Agriculture & Nutrition Specialist
Helen Keller International
Agriculture & Nutrition Specialist
Established in 1915 with Helen Keller as a founding trustee, Helen Keller International (HKI) works to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Headquartered in New York City, HKI offers programs in 21 countries in Africa and Asia as well as in the United States. The organization combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research. Each year, our programs directly benefit millions of people, and children are a primary concern. HKI programs address malnutrition, cataract, trachoma, onchocerciasis, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy. HKI has over 600 staff and an annual budget of over $57 million.
Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) is a 5-year $200 million cooperative agreement that has been awarded by USAID to John Snow International (JSI) as prime; HKI is one of several consortium partners.
In support of the USG’s increased commitment to nutrition and food security, SPRING promotes appropriate policies and programs that enhance country nutrition programs to reach vulnerable populations, especially women, infants, and young children. It is expected to provide technical assistance to accelerate action on nutrition policies, build the capacity of countries to design, implement and evaluate nutrition programs, build the evidence-base for nutrition, promote effective delivery of a core package of nutrition interventions, and emphasize country-specific approaches to scale up nutrition programs. SPRING staff are also tasked with facilitating partner coordination and collaboration in countries with other USG activities and with national stakeholders.
HKI has a long history of designing and implementing agriculture-nutrition program models and thus will be managing SPRING’s Agriculture-Nutrition Specialist position. A substantial portion of this position is budgeted to SPRING and the rest to the Program department of HKI. It will be housed in the JSI offices in Arlington, VA with other members of the SPRING consortium including two other HKI staff. The position will report to the Deputy Project Director for SPRING duties, and to HKI’s Senior Vice President, Programs for other assignments. There is flexibility for this position to be hired at a reduced level of effort (70 – 80%) with full benefits.
Scope of the Position
SPRING duties: The Agriculture and Nutrition Specialist is responsible for leading SPRING’s effort to identify, create, and strengthen the contribution of agriculture to better health, through improved nutrition for women and children. S/he will be responsible for providing technical and strategic leadership at all levels from policy analysis to program design in developing SPRING’s strategies and approaches to better leverage farming and agriculture systems to improve nutrition outcomes. Working with country programs in USAID or Feed the Future priority countries as well as global partners in the public, private and civil society sectors, s/he will be responsible for compiling experiences and tools on agricultural programming for nutrition outcomes, designing field programs, supporting design and implementation of strategies, undertaking relevant policy analysis and developing advocacy efforts based on these with aim to increase investments in agriculture in USAID or Feed the Future priority countries that also support nutritional gains and outcomes. S/he is responsible for promoting a broad vision for the role of agriculture in supporting nutrition and strengthening SPRING supported country programs.
HKI duties: The Agriculture and Nutrition Specialist will provide technical support and leadership to expand and strengthen HKI’s program portfolio in food security and agriculture.
- Design, monitor, test and evaluate programs and strategies that leverage agriculture for improved nutrition outcomes.
- Ensure focus remains on small holder and women farmers with attention given to design dimensions of gender and equity, community involvement, local farming systems, the role of markets and value added processes.
- Provide technical assistance and training to implementing partners and field programs, build capacity of local organizations to adopt and apply effective agriculture/nutrition strategies into their programs. This includes: developing, adapting and/or applying training methods, curricula, indicators and monitoring systems related to nutrition that are relevant to agriculture programs/policies and build capacity among public and private sector agriculture partners.
- Develop ways to employ behavior centered approaches (including mass media, small group and interpersonal communications) to merge and strengthen relevant nutrition and agriculture behaviors.
- Serve as the project liaison with relevant agriculture/nutrition communities and fora including identifying and compiling most promising tools and field approaches aimed at maximizing nutritional outcomes of agriculture programs and policies
- Partner Networking and Advocacy. Represent HKI at meetings (including InterAction’s Food Security and Agriculture working group) concerning food security, agriculture and nutrition and in related coalitions at the global and regional levels.
- Resource Mobilization. Assist, as requested, in proposal writing, identifying partnership possibilities and maintaining strong relationships with existing donors and cultivating new donors.
- Community of Practice and Information Dissemination. Maintain and further develop the Agency’s international role in addressing under-nutrition through food security and agriculture by assisting HKI to:
- document and publish/present relevant programmatic findings and lessons learned;
- develop a functional “communities of practice” (COP) for our staff to ensure the integration of best practices and lessons learned across countries and into the new generation of programs; and
- prepare articles for inclusion in regional information dissemination networks (e.g. Nutrition News for Africa) and/or peer-reviewed publications.
- Technical Assistance / Monitoring and Evaluation. Provide, as requested, technical assistance in leveraging agriculture for nutrition to HKI country programs including aspects of monitoring and evaluation.
- Minimum of 5-7 years’ experience in conducting food or agriculture policy analysis, designing/implementing/evaluating agriculture-nutrition programs and/or providing such technical assistance, plus a minimum of a Masters in agriculture/agronomy, farming systems, food policy or nutrition, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- Proven experience in building coalitions and partnerships in agriculture and nutrition.
- Hands on experience in developing countries designing and evaluating programs that address agriculture nutrition interactions.
- Demonstrated understanding of the socio-cultural issues and nuances of working in communities and with vulnerable populations.
- Professional experience interacting with at least one of the following: community based organizations, NGOs, host country governments, or other relevant stakeholders.
- Excellent written and oral communications and negotiating skills
- Strong initiative and self-motivation required, with a commitment to teamwork and effectiveness within a nonhierarchical, participatory management environment.
- Proven ability to write clearly, concisely and under tight deadlines essential including a track record in successful resource mobilization and publications in peer-reviewed journals and other influential media.
- Ability to make oral presentations and effectively communicate to different types of international and national audiences.
- Demonstrated competence to assess priorities and manage a variety of activities in a time sensitive environment and meet deadlines with attention to detail and quality.
- Ability and willingness to travel internationally.
- High level of competency in research design, data collection, analysis and interpretation (both quantitative and qualitative techniques) used in monitoring & evaluation.
- Specific technical expertise, or in-depth knowledge in horticulture and/or small animal husbandry.
- Specific technical expertise in gender, especially women in agriculture.
- Specific experience in community nutrition programming, including related behavior change techniques.
- Experience with USAID contracts, regulations, and grant-making.
- Proficiency in French, Spanish, or other major foreign language.
Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to email@example.com noting the position title in the subject line.
All external applicants must be currently authorized to work in the U.S. Only qualified candidates meeting our requirements will be contacted.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.