Team Leader – Seed System Security Assessment in the DRC FTF Zones of Influence USAID/DRC MSSP (Short Term Assignment)

SoCha LLC

Background:

In the DRC, SoCha is the prime contractor responsible for implementing the Mission Strategic Support Program (MSSP) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (USAID/DRC), for a period of 5 years. The objective of MSSP is to provide technical and advisory services for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) across the USAID’s portfolio of activities in the DRC, the CAR and Congo-Brazzaville.

MSSP supports the USAID Mission by providing strategic analysis, including data collection and quality assessments; data visualization and mapping; activity monitoring and verification; studies, assessments and performance evaluations of activities; and facilitating organizational learning and collaboration among USAID implementing partners. MSSP also works to build the capacity of the Mission and its implementing partners to use MEL to inform program design and deliver better outcomes for the population.

For a Seed System Security Assessment (SSSA) project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for USAID, SoCha seeks qualified Team Leader: Seed System Security Assessment in the DRC Feed the Future Zones of Influence (FtF ZoI).

Scope of Work:

The Team Leader will work with a team of national data collection team and analysts to conduct a comprehensive Seed System Security Assessment in the identified zones of the DRC, following the outlined methodology. The assessment will focus on identifying vulnerabilities, assessing the status of crop and seed systems, and proposing short- and long-term responses to enhance seed security.

Key Responsibilities

Project Planning:

  • Review and finalize the detailed methodology, assessment questions, and tools in collaboration with the USAID/DRC experts.
  • Develop a comprehensive work plan for the assessment project.

Identify Zones for Assessment and Possible Intervention:

  • Define geographical areas for assessment within the context of FtF ZoI.
  • Distinguish sub-zones based on factors such as population, rainfall, agricultural practices, and interventions.
  • Engage with local stakeholders, including agricultural offices, NGOs, and community leaders, to identify priority zones.
  • Conduct preliminary surveys to gather initial data on identified zones.

Describe the Normal Status of Crop and Seed Systems:

  • Collect baseline data on crop patterns, seed varieties, and planting seasons in identified zones.
  • Conduct surveys with farmers to understand normal practices, seed sources, and challenges.
  • Analyze local and regional seed markets, including varieties available, prices, and suppliers.
  • Identify key crops and nutrient-rich varieties for dietary diversity.

Describe the Broad Effects of Disasters on Farming Systems:

  • Assess the risk of natural disasters in each zone using historical data and climate models.
  • Model potential impacts of disasters on farming systems considering crop cycles, soil types, and local practices.
  • Consult with stakeholders to discuss and validate potential disaster impacts and coping strategies.

Identify Chronic Stresses Requiring Longer-Term Solutions:

  • Conduct ongoing studies to monitor chronic stresses such as soil degradation, persistent poverty, and recurrent conflicts.
  • Engage with agricultural experts to identify underlying issues and potential long-term solutions.
  • Facilitate community meetings to prioritize long-term challenges and interventions.

Determine Appropriate Short- and Longer-Term Responses:

  • Lead multi-stakeholder workshops to plan and prioritize short- and long-term responses to seed security challenges.
  • Implement pilot projects for promising interventions and monitor their effectiveness.
  • Establish systems for continuous feedback from beneficiaries and stakeholders to refine and adjust response strategies.

Reporting and Documentation:

  • Prepare comprehensive reports detailing the findings of each assessment step and proposed interventions.
  • Ensure that all data, tools, and methodologies used are well-documented for future reference.
  • Present findings and recommendations to USAID and other relevant stakeholders.

Qualifications:

Essential Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree (Master’s or Ph.D.) in Agriculture, Agronomy, Rural Development, or related field.
  • Minimum of 7 years of experience in seed systems assessments, agricultural research, or related work.
  • Strong expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods, including data collection and analysis.
  • Proven experience in conducting assessments, surveys, and workshops in rural and conflict-affected areas.
  • Knowledge of seed systems, crop diversity, and agricultural practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the DRC.
  • Excellent communication and facilitation skills.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including local communities and government authorities.
  • Proficiency in English and French (both spoken and written).

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience working on USAID-funded projects or similar international development initiatives.
  • Familiarity with the agricultural and food security context in the DRC.
  • Understanding of gender and youth considerations in agriculture and seed systems.
  • Prior experience working with vulnerable and marginalized populations.
  • Ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and priorities.

Duration of the Assignment:

The assessment is expected to start in February 2024 and to be completed in 90 days – however, this is a deliverables-based contract meaning that the amounts and payment schedule will be determined by the dates of the deliverables.

Location:

The Team Leader will work from his/her home base with the possibility of (at least one) field visit (s) as per the requirements of the assessment.

Reporting:

The Team Leader will report to the Socha/MSSP DCOP and liaise closely with USAID/DRC experts.

How to apply

To submit your application, kindly provide your details using the form provided.

The application file shall include:

  • A motivational statement of no more than 1 page to convince us that you are the best candidate for this position;
  • Your CV highlighting your qualifications relevant to the position
  • A sample of a report (preferably not older than 3 years) where you were the sole or lead author
  • Three (3) references

Position will remain open to applicants until it is filled.

Socha is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from qualified individuals regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other protected status. We encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview. We appreciate your understanding.


Deadline: 8-Mar-24