Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) invites applications for a Technical Specialist, Market Systems (Level II) to join our dedicated and talented Strategy and Impact team in our mission to create business solutions to poverty!
MEDA’s work is built on a foundation of Mennonite business roots and faith-based values, within the global context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We believe business solutions are effective interventions to address poverty. Through a market-systems approach and strategic partnerships, MEDA enables access to finance and provides business and technical expertise to build transformative agri-food market systems that create decent jobs, allowing traditionally excluded groups to become active participants in a sustainable economy. MEDA welcomes all who share our values and want to join us in our mission. To find out more about MEDA, please visit our website at www.meda.org.
Job Title: Technical Specialist, Market Systems (Level II)
Market Systems Technical Unit (MSTU)
The unit provides technical guidance on MEDA’s market systems strategic direction, priorities, and technical quality, in alignment with MEDA’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and its three central pillars: a focus on agri-food market systems, partnerships for systems change, and a North-South equilibrium. The unit is part of the Technical Department that works collectively through an Integrated Technical Framework which places equal priority on positive economic (Investment and Financial Services), social (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) and environmental (Environment and Climate Change) impact. The unit plays a critical role in supporting global teams to enhance effectiveness by generating, mobilizing, and/or disseminating technical knowledge and evidence and encouraging local-led innovation. The unit provides technical support to MEDA programs to ensure cross-departmental collaboration and implementation and the effective application of technical standards required to achieve agri-food market systems results.
Current core approaches or initiatives led by the MSTU, in close collaboration with other technical units, include:
- Integrated agri-food market systems assessment and value chain development
- Agricultural outcomes standards and guide (with Environment and Climate Change Technical Unit)
- Agri-SME/MSME, Lead Firm, and entrepreneurship development and models
- Business service provider development
- Seed systems development
- Enabling environment development, including influencing and policy work
- Women Sales Agents and Women Lead Farmers (with Gender Equality and Social Inclusion [GESI] Technical Unit)
- Smart incentives, including challenge funds/matching grants, such as environmental funds
- Agri-food market systems scaling, and systems change, including measurement (with Monitoring and Impact Measurement Unit)
- Gender Equality Mainstreaming (GEM) Framework (with GESI Technical Unit)
These approaches or initiatives are at various levels of maturity. The Technical Specialist is expected to have in-depth experience in at least two of these areas.
The Technical Specialist, Market Systems (Level II) is part of a global MEDA team with diverse voices, experience, and knowledge. This is a highly collaborative role, working closely with others in the organization to support technical consistency and cohesion and encouraging technical innovation. The Technical Specialist (Level II) supports MEDA’s technical programming initiatives, developing technical strategies; delivering training; providing technical assistance at all stages of program/project design, development, implementation, and measurement; and developing resources/tools. This position provides support to MEDA’s international projects and staff to mainstream, integrate and contextualize standardized technical programming policies, strategies, and interventions. The position contributes to business development knowledge mobilization and thought leadership from a technical perspective into in the specified technical area. Depending on location of hire, international travel may be a requirement for approximately 30-60 days per year.
- Job Status: Full-time
- Location: Accra, Ghana or Waterloo, Ontario. Other locations may be considered for highly qualified candidates
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Posting will remain open until the position is filled.
Technical Support to Country Programs and Projects (65%)
- With a strong customer-service and local-led development orientation, provide support such that assigned projects’ technical activities are designed and implemented using MEDA core approaches, industry best practice, and sustainable development principles.
- Complete or support the execution of the specific technical component in project contract deliverables as per Internal Task Agreements (ITAs) held or as assigned providing quality output, tools, resources, and best practices guidance according to MEDA’s technical strategy for the region
- Ensure project-level access to technical knowledge, tools, approaches, technical learning agendas and innovation
- Contribute technical expertise to project implementation, annual work plans and budgets, and other critical documents for projects and programs, as assigned
- During project start-up and inception, advise on the recruitment of relevant technical staffing. Together with project-based technical specialists, provide staff technical orientation to concepts and best practices and advise on ways to ensure the integration of all technical areas across all project teams.
- Provide regular support to project-based Technical Specialist focal points as assigned; this may include coaching and training, co-developing resources, and tools and/or providing guidance and oversight for their technical assistance activities
- Contribute to, support, or review all assigned projects’ Strategic Learning Agenda studies related to technical programming. Align any project technical learning with the technical area learning agenda.
