Food Security Technical Advisor

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 30 December 2018

Job Description

Job Title: Food Security Technical Advisor – DFSA Malawi

Location: International – Lilongwe, Malawi

Reports to: Chief of Party – DFSA Malawi

This position is contingent upon grant and candidate approvals by the donor


Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need. CRS is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) supporting relief and development work in over 100 countries around the world. CRS programs assist persons on the basis of need, regardless of creed, ethnicity or nationality. CRS works through local church and non-church partners to implement its programs.

CRS open operations in Malawi in 1997, managing USAID’s first food aid programs in the country. For over 20 years, CRS has worked throughout the country to implement programs in agriculture and livelihoods, health and nutrition, microfinance, water, sanitation, emergency relief, and early childhood development (ECD). CRS has strong relationships with the Government of Malawi, the Catholic Church, and other civil society organizations through ongoing collaboration and support. CRS’ projects currently include services for orphans and vulnerable children, HIV care and treatment, agriculture, natural resource management, nutrition, microfinance, and ECD. CRS Malawi implements its programs through partnerships with local organizations, and community entities for maximum impact and sustainability.

Drawing on over a decade of in managing USAID Food for Peace (FFP) awards in Malawi, CRS will be submitting a proposal in response to the anticipated 2019 FFP Development Food Security Activities (DFSA) Request for Applications (RFA). The proposed program will involve a multi-sectoral response to build resilience and address food insecurity and malnutrition in Southern Malawi. The estimated timeframe for this project is 2019-2024.

Job Summary

CRS/Malawi seeks qualified candidates for the position of Food Security Technical Coordinator (FSTC). The FSTC will be highly experienced in a broad spectrum of food security technical focus areas with responsibility for establishing and managing systems to ensure cohesion across all technical sectors in the application. The FSTC should also ensure technical interventions are integrated, layered and sequenced appropriately at all levels of implementation within the FFP activity, other CRS/Malawi interventions, and other USAID and other donors’ relevant investments. The FSTC will work closely with CRS program teams and partner staff to develop high quality contextually appropriate approaches. S/he will also take learning needs into account and develop and conduct capacity building for all program staff, with support of the Chief of Party (COP) and Technical Advisors.

Specific Job Responsibilities

Project Refinement and Organizational Learning

  • Provide technical input into the design and implementation of evaluations.
  • Create/adapt best practice guides, manuals and other technical resources to ensure the quality of nutrition and gender-sensitive food security programs in collaboration with the government and other technical partners.
  • With the M&E Lead, develop food security-specific data collection tools and establish feedback mechanisms on the quality of implementation on the ground.
  • Support M&E Lead to document best practices and lessons learned in food security and facilitate their effective use to improve program quality.
  • Support M&E Lead in developing a learning agenda for food security and coordinate its implementation across the consortium.

Project Implementation and Reporting

  • Monitor project implementation and ensure that quality standards are being adhered to and maintained throughout the entire implementation process.
  • Plan and coordinate food security activities in the field in collaboration with implementing partners.
  • Ensure that partners have the necessary information, guidelines, curricula and tools for quality technical implementation.
  • Conduct periodic technical reviews with partners (via meetings, report review, site visits, etc.) to ensure that the direction is in line with the overall food security strategy.
  • Establish a strong relationship with nutrition and resilience research partners and coordinate project activities specific to the dissemination of new approaches and technologies.
  • Oversee food security programming and support the M&E Lead in the collection and verification of indicator data.
  • Oversee the integration of activities with other sector programming in collaboration with technical leads and national and provincial actors.
  • Ensure that food security and resilience approaches are in line with the Government of Malawi strategies and priorities for the sector.
  • Participate actively in appropriate forums and platforms with government partners and UN and other donor partners.
  • Prepare technical reports according to agreement requirements.


  • Assess the technical capacity of consortium members’ food security staff, and support CRS and consortium technical staff to undertake capacity building activities such as trainings and workshops, mentoring and accompaniment.
  • Build the capacity of CRS technical staff and partner staff to understand and monitor technical indicators and to evaluate technical program performance.
  • In collaboration with Technical Lead, build strategic partnerships at national and local levels with governmental and nongovernmental organizations as well as private sector to advance the project’s strategic agenda to ensure sustainability of activities.
  • Develop and coordinate strategies for ensuring integration, layering and sequencing of program activities within the FFP activity, and CRS/Malawi interventions, other USAID programs, and other relevant projects.

