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Program Associate, Yieldwise

The Foundation is seeking a Program Associate to support the Yieldwise initiative in the Africa Regional Office.

YieldWise Initiative

The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique opportunity to play a central role in fixing food loss—an eminently fixable problem. Just as we deployed resources to increase production when there simply was not enough food to feed humanity, we now have an opportunity—and an imperative—to ensure that the food that is grown is consumed. This is why the Rockefeller Foundation launched the YieldWise Initiative in January 2016.

The goal of YieldWise Initiative is to halve the amount of good food going into waste in four representative value chains (e.g. mango in Kenya, tomato and cassava in Nigeria, and maize in Tanzania), contributing to improving millions of rural lives. We recognize that food loss is a symptom of an inefficient value chain. Hence to reduce post-harvest losses, the Rockefeller Foundation is promoting an innovative approach that connects (1) aggregated smallholder farmers with strengthened capacities to (2) structured markets, unlocking both access to (3) loss-reducing technologies or products and (4) finance. With this ambitious approach, our convening power, and catalytic investment; the Rockefeller Foundation aims at contributing to systems-change.

To ensure that the YieldWise approach is being properly monitored, evaluated, and that critical lessons inform adjustments to the current model and future waves of work, we have partnered with specialized M&E partners. These local and global partners collect, analyze and report data from the 4 catalytic demonstrations, develop quarterly reports on core indicators, and update the Foundation’s leadership on key learning questions.

Position Summary

With the aim of improving the YieldWise Initiative’s overall impact, the Rockefeller Foundation is searching for an entrepreneurial, talented, and ambitious results-driven individual to support the monitoring, evaluation, knowledge management, and strategic planning functions of the Initiative. Working under the supervision of the Director and working closely with the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E), Organizational Performance, and Strategy teams, the Associate will assist in identifying opportunities, challenges, and risks that need to be strategically addressed during implementation and supporting strategic planning for future waves of the Initiative. The Program Associate role offers a rare opportunity to work closely with multiple functions and teams across the Foundation to drive real impact.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

The Program Associate will divide his/her time as shown below:

 Data Analysis : Assist the YieldWise Director in ensuring the strategic direction of the Initiative through the use of data and analytical thinking to monitor progress towards targets, make any adjustments to implementation as needed, and strategically plan for future waves of work.

  • Provide analytical support to enable day-to-day, data, and evidence-based discussions, decision-making and adaptive management
  • Process and analyze data collected from multiple sources to test key assumptions, synthesize key insights, and identify implications for initiative strategy and operations
  • Facilitate information flow through proper monitoring of business processes, preparing high-level summary reports, and ensuring progress towards delivery of agreed results
  • Work closely with the M&E team to modify YieldWise M&E agenda in response to lessons learned
  • Use information from environmental scanning, and other sources, to identify trends and opportunities for the Initiative

 Strategic Planning:

  • Assist in establishing and/or refining effective mechanisms for strategic planning, target-setting, monitoring, risk management and timely reporting, including the use of an operational dashboard and other means
  • Assist Initiative team with target setting and yearly planning, including  resource management, tracking both budget and grant-making, and timely responses to internal reporting requirements, queries, and deadlines
  • Conduct risk assessment and mitigation planning in collaboration with Initiative team
  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses to inform decision-making within the Initiative, including landscape and market analysis, option analysis, and systems mapping
  • Provide general strategic and planning support to the Initiative.

Knowledge Management: Drawing from knowledge being generated by Initiative’s partners, ensure facilitation of knowledge building and management focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Develop, implement and optimize the initiative’s knowledge management infrastructure
  • Engage with Rockefeller Foundation’s M&E and Communications teams to generate knowledge practices, products and reports for a range of audiences (e.g. Senior Leadership, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, grantees, peers, learning forums and the Foundation Website)
  • Synthesize insights, best practices, and lessons learnt gleaned from the data for both internal and external purposes.
  • Ensure strategic support in structuring sessions of YieldWise Partners convenings, including key areas to be discussed and addressed, and bi-lateral and multi-lateral meetings to be held with description of areas to be discussed and followed-up.

Competencies for Success

In addition to the below competencies, successful candidates will be action-oriented, entrepreneurial self-starters, with the ability to work independently as well as in teams. You will also embody exemplary communication skills, sound, mature judgment and integrity, commitment to The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission and Core Values – effectiveness, equity, integrity, innovation and leadership.

Leadership:  Proven ability to manage towards and successfully realize outcomes-based projects.

Partnership and Relationship Building: Ability to engage with a diverse range of stakeholders.

Strategic and Decision-Making Ability: Ability to identify trends in dynamic, complex systems across a wide range of content domains and to evaluate opportunities and risks using analytical and problem-solving skills. Comfort operating with a hypothesis-driven approach.

Execution: Strong project management skills, deadline management, sense of responsibility and accountability and the ability to effectively multi-task.

Communications: High level of comfort communicating to diverse audiences. Able to understand stakeholder needs and tailor information for them.

Education, Training and Experience

  • At least 5 years of experience in data analysis, strategic planning and/or monitoring and evaluation
  • A firm understanding of the agricultural sector in sub-Sahara Africa is a plus
  • Entrepreneurial and strategic mindset to spot critical issues, leverage points, opportunities, challenges, and required choices
  • Ability to synthesize and visualize data and information in a compelling way, customizing it for a range of audiences, including the YieldWise team, the Executive team, and Board
  • Exceptional commitment to accuracy and attention to detail
  • An appetite for and sensitivity to working with and in diverse cultures.


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