Technical Director

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 23 July 2020

Job Description

The Technical Director, Agriculture and Livelihoods will provide global leadership and strategic direction for CRS agriculture and livelihoods programming. CRS programming spans food security and resilience, natural resource management and land restoration, climate change adaptation, market engagement and value chains, microfinance, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, and gender-sensitive agriculture. The Technical Director will oversee provision of technical support to ensure high quality and impactful programming, lead strategic growth in the sector, advance learning and innovation, manage development of tools and resources, and represent CRS with donors, international agencies, governments, and partners. The Technical Director will manage a team of 9-12 technical advisors and provide technical leadership to the agency’s wider agriculture community.

Roles and Key Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership

  • Provide technical leadership for a robust community of agriculture and livelihoods staff at headquarters, regional offices, and country programs.
  • Guide CRS’ agriculture and livelihoods strategy, program direction, standards and best practices.
  • Cultivate learning and innovation through mentorship, partner engagement, inquiry, and data use.
  • Guide the agriculture and livelihoods team to develop cohesive goals, strategies and work plans for activities spanning resilience, food security, natural resource management and land restoration, market engagement, value chains, microfinance, enterprise development, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, and gender-sensitive agriculture.
  • Actively support collection and use of data and sharing of results internally and externally.
  • Ensure alignment of agriculture activities with the CRS Vision 2030 strategy, particularly Goal Area 3 - All People Achieve Dignified and Resilient Livelihoods in Flourishing Landscapes.
  • Provide guidance to Strategic Change Platform 3, Transforming Lives and Landscapes.
  • Liaise with other sectoral teams to contribute to integrated programs and strategic initiatives.

Technical Assistance

  • Oversee and ensure responsive and high quality technical assistance by the Program Impact and Quality Assurance (PIQA) Agriculture and Livelihoods team to CRS country programs.
  • Provide direct technical assistance to program design, implementation, and evaluation of agriculture and livelihoods programs, including both country and global projects.
  • Advise regional offices and country programs on agriculture and livelihoods strategy development.
  • Collaborate with the Impact Investing team to support blended finance and other impact investing opportunities in the agriculture and livelihoods sector.
  • Collaborate with the Impact Investing and Private Sector Engagement team to support private sector partnerships, market-based approaches, and blended finance and impact investing opportunities in the agriculture and livelihoods sector.
  • Coordinate with the Humanitarian Response Department on integrated approaches to resilience and livelihoods strengthening that span emergency and development programming.


  • Manage a team of 9-12 PIQA technical advisors.
  • Ensure cohesion of the team’s activities and facilitate close intra-team collaboration.
  • Foster an environment of high morale and motivation among the agriculture and livelihoods team.
  • Mentor technical advisors, supporting their learning and professional development.
  • Cultivate and support diversity within the agriculture and livelihoods team.
  • Manage the agriculture and livelihoods core budget and oversee team members in managing associated budgets.
  • Oversee development and coordination of annual work plans and budgets.
  • Ensure coordination and alignment among the wider set of agriculture/livelihoods advisors across the agency, including leading communities of practice, learning efforts, and communication.

Business Development and Growth

  • Cultivate strong technical and advisory relationships with donors in agriculture and livelihoods, including USAID’s Bureau of Resilience and Food Security and Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Department for International Development (DFID), and others.
  • Work closely with CRS’ Institutional Donor Engagement Advancement (IDEA) department and country programs to position for and pursue new opportunities, including Feed the Future bilateral and global projects, USDA Food for Progress projects, and USAID Development Food Security Activities.
  • Collaborate with the Global Grants team to position for and pursue global opportunities in agriculture, livelihoods and food security.


  • Ph.D. or Master’s degree in agronomy, agricultural economics, or related field.
  • Minimum 12 years relevant field experience designing, implementing, or providing technical assistance to agriculture and livelihoods programs in developing countries.
  • Experience managing senior technical staff and demonstrated ability to lead high performing teams.
  • In-depth knowledge of agriculture and livelihoods programs, policies, and evidence.
  • Demonstrated success in resource mobilization, including strong project design and writing skills.
  • Experience with USAID agriculture and food security programming strongly preferred.
  • Technical or academic publications preferred.
  • Demonstrated success facilitating collaboration with private sector actors, government agencies, research institutions, private sector and other NGOs.
  • Excellent strategic, analytical, problem-solving and systems thinking.
  • Strong representational skills and a wide network in the agriculture sector.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead diverse and multicultural teams.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent facilitation, training, and coaching skills.

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

EOE/M/F/D/V - CRS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. (For all US and International positions) 

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.

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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