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Call for Junior Applicants by IFAD: "Filling the inter-generational gap in knowledge on AWM – twinning junior and senior experts"

BACKGROUND The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Working with poor rural people, governments, donors, non-governmental organizations and many other partners, IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions responding to three strategic objectives:
  • strengthening the capacity of the rural poor and their organizations;
  • improving equitable access to productive natural resources and technology;
  • Increasing access to financial services and markets.
Securing access by rural people to both land and water is central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the target of reducing by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. Most of these people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. To ensure food security in the future it is not only necessary to invest in the rural poor with direct investments in agriculture, at the same time it is crucial to invest in mobilizing, holding, sharing and adding value to knowledge in Agricultural Water Management (AWM). As a consequence of earlier disinvestments, the reduced demand for AWM professionals during the 1990s and 2000s now results in a gap between generations carrying AWM expertise. Most of the technical knowledge is currently lodged in the capacity of senior professionals in the agricultural sector. In order to sustain specific AWM knowledge it is therefore key to transfer this knowledge to a new generation of professionals. An on-field junior-senior mentoring program based on practical issues in IFAD project implementation and supervision can be thus an effective solution to locate, share, enrich and develop valuable AWM expertise. Building on the assets and positive resources that different generations have to offer and share with each other, the program aims to link intergenerational needs and knowledge, and develop core best practices and skills. THE Jr/Sr MENTORING The Jr/Sr mentoring programme offers young experts the opportunity to: 1. Access learning/sharing spaces where they can meet senior AWM expertise-holders and benefit from their established competence while sharing their existing knowledge and skills set (KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT); 2. Participate and contribute actively with their fresh mindsets and perspectives to IFAD’s project missions and to a high profile event on agriculture and water in SSA, increasing their visibility vis-á-vis prominent actors in the rural development arena, and thus their chances to be recognised as future actors of change (HANDS-ON EXPERTISE AND VISIBILITY). Young people face increasing difficulties in entering the world of work. This is especially true in the sub-Saharan context and the AWM sector. After university, the lack of hands-on expertise and know-how represents a crucial constraint for junior experts willing to put in practice what they have learned. The sole theoretical base is no longer considered enough to access an employment, and students are more and more required to demonstrate an actual ability to think analytically also and especially in tackling practical issues. The programme is open to a restricted number of motivated and talented young graduates eager to take part to an innovative mentoring initiative. Giving them the field exposure needed to complement their education, this Jr/Sr twinning will strengthen young experts’ knowledge base through intergenerational synergic cooperation on the AWM practice. The programme will start in fall 2012 and will end in September 2013. The exact organization will vary according to the countries’ schedule for project supervision missions. The Jr/Sr mentoring will be carried out in six countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, and Niger. Junior experts will have to apply for a specific country. The project is structured as follows: STEP 1 Junior experts join the PMUs and are invited to prepare and take part to IFAD’s project missions. Joining the teams as coached participants/observers, they are assigned specific work packages and outputs. Young experts are twinned with the senior AWM consultant(s), and are given the chance to contribute to the design, supervision, monitoring and evaluation of the projects progress. STEP 2 At the end of the mission the project allows extra time for additional Jr/Sr exchange: learning, discussion, mentoring and knowledge sharing. In the aftermath of the mission, junior experts are requested to develop a brief mission report on products, process and prospects, which is subsequently sent to senior consultant for tutoring and mentoring. STEP 3 Depending upon the fulfilment of the project deliverables, and the outcomes of the intergenerational collaboration, junior experts continue their mentoring and are given the chance to be invited for follow-up missions. STEP 4 Junior professionals take part in IFAD’s 2013 Regional Implementation Workshop (or another high profile event in the region) to share the results of their knowledge development experience, and to showcase this pioneeristing approach to synergic intergenerational exchanges to other country staffs and relevant stakeholders. The programme in itself does not represent an employment opportunity or obligation. Young experts won’t be considered as part of IFAD staff, and will receive a daily compensation (NOT a fee) to cover their basic living expenses (food, travel and accommodation). The participation in the programme therefore will not translate automatically in, or represent an obligation of a job offering from IFAD in its aftermath. However, the knowledge development the Jr/Srmentoring seeks to generate and the visibility that will be given to successful participants has the potential to increase future chances of junior experts to enter the world of AWM work as valuable professionals. ROLE OF THE JUNIOR EXPERT
  • Bring in expertise and points of view in the sector of water and agriculture;
  • Support the senior professional in the supervision, monitoring and evaluation, and in any other assignment related to the project portfolio, contributing with relevant inputs, reflections and observations;
  • Demonstrate genuine interest and proactivity vis-á-vis the team mission’s activities;
  • Carry out regular assignments in a punctual way;
  • Share his/her experiences with other participants in the Jr/Sr exchange;
ESSENTIAL CRITERIA EDUCATION University degree (minimum requirement B.Sc. or equivalent in Natural Resource Management, Agriculture, Hydro-Engineering etc., or other relevant field in Social Science with a demonstrable interest in water and agriculture). WORK At least twelve months and less than five years of professional work experience in the design, implementation, management, research or supervision of water and agriculture/rural development projects. LANGUAGE
  • Good command of English or French is essential (including ability to write reports);
  • Knowledge of the working language of one of the countries is considered an asset.
AGE Less than 35 PERSONAL SKILLS
  • Commitment to work on pro-poor, poverty reduction strategies;
  • Ability to work in a multicultural team and on several assignments under pressure;
  • Initiative and ability to organize work and harmonious working relationship with local and international staff in the field;
  • Excellent problem solving and analytical skills;
  • Outstanding motivation, enthusiasm, innovativeness;
IT Skills Computer literacy with knowledge of the Microsoft Office package DESIRABLE ADDITIONAL CRITERIA
  • Advanced university degree (M.Sc., MBA in NRM).
  • Prizes, recognitions, scholarships;
  • Demonstrable interest in pursuing a career in the water and agriculture sector;
  • Publications;
  • Commitment in extra-academic activities (volunteering, social activism, associations);
  • Academic/professional reference;
HOW TO APPLY Interested candidates are invited to submit the application form to f.franco@ifad.org by October 30 2012 at the latest. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for a final selection. Qualified female candidates are encouraged to apply.Download the Call for Applicants on this Link: Call for Applicants - IFADPlease find the Application Form on this Link: Application Form - IFAD twinning junior and senior experts