Management, Finance and Donor Compliance

  • Manage program budgets, including tracking of financial and material resources and providing regular forecasts.
  • Ensure accurate and timely reporting of program finances and progress status, review actual financial performance against the budget, and explain variances on a regular basis.
  • Ensure staff compliance with all USG and CRS administrative and operational procedures and policies, as well as applicable donor regulations.
  • Approve and manage financial transactions within the approved limit.
  • Manage the recruitment of CRS staff (development of job description, interviews, selection committee, etc.).
  • Manage and supervise the sectoral technical leads.

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS staff)

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Integrity
  • Accountability and Stewardship
  • Build Relationships
  • Develops Talent
  • Continuous Improvement and Innovation
  • Strategic Mindset

Key Working Relationships

Internal- CRS/Malawi

Country Representative, Head of Programs, Chief of Party, Head of Operations, Monitoring and Evaluation Lead, Strategic Learning Lead, Project Technical Leads, Project Managers, Project Officers, SBC Specialist, MEAL Manager


SARO Regional Staff (Regional Technical Advisors/Deputy Regional Directors) and CRS/HQ departments


USAID, government officials, international and local partners, implementing partner staff, other Malawi implementers.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Minimum five years of relevant technical experience, including supervising and mentoring multi-sectorial teams, for humanitarian and development assistance, preferably with an international NGO.
  • Strong field experience at the community level is required.
  • Experience working with large donors, USAID/FFP and/or USAID/FTF preferred.
  • In-depth understanding of gender, age and other socio-cultural factors in the context of food security programming.
  • Demonstrated capacity to lead the collection, analysis and utilization of data and information from a broad range of sources in order to ensure effective integration of food security concerns throughout the project’s duration. Demonstrated experience in leading participatory analytical processes and learning required.
  • Ability to foster commitment and build capacity among activity staff and in-country actors to gender integration and empowerment.
  • Demonstrated capacity to understand and advise on critical technical and operational issues related to food security, including nutrition, agriculture and health.
  • Prior experience working with MEAL development and integration in programming to capture gender and youth project-specific information to monitor change and outcomes, with experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis highly desirable;
  • Ability to self-manage and succeed in matrix management model, with demonstrated proactive and flexible nature in resolving problems and leading a productive, committed team;
  • Knowledge management, finance and compliance experience
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively with groups;
  • Knowledge of program quality standards, MEAL standards, Catholic Social Teaching and the justice lens preferred.
  • Experience with facilitation, capacity strengthening and partnership building through formal and informal training, with the capacity to empower staff through opportunities for professional growth and development.
  • Detail-oriented and excellent time management skills with the ability to meet deadlines and deliver required results in a timely and quality manner.
  • Flexibility to work both in a team and independently.
  • Demonstrated personal accountability and driven to serve others.
  • Cultural sensitivity, patience, flexibility and ability to work well in a multi-sectoral and multi-cultural team and to work closely, understand and support local Church partners.
  • Ability to work in a challenging and stressful environment with unexpected challenges.
  • Ability to travel for field missions for 30-50% level of effort as needed.
  • Excellent English language oral and written communication skills required
  • Experience working in a variety of developing environments required; knowledge of the Malawi context desired
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel and Outlook required

NOTE: Applications will be accepted until this position is filled.

About the Organization

Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Our mission is to assist the poor and disadvantaged, leveraging the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to alleviate human suffering, promote development of all people, and to foster charity and justice throughout the world. Working through local offices and an extensive network of partners, CRS operates on five continents and in 98 countries. We aid the poor by first providing direct assistance where needed, then encouraging people to help with their own development. Together, these approaches foster secure, productive, just communities that enable people to realize their potential. As the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community, CRS is also committed to educating the people of the United States to fulfill their moral responsibilities toward our global brothers and sisters by helping the poor, working to remove the causes of poverty, and promoting social justice.

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