Feed the Future Bangladesh Digital Agriculture Activity
Bangladesh FTF Activity Leader
LEVEL OF EFFORT:
PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE:
August 2020- July 2022
Digital Frontiers is a $74.4 million buy-in mechanism available to USAID Bureaus and Missions from 2017-2022. DAI implements the Digital Frontiers project, which works closely with USAID’s Global Development Lab (GDL), the Center for Digital Development (CDD), USAID Missions, the private sector, and international and local development organizations to identify successful and sustainable digital development approaches and scale their impact globally.
As the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future (FTF) works to give families and communities in some of the world’s poorest countries the freedom and opportunity to lift themselves out of food insecurity and malnutrition. By equipping people with the knowledge and tools they need to feed themselves, the program is addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger, helping people end their reliance on aid, and creating important opportunities for a new generation of young people—all while building a more stable world. Over the past eight years, over $300 million of US Government investment has been used to implement FTF activities within the program’s Zone of Influence (ZOI) and Zone of Resilience (ZOR) in Bangladesh, which have an estimated population of approximately 30 million people. However, the maximum number of beneficiaries reached over this period has been less than 3 million and the sustainability of these FTF interventions beyond the cessation of USAID funding is yet to be fully proven.
USAID/Bangladesh, working with Digital Frontiers, therefore seeks to promote the efficient and effective use of digital tools and technologies to build the capacity of value chain actors (e.g. livestock service providers, market vendors, artificial inseminators, and feed dealers/distributors) under a market systems approach. These value chain actors should then be able to use the same tools to sustainably and effectively build the capacity of their clients/customers (smallholder farmers, pregnant/lactating women and vulnerable households) during and beyond the period of activity implementation.
To enable the interventions of FTF activities to reach more beneficiaries and to better ensure the sustainability of these interventions beyond the period of USAID-supported implementation, this Activity will pilot existing digital tools and scale up those that are proven to be effective to build the capacities of value chain actors. The Activity will also motivate these value chain actors to use digital tools to build the capacities of their clients and customers towards improving their agricultural productivity, resilience and household nutrition. Increased agricultural productivity will sustainably increase the competitiveness of value chain actors’ agricultural products and services, and enhance domestic, regional and international trade, increasing the country’s foreign exchange potential and making it less vulnerable to malign influence. Finally, this Activity will also sustainably increase the number of clients and customers reached by FTF activities as these value chain actors will continue building the capacity of new and existing clients and customers during and beyond the period of USAID-supported implementation.
This is anticipated to be a two-year activity with the possibility of extension.
Digital Frontiers seeks an Activity Director for the USAID-funded Feed the Future Bangladesh Digital Activity. With the support of other Activity staff, Digital Frontiers, and a pool of short-term technical advisors, the Activity Director leads all aspects of implementation of the Activity. Leading a staff of Bangladeshi advisors and support personnel and supported by a pool of short-term technical advisors and subcontractors, the Activity Director will develop, plan, and implement a series of tasks designed to more effectively apply digital tools to the challenges of improving food security in the ZOI and ZOR. Those tasks are:
TASK 1: Increase availability of appropriate and gender sensitive agricultural digital tools
Task 1.1: Increased number of digital agricultural tools that are gender sensitive for capacity building interventions are piloted: Working with technology firms and other stakeholders in Year One, the activity will identify appropriate and gender sensitive agricultural digital tools within and outside Bangladesh that can have a near-term positive impact on a diversity of agricultural activities (e.g. smallholder production, distribution of inputs, marketing, etc.) within the ZOI and ZOR. These tools will then be adapted and piloted with selected groups of stakeholders.
Task 1.2: Increased number of private and public sector entities investing in the scale up of effective gender sensitive agricultural digital tools: In consultation with USAID and other FTF activities, the Activity will identify the most compelling tools emerging from this process and will propose and implement partnerships with private and public sector entities to sustainably scale these tools for greatest impact.
TASK 2: Enhance digital literacy and capacity of value chain actors to understand and utilize digital agricultural tools
Task 2.1: Optimized development of appropriate agricultural capacity building resources for adapting to digital tools: In collaboration and coordination with, and leveraging resources from, other FTF activities, the activity will produce a corpus of capacity-building resources – interactive training materials, instructional videos, and other resources as may be appropriate – to build the capacity of value chain actors so that they can effectively use the digital agriculture tools to build the capacity of their clients and customers. To enable the value chain actors to learn how to use digital tools for capacity building, they will be taught to acquire digital literacy skills needed to access tools in various formats, as well as specific instructions on using tools produced by FTF partners.
Task 2.2: Increased use of digital tools to build the capacity of value chain actors: In partnership with other FTF activities and partner technology firms, the activity will use the successfully piloted digital tools and capacity building resources to build the capacity of value chain actors so that they can effectively use the tools to train customers and clients on improving their agricultural productivity, resilience and household nutrition in a sustainable manner.
TASK 3: Improved utilization of agricultural digital tools by value chain actors for capacity building of their clients and customers
Task 3.1: Increased number of value chain actors adopting these digital tools to build the capacity of their clients/customers: The Activity will undertake a series of capacity building activities with value chain actors, starting with those relevant to the pilots identified in Task 1. These activities may be trainings, embedded mentoring programs, or other efforts depending on the nature of the pilots undertaken.
Task 3.2: Increased number of clients/customers reached by value chain actors: In concert with the interventions of Task 3.1, Activity staff will work with value chain actors to troubleshoot, iterate, and improve client and customer interactions using the capacity building resources, developing new resources as necessary.
TASK 4: Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Plan
The Activity will conduct a gender analysis to inform all aspects of activity implementation. A monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) plan will be developed for tracking, understanding, and improving Activity interventions, evaluating the outcomes of capacity building efforts based on improvements in stakeholders’ performances and providing and evaluating remedial capacity building where inadequacies have been identified.
The successful candidate should have at least ten years of demonstrated experience in implementing projects in at least one of the following areas in a developing country context:
1. Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D)
2. Agriculture value chains
3. Human centered design (HCD)
The ideal candidate would have experience in all three.
The Activity Director must have demonstrated experience leading teams in accomplishing development objectives in challenging environments. Candidates with experience working on USAID-funded activities and with experience in Bangladesh are strongly preferred.
Because of travel restrictions and other public health measures related to COVID-19, it is anticipated that the first six months of this assignment will be conducted remotely, with deployment to Bangladesh happening in Month 7. Because of the unpredictable nature of the situation, flexibility and creative problem solving will doubtless be called for.
The Activity Director will report to the Digital Frontiers Buy-in Manager.