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Associate Professional Officer -- IFAD

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an International Financial Institution and a Specialized United Nations Agency whose mission is to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty. IFAD's headquarters is in Rome, Italy, and is present in more than 80 countries to develop and finance programmes and projects aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and incomes.

Functions / Key Results Expected

Under the general supervision of the Country Programme Manager (CPM) and the direct supervision of the Country Programme Officer (CPO), the Associate Professional Officer (APO) would be responsible for working with the Country Programme Officer mainly on implementation support to the Projects through capacity building, knowledge sharing and collation of lessons from implementation. S/he will initiate follow-up on recommendations, document technological and institutional innovations for scaling up, organize training and project lesson-sharing workshops and create a roster of national expertise and institutions. S/he will work on identified select partnerships with private sector, civil society and other development partners. By the end of the assignment, s/he would have gained project management experience under IFAD-supported projects.

Summary of key functions

  • Work with the Country Programme Officer in actively improving the implementation of IFAD-supported projects;
  • Improve knowledge management of IFAD project lessons and innovations with a view to scaling up; and
  • Develop select partnerships with private sector, civil society and other development partners.

Duties and Responsibilities

Programme Development, Supervision and Implementation Support:

  • Participate in implementation support and supervision missions to follow up on recommendations, and identify additional constraints to implementation;
  • Ensure timely follow-up of the recommendations made and eradicate constraints;
  • Synthesize progress reports from the projects for discussion by the Country Programme Team every six months. The report will highlight the thrust of the ongoing activities, achievements against agreed objectives, disbursement, implementation issues as well as how they are being addressed, engagement with the client group, policy dialogue, and effectiveness of project implementation;
  • Review: (i) Annual Work Plans and Budgets (AWPB), (ii) Progress Reports, (iii) Financial Statements.
  • Submit integrated progress report of all projects to the IFAD Country Programme Officer, every six months highlighting the main implementation issues.
  • Organise training and intra project visits for IFAD project staff and project implementing institutions in selected thematic areas;
  • Scout for qualified national expertise and institutions; build a network with local research and training institutions.

Knowledge Management

  • Organise workshops with the participation of IFAD supported projects on different thematic areas and implementation issues. There would be follow-up exchange visits of different levels of Project staff, implementing agencies and farmers' groups organized;
  • Prepare articles, reports or briefs to websites, journals, newspapers, etc. documenting pro-poor institutional and technological innovations emanating from the experience of IFAD Projects;
  • Develop and facilitate the Country Programme Reviews (CPR): The bi-annual CPR workshop is to enable interactions among the IFAD programme stakeholders and other development actors for discussions on implementation experience as well as the most challenging issues under the on-going programme and projects;
  • Support the Country Programme Officer in enforcing the data collection for the IFAD Nigeria Dashboard.


  • Identify and follow up on opportunities for building strategic partnerships with particularly with the private sector through the conduct of the implementation support and knowledge management interventions.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Advanced university degree in social sciences, economics, business management, rural development, agriculture, agricultural economics, rural finance, public policy or related disciplines. Expertise in one or more of the following topics would be an asset: rural finance/microfinance; value-chain development; financial management.
  • At least three (3) years' progressively responsible professional experience in development institutions and/or government service. Qualifying work experience in country programme analysis or loan/grant administration with International financial institutions, development cooperation agencies, etc., would be an asset. 


  •     Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level 1)
  •     Demonstrating Leadership: Personal leadership and attitude to change (Level 1)
  •     Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Continuously seeks to learn, shares knowledge and innovates (Level 1)
  •     Focusing on clients: Focuses on clients (Level 1)
  •     Problem solving and decision making: Demonstrates sound problem solving and decision making ability (Level 1)
  •     Managing time, resources and information: Manages own time, information and resources effectively (Level 1)
  •     Team Work: Contributes effectively to the team (Level 1)
  •     Communicating and negotiating: Communicates effectively: creates understanding between self and others (Level 1)
  •     Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains effective working relationships (Level 1) 

Language requirements

    Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic, French, or Spanish) is desirable.

Training component: Learning elements and expectations

Upon completion of the assignment

  •     The APO will have acquired understanding of the strategic and operational implementation challenges of implementation of investment programmes and skills of managing possible options in a highly complex working environment with weak institutions and capacity;
  •     The APO will have acquired the tools and systems for knowledge management of lessons and innovations with a view to scaling up and evidence-based policy dialogue in rural development;
  •     The APO will have acquired the communication skills and experience to develop partnerships with private sector, civil society and other development partners in rural development;
  •     The APO will have acquired solid field based working experience in Nigeria.

The APO training programme includes the following learning elements:

  •     The APO will travel to the field with implementation support, supervision, and knowledge management missions;
  •     The APO will participate in trainings that are made available for management staff of IFAD supported programmes.
  •     The APO will have a personal budget for training and training courses related to the job and future career development


Content and methodology of supervision

IFAD's approach to Performance Management is based on continuous performance review and feedback through a combination of informal and formal meetings to achieve individual, team and corporate results. The performance management cycle consists of distinct phases that occur sequentially or in parallel over a twelve-month period:

  •     Performance Planning: (January to February): involves the agreement objectives, competencies, and personal development plan
  •     Mid-year review(June- July): is a formal review that must take place between June and July to review and discuss challenges and successes of the first six months, and outline how to make further progress towards achieving the performance plan over the second half of the year)
  •     Year-end review: Performance over the whole year is discussed and assessed and the review is recorded and submitted to the Management Review Group that formally decides on ratings and closes the performance cycle.