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Agroecology Specialist

Position Title: Agroecology Specialist
Reports to: Sub-landscape Coordinator
Supervises: None
Job Grade: TBD
Location: Loitokitok town , Kajiado, Kenya
Background and Position Summary
The Southern Kenya - Northern Tanzania (SOKNOT)- UNGANISHA landscape for an important conservation landscape that includes the Serengeti, Masai Mara, Chyullu, Tsavo, Mkomazi, Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro crater, important biospheres and bird habitats including Lake Natron, Loita, Amboseli, West Kilimanjaro. There are 39 communal conservancies and 2 wildlife management areas (WMAs) that reflect its extraordinary biodiversity and tourism value. The landscape is home to millions of wild animals including threatened and endangered species such as elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, hirola and African wild dog. The annual wildlife migrations of up to 1.3 million animals are among the largest worldwide and a main tourist attraction. The Section of SOKNOT-UNGANISHA in Kenya is referred to as The Southern Kenya (SoK) and stretches from Mara through Amboseli-Chyullu to Tsavo.
There is a critical interdependence between people and nature across SOKNOT. Agriculture, including small scale/supplementary crop farming, and small-scale enterprises are the main sources of income generally.  The rapidly escalating human population and high levels of rural poverty in wildlife dispersal areas and priority corridors are key drivers of land-use change, fragmentation and habitat degradation, increasing encroachment and potential human and wildlife conflict. Unsustainable agricultural practices to meet a growing demand for food - in the context of a changing climate - are threatening the ecological integrity of natural landscapes and the resilience of smallholder farming within the SOKNOT landscape. Developing more resilient food systems, anchored on climate resilient agroecological practices with livestock and natural resource management, can help communities achieve food security while protecting the planet.
It is both critical and urgent that wildlife and ecosystem services (including water, grasslands) are valued and sustained through community control and stewardship through sustainable food production and consumption systems.
Role Description
The Agroecology Specialist role is critical in building sustainable food systems for the communities that WWF and its partners support within the Southern Kenya (SoK) landscape, whilst safeguarding critical wildlife habitats.
Key Duties and Responsibilities
  • Lead in the development of a comprehensive agriculture and food implementation plan for the SoK landscape (based on Africa’s Food Future Strategy), including detailed plans to ensure sustainability, in partnership with WWF SOKNOT staff and landscape stakeholders.
  • Lead timely and effective design and implementation of agriculture and sustainable food systems projects/activities/interventions across the SoK landscape, aligning with the SOKNOT landscape strategy and the WWF Africa’s Food Future Initiative (AFFI).
  • In collaboration with the AFFI team, elevate and fast-track the development, piloting and implementation of agroecology and sustainable food systems solutions aimed at increasing production while protecting nature.
  • Support the co-creation of sustainable food production models and, in collaboration with the WWF market team/value chain expert, establishing sustainable supply chain models for existing agricultural crops/commodities;
  • Support the co-creation and establishment of demonstration plots/farms for agroecology-based models; exploring the potential of carbon farming; developing models for food loss management; exploring the potential of voluntary standards and other schemes as sustainability accelerators within the SoK landscape;
  • work with farming communities on integrated land and water use management models along riverine, forest and grassland ecosystems to develop sustainable farming models;
  • work with a range of stakeholders across the SoK landscape, including close collaboration with local farming communities, conservancies, partners, and other experts and agencies
  • Support consulting missions related to agriculture and food systems within the SoK landscape;
  • Lead agriculture and livestock-related scoping analyses, baseline reviews and other studies aimed at informing or measuring impact of project activities.
  • Lead on the monitoring and evaluation of agriculture/livestock-related data and reporting of projects, to track performance/impact and adapt as required.
  • Conduct capacity building activities aimed at creating awareness, while facilitating co-learning.
  • Provide appropriate high-level representation for activities with governments, the private sector and NGOs to develop and implement AFFI actions.
  • Provide oversight of project technical and financial management including annual work planning, budgeting and reporting related to agriculture/livestock projects.
  • Assist communities in planning, prioritizing and implementing sustainable production and consumption activities in line with agreed work-plans and objectives.
  • Support communities to gain access to information, resources and opportunities, and to connect with other relevant stakeholders that are likely to empower them to manage conservation resources more effectively.
  • Support fundraising and fund tracking efforts for the agriculture/livestock projects/activities, in collaboration with the WWF-Kenya, leadership.
  • In collaboration with relevant WWF-Kenya Staff and partners, measure the amount of benefits (including non-monetary) that households and community members accrue from agriculture/livestock projects.
  • On behalf of WWF, establish good working relationships with local communities and their leaders, and endeavour to uphold the reputation of WWF.
  • Liaise closely with other Programmes of WWF-Kenya and the WWF Network in identifying sustainable production and consumption models and ideas that can be replicated and adapted to priority landscapes globally.
  • Share and document learnings to support the wider development of resilient community livelihoods in the region and globally.
  • Ensure implementation of activities is in line with respective donor grants, expectations, planned outcomes and report to key stakeholders, including the preparation of progress reports to donors as required.
This job description covers the main tasks and conveys the spirit of the sort of tasks that are anticipated from the role. Other tasks may be assigned as necessary, according to organizational needs.
A university Bachelors degree in the field of agricultural sciences / agronomy / food systems / natural resource management or related field. A relevant Master’s degree is an added advantage.
 A minimum of 5 years of active engagement and experience of working with local rural communities on agriculture and sustainable production.
Key Skills / Competencies
  • Experience in developing and implementing agriculture and sustainable food systems related projects, preferably in a natural-resource context.
  • Skilled in financial and planning, managing large budgets and project management.
  • Familiarity with the dynamics and key issues related to agriculture and food systems in Kenya.
  • Understanding of factors related to the agriculture- conservation nexus.
  • Ability to work effectively in a multicultural and diverse setting.
  • Understanding of and experience supporting gender and climate change issues is a must.
  • Experience dealing with power differentials and inequalities within and across communities is desirable.
  • Ability to build good relationships and work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders in a respectful, participatory manner.
  • Experience engaging with ‘hard to reach’ members of society is desirable.
  • Experience working with communities to support natural resource management and agriculture.
  • Experience with participatory (action) research and co-creation of conservation initiatives with a wide range of stakeholders is highly desirable. 
  • Ability to organize and host community meetings, with strong diplomatic skills.
  • A command of written and spoken English and spoken Swahili; knowledge of Masai community is highly desirable and an added advantage.
  • Understanding of socio-economic and cultural aspects of wildlife conservation, including drivers of human-wildlife conflict, poaching and habitat degradation.
  • Experience with qualitative and quantitative social science research methods, including surveys, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, research on sensitive topics and their analysis; understanding of research ethics.
  • Self-driven with a proactive approach to problem solving.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and prioritize multiple tasks.
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision and as part of a team. 
  • Frequent field trips away from assigned location, potentially overnight and during weekends.
  • Ability to communicate effectively (written and verbal) with a wide range of collaborators/audiences, including proven ability to write project and donor reports.
  • High levels of computer literacy; competent use of Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint and Word).
  • Commitment to WWF and its mission.

Working Relationships
External: Interacts frequently with consultants, researchers, donors, government departments and other agencies, conservation officials in Kenya, development agencies, communities, NGOs and INGOs. 
Internal: Interacts frequently with a range of WWF office staff, including WWF-Tanzania and WWF-Kenya staff, WWF Food Practice representatives, and WWF Regional Office for Africa (ROA) staff.
Please Click Here to apply for the role.
Applications will close on 10th February 2023. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Kindly note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.