Global Food Systems Advisor

Site Hellen Keller International

Helen Keller is hiring a Global Food Systems Advisor.

Helen Keller International is a global health organization dedicated teliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition and diseases of poverty. Cofounded by Helen Keller – and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential – the organization delivers life-changing health solutions tvulnerable families where the need is great but access tcare is limited. In the US, Africa, and Asia, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people tcreate opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change.

We are seeking a Global Food Systems Advisor tprovide thought leadership tall country offices on the design of program strategies and activities through which Helen Keller can make the most significant and sustainable positive impact on nutrition and food security, as well as on-the-ground support tprogram implementation. We define the food system as encompassing the many stages that lead from production tconsumption of food, including storage, processing, distribution, exchange, demand, and preparation. Avoiding food loss and waste must alsbe a component. This system is influenced by environmental, technological, political, economic, sociocultural and demographic drivers. The outcomes should be nutritious and culturally responsive diverse diets that contribute tpopulation health while protecting environmental resources. (A relevant framework is appended tthe end of this announcement.)


Our new strategic plan seeks tbuild on decades of experience tdefine the following priorities tmake foods systems work better for people: 1) improving the nutritional value of the food that people consume; 2) decreasing economic, social and other obstacles tthe consumption of healthy food; 3) enhancing the positive environmental impact of the food system; and 4) shaping national policy environments that are more conducive tthe previous four objectives. The pathways tachieve these objectives will vary by context, given how variable food systems are across and within countries. We aim tmeasure the effect of our work consistently in all contexts tcompare programs, increase learning across countries and assess the impact of our food system work globally. The Global Food Systems Advisor will draw on his/her own expertise and that of colleagues across the organization thelp achieve these objectives.

Functional Relationships

  • Reporting tthe Vice-President for Nutrition, the Global Food Systems Advisor will collaborate with other Global Advisors and with Country Directors and their designated program teams tdesign tailored food systems strategies that both respond tand create funding opportunities tachieve the objectives cited above.
  • Helen Keller is structured in such a way that the work of each department supports and reinforces the work of every other department. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues are essential tmake this structure thrive.
  • Helen Keller’s programs alsrequire close relations with governments, partner NGOs, food industries, and donors, including UN agencies. The Global Food Systems Advisor will play a key role in nurturing and overseeing some of these cooperative relationships, and representing Helen Keller tdonors and the international community, as needed.
  • Scope of the Position
  • The Global Food Systems Advisor will provide collaborative leadership thelp mature Helen Keller’s food systems interventions and grow our work around four priorities.
  • Expanding our role in the processing and distribution phases of food supply chains, including transforming foods intshelf-stable, nutritious products using minimal processing and appropriate technologies that preserve or enhance micronutrient availability, and protecting consumers from ultra-processed food products that are stripped of nutritional value and high in unhealthful additives.
  • Expanding the application of locally appropriate climate-smart and climate-resilient practices. This will involve increasing the biodiversity of crops produced and working with host country and international agricultural and biodiversity research institutions tmake nutritionally improved and climate-adapted varieties available tproducers, especially underutilized and locally adapted indigenous species, biofortified, and as appropriate, genetically engineered crops.
  • Integrating gender transformative and socially inclusive strategies tfood system interventions tincrease leadership, income generating opportunities, and access to/utilization of nutrient-rich foods by women, other disadvantaged groups, and youth.
  • Developing a set of metrics tassess program and organizational progress in contributing tequitable, nutritious and environmentally responsible food systems and assuring these are monitored across country programs.
  • The geographical location for this position is flexible but will require travel tcountry offices and tvisit project activities, as well as trepresent Helen Keller at international conferences. It will alsrequire maintaining a flexible work schedule tcommunicate with offices across time zones from New York tDakar, Dar es Salaam, Kathmandu, and Manila.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with countries (guidance will be provided on priorities) tidentify opportunities for developing food systems strategies and funding opportunities in line with the priorities above.
  • Assess and improve indicators used organization-wide ttrack performance in the food systems sector, then revise and finalize in consultation with relevant global colleagues (with the understanding that the set of indicators may need tevolve over time). Collaborate with project teams tdevelop more specific and detailed monitoring frameworks and tools ttrack progress at the project level.
  • Provide technical expertise and support tfood systems projects implemented by country offices tensure they align with global best practices and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Contribute tthe recruitment of high-performing staff tmanage and implement food systems projects at country level, and/or for multi-country support.
  • Act as a dotted line co-manager for relevant country office staff and participate in the ongoing performance management cycle of those staff.
  • Provide technical guidance and support timplementation teams tenable them tachieve timely, high-quality project deliverables and meet project objectives and donor requirements, in a manner conducive tprofessional growth and development for everyone.
  • Ensure accountability tproject participants, partners, colleagues and donors by providing ongoing feedback in a context of mutual respect.
  • Model collaboration within the Helen Keller team: effectively consult with and inform colleagues tmaximize efficiency and knowledge sharing and integrate guidance and direction from other subject matter experts and technical advisors in the global organization toptimize project designs and outcomes.
  • Qualifications
  • Degree in agriculture, agribusiness, food systems or a related field and a minimum of 8 years work experience or equivalent combination of skills and experience.
  • Knowledge of agricultural and/or market systems and relevant off-farm product development, with experience enhancing the diversity, productivity and sustainability of agricultural production and/or leading the development of nutrition-sensitive food systems enterprises. The following areas of experience would be particularly helpful:
  • Experience in supporting producers and small and medium enterprises in product marketing.
  • Expertise in developing nutritious food value chains in low-income countries.
  • Knowledge of gender and youth issues affecting their unequal or constrained access tfood, financial and productive resources, and market participation.
  • Knowledge of processing and value-addition process of nutritious foods in low resource settings.
  • Knowledge of appropriate storage, post-harvest practices, and food preservation in low resource settings. Demonstrated experience in designing inclusive strategies, activities, and learning and adapting throughout the program cycle, with specific experience in gender and/or youth inclusion.
  • Ability tanalyze market and supply chain opportunities, including knowledge of relevant survey tools.
  • Experience identifying and successfully securing funding for projects in the food systems sector, including those that strengthen the linkages between agriculture production, nutrition, and health outcomes.
  • Knowledge of current international agriculture development trends, tools and approaches related tclimate-smart agriculture, nutrition and food security, market systems strengthening and/or value chain development, including economic empowerment within the food system on- and off-farm.
  • Excellent capacity building, team building/management, and coordination skills. An ability tdelegate responsibilities effectively, coach and mentor other colleagues, while alslearning from them.
  • An ability twork in challenging and changing environments, tfind solutions temerging challenges, and maintain balance when under stress.
  • Demonstrable respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, caste, class, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, with a high comfort level working in a diverse environment with a demonstrated commitment thigh professional ethical standards.

Communication and language skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, including the ability texercise diplomacy and tact as demonstrated through previous roles that required communication with a broad and diverse set of partners, such as government, civil society, international organizations, the local community and political leaders.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required. Ability tread, analyze and interpret complex documents and tsummarize the information succinctly – both verbally and in writing—using an engaging style.
  • Ability tmake effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics ttop management and the public.
  • Functional knowledge of French is required, and fluency in other working languages of country offices is advantageous.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the application of information technology to Helen Keller program areas. Knowledge of software used to prepare presentations and other work documents (e.g., Microsoft Office Suite).
  • Ability and willingness to undertake field travel (approx. 30%).

How to apply

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Closing date : 15 August 2021.

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