Project Officer (Promoting green value chains for COVID-19 recovery)


UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP works with countries on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. The Lesotho Country Programme (2019-2023), is anchored on the NSDP II, the UNDAF (2019–2023) and is guided by the UNDP Strategic Plan (2018–2021) through 3- programme pillars: (i) Governance, Accountability, Social Cohesion and Stability; (ii) Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth and (iii) Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Resilience.

COVID and associated response measures such as lockdown and travel restrictions adopted by the Government of Lesotho are expected to have long-term socio-economic impact on the country. According to the joint Assessment of the Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Lesotho, (UNDP, June 2020), the COVID-19 crisis is expected to increase the poverty rate by almost 2 percent in 2020, especially affecting people in the rural areas where more than 60 percent of Basotho live. It is further projected that almost 433,000 people in Lesotho (20% of the population) will be food insecure as result of COVID-19.

Given Lesotho’s economic structure, some key sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, retail and wholesale, were highly impacted by the restrictions on movement and closure of borders. Lesotho imports over 90% of its consumer goods and services, including food, from South Africa. This makes the country highly vulnerable to any shocks such as COVID-19 and puts food access and security beyond the immediate control of the food insecure population. Given closed borders, use of local food suppliers and brands has increased, and the agriculture sector is expected to rebound by about 3% as a result. A longer-term solution for the recovery of the food sector is essential given the country’s vulnerability. In view of this, the joint UN Socio-economic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 in Lesotho recommends implementation of strategies to move the country from being a net importer of food to ensure food sufficiency and minimize impact of future shocks.

In this context, in contribution to efforts towards the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, UNDP intends to implement a project on Promoting Green Economy through value chains to complement the national recovery agenda. The project is based on the UN COVID-19 Response Strategy and the UNDP Policy Offer 2.0 for COVID-19 Recovery. The project is anticipated to build capacity and resilience of the local agricultural sector to produce and supply the local market through sustainable production, processing, and marketing processes. In collaboration with local stakeholders, UNDP will implement activities towards private sector mobilization, capacity building of smallholder farmers to scale productivity and creation of linkages for market access for economic recovery and creation of employment opportunities, targeting youth and women.

The proposed project is aimed at supporting the Government of Lesotho to initiate a value-chain programme to consolidate efforts towards creating sustainable green livelihoods and jobs, through development of local value-chains and supplier development systems and taking advantage of youth in the application of clean and digital technologies to increase quality and volumes of locally produced food. Building on ongoing interventions by UNDP and other development partners, UNDP will work with MSMEs and smallholder producers to promote livelihoods and job creation through sustainable management of natural resources, and for promotion of agriculture-based economic activities for food self-sufficiency and commercialization. The project will be piloted in the district of Mohale’s Hoek, being one of the ‘worst drought-affected’ districts in the country (WFP June 2020), as well as to leverage existing partnerships and results from existing programme results.

The project will focus on three main areas that will initiate the transformation of the agricultural and food systems of Lesotho on a pilot basis, working with government, farmers and the private sector to ensure sustainable and resilient food systems in Lesotho. The first area is to facilitate an inclusive policy and institutional planning and development process in which government, smallholder farmers, the private sector in the food value chain identify and address the barriers to a sustainable agricultural system capable of meeting the food needs of the country. This is intended to lead to long term change towards sustainable and green agricultural systems. The second area supports local farmers, on a pilot basis to enable them to be active players in sustainable agricultural production using green technologies and practices in a way that increases their output and incomes. The third targets value chain activities to facilitate the use of technologies in the processing, handling, marketing of locally produced food with the involvement of youths. This will be piloted in Mohale’s Hoek district as part of a long term economic and agricultural transformative programme, and that builds on previous and ongoing initiatives in Lesotho.

To ensure the effective implementation of the Promoting green value chains for COVID-19 recovery Project, UNDP is looking for the services of a Project Officer, to support implementation of the project by providing technical, management and stakeholder coordination support. The project officer shall be accountable to UNDP and her partners on management of project resources and attainment of results and will work in collaboration with the Energy and Environment and the Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth programmes for attainment of the results. The Project Officer will report to the Head of Environment and Energy for day-to day activities and work closely with the UNDP Strategy and Policy Unit, and government ministries, including Ministries of Small Business Development, Agriculture and Food Security and Trade and Industry for delivery of project results.

