Seeking agronomist for short-term paid position


Deadline: May 31, 2015

A three-month assignment from July 2015

The Manda Wilderness Community Trust is a UK-based charity which for the past 10 years has supported over 20,000 inhabitants of a 240,000-hectare area in northern Mozambique known as Manda Wilderness. Working from a base at the Nkwichi Lodge ecotourism site on the shores of Lake Malawi/Niassa, the Trust has supported community-inspired educational, health and economic development schemes, as well as backing cultural and sporting events.  It has also worked to conserve the fragile environment of hills and forests along the lakeshore and its hinterland, at the same time seeking to help farmers go beyond a subsistence, mono-crop agricultural existence which itself places stress on land and livelihoods.

Last year, the Trust completed an agroforestry project aimed at helping local people understand the importance of better land use and the retention of indigenous trees and plants. Some 350 people were trained in agroforestry techniques and are now putting their new skills into practice.

This year, backed by a two-year grant from the US-based Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), the Trust is extending all aspects of its work to include the full range of Ecological Farming.

  •  to provide a valuable training programme relevant to the region and past experiences;
  • to enhance Social Capital by creating centres of excellence in the villages;
  • to integrate conservation agriculture with economic development aims;
  • to promote school gardens as a practical education tool for the farmers of the future;
  • to link our achievements with a government-supported 25-year Conservation Plan.

A vital part of the Project is to recruit an agronomy expert to examine and advise on every aspect of the Project, working with our own skilled staff and increasingly knowledgeable villagers to tap the full potential of the area in terms of both conservation and agricultural development.

The post described below will be for a period of three months, starting in July 2015 at Nkwichi Lodge (include full board and lodging), which is well equipped as a communications and support base (as well as a very beautiful site on the shores of the lake).  Transport costs to and from the Lodge will also be covered. The possibility of a similar assignment in 2016 will be considered.

This post is an opportunity for an experienced, self-motivated individual, prepared to trek across the Wilderness, propose and implement improvement schemes, pass on skills to eager villagers, and ultimately to make a marked difference to the lives of everyone.  A detailed description of the tasks is set out below.

Applications for the post, to include a full CV, a detailed record of relevant experience, and two references, should be sent to Trust Chair Jeremy Toye at jemtoye@gmail.com by May 31, 2015 at the latest.  Queries about any aspect of the position should be sent to Juliana Castellanos at Manda Wilderness on julicastellanos@hotmail.com.  Further details of the Trust and its work are on www.mandawilderness.org.

 

 Key requirements:

  •  Advanced degree in agriculture or related field
  • Work experience in field positions, preferably in Sub-Saharan Africa, formulating farming procedures with smallholder farmers
  • Experience and knowledge of food crops in the region and on various and integrated practices to enhance critical organic fertilization practices
  • Knowledgeable on technologies for soil, water and fertility conservation, increased yield, natural risk minimization, intercropping and livestock sustainability
  • Experience in agroforestry and food security, income-generating activities is a plus

Key outcomes:

  •  Design, and carry out evaluation to an ecological farming training conducted in 2014 with 13 villages in the Manda Wilderness Region
  • Organize the agenda for a two day meeting at the MWAP with village representatives to establish current accomplishments/needs of the communities.
  • Network with key actors in the field
  • Develop an Ecological Farming Training Plan
  • Organize the evidence of all activities including attendance lists, photographs, etc.
  • Visit villages with local staff and conduct Training in situ
  • Draft tentative two year schedule to mix visits to villages with training programs at the MWAP
  • Encourage results-based monitoring, performance assessment and reporting of project at various levels within the CEPF guidelines, as well as empowerment of local staff and villagers
  • Help set up demonstration farms at village level, emphasizing the value of community managed nurseries
  • Work with other experts, identify agricultural leaders at each village, encourage social cooperation by identifying shared values
  • Integrate cooperation amongst other organizations working in the country and region
  • Ensure understanding of the project among the local staff including CEPF specific requirements
  • Provide information and hands on support to administrative assistant and others involved in project, and observations that will provide sustainability when project funding ends
  • Be attentive of gender dynamics, systems of inheritance, and develop strategies to promote gender equality
  • Assist in the writing of a unit plan on School gardens personalized to the Manda Wilderness Area
  • Help identify key actors in the area relevant to each activity within the Project, follow up on each actor´s interest in collaborating, enhance relationships and understanding, create a learning environment

 

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