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African pastoralism technical specialist

Organization

Conservation International

Department

Not Specified

Job Location Type

HYBRID

Job Location

Johannesburg, South Africa    Nairobi, Kenya    Gaborone, Botswana    

Applicant Location Requirements

Johannesburg, South Africa    Nairobi, Kenya    Gaborone, Botswana    

Application Deadline

July 30, 2024

Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork, and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, biodiversity, and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples, and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.

POSITION SUMMARY – This position is based in South Africa, Botswana, or Kenya

The Conservation International Africa Field Division Strategy is built around the vision of an Africa where growth and development across the continent is catalyzed through nature. The strategy is set to prove that the fastest, most equitable, and durable path to achieving Africa’s food, water, and climate security is by basing development on the protection and sustainable use of nature and to scale impact through partnerships, projects, and policy work. The strategy is aligned to the four guiding stars of Conservation International which steer global institutional priorities in the context of climate change, sustainable land and seascapes, conserving oceans, and scientific and financial innovation.

A dedicated focus on CI’s work in the grasslands, savannah, and scrublands of Africa is one of the core objectives of the new Africa Strategy. Under the theme, resilient people in resilient places, CI’s goal is to have 20 million of African degraded grasslands savanna, and scrublands under restoration by 2030 by scaling up the adoption of Herding for Health (H4H). H4H is a community development model that promotes conservation outcomes while supporting pastoralists living in rural areas to find their way out of extreme poverty. The model follows a community-driven approach to address challenges faced by farmers living in and adjacent to protected areas. The concept is based on the premise that with proper livestock management, land degradation can be reversed and the desired impacts, including the recharge of water resources and an increase in biodiversity resources, will be a reality. The model, developed and tested with pastoralist communities for over twenty years, revolves around skills development and deployment, farmer-driven participation, sustainable rangeland management practices, disease risk as well as market-based rural development principles.

The African Pastoralism Technical Specialist provides technical leadership, oversight, and support through advisory and active testing of ideas on site-based grasslands and savannah projects within Conservation International’s Africa Field Division, with a specific focus on Herding for Health (H4H) implementation. The technical specialist will ensure grasslands and savannah are adhering to the best sustainable livestock regenerative agriculture and land management practices and will directly coordinate with site-based technical staff to provide guidance and support as needed, for example in grazing area management and farmer engagements. They will operationalize fit-for-purpose sustainable livestock management approaches across all H4H sites, considering the different ecosystem types, cultural diversity, environmental variabilities, and animal health challenges that are prevalent in the different landscapes. They will update technical learning materials based on research and experience from demonstration sites and provide input to training partners for the development and implementation of relevant training materials.

In addition to providing site-specific technical input, the African Pastoralism Technical Specialist will form part of the CI Grasslands and Savannah Team, and will provide input to strategic planning, and fundraising proposals. They will work closely with other technical divisions in Conservation International and Peace Parks Foundation, responsible for restoration, technology development, Conservation Stewardship Agreements, and mapping.

The Technical Specialist will work closely with the Conservation Stewardship Program and site-based teams to engage and implement Stewardship Agreements.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Strategy Implementation

1. Livestock Production

  • Provide technical leadership in sustainable livestock management techniques including animal health, productivity, and nutrition for communal livestock farming.
  • Provide technical support to herding for health implementation with a focus on animal productivity, animal handling, branding, herd dynamics, herd health, and record keeping.
  • Develop fit-for-purpose community livestock management approaches that support healthier animals and healthier grasslands.
  • Assess herd genetics and engage farmers on suitable approaches to improve herd genetics in each of the Herding for Health cohorts.
  • Work together with veterinarians to affiliated with the projects and landscape leads to support the development of herd health plans and ensure site-specific diseases are managed as part of the herding for health approach.
  • Support landscape leaders to enhance farmers/ farmer group engagements and guide the establishment of appropriate community governance structures.
  • Work with landscape leads/H4Hsites leads to develop measures and partnerships that will unlock relevant livestock value chains and provide access to markets for pastoralists and implement a market-based incentive approach for sustained implementation of the H4H model in the landscape.
  • Where necessary, support the implementation of commodity-based trade in line with the World Organization for Animal Health.
    Provide technical input in implementing a One Health Approach in H4H sites.
  • Together with policy development teams, contribute to policy briefs on enhancing livestock trade and commodity-based trade in Africa.

2. Grasslands, Savannah, and Scrublands Management

  • Implement climate-smart grazing plans to ensure sustainable healthy grasslands and in-line with the needs of the landscape.
  • Conduct farmer engagements together with site teams to co-create grazing plans (rotational grazing and planned rest, considering frequency, timing, duration, and intensity to support restoration of degraded grasslands
  • Together with the site teams, relevant government departments, support the operationalization of grazing plans at the landscape level to maximize the ecological impact from the intervention.
  • Ensure livestock production measures implemented align with ecological imperatives to restore biodiversity and sustain ecosystem functions.
  • Contribute to policy briefs on sustainable livestock management as a mechanism for climate adaptation and mitigation.
  • Support the Grasslands and Savannah Senior Program Manager in leading a technical community of practice focused on grasslands and savannah at the landscape level.

