Technical Advisor for Financial and Business Services

Dakar, Senegal
Apply by 23 August 2018
Mid-level , Full-time staff position
Posted on 24 July 2018

Job Description

Job Title: Technical Advisor for Financial and Business Services in West Africa

Location: Dakar, Senegal (base location flexible within West Africa region, International telecommuting may also be considered)

Reports to: Regional Technical Advisor for Agriculture and Livelihoods, WARO

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.

Job Summary: CRS is seeking an experienced professional to provide leadership to the West Africa country programs in developing the business and financial skills of smallholder farmer and youth populations. The advisor will be part of a West Africa regional (WARO) multidisciplinary technical advisor team supporting activities in the region. CRS has had considerable success in deploying savings and loans methodologies and more recently has extended the microfinance skills curriculum to include financial education and youth entrepreneurship. CRS’s Smart Skills approach for farmers includes – along with financial management and marketing – group organization, natural resource management, and innovation. This position would support WARO country programs in expanding financial services, youth livelihoods, and operationalizing the Smart Skills to better enable smallholder farmers and other value chain actors to build their agro-enterprises.

Primary Functions: The position’s major responsibilities are to support project design and proposal development, deliver high quality technical support and capacity building to country program staff, and serve as a liaison between country programs and HQ for technical support for business and financial services. The TA will provide leadership to the region in the use of innovative financial and business services, with an emphasis on agribusiness and livelihoods development for smallholder farmers and youth, and high-quality data collection for learning and program quality. The TA will provide support for SILC programming in the region, including financial education, marketing and business basics, youth and pro-poor savings approaches.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Technical guidance, assistance, training and program monitoring
  1. Provide technical guidance related to SILC programming and financial services to country programs to ensure program quality.
  2. Provide technical guidance related to Smart Skills, supporting capacity strengthening of country programs in relevant Smart Skills competencies and related approaches.
  3. Provide technical guidance related to market-based approaches, agribusiness and value chain development to country programs, including support for youth entrepreneurship programming.
  4. Assist country programs in identifying challenges and proposing solutions and identify and share best practices with country programs.
  5. Provide training as required to country program and partner staff.
  6. Contribute to the design of high quality proposals.
  7. Support as needed other related agriculture/livelihoods initiatives within the region.
  • Leadership in Financial and Business Services
  1. Support country programs with monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL), including support with rolling out project metrics related to financial and business services to improve decision making based on data.
  2. Participate in HQ initiatives to develop and put into action the AL-SPA Theory of Change, metrics and learning agenda, in particular, AL-SPA strategic objective 4: Scaling Financial Education and Services, and 5: Facilitating market access.
  3. Support county programs to document and disseminate best practices and lessons learned.
  4. Participate in and contribute to the WARO Agriculture and Livelihoods community of practice and relevant global AL-SPA community of practice groups.
  • Networking and Alliance-building
  1. Facilitate and attend workshops and trainings in core areas related to the sector.
  2. Represent CRS’ financial and business services programs at conferences and events.
  3. Share lessons learned and educational opportunities with country programs.
  4. Support gender integration into financial and business services programming in WARO.
  5. Work with other sectors (nutrition, health, WASH/WES, peace-building, SBCC) on integrated approaches to programming, particularly with SILC.
  6. Strengthen relationships and networking with relevant donors in WARO.

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff): These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  1. Serves with Integrity
  2. Models Stewardship
  3. Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  4. Promotes Learning

Key Working Relationships:

Internal: The successful candidate will report to the regional technical advisor for agriculture and livelihoods based in WARO. He/she will collaborate with the micro-finance team as well as other Agriculture and Livelihoods HQ staff, and will collaborate with country program staff including Country Representatives, Heads of Programming, Business Development, and other program staff in 12 countries (8 country programs) in WARO: Burkina Faso (including outreach to Cote d’Ivoire), Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal (including outreach to Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and the Gambia) and Sierra Leone.

External: Collaborate with other NGOs, research institutes, development networks, and government and other partners.


  • MA/MSc in agribusiness, economics, finance, or other relevant development-related field.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in international development with relevant experience in microfinance and/or agribusiness development.
  • West Africa experience and knowledge of West African agricultural livelihoods highly desired.
  • Experience in program design, program quality and performance assessment.
  • Experience with ICT4D desirable (mobile technology, market information, etc.).
  • Youth entrepreneurship and value chain development experience highly desired.
  • Willingness to travel up to 50% of the time.
  • Experience with participatory techniques and adult learning methods and training facilitation.
  • Experience with capacity strengthening for staff and partners.
  • Strong M&E and analytical skills, sound judgment and the capacity to think and plan strategically, including the ability to produce high quality evidence-based advice for programs.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication, interpersonal, networking and negotiation skills, including in a cross-cultural context as a team player.

Language: Advanced or native fluency in written and oral English required; at least professional proficiency in French required.

Travel: Up to 50% regional travel.

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

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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