Program Manager II – Rice-Based Rainfed Agricultural Systems Project

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 30 June 2015

Job Description

Job Title: Program Manager II – Rice-Based Rainfed Agricultural Systems Project
Country: India
Job Location: New Delhi or Patna, Bihar
Band: D
FLSA: Exempt
Reports to: Head of Programming

About CRS:
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is an international non-governmental organization supporting relief and development work in over 90 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 has been operational in India since 1946, during which time it has implemented programming in multiple sectors across the country. CRS’ country office in India is located in New Delhi with 3 sub-offices in Chennai, Lucknow, and Patna as well as programs in Odisha and Assam. CRS’ current programming sectors in India include health, agricultural livelihoods, women & child protection, and disaster management.

CRS seeks an experienced program manager (PM) to play a lead role in the management of CRS’ Improved Rice-Based Rainfed Agricultural Systems project (IRRAS) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. CRS, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Government of Bihar Agriculture Department, three local CRS NGO partners, and two university partners are investigating promising technologies for rainfed, stress-prone, rice-based agricultural systems in Bihar. Successful technologies are shared with extension agencies to disseminate them to smallholder farmers in Bihar. for more information. CRS is seeking opportunities to develop a second phase to the IRRAS project beyond March 2016. The IRRAS PM will be required to spend up to 40% of his/her time in Bihar, and will be responsible for high quality implementation of the IRRAS project.

In addition to the IRRAS project, CRS supports livelihoods strengthening in various types of programs in India. In Bihar, CRS is also supports ag/livelihood strengthening activities as part of efforts to reduce child migration, child labor, and other forms of trafficking. In Odisha and Assam CRS supports livelihood strengthening among communities vulnerable to emergencies (floods, cyclones) in order to increase community preparedness and resilience, and reduce risks from disasters. CRS is collaborating with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in Odisha to improve agricultural productivity among smallholder farmers. CRS’ relief and recovery efforts following emergencies also include livelihood recovery components. In addition to agricultural crop productivity enhancement, CRS India livelihood activities may include agro-enterprise, livestock production, links to microfinance, and other approaches.

Learning is a central part of CRS’ work, and CRS values opportunities to try innovative program approaches and apply rigorous monitoring and evaluation systems to understand and improve program interventions.

Job Summary:
The Program Manager (PM) will lead and oversee the Improved Rice-Based Rainfed Agricultural Systems (IRRAS) project, responsible for ensuring quality implementation of the project, supervising the project team based in Patna, and guiding partners and the project team at all stages of the project.

The PM will represent the IRRAS project in Bihar and is the link among CRS India management, the CRS project team, IRRI, local partners, the Bihar Government Agriculture Department and local universities. The PM’s daily interactions with partners and project participants will be governed by CRS’ Partnership Principles. This position will require significant field travel for regular interactions with partners, government departments and other technical experts/collaborating agencies working in the field of agriculture in Bihar.

The PM will also work with the Program Quality team to contribute technical reviews and support on proposals, reports and responses to donors and stakeholders, as well as to ensure that effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems are in place for the IRRAS project. The PM will be responsible for fostering relationships with actors in the agriculture sector. The PM will ensure that relevant actors are informed of CRS’ work and learning in the agriculture sector, and proactively identify opportunities for collaboration on future projects.

The PM will work with CRS India management and the Foundations unit at headquarters to interact with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about IRRAS progress and about opportunities for a next phase of the project beyond March 2016.

General Responsibilities:
• Oversee IRRAS activities and ensure high quality programming and timely project progress
• Provide appropriate leadership to CRS and partner staff, including mentoring for the growth and development of staff
• Manage the IRRAS project budget, approving spending within the budget and monitoring financial expenditures
• Conduct regular planning and lessons learned sessions to meet project targets and to initiate any mid-course corrections
• Ensure milestones are achieved and work with the Program Quality Team to meet donor reporting requirements
• Draft or support the writing of project reports according to donor schedules and requirements
• Ensure beneficiary accountability and gender sensitive programming
• Ensure agronomic learning through maintenance of a robust M&E system, analysis, and organization of mechanisms for learning
• Represent IRRAS to stakeholders, providing positive and energetic project leadership and representation
• Build the network of project stakeholders, facilitate relationship-building and cooperative participation among agricultural research, extension and other actors
• Liaise with Government agencies and other like-minded NGOs
• Be technically sound in agricultural research and extension, while understanding the IRRAS objectives to skillfully guide the implementation of the project
• Interact regularly with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to report project progress and plan future activities and opportunities
• Work with CRS India management to seek opportunities for the next phase of IRRAS and for new livelihood programming
• Any other work-related tasks assigned by supervisor

Specific Responsibilities:

Project Management
Provide assistance and support to project staff and partners in the following areas:
• Manage project staff
• Manage and facilitate productive partnerships with local, national and international organizations for implementation of IRRAS
• Support quality implementation of an adaptive research network and agenda
• Oversee and support collection and use of project data and results sharing
• Support the operation and strengthening of a knowledge exchange partner network and ongoing knowledge exchange activities
• Provide catalytic support for knowledge exchange actors
• Maintain feedback mechanisms for knowledge exchange actors and farmers

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning
• Ensure implementation of the project M&E plan
• Ensure compilation of data to generate quality and accurate narrative and financial reports as per the donor guidelines
• Ensure follow-up of evaluation recommendations for future programmatic directions
• Closely monitor program activities to ensure implementation of recommendations
• Conduct regular supervisory/technical assistance visits to the field

Linkages, Networking, and Growth
• Support the project team and partners to share the results of research with different key stakeholders (Agriculture Department, BAMETI, Agriculture Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendra)
• Provide accompaniment and technical support to implementing partners and facilitate them to link with external technical agencies
• Establish relationships with different key persons of the Agriculture Department at state, district and local levels as appropriate
• Establish linkages with other research institutions, like-minded organizations, and professionals at the district, state, and national level
• Organize and lead visits by donors and other visitors to the IRRAS project
• Support the identification of appropriate, strategic growth opportunities in agriculture-based livelihoods
• Develop/strengthen networking relationships with the government, stakeholder agencies and donors.

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.
• Serves with Integrity
• Models Stewardship
• Cultivates Constructive Relationships
• Promotes Learning

Key working relationships:
Internal: Head of Programming, Patna staff, Country Representative, Head of Operations, CRS India Program Quality and Operations teams, Finance Manager, Program Manager – Livelihoods, Regional Advisor – Ag/Livelihoods, PIQA Technical Advisors, and Deputy Regional Director – Program Quality.

External: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, project partners, Agriculture Department of the Government of Bihar, Agriculture Universities and External donor agencies, IRRI, other likeminded organizations, BAMETI, Bihar State Seed Corporation.

Required Qualifications and Experience:
• MSc in development-related field. Agronomy or Agriculture Economics preferred.
• At least 5 years of project implementation and management experience with progressive responsibility. Experience with agronomic projects preferred.
• Experience managing staff and partner organizations as well as managing relationships and interactions between government officials, university staff, farmers and other stakeholders
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills
• Experience in monitoring and evaluation, especially in software for data management
• Ability to represent the agency in meetings with donors, local church, local government and other stakeholders
• Strong computer skills (MS Word, Excel, Outlook and Power Point)
• Excellent leadership and people management skills fostering excellent office climate and strengthened partnership relations

This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

Internal applicants are encouraged to apply within the first 10 days of posting.

CRS’ talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.


About the Organization

About CRS:

Catholic Relief Services 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.

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