The vast majority of the population in Africa still live in rural areas and are largely dependent on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. It has therefore been concluded that improved agricultural performance will impact on general livelihoods of African population by uplifting both physical and economic access to food, raising the purchasing power of households, and generating investment. In response to the above, many African countries have undertaken institutional reforms directed at enhancing the effectiveness and relevance of public services. In the agricultural sector the reforms have been packed in agricultural sector development programmes embracing all the services that impact on agricultural innovation. Reforms in Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS) delivery have focused on improving accountability to clients, putting in place a demand and market-driven service provision systems, decentralising service delivery and promoting increased participation of the private sector in provision of services. Different countries have approached this in ways determined by their development contexts. Thus, a wealth of knowledge and innovations has arisen in different countries. However, there is no mechanism for creating synergies and avoiding duplication of mistakes through sharing experiences between different countries. Fortunately, there is now consensus on continental framework – the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) – through which interventions to promote agricultural development can be coordinated. The African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Service (AFAAS) was created to provide a mechanism for supporting and coordinating the development of AAS within the CAADP framework.
The AFAAS was initially formed as the Sub-Saharan African Network on Agricultural Advisory Services (SSANAAS). The SSANAAS was created at the 1st Regional Networking Symposium on Innovations in AAS, held in Kampala, Uganda 11-14 October 2004. The initial member countries were Kenya, Malawi, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia and Uganda. The main objective of SSANAAS at the time of its formation was to address the needs of agricultural advisory service providers in SSA for sharing experiences and information on approaches and best practices. This was done against the backdrop of increasing recognition of AAS as strategic components of new rural development institutional frameworks – most notably by the CAADP. Hence SSANAAS was established with the explicit agenda of providing a voice for advisory services in broader rural development fora.
A second symposium and General Assembly were held from 24th to 27th September 2006 in Kampala. It brought together more African countries - Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia - bringing the total involvement to fourteen countries. Participants represented all stakeholder groups including policy makers, research and extension practitioners (public, private and international), farmer representatives, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), universities, development partners, and the private sector. It was at this Symposium that it was decided that the network should go beyond Sub-Saharan Africa and embrace the whole of Africa. This necessitated the change of the name to the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services
A third symposium and GA were held in held in Accra, Ghana from 12tth to 14th April 2011. The event was attended by over 150 participants from 39 countries of which 36 were African countries. Twenty six of the African became new members bringing the total to 40 member countries. The GA approved the proposals for a new Board of Directors. The Board is to be made up of 15 members made up as follows - a Chairperson; two representatives for each of West Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa; a representative from each of Central Africa and North Africa; a representative from the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); a representative from a continental Farmers’ Organisation; three members chosen on individual merit; and one representative of donors. At least 30% of the Board members shall be women.
The AFAAS is already registered as a legal entity in Uganda. The day-to-day running of its affairs is managed on behalf of the Board by a Secretariat that has already been established in Uganda with financial support from the European Union. This support was used to hold the aforementioned Symposium in Accra. Hitherto the work of the Secretariat has been implemented by Consultants. By the end of June 2011, AFAAS will have utilised these consultancies to put in place a Constitution, Human Resource Policy, a Finance and Administration Operational Manual, a Procurement Manual, a Partnerships Strategy, a concept for a learning framework, a website, and a virtual social networking platform. Guidelines for establishing Country Fora and for engagement with CAADP processes will have also been developed.
The AFAAS has in place a draft Strategic Plan for the period 2011-2015. The Plan was developed through a consultative process which revealed that AFAAS has to respond to, among other things, the widening scope of AAS, poverty and gender targeting, the need to respond directly to demands of farmers and value chain actors, natural resources management, climate change, environmental sustainability, and emergence of the market oriented agricultural services. The Plan is designed to respond to these through a programme built on the following pillars: 1. Participation in implementation of CAADP Pillar IV; 2. Information and knowledge management; 3. Establishing and supporting Country Fora; 4. Developing linkages and partnerships; 5. Develop governance, management and funding systems.
The participants at Accra Symposium deliberated on the AFAAS Strategic Plan and made recommendations that are currently being used to refine it. They also formed Working Groups to spearhead the technical implementation of the aspects of the plan dealing with engagement with CAADP, climate change, Country Fora, Information and Communication Technology, innovation in AAS, and Market Oriented and Value Chain AAS. Work has already been initiated in all these areas.
