International Fund For Agricultural Development
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty and hunger. It does so by investing in rural people. IFAD finances programmes and projects that increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes, and advocates at the local, national and international level for policies that contribute to rural transformation.
Post's organizational accountability
The Programme Management Department (PMD), under the leadership of an Associate Vice-President, is responsible for the overall programme of loans and grants of the Fund and is composed of five (5) regional divisions,
and the Operational Policy and Results Division (OPR). In the regional division, under the overall policy and management guidance and direct supervision of the Lead Regional Economist or Lead Portfolio Advisor, the Regional Specialist leads and provides support to corporate activities including but not limited to knowledge management, quality enhancement for project designs and Results-based country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) as well as Country Strategy Notes (CSNs), grants management, portfolio management, supervision/implementation support, monitoring & evaluation and results reporting activities within the region. The Regional Specialist ensures a high degree of inter-connectedness across these activities, in particular, to enhance how lessons, experience, and evidence support improved portfolio management and performance. The Regional Specialist promotes systematic learning from the experience and knowledge exchange in the region and across regions and proposes creative solutions for using lessons to inform corporate initiatives, including global engagement and knowledge products. The accountabilities/key results include:
1. Regional Knowledge Management Support
2. Support to Quality Enhancement for Project Designs and COSOPs/CSNs through analytics
3. Grants Management Support
4. Portfolio Management and Supervision/Implementation Support
5. Monitoring & Evaluation and Results Reporting
6. Managerial Functions
The Regional Specialist works collaboratively with staff of the regional division, including in the regional knowledge hub, and with the regionally-mapped technical specialists to ensure knowledge sharing and consistent and cohesive programme development support. S/he is the division's representative on the corporate knowledge Management Coordination Group (KMCG).
Key results expected / Major functional activities
1. REGIONAL KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SUPPORT: The Regional Specialist advocates and enables good knowledge management practices and contributes to the building of a knowledge sharing culture in collaboration with the Strategy and Knowledge Department (SKD) in order to facilitate the creation, sharing and utilization of knowledge among internal teams and external partners. S/he acts as the Knowledge Management champion for the division and will be the HQ-based focal point for South- South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC), working closely with the regional knowledge/SSTC hub. S/he also contributes to the preparation of technical briefs and other knowledge products required at Divisional, Departmental or Corporate level. S/he systematically promotes learning from the experience and knowledge gained from the loans and grants programmes (e.g. using information derived from Project Supervision Reports, Project Completion Reports and Project Evaluations), through use of systematic reviews, results synthesis, evidence gap maps as well as knowledge publication and/or learning events. S/he promotes use of lessons and experience in design, and uses analytics and lessons derived from supervision to improve portfolio performance across the region and to support technical specialists in proposing solutions and connecting projects to technical support.
In addition, the Regional Specialist builds and advises on communities of practice and networks, facilitates knowledge flows and linkages across country programmes and the regional hubs, and coordinates with internal and external users of knowledge about rural poverty generated by regional divisions' loans and grants. S/he will also facilitate knowledge flows in support of IFAD's SSTC initiatives, partnership development and policy dialogue.
The Regional Specialist provides technical support and analytics to the region to inform cost-effectiveness and impactful operations, by means of results synthesis (systematic reviews of evidence and meta-analyses), as well as advanced statistical analysis related to M&E;, project level data and regional project-led impact evaluations/assessments. He/she provides advice and capacity development to projects (loans and grants) and to staff in country offices and regional hubs, including the development of KM plans, lessons learning approaches and tools, documentation, data collection and reporting processes. Such capacity development activities could be provided in collaboration with IFAD's Operations Academy. S/he co-ordinates and ensures effectiveness of knowledge sharing activities by analyzing information, and knowledge management activities, monitoring their use and measuring and reporting on their effectiveness, results and impact, in line with corporate KM monitoring and analysis.
2. SUPPORT QUALITY ENHANCEMENT FOR PROJECT DESIGNS AND COSOPs/CSNs: As part of the regional team, the Regional Specialist will provide analytics, evidence and lessons learned synthesis to enhance the quality of the portfolio ex-ante. S/he reviews project concept notes, project design reports and country strategies (COSOPs/CSNs), to ensure consistency with corporate standards and policies, as well as providing quality enhancement in areas including, among others, evidence-based policy engagement, innovations and ICT4D, knowledge management and communications, monitoring & evaluation and partnerships . Active participation in selected Project Delivery Team (PDT) meetings is expected as well as on-demand support by participation in select design missions. S/he will also participate in Project Delivery Teams / country management teams and stand as Focal Point for risk management for the division.
