Technical Specialist (Level II) GESI - MEDA



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MEDA’s work is built on a foundation of Mennonite business roots and faith-based values, within the global context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We believe business solutions are effective interventions to address poverty. Through a market-systems approach and strategic partnerships, MEDA enables access to finance and provides business and technical expertise to build transformative agri-food market systems that create decent jobs, allowing traditionally excluded groups to become active participants in a sustainable economy. MEDA welcomes all who share our values and want to join us in our mission.

To find out more about MEDA, please visit our website at www.meda.org.  

Job Description

  • Start Date: Immediate
  • Location: North America or a location where MEDA has an established office/presence, hybrid work arrangement available (other locations may be considered for highly qualified candidates)

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) invites applications for a Technical Specialist (Level II), Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) to join our dedicated and talented Strategy & Impact team in our mission to create business solutions to poverty!

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POSITION SUMMARY 

The Technical Specialist (Level II) is part of a global MEDA team with diverse voices, experience and knowledge. This is a highly collaborative role, working closely with others in the organization to support technical consistency and cohesion and encouraging technical innovation.

The Technical Specialist (Level II) supports MEDA’s technical programming initiatives, developing technical strategies; delivering training; providing technical assistance at all stages of program/project design, development, implementation, and measurement; and developing resources/tools. This position provides support to MEDA’s international projects and staff to mainstream, integrate and contextualize standardized technical programming policies, strategies and interventions.

The position contributes to business development knowledge mobilization and thought leadership from a technical perspective into in the specified technical area. Depending on the location of hire, international travel may be a requirement for approximately 30-60 days per year.

GESI Technical Unit Summary

The GESI unit provides technical guidance on MEDA’s market systems strategic direction, priorities, and technical quality, in alignment with MEDA’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and its three central pillars: a focus on agri-food market systems, partnerships for systems change, and a North-South equilibrium. The unit is part of the Technical Department that works collectively through an Integrated Technical Framework which places equal priority on positive economic (Investment and Financial Services), social (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) and environmental (Environment and Climate Change) impact.

The unit plays a critical role in supporting global teams to enhance effectiveness by generating, mobilizing, and/or disseminating technical knowledge and evidence and encouraging local-led innovation. The unit provides technical support to MEDA programs to ensure cross-departmental collaboration and implementation and the effective application of technical standards required to achieve more equitable and inclusive agri-food market system results.

The GESI technical unit provides technical expertise and strategic guidance on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion at all stages of program/project design, development, implementation, and measurement; strengthens staff technical capacity; develop technical resources/tools, and mobilizes technical knowledge. This position works most closely with MEDA’s project-based staff, supporting them to the mainstream, integrating and contextualising technical standards, best practices, and strategies. Deliverables are ultimately the responsibility of project staff and management; the Technical Specialist is a key advisor.

Current core approaches or initiatives led by the GESI Technical Unit, in close collaboration with other technical units, include:

  • Integrated agri-food market systems assessment and analysis
  • Gender Equality Mainstreaming (GEM) Framework
  • Women Sales Agents and Women Lead Farmers (with Market Systems Technical Unit)
  • Gender Transformative Approaches, including Gender Equality Champions and the Gender Action Learning System (GALS)
  • Leadership, mentorship and role model promotion

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Roles and Responsibilities

Technical Support to Country Programs and Projects (65%)

  • With strong customer service and local-led development orientation, provide support such that assigned projects’ technical activities are designed and implemented using MEDA core approaches, industry best practices, and sustainable development principles.
  • Complete or support the execution of the specific technical component in project contract deliverables as per Internal Task Agreements (ITAs) held or as assigned providing quality output, tools, resources and best practices guidance according to MEDA’s technical strategy for the region
  • Ensure project-level access to technical knowledge, tools, approaches, technical learning agendas and innovation
  • Contribute technical expertise to project implementation, annual work plans and budgets, and other critical documents for projects and programs, as assigned
  • During project start-up and inception, advise on the recruitment of relevant technical staff. Together with project-based technical specialists, provide staff technical orientation to concepts and best practices and advise on ways to ensure the integration of all technical areas across all project teams.
  • Provide regular support to project-based Technical Specialist focal points as assigned; this may include coaching and training, co-developing resources and tools and/or providing guidance and oversight for their technical assistance activities
  • Contribute to, support, or review all assigned projects’ Strategic Learning Agenda studies related to technical programming. Align any project technical learning with the technical area learning agenda.
  • Host regular individual or group peer coaching calls (minimum monthly) with project GESI-related staff.
  • Provide specialized assistance on key technical approaches

