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Technical Advisor for Food Security and Resilience

Job Summary

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. To fulfill this mission, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is constantly pursuing highly motivated individuals who can bring innovation and develop opportunities to enable the communities we serve to reach their full potential in the context of just and peaceful societies.

CRS is currently seeking an experienced yet original thinker to advance our new strategies in food and nutrition security and resilience. This dynamic individual will take on the technical support in the design, implementation and performance evaluation of our food security programming portfolio with a focus on bringing more aggressive innovation, new institutional arrangements, growth and sustainability to our food security programming. The program portfolio will support vulnerable communities improve their food and nutrition security and build their capacity to recover from recurrent shocks. The majority of this work will be funded by US Government through a combination of EFSP, OFDA, Title II, Feed the Future and USDA grants and contracts, but we are also seeking to diversify our food security investments with other foundations and non-traditional investors.

A major part of this work will also include raising our capacity to take on more local and regional procurement (LRP) programs, that include cash transfers and imported food aid that enable targeted groups to meet their food needs, nutrition and livelihoods. The position will strengthen the application of the CRS Agriculture and Livelihoods strategy, or Pathway to Prosperity, to all food security programming. Success in the position will require attentiveness to trends within USAID with on food security programming, particularly with respect to the Office of Food for Peace and the Food Security Bureau.

The position will demonstrate that CRS food security programming successfully responds and bridges the interests of both offices. The position will support the definition and implementation of emerging resilience approaches in food security programming, and will work to foster linkages between CRS’ Humanitarian Response Department and the Agricultural Livelihoods team, taking a lead role in strengthening, updating and scaling out public and private based approaches to food and nutrition security.

As part of the overall CRS strategy, the position will collaborate closely with nutrition staff within the Health and Emergency Signature Program Areas (SPA). The integrated approach being implemented by CRS and the Office of Food for Peace also requires close collaboration with other technical offices, including water, micro-finance, gender, partnership etc. Given changes in the food aid landscape, the push for resilience and the recognition of climate change impacts on food security, the incumbent must be mindful of the implications of these for CRS programming. The position will seek to foster lessons learned across country programs and to establish a learning agenda and coordinated approach with a focus on Title II/food security programs.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Responsible for applying, coordinating and further developing agency strategies related to food aid and food and nutrition security, with close collaboration with the humanitarian response and health SPA on nutrition related aspects.
  • Developing methods and tools to improve and monitor direct food transfers in project programming,
  • Develop innovative approaches to use of local and regional procurement, and develop ways to blend these approaches with more rapid food security interventions such as vouchers and cash transfer, enabled through mobile technology.
  • Providing strategic leadership to improve the effectiveness of food aid programs that supports communities to develop sustainable and resilient outcomes.
  • Provide technical support in regard to food safety issues related to use of LRP and food distribution linked with vouchers,
  • Linking Title II interventions and innovations with more market focused food security programming supported by Feed the Future initiatives.
  • Play a leading role in inter-agency partnerships, such as the Interactions’ Food security group, TOPS, the NGO Local and Regional Procurement learning alliance and the Resilience Learning Consortium.
  • Promote synergies between different types of funding sources and provide a robust communication strategy to share results with the broader community.

Agency Wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff) *These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.*

  • Serves with Integrity
  • Models Stewardship
  • Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  • Promotes Learning

Key Working Relationships

The position will report to the Director of Agriculture Livelihoods. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing close working relations within the program impact and quality assurance team, including health and emergency SPAs, and cross cutting technical areas. The position must develop strong relations with CRS field offices and regions. Internally the position should also closely coordinate with the award management team, which maintains the relationships with OFDA, USDA and the Office of Food for Peace; develop a community of practice within CRS, to support a coherent and strategic agency-wide approach to food security programming; expand the number and/or quality of partnerships from the public and private sector which support CRS efforts to promote food security; participate in TOPS (Technical and Operational Performance Support) meetings and other technical networks to share and promote CRS lessons learned and successes and position the agency for funding opportunities.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Masters in development related field, such as agriculture or food security,
  2. At least 3-5 years field experience in a developing country, experience designing, implementing or supporting food security programming.
  3. Knowledge and experience with agriculture, micro-finance and emergency based programs.
  4. Strong preference for hands-on experience with Title II and other USG resources
  5. Strong representation skills and demonstrated interpersonal relations skills.
  6. Excellent analytical skills.
  7. Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  8. Fluency in English required; working ability in French, Portuguese or Spanish preferred.
  9. Strong skills in program design and proposal development.
  10. Strong computer skills, and capacity to learn new programs
  11. Willingness to travel overseas up to 30% of time.

Note: All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States at the time of application.