3. Community Engagements and Governance

  • Engage livestock farmers/pastoralists to better manage their livestock herds for better productivity along the livestock value chain.
  • Develop strategies for improved community governance that empower farmers to build sustainable grazing management, enhance livestock health, and obtain better markets,
  • Provide technical leadership in ensuring quality implementation of the herding for health amplification strategy at landscape implementation/site level and help consolidate existing projects, establish new project sites, and support the development of strong sustainability mechanisms in each site.
  • Work together with the Stewardship Agreement and Site Teams, to support farmer engagements on Rangeland Stewardship Agreements.

4. Capacity Building

  • Support landscape leads and where needed provide leadership in the establishment of the technical advisory committee in each landscape to tap into local experience and expertise that will help improve the delivery of outcomes of the project in each implementation site.
  • Provide technical input on training manuals, toolkits, online courses, and other learning-related materials.
  • Work closely with training partners (e.g. Southern Africa Wildlife College, Herding Academy, Afrivet and ILRI, and other relevant training institutes in East and Southern Africa) to develop relevant H4H training material.
  • Support and when needed conduct H4H training to identified groups and stakeholders in support of implementation of CI and partner projects.
  • Capacitate and strengthen farmers to be better stewards of their land with robust governance systems.

5. Financial Sustainability

Together with partners, establish market access opportunities and support farmer engagements in implementing prioritized opportunities.
Develop and support the effective implementation of technical proposals and action plans related to livestock work, to deliver planned outcomes.
Provide technical contributions to innovative finance initiatives such as Soil Organic Carbon, and Payment for Ecosystem Services, among others.

6. Compliance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

  • Support with data collection for the H4H Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning framework covering indicators such as land cover changes, livestock, and livelihood/socio-economic impacts.
  • Ensure each site is compliant with relevant organizational policies, protocols, and frameworks.
  • Record and track risks for H4H sites together with the Grasslands and Savannah Senior Manager.
  • Ensure each site is compliant with Environmental and Social Safeguards in place.
  • Catalogue relevant project/program information in planning, monitoring, or related systems.
  • Support adaptive management for H4H sites in line with the lessons learned.
  • Develop and deliver high-quality landscape-based technical products, analysis, and information that lead to conservation outcomes.
  • Provide periodic reports and assessments on progress against goals for internal and external audiences. Assess progress and refine action plans and outcomes as needed.
  • Work closely with Africa Grasslands and Savannah team in CI and H4H team in Peace Parks Foundation to ensure harmony and synergy between teams for optimal results achievement.

7. ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Logistics and communication

  • Support communication team with information and media presence of the Africa grassland and savannah portfolio.
  • Assist with logistical support as and when needed.
  • Coordinate virtual and in-person workshops and meetings that bring out and amplify voices from the field to internal and external audiences.
    Team Culture
  • Build camaraderie and team spirit among implementation teams.
  • Create a sense of team unity across all implementation sites.
  • Create opportunities for learning across sites.
  • People and resource management responsibilities

This position does not have direct supervisory authority but assists and mentors less-experienced team members.
Serves as a subject matter expert on effective grassland and livestock management, climate-smart livestock management, and agriculture enterprise development.

WORKING CONDITIONS

  • Extended work hours may be required.
  • Ability and willingness to travel on a regular basis to field sites within southern, and east Africa and when needed other countries in the rest of Africa where CI is supporting H4H implementation.
  • May need to work out of doors in adverse weather conditions.
  • This position follows a hybrid work structure, working some days from the office and some remotely. Guidance will be shared during the interview process.
  • Expected to be a 3-year assignment.

QUALIFICATIONS

Required

  • Bachelor’s degree in animal production or grasslands and savannah management, grassland ecology, rangelands grasslands and savannah, animal health or other relevant fields.
  • 4 to 6 years of experience as a livestock production expert and working with livestock farmers.
  • Demonstrable experience working with farmers/pastoralism or as a livestock farmer and land management experience.
  • Up to 2 years of supervisory experience.
    Demonstrable experience in linking farmers to markets.
  • Experience with implementing projects in communal farming systems will be an advantage.
  • Livestock farming credentials will be highly recognized.
  • A good academic record with a strong publications profile will be considered.

Preferred

  • Master’s degree in any of these relevant fields.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills including the ability to effectively convey complex details or technical information.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Basic administration and coordination skills are essential.
  • Highly familiar with etiquette, protocol, and employing cultural awareness and sensitivity.
  • Proven team player.
  • Self-driven with strong leadership and performance management.
  • Highly organized and able to manage multiple priorities simultaneously in a dynamic environment.

To apply for this position please submit a resume and cover letter.

Apply online or via email