After decades of relying on tobacco farming as an income security strategy, smallholder African farmers now face an uncertain future: global demand for tobacco is declining. Yet, this also creates an opportunity for those farmers to transition to more sustainable and secure livelihoods. Research shows that growing tobacco does not lift smallholder farmers out of poverty; nor does it improve national wealth. Moreover,
growing and harvesting tobacco can have unfavorable health and environmental consequences. Embracing this opportunity for positive change, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World created the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) to support tobacco farmers in their efforts to shift to more sustainable agricultural, livelihood and environmental strategies.
FSFW seeks a qualified candidate for the position of Director, Agriculture Science, Technology, and Innovation to lead and oversee our agricultural science, technology, and innovation research activities. Reporting to the Vice President, Agriculture and Livelihoods, the Director, Agriculture Science, Technology and Innovation will be expected to:
- Provide technical oversight of agricultural science and technology grant applications made to us,
- Contribute to develop research agenda / oversee in-house / externally commissioned agricultural research,
- Publish journal and popular articles, scientific reviews, and online media,
- Lead conversations relating to science and innovation driving alternatives to growing tobacco,
- Oversee analysis / critiques of peer reviewed papers on diverse perspectives of tobacco trends & impacts,
- Identify and engage with academic institutions and networks focused on agricultural innovation and scientific research, with an emphasis on Africa,
- Represent FSFW at conferences, meetings, discussions, panels, etc. fostering the Foundation’s perspective on diversification of agricultural economies,
- Understand the current situation of the African smallholder farmer and how 21st century science and technology can drive economic growth, and
- Contribute to designing programs, grant-making strategies.
Professional Experience, Qualifications and Location
We are looking for people who enjoy the challenge of working on complex problems and collaboratively creating solutions that have the potential for transformational change in the lives of smallholder farmers. S/he will be a solid team player who is self-motivated and self-managing. The candidate must have a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, and diplomacy in a fast-paced, challenging environment, and possess the following:
- Existing significant network of relationships in Africa agriculture science and innovation,
- Located in or willing to relocate to Washington, D.C. metro area,
- Experience in Africa conducting applied research preferred,
- Publishing credits, and
- PhD required.
About the Organization
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is an independent, non-profit organization registered as a 501c3 private foundation created to accelerate global efforts to reduce health impacts and deaths from smoking, while working with farmers whose livelihoods will be severely affected by reduced demand for tobacco, with the goal of ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide. The Foundation collaborates with other non-profit, advocacy and government organizations to advance smoking cessation and harm-reduction science and technology. It also serves as a convener of research, dialogue and ideas to reduce smoking globally, while monitoring, evaluating and helping to address the impact of reduced smoking rates on agriculture and economics.
The initial funding for the Foundation was secured from Philip Morris International (PMI). Importantly, as established in the Foundation’s bylaws and pledge agreement, PMI and the tobacco industry are precluded from having any influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities. Independence and transparency are core principles of the Foundation and all activities will be conducted with full transparency, free of tobacco industry influence. The Foundation has, constituted in its bylaws, an independent research agenda, independent governance, ownership of its data, freedom to publish, and protection against conflict of interest. Furthermore, strict rules of engagement will be put into place to ensure any interactions with the tobacco industry are fully transparent and publicly reported.
Agriculture and Livelihoods Team Overview
The global decline of smoking will have many positive health impacts but will bring negative economic consequences to tobacco farmers, many of whom are in developing nations. In order to address the agricultural impact of smoking cessation, the Foundation is focused on partnering with agricultural, rural development, and smallholder experts to identify alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers. And, to determine which alternatives are the most viable, the Foundation plans to bring together private development and public players to invest in pilot solutions. Please visit our website and watch the video “The True Cost of a Cigarette” for more context on our approach to creating prosperity for smallholder farmers.