Technical Strategy, Tools, Knowledge Management & Mobilization And Thought Leadership (20%)

Technical Strategy and Tools

  • Support the Technical Director to develop, refine and maintain a technical strategy which outlines core technical approaches, planned innovation, knowledge mobilization and management, training plans, networking and thought leadership.
  • Together with project-based technical specialists, provide staff technical orientation to technical strategies, concepts and best practices and advise on ways to ensure their integration across all project teams
  • Create, adapt and improve processes, tools or platforms linked to the strategies that will have cross-project or organization-wide applicability (e.g. core approaches)
  • Contribute to regular (annual), collaborative reviews of top core approaches

Learning, Knowledge Mobilization and Thought Leadership

  • Support the Technical Director to ensure that any project-based learnings on the use and adaptation of technical approaches are captured, managed and mobilized within MEDA for cross-organizational learning.
  • Support the Technical Director in any partnership development activities for learning, knowledge mobilization and thought leadership
  • Support the Technical Director to coordinate with Human Capital on the development and execution of onboarding, learning and development opportunities for all staff related to the technical area
  • Support the Technical Director to position MEDA as an innovative, compelling and reliable expert, such that MEDA attains the status of a thought leader and a sought-after partner in the specified technical area.
  • As requested, support any technical and thought leadership activities undertaken by Country Directors or project technical specialists
  • As requested, contribute to technical leadership through various activities such as: teaching and speaking engagements, writing or co-authoring papers for industry and/or influential publications, and contributing to industry groups.
  • As requested, collaborate with MIM colleagues on data collection and indicators that contribute to project excellence and new learning across the organization
  • Stay informed and current regarding evolving best practices, advancements, and innovations to technical approaches in the NGO sector, in government and in the private sector

Community of Practice

  • Support the Technical Director to develop and convene a global Community of Practice (CoP) and regular virtual CoP forums
  • Participate in the CoP and build connections among global technical specialists to promote quality standards, learning from technical challenges, learning from country-specific technical expertise and helping to develop and retain global technical expertise
  • Support the Technical Director to coordinate various learning and development opportunities and events within the CoP

Partnerships and New Business Development (15%)

  • Ensure that resources, approaches and tools are readily available, organized, current and accessible for use in concept notes and proposals
  • Support the Technical Director in providing technical leadership and expertise to the development of country strategies, concept notes, proposals, and program/project design
  • Support Business Development, Regional Directors and other stakeholders with resources needed for the integration of MEDA’s core approaches, innovations and lessons learned into all projects, programs and communications
  • Provide technical content to and/or review assigned concepts notes and proposals related to the technical area as requested by the Technical Director to support technical excellence and quality standards
     

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Required Skills or Experience

  • Education: University degree, ideally at a Master's level in International Development, Economic Development, Gender studies or a related field
  • Experience:  Minimum five years of experience working in international and/or economic development
  • Technical Area Qualifications: Demonstrated technical expertise and experience in Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, including analysis/assessment, developing/implementing strategies, developing tools and conducting training. Knowledge of environmental programming is an asset.

Additional Qualifications: 

  • Fluency (written & verbal) in English and French is required
  • Appreciation and support of MEDA’s mission, vision and values
  • Understanding and appreciation of business principles, international development and MEDA’s approach of creating business solutions to poverty
  • Familiarity with bi and multi-lateral government agencies, donors, non-governmental organizations and other development agencies
  • Willingness and ability to undertake international travel
  • Strong team building, relational, interpersonal and communication abilities and skills
  • Proven experience working in and with a wide range of cultures and in varying international locales
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a fluid and dynamic environment and to adopt to new challenges
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