3. GRANTS MANAGEMENT SUPPORT: In collaboration with the regional team, the Regional Specialist supports the process of, ensuring adequate mechanisms for competitive screening of grant proposals and coordinates with pertinent units and divisions. The Regional Specialist contributes to the quality enhancement of regional and country-specific grants, including from other divisions as required. The Regional Specialist coordinates a more effective system for documentation and dissemination of grants knowledge, learning and results and identifies entry points for improving the links between grants and the country-based loan portfolio. In addition, the Regional Specialist supports the regional team in the design of new regional grants together with grant recipients, review of grant submissions and input to the Operational Strategy and Policy Guidance Committee (OSC), development and coordination of regional grant pipeline for each year in line with corporate guidance and compliance with grant policy, and, grant status reporting and supervision for grant responsibilities.
4. PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT AND SUPERVISION/IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT: The Regional Specialist supports the regional team in portfolio management activities. This includes, among others, contribution to the analysis of the quality of designs and supervision reports, Project Completion Reports (PCRs), COSOP Results Reviews, COSOP Completion Reviews, to ensure adherence to corporate standards/performance rating guidelines, and monitor timely disclosure and publication in line with IFAD’s transparency commitments. This also includes providing implementation support as required, especially in the areas of knowledge management, and monitoring and evaluation. S/he will also provide on-demand participation in supervision/implementation support missions as required.
5.MONITORING & EVALUATION AND RESULTS REPORTING: The Regional Specialist supports the regional team with portfolio performance monitoring, analytics and results reporting as required for Divisional, Departmental and/or Corporate needs. This includes portfolio data analysis, preparing portfolio performance reports/updates, as well as preparing and/or delivering presentations. S/he will carry out portfolio data collection, processing, and verifying, for ad-hoc analysis and presentations using analytical state of art methods and will use this analysis when appropriate as a basis for knowledge management. The Regional Specialist will provide quality assurance to project-level M&E; systems to ensure they are aligned with corporate systems and IFAD reporting systems such as Operational Results Management System (ORMS). The work also includes supporting the regional team in reviewing and responding to independent evaluations related to the region and collaborating with OPR on departmental or corporate initiatives.
6. MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: The Regional Specialist is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources.
Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators
Compliance of operations with IFAD rules, regulations and policies, implementation of corporate operational strategies, establishment of project management targets and monitoring of achievement of results. Assignments require the provision of solid technical expertise and input for the area of his/her responsibility as well as in knowledge sharing with peers and counterparts. The work goes beyond technical analysis and synthesis to include substantive inputs and analytics to the development of knowledge products, portfolio reviews of supervision and implementation reports and support, effective mechanisms for assessment of loans and grants proposals, and effective regional portfolio performance monitoring through results and evidence synthesis, lessons learnt and best practices. The work is considered moderately complex requiring in-depth technical analysis, analytical skills and reporting.
Representation / Work relationships
In the context of programme development and delivery, the Regional Specialist ensures the direct dissemination of targeted knowledge as well as other relevant products to internal and external audiences, including organizing knowledge sharing events and builds and maintains collaborative working relationships, both within the department, and with other relevant IFAD divisions.
- 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)
Technical / Functional:
- Demonstrated experience in design and coordination of applied development research, capturing learning, documenting and identifying solutions to evolving issues.
- Integrity and professionalism: demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented;
- Knowledge of rural project management, agricultural and rural sector policies;
- Knowledge of monitoring and evaluation methods, theory-based impact evaluations, data collection and analyses of monitoring data as well results management systems at International Financial Institutions or similar institutions;
- Strong statistical analysis (both qualitative and quantitative) skills to analyze agriculture-related data as well as internal corporate data. This includes also data science and machine-learning techniques, inclusive of predictive analytics. Knowledge of cost-effectiveness and cost benefit analyses is an asset;
- Experience with results synthesis, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of development interventions;
- Capacity to communicate fluently with different counterparts (civil society, government authorities, local communities, project staff) to align parties and build networks;
- Writes clearly, succinctly and convincingly listens and communicates effectively to engage others;
- Computer skills: Full command of office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and ability to work with other relevant technology and procedures (e.g.: web-based databases and other statistical applications) to collect, organize, share and use information. Specific statistical software knowledge, e.g. Stata and Python; R is an asset for the position.
Minimum recruitment qualifications
Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in Economics, Statistics and data science, Business Administration, Management, Political Science, Public Administration, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Applied Economics, International Development, or related field. A PhD degree in the above-mentioned subjects is an asset.
Minimum of five (5) years of progressively relevant experience is required. Experience in applied statistical analysis, results synthesis (systematic reviews and meta-analyses), knowledge management, research or development project design/implementation within an international financial institution, development cooperation agencies or the United Nations system is highly desirable. In addition, qualifying experience in drafting analytical documents, producing reports on tight deadlines would be an asset.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic, French) is desirable. Fluency in Arabic would be an asset.
Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD. In accordance with IFAD's Human Resources Policy, staff members are subject to the authority of the President who can decide to assign them to any of the activities of the Fund. All International Professional staff members are required to be geographically mobile and positions in the professional category are subject to changes in location at any time in line with strategic priorities and reform initiatives in IFAD.
In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful
Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews.
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