Summary of Key Responsibilities
The Project Officer will be responsible for project management, stakeholder coordination, and reporting on the project activities. S/he will take overall responsibility for liaison with all project implementing partners and stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of the project, by:

Managing project implementation to ensure successful delivery of the project objectives.
Coordinating and monitoring of project activities, and providing technical support and advisory to project implementing partners
Establishing strategic linkages and partnerships at national and local levels for advancing green economy and establishment of sustainable value chains
Promoting knowledge and learning on the project,
Duties and Responsibilities
Manage project implementation to ensure successful delivery of the project objectives.
Provide leadership to implementation of project activities, monitor work progress and ensure timely delivery of outputs.
Prepare reports on project progress, providing progress on attainment of project outputs, indicators, management of risks and documenting of best practices from implementing partners.
Develop a clear monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan, budget and workplan of the project, including tools for data and information collection
Act as a liaison with key project stakeholders including district authorities, Community Councils and other institutions within and outside the project areas.
Supervise, facilitate, coordinate and work of technical staff supporting project implementation.
Oversee budget preparation and oversight ensuring project implementation aligns to agreed budget parameters and tolerance levels

Coordinate and monitor project implementation, and provide technical support and advisory to project implementing partners
Support project partners in developing implementation plans and facilitate an effective system for monitoring, information sharing and reporting on the project.
In collaboration with project stakeholders, district and community level authorities and private sector, establish a collaborative platform for engagement in context of the project objectives
Provide technical support to the implementing partners and grantees as may be required for effective implementation of the project activities

Establish strategic linkages and partnerships at national and local levels for advancing green economy and establishment of sustainable value chains
Participate in the District Project Implementation Committee meetings and the Inter Community Council Committee meetings, as well as coordinate project site visits.
Establish a community of knowledge and advocacy on green economic growth and jobs creation in collaboration with the project partners and stakeholders
Effectively participate and ensure sound contributions to knowledge networks and communities of practice on related issues,
Seek opportunities to develop close linkages and partnerships with government, business and other NGOs nationally and internationally in support to the project objectives
Connect and mobilize ideas and inputs from project partners and team members to improve project implementation and outcomes for youth development

Develop knowledge products to share lessons and best practices on the project to contribute to UNDP’s learning objectives
Identify and document best practices and lessons learned generated from the project on regular basis
Ensure up-to date data and information on the project and related initiatives in the country,
Facilitate use of innovative mechanisms for data collection, and collection of evidence-basis on the project
Develop knowledge resources and briefs as may be required on the project to support UNDP’s engagement in this area
Corporate Competences:
Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards
Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP
Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
Treats all people fairly without favoritism

Functional Competences:
Excellent analytical and writing skills
IT literacy and ability to operate with on-line web-based applications
Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods
Knowledge and the ability to apply communication methods and techniques
Knowledge Management and Learning
Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting
Promotes a knowledge sharing and learning culture
In-depth knowledge of relevant development issues
Ability to provide policy advice
Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in one or more practice areas, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills
Management and Leadership
Focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback
Effective communication skills in various contexts: strategic planning, mentoring, training and making presentations
Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors
Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities
Required Skills and Experience
Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Rural Development studies, Social studies, Natural Resource management or any related field.

A minimum of 5 years relevant work experience.
Experience of 3 – 5 years’ in providing support to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects and related assignments
Experience in the public participation development process associated with agricultural development, environment and sustainable development including community mobilization.
Experience working with the private sector, including the MSMEs
Good organization and coordination skills, networking with experience interrelationships between different stakeholders. Experience in working and collaborating with local authorities will be an asset.
Proven understanding of Lesotho’s development context
Fluent in English and Sesotho including writing and communication skills.
Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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Closing date: 28 February 2021

Apply here!