International Development Research Centre (IDRC) – Program Officer.

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IDRC is looking for a Program Officer with experience in Nutrition and Food Security to develop and implement an exciting collaborative research program in East and Southern Africa – The Cultivating Africa’s Future (CultiAF). Priority themes include nutrition, water management, and reduction of post-harvest losses. 

CultiAF is a partnership program with the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research. Based in Nairobi, the Program Officer will work closely with other IDRC and ACIAR team members around the world and will report to the Program Director (Climate Resilient Food Systems Program Division) while working under the supervision of the IDRC Regional Director.

CultiAF is part of the Climate Resilient Food Systems program of IDRC, a program that supports innovation for more efficient and sustainable agricultural production to enhance food security, incomes, and nutrition that benefit small-scale farmers, particularly women.

CultiAF funds research projects to improve food security in the countries of East and Southern Africa. The current portfolio of research includes innovative projects on management and post-harvest loss in fisheries, non-traditional feeds in fish and poultry sectors, commercial bean products for nutrition and convenience. Projects strive to ensure effective communication of results, gender transformative outcomes and improved economic opportunities for youths, while involving research users and the private sector. 

Specifically, the successful candidate will contribute to program implementation by:

  • Managing the development and expansion of CultiAF in the next phase of programming in East and Southern Africa.
  • Leading the revision, development, management, monitoring and evaluation of the portfolio of research projects within the priority themes to ensure that the program is implemented within timelines and meets its objectives.
  • Facilitating tracking, learning and synthesis of key program results across projects and according to program indicators to be able to demonstrate programs’ achievements.
  • Influencing the uptake of research for impact at scale through production and dissemination of communication material to key audiences including policy makers.
  • Producing high quality documentation, synthesizing and reporting on program results to the Governance Committee and donor partner.
  • Building and maintaining productive working relationships with grantees, researchers, private sector, and government institutions with the objective to improve program’s efficiency and facilitate uptake of research results; and
  • Collaborating effectively within a multi-regional team and provide expertise in food systems and nutrition.

Candidate Profile


A PhD or Master in a relevant discipline associated with food security such as food science and nutrition as well as a record of research and publication in an area of applied research related to food and nutrition security in a developing region of the world is required. Candidates with a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline with 2 additional years of qualifying experience will be accepted in lieu of a PhD. 


The successful candidate will demonstrate a sustained, progressive career development of three to five years and a track record that includes: 

  • Provide intellectual advice with respect to research in the food and nutrition sector in international settings, from project design to project implementation.
  • Leading, conducting applied field research in nutrition and/or food systems in East and/or Southern African countries.
  • Establishing and building partnerships involving research and research users.
  • Communicating research results to diverse audiences at national and international levels and developing links with researchers and policy makers to increase the use of research for policy development.
  • Work experience in a developing country.


Candidates with a PhD, a record of research and publications and with more than eight years of relevant experience may be considered for appointment at the level of Senior Program Officer.


  • Fluency of English is essential for the position
  • Knowledge other relevant languages used in the targeted regions of the program would be considered an asset


The successful candidate will have a thorough understanding of food production systems, nutrition, and smallholder farming in Eastern and Southern Africa. He/she will have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Contribution of different components of food systems to food and nutrition security in developing countries (particularly Eastern and Southern Africa)
  • Knowledge of current debates and research agendas relating to the role of different components of food systems on food and nutrition security in developing countries.
  • Knowledge of private and public organizations and institutions working on agricultural and food security research.
  • Understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and approaches, including strategies for stimulating uptake of research results by research users.
  • Understanding of knowledge translation and scaling-up processes.


  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal/written communication skills, and ability to communicate effectively, in a wide variety of cultural settings and in different fora; 
  • Sensitivity to the importance of gender equality and related issues;
  • Strong planning, organization, problem-solving, coordination and negotiation skills
  • Strong project and program management skills 
  • Ability to work autonomously and to take initiative as a member of a virtual team and under pressure. 
  • Ability to establish, manage, guide and monitor relationships with diverse stakeholders 
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team of people from diverse cultures, expertise and experiences 
  • Ability to provide specialized advice and guidance to external contacts; and 
  • Ability to work from a people centered perspective.



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