- Provide support in adapting approaches for project contexts and elevating local lived experience, while ensuring consistency (e.g. the Agricultural Outcomes approach).
- Host regular individual or group peer coaching calls (minimum monthly) with project agri-food market systems-related staff.
- Provide specialized assistance on key technical approaches (e.g. GEM, matching grants and incentives, Lead Firm development, systems change, etc.).
Technical Strategy, Tools, Knowledge Management & Mobilization & Thought Leadership (20%)
- Technical Strategy and Tools
- Support the Technical Director to develop, refine and maintain a technical strategy which outlines core technical approaches, planned innovation, knowledge mobilization and management, training plans, networking and thought leadership.
- Together with project-based technical specialists, provide staff technical orientation to technical strategies, concepts and best practices and advise on ways to ensure their integration across all project teams
- Create, adapt and improve processes, tools or platforms linked to the strategies that will have cross-project or organization-wide applicability (e.g. core approaches)
- Contribute to regular (annual), collaborative reviews of top core approaches
- Learning, Knowledge Mobilization and Thought Leadership
- Support the Technical Director to ensure that any project-based learnings on the use and adaptation of technical approaches are captured, managed, and mobilized within MEDA for cross-organizational learning.
- Support the Technical Director in any partnership development activities for learning, knowledge mobilization and thought leadership
- Support Technical Director to coordinate with Human Capital on the development and execution of onboarding, learning and development opportunities for all staff related to technical area
- Support the Technical Director to position MEDA as an innovative, compelling, and reliable expert, such that MEDA attains the status of a thought leader and a sought-after partner in the specified technical area.
- As requested, support any technical and thought leadership activities undertaken by Country Directors or project technical specialists
- As requested, contribute to technical leadership through various activities such as: teaching and speaking engagements, writing, or co-authoring papers for industry and/or influential publications, and contributing to industry groups.
- As requested, collaborate with MIM colleagues on data collection and indicators that contribute to project excellence and new learning across the organization
- Stay informed and current regarding evolving best practices, advancements, and innovations to technical approaches in the NGO sector, in government and in the private sector
- Community of Practice
- Support the Technical Director to develop and convene a global Community of Practice (CoP) and regular virtual CoP forums
- Participate in the CoP and build connections among global technical specialists to promote quality standards, learning from technical challenges, learning from country specific technical expertise, and helping to develop and retain global technical expertise
- Support the Technical Director to coordinate various learning and development opportunities and events within the CoP
Partnerships and New Business Development (15%)
- Ensure that resources, approaches, and tools are readily available, organized, current and accessible for use in concept notes and proposals
- Support the Technical Director in providing technical leadership and analysis to the development of country strategies, concept notes, proposals, and program/project design
- Support Business Development, Regional Directors and other stakeholders with resources needed for the integration of MEDA’s core approaches, innovations and lessons learned into all projects, programs, and communications
- Provide technical content to and/or review assigned concepts notes and proposals related to the technical area as requested by the Technical Director to support technical excellence and quality standards
Any other duties and/or requirements as assigned
Education: University degree, ideally at a Master’s level in sustainable, economic or agricultural development, agricultural economics, environmental studies, or a related field
Experience: Minimum five years experience working in agricultural or economic development
- Demonstrated technical expertise and experience in inclusive agribusiness, sustainable agricultural, rural, market systems or private sector development
- Analysis experience in aspects of agricultural market systems (e.g. inputs, services, targeted crops, costs, productivity and efficiency, etc.)
- Direct private sector and agriculture experience, ideally in the agri-food industry
- Expertise in at least two of the above-named core approaches
- Experience with integrated programming (e.g. environment and climate change, gender, youth, investment, financial services)
- Strong understanding of market facilitation approaches
- Proven track record of leading capacity strengthening and technical training activities to support program staff.
- 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
- Familiarity with bi and multi-lateral government agencies, donors, non-governmental organizations, and other development agencies
- Willingness to undertake international travel
- Experience in environmental programming strongly preferred
- Experience in agricultural or behavioural economics ideal
- Experience with/knowledge of policy, behaviour and systems change approaches
- Strong team building, relational, interpersonal and communication abilities and skills
- Proven experience working in and with a wide range of cultures and in varying international locales
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a fluid and dynamic environment and to adapt to new challenges
- Proficiency in French or Spanish is strongly preferred