activities and developing learning resources for international development and/or emergency projects, preferably related to food security or agriculture programs.
  • Prior experience conducting research, assessments and analyses within international development programming a plus.
  • Experience designing, developing and disseminating tools, case studies and/or technical briefs for multiple audiences (HQ staff and donors, program participants, technical advisors, etc.)
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with stakeholders and networks across multiple agencies, countries and contexts to identify learnings, facilitate discussions and document findings.
  • Proven ability to lead sustainable communities of practice a plus.
  • Experience working directly with USAID at HQ and within USAID implementing country contexts preferred.
  • French fluency preferred

Success Factors

The successful applicant will balance in-depth technical expertise in the agriculture sector with implementation of knowledge-sharing activities. Strong understanding of knowledge management systems as well as practical implementation of programs to ensure knowledge sharing, learning and uptake is grounded in practical reality is essential. The successful applicant will have the drive and confidence to innovate, and a true ambition to build and capture knowledge as a means to improve program quality. Strong networking, listening, communication and negotiations skills are essential to the success of this role. They will be self-motivated and able to think creatively about achieving learning objectives for a global, multi-organizational target audience. The most successful Mercy Corps staff members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and verbal communication a priority in all situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position may include travel to USAID/BHA implementation countries, which may include program areas of sometimes high security risk. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. 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.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

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