USAID Grant Jobs – Regional Agriculture Specialist, TOPS Program at Mercy Corps

Organisation: Mercy Corps
Project Name: USAID Technical
and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program
Duty Station: Kampala,
Tracking Code: 219886-927
Reports to: Senior
Agriculture Specialist, TOPS
About US:
Mercy Corps is
an international non-profit organization which implements high-quality,
analytical development programmes in very difficult places. Mercy Corps has
been operating in Uganda since 2006. It has and continues to implement programs
in Acholi and Karamoja sub regions. Mercy Corps is taking a community-led,
market driven approach to address poverty and food insecurity needs through
interventions that get to the root causes and contributing factors of economic
vulnerability. Donors include the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), the European Commission (EC), United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), Walmart Foundation,
Nike Foundation, DFID as well as other private donations.
About USAID TOPS Program:
The Technical
Support Unit (TSU) provides technical expertise to Mercy Corps field programs
to support program development and program quality in several technical
areas.  The Agriculture TSU leads the
Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (ANRM) component of the Technical
and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program. The TOPS Program is the
United States Agency for International Aid (USAID)/Food for Peace (FFP)-funded
learning mechanism that generates captures, disseminates, and applies the
highest quality information, knowledge, and promising practices in development
food assistance programming, to ensure that more communities and households
benefit from the U.S. Government’s investment in fighting global hunger.
Through technical capacity strengthening, a small grants program to fund
research, documentation and innovation, and an in-person and online community
of practice (the Food Security and Nutrition [FSN] Network), The TOPS Program
empowers food security implementers and the donor community to make lasting
impact for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. The TOPS Program is
a consortium program led by Save the Children.
Job Summary: The Regional
Agriculture Specialist will support the USAID TOPS program through the
provision of technical direction of all agriculture and natural resource
management capacity strengthening activities for The TOPS Program in Uganda and
at least four other USAID/FFP countries in East, Central and Southern Africa.
S/he will be a TOPS agriculture and natural resource management representative
to USAID, relevant government entities, and other implementers and stakeholders
in the region, and will ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor
rules and regulations. The Regional Agriculture Specialist will identify key
organizations, networks and individuals that can serve to support knowledge
strengthening at the local level over the long term. Together with the rest of
the TOPS ANRM team, will identify learning models that can be tested and
applied to ensure a knowledge support system at different levels. While
additionally ensuring that TOPS ANRM training activities, tools and guides are
identified, developed and adopted to support this system. During the first
year, the regional advisor will concentrate his/her activities on design for
resilience in smallholder farming systems, but will also support other key
technical areas within agriculture and natural resource management.
Key Duties and Responsibilities: 
Strategy and Vision:
Assist in the development of a vision and strategy
for the program in Uganda and the region
Play a lead role in identifying and developing new
initiatives that foster and improve strategic objectives of the program
Capacity Strengthening and Knowledge Management:
Work closely with local stakeholders, prioritize
specific areas of capacity strengthening within the field of agriculture and
natural resource management.
Identify existing local individuals, organizations
and networks with expertise in strengthening smallholder resilience and
ascertain their capacity levels.
Test out and apply capacity strengthening models
(incorporating training sessions, training of trainers, follow-up support,
knowledge sharing events, knowledge networks and communities of practices) in
Uganda and other USAID/FFP countries in East, Central and Southern Africa.
Ensure an improved integrated knowledge system
incorporating program staff, local organizations and links from local networks
to regional and global networks and information systems.
Ensure capacity strengthening systems support
USAID/FFP program staff, but also local organizations, government systems, and
link to USAID missions.
Actively facilitate implementation of all ANRM TOPS
training sessions, workshops and events in the region.
Identify best and promising practices from USAID/FFP
programs, USAID/Feed the Future programs and other agriculture development
programs and agencies, and research agencies. Actively promote sharing of best
practices, improved links and coordination within country, region and globally
between USAID partners, other donor partners, government and local
Integrate other TOPS consortium technical areas
(nutrition, gender, social behavior change and knowledge management) into
activities as appropriate.
Ensure all relevant TOPS guides, endorsed task force
tools and small grant outputs are adapted and used via the knowledge sharing
Significantly contribute to the advancement of any
ANRM TOPS Small Grants as required.
Supervise and/or review the work of program
Networking & Coordination:
Represent The TOPS Program and Mercy Corps at
government, donor, NGO and other relevant events, in close coordination with
the Senior Agriculture Specialist, TOPS Program and the Country Director. Some
events will be based in Washington D.C., therefore ability to travel to the US
is essential.
Coordinate activities with consortium partners,
local government and other implementers involved in food security.
Work closely with procurement, logistics, security,
administration, and human resources teams to ensure operational systems support
field activities.
Finance and Compliance:
Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps
Maintain systems to ensure effective and transparent
use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with
program, donor and Mercy Corps needs.
Security: Ensure compliance
with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
Perform any other tasks as assigned by the TOPS
Senior Agriculture Specialist.
Qualifications, Skills and
The ideal candidate should preferably hold a good
university degree in agriculture (MS, MA or above) together with at least
At least five to seven years’ experience in
agriculture development, including field experience.
Previous experience in supporting USAID/FFP
programs, both at the headquarters and field level is essential.
Past experience in knowledge management in relation
to agriculture and natural resource management, including: leading and
facilitating training events; developing tools, guides and manuals;
facilitating consultations and other knowledge sharing events; and leading technical
working groups, using web-based knowledge management tools, facilitating
development partner and donor consultations.
Demonstrated knowledge of a wide range of
agricultural sectors including: natural resource management,
agriculture-nutrition linkages, market development, and monitoring and
evaluation of agriculture activities to improve data collection and analysis.
Working knowledge of other technical areas as they
relate to agriculture and natural resource management including social behavior
change, gender and nutrition.
Excellent reporting, presenting and verbal
communications skills.
Involvement in previous TOPS program capacity
strengthening activities a plus.
The successful applicant will possess technical
expertise in the agriculture sector combined with experience working within
food security and knowledge management programs, specifically knowledge of and
experience working with USAID/FFP funded projects is essential.
Significant experience in assessing agricultural
information, developing agriculture technical tools, training agricultural
staff and facilitating implementer and donor consultations, using the web to
disseminate technical knowledge and monitoring small grants.
S/he will be self-motivated and able to think
creatively about achieving capacity strengthening objectives for global,
multi-organizational target audience.
The incumbent should have skills in networking and
relationship building skills
Possess the ability to represent the organization at
formal and informal functions and meetings. S/he will be is resilient and
remain calm under pressure.
Strong commitment to teamwork and accountability,
thrive in evolving and changing environments and make effective written and
verbal communication a priority in all situations.
Personal Competencies:
·         Organizational Learning: 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.

How to Apply:
All suitably
qualified and interested candidates who wish to join Mercy Corps in the
aforementioned capacity are encouraged to Apply Online by clicking on link

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