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Project Manager (Kenya) at Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)

MEDA is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. Founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite business professionals, we partner with the poor to start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. Our expertise includes a full range of economic development tools: financial services, improved technology, business training, better access to markets and equity investment. Our work most often focuses on women, youth and the rural poor. We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to earn a livelihood and that unleashing entrepreneurship is a powerful way to alleviate poverty.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) invites applications for a Country Project Manager, Kenya to join our dedicated and talented MEDA team in our mission to create business solutions to poverty!

The Country Project Manager (Distribution Component) ensures effective implementation of project component strategies, adjusting course as needed based on interim performance, to achieve life-of-project performance targets. This position involves frequent travel to project locations within Kenya, particularly in Western and Coastal Regions. This is a full-time position subject to continued donor funding. The estimated start date is December 1st 2020.

Job status: Full-time subject to continued donor funding

Start date: December 1st 2020

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Candidate Eligibility: Opportunity is available for national applicants or those with Kenyan residency and work visa

Project Description

The Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) is a collaborative project between the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC), USA, MEDA, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Kenya, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda, the Rwandan Agricultural Board (RAB), Rwanda, and the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Nigeria. The project has developed pathogen-derived RNAi technology to produce genetically modified cassava displaying high level resistance to Cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). Varieties developed from VIRCA Plus project offer unique potential to address a significant threat to the livelihoods of 100s of millions of African smallholder farmers and their communities.  The project will run from 2020 to 2025.

The distribution component MEDA is leading will initiate a pilot scale program to develop an economically sustainable cassava seed system in Kenya. The main activities will be to:

  • Perform a detailed baseline study of the cassava landscape in Kenya to assess current seed delivery models, varieties, yield, marketing opportunities, output market and cassava processors, average farmer size and geographic distances, gender and youth inclusion rates.
  • Develop and implement pilot scheme plans for Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs (CSE) for appropriate regions, distribution business model (CSE only or inclusion of processors) and final targets (CSEs and farmer reach).
  • identify certification service providers, certified seed producers/entrepreneurs and pilot farmers (with gender responsiveness) in western and coastal Kenya.

Responsibilities

Project Management & Compliance

  • Oversee the daily management of the project assuming full accountability for the results.
  • Ensure effective and efficient management of the project’s compliance with planning, monitoring, evaluation, performance and reporting as established and defined by the relevant contracts and by MEDA’s standards.
  • Ensure that the program complies with all local legal requirements.
  • Maintain strict budgetary adherence and monitoring.
  • Submit regular reports and coordinate closely with the HQ supervisor.
  • Procure capital assets and office sharing arrangements

Management of Field Staff

  • Oversee the management of field staff, including: recruitment, selection, supervision and ongoing evaluation.
  • It is envisioned that there will be two zonal managers and a driver hired

Relationship Management

  • Manage relationships with key project partners such as KALRO and KEPHIS among others, ensuring positive relationships are maintained and targets achieved.
  • Ensure positive relations with donors Danforth Center for Plant Science and USAID are maintained, as well as with other local development organizations, local governments and the business community.
  • The CPM will be expected to coordinate activities of numerous stakeholders and partners, some of whom will have formal relationships to our project, and others indirectly through complimentary interests.  In addition to the qualities listed on the position posting, we are looking in particular for an individual who is/can,
  • Assume the leadership role – being the public face of the program in country, and effectively administer the project.
  • Has a reasonable understanding of seed supply chain development, and cassava growing.
  • Is proficient in generating reports, analyzing results, problem solving, and articulating the program a diverse set of donors, government agencies, and the farming communities themselves.
  • Has experience leading a team in a vibrant way, instilling a high standard of performance for each employee and the team overall

New Business Development

  • Supporting as directed, the Senior Director’s new business development efforts in-country and regionally

Requirements

Education: A University degree (ideally Master’s) in international development, agribusiness, agronomy, marketing or related field.

Experience: A Minimum of 10 years of senior level professional experience of working with Research, agri-business, marketing, and farmer organizations. Experienced project leader with skills in project management, implementation, Monitoring and Evaluations.

Additional Qualifications

  • Appreciation and support of MEDA’s mission, vision and values
  • Understanding and appreciation of business principles, international development and MEDA’s approach of creating business solutions to poverty
  • Monitoring and Evaluation of wide range of interventions and ability to conduct analysis, prepare and presenting reports.
  • Developing business models
  • Capacity Analysis of farmers/projects/beneficiaries/ Partners to establish Capacity Gaps, developing a Capacity Building Plan and Implementing the Plan
  • Hands on experience in agriculture value chain assessment and upgrading interventions for various sub sectors
  • Experience in offering a wide range of Business Development Services to entrepreneurs’ farmers and facilitate their growth.
  • Experience in the seed system
  • Experience in working with partners in the public and private sectors
  • Fluency (written and verbal) in English is required. Working knowledge of Swahili is desirable

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