The budget for implementation of the Strategic Plan for is estimated at approximately US$17 million. So far AFAAS has secured US$0.7 million from FARA to fund the core activities needed to mobilize resources and sustain the Secretariat for the period between July 2011 and December 2012.
The AFAAS Board now wishes to recruit a highly qualified and experienced individual to be the full-time Executive Director (ED) of the Organisation.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The ED will be directly responsible for putting the organisation on a firm footing as a reputable international organisation supporting African Countries to improve their Agricultural Advisory Services through implementation of the Strategic Plan, and for executing the decisions of the Board in managing the day-to-day running of the organisation.
THE SCOPE OF SERVICES
1. Implementation of strategic plan; 2. Developing a business plan for AFAAS and mobilising both core funding and operational funding for AFAAS particularly in respect of implementation its Strategic Plan; 3. Serving as the Chief Executive Officer of AFAAS which shall entail being accountable for the management of the human, financial and physical resources of AFAAS including the AFAAS secretariat; 4. Implementing the decisions of the AFAAS Board as guided by the AFAAS General Assembly; 5. Developing annual workplans and budgets and subsequently monitoring implementation and reporting on progress to AFAAS Board and General Assembly; 6. Setting up the AFAAS management systems for the country programmes; 7. Providing leadership in advocating and lobbying for the interests of AFAAS at national, regional and international level; 8. Developing partnerships networks and collaborations relevant to attainment of the AFAAS objectives between AFAAS and regional, continental and international government and non-government organisations - particularly those engaged in pursuing the objectives of CAADP Pillar IV; 9. Perform any other duties as directed by the AFAAS Board.
The performance of the Executive Director shall be assessed by the AFAAS Board. The evaluation criteria shall include but not be limited to: i. Agricultural Advisory Services are integral part of CAADP roundtables and post-compact CAADP processes; ii. Multi-stakeholder Country Fora with a capacity to act as conduits for information and knowledge to actors involved in improving the performance of national AAS and contributing to national, regional and continental learning on AAS formed in AFAAS member countries. iii. An Information and knowledge management system capable of networking AFAAS stakeholders, embedding them into global knowledge hubs, facilitating them to collectively generate and share new knowledge developed; iv. Human resource pool to support reforms of AAS developed and being used; v. Partnerships established at national, regional and international levels between agricultural advisory service and other institutions contributing to sustained growth and transformation of agriculture. vi. Increased recognition of AFAAS as a continental African Organisation that can sustainably support national agricultural advisory services to continuously enhance their contribution to national, regional, continental and global development objectives. This shall enatail among other things: a. Availability of resources for implementing its Strategic Plan; b. Internationally acceptable governance and management systems in place;
The initial period of assignment will be two years which may be extended for another three years depending on performance and availability of funds.
The position shall be based at the AFAAS Secretariat in Kampala, Uganda.
PERSONAL PROFILE An African national with the following attributes: • Broad knowledge and understanding of agricultural and rural development in Africa, and practical and conceptual familiarity with the past and emerging paradigms and approaches to the design and implementation of agricultural knowledge and information systems; Substantial practical experience with the design and implementation of Agricultural Advisory Services programs; Substantial experience with the management of complex organizations; Substantial experience working with bi-lateral and multi-lateral development agencies; International stature as a leading figure in the design and implementation of agricultural advisory service programs; Proven experience in strategic planning, programme development, project management, coordination of complex programmes, and resource mobilisation; Verifiable experience in managing the processes at the technical and political interfaces between national, regional and international development organisations and donors; Experience in fund-raising; A minimum of a MSc degree but preferably a PhD or equivalent degree in agricultural extension, agriculture, , agricultural economics, natural resources management, agricultural education or a related field; Fluency in English is mandatory and a strong functional grasp of French shall be an advantage.
Applications with comprehensive curriculum vitae, together with the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers of three referees should be sent by email to: The Chairman AFAAS Executive Director Search Committee Plot 22A Nakasero Road Kampala, Uganda E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Receipt of applications sent by email shall be acknowledged promptly by email and if not applicants are advised to send a hard copy by courier. In case further information is needed, you may contact: Dr. Dan Kisauzi Management Consultant E-mail: email@example.com Deadline for submissions: 30th June 2011