Innovation Project Manager

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Heifer International is an equal opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran, among other things, or status as a qualified individual with some form of specially-abled.

The  Organization

Since 1944, Heifer International has helped more than 36 million families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.

Our goal is to help families achieve living incomes, which will allow them to feed their families daily, educate all their children; and have proper housing, water, hygiene, and other essential resource. When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings, and funding small businesses.

Heifer Malawi contribution to the Global 10 million households target is to help 500,000 of Heifer Africa’s 6.745 million households achieve sustainable living income by 2030. Heifer Malawi’s maiden Signature Program, currently under design – will set the pace, focusing on Dairy, Beef and Banana as primary value chains and Oil Seeds, and Poultry as secondary value chains. Heifer Malawi is where it is happening now – impacting the lives of smallholder farmers.

Functions

‘nDi Chuma’ is a project based in Mchinji, Malawi that intends to create wealth in Malawi’s groundnuts value chain through applied digital solutions and investment. The Innovation Project Manager will work in concert with relevant local and international staff and subject matter experts to lead local research, development, testing, and reporting on planned digital interventions which are anticipated to: 1) maximize yield of groundnuts for smallholder farmers, 2) enable their access to affordable capital and (3) increase opportunities to receive a fair market price.

While this position is not explicitly technical, applicants should have a working knowledge of blockchain, cryptocurrency, smart contracts, and (preferably) DAOs.

This position is hands-on, entrepreneurial, and requires strong communication and management skills. Applicants must be comfortable facilitating user research/workshops with groups of 30+ and be comfortable working within uncertain innovation environments. It is expected that the Innovation Project Manager will be able to maintain reliable communication across international time zones and among relevant local staff, with an estimate of 50% field hours.

Essential Character Traits

Applicants will thrive in this role if they: are curious and resourceful; accountable; have excellent observational skills and can naturally synthesize observations into meaningful insights; comfortable producing concise written materials at a frequent rate; and have a working knowledge of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to learn and contribute to the technical parts of this project.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND DELIVERABLES

A. Capacity Building (35%)

  • Coordinate mobilization of project participants (farmers/cooperatives) and lead scaling participation.
  • Conduct technology training needs assessment and develop capacity building plan(s) for farmers/cooperatives.
  • Develop and refine technology training packages for farmers/cooperatives.
  • Lead technology capacity development training for farmers/cooperatives.
  • Lead technology platform onboarding processes with farmers/cooperatives (inclusive of hot wallet and DAO setup).
  • Report on technology onboarding issues and develop product strategy plan for facilitated onboarding processes.
  • Mobilize project participants for short-term pilots and continued scaling throughout project duration
  • Technological capacity of farmers and cooperatives strengthened.
  • Technology training package developed and ameliorated from project learnings.
  • Capacity gaps conducted and coaching sessions organized with participating farmers/cooperatives throughout project duration.
  • Complete onboarding of project participants onto technology platforms.
  • Onboarding issues identified, recorded, and planned for adjustments.

B. Project Management (25%)

  • Lead the process of project implementation, monitoring, and reporting.
  • Coordinate with subject-matter experts and project leads to strategize project scaling.
  • Develop key performance indicators for project and work with MELS teams to develop a system of monitoring and evaluation while documenting success and lessons learned.
  • Control project budget and ensure compliance with Heifer’s policies, procedures, and contractual requirements.
  • Manage project grants and support grant writing processes as needed.
    Nurture partnerships as needed with relevant external stakeholders (i.e government, SMEs, financial institutions, technology groups).
  • Project implemented on-time, quality data (qualitative and quantitative) collected, and high-quality reporting delivered to project manager as-needed.
  • Project scaling discussed and adjusted from project learnings with quarterly frequency.
  • Actively supported the MELs team in collecting project information and fulfilling MELS requirements.
  • Project implemented within scope, budget, and timeframe.
  • Grant writing supported and reporting completed by end of grant(s) period(s).
  • Strengthened project stakeholder support network in line with project scaling objectives.

C. User Research (35%)

  • Lead user research and interviews with farmer/cooperative participants for digital intervention solutions.
  • Manage user research budget and secure resources (e.g. venues, materials, and consumables) and support budgetary processes based on evolving research needs.
  • Manage and support sourcing of volunteers for user research and interviews.
  • Support MELS efforts and manage data collection during user research.
  • Lead reporting for internal and public audiences on project testing developments, insights, and impact.
  • Lead collaboration with technology vendors to support in-field testing.
  • Source technology vendors for product development as needed.
  • Complete user research and interviews with farmers/cooperatives within each research sprint.
  • Research resources secured on-time and within budget and supported budgetary planning based on evolving research needs.
  • Volunteers sourced and managed throughout the duration of user research activities.
  • Actively supported the MELs team in collecting project information and fulfilling MELS requirements.
  • Delivered high-quality qualitative and quantitative data and reporting.
  • Fulfilled vendor collaboration requirements and managed in-field technology testing effectively.
  • Supported technology vendor sourcing as needed.

Any other duties as assigned by the supervisor (5%)

  • Dependent on duties assigned on an as-needed basis.

Minimum Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (agribusiness, agricultural economics, business, technology, economics or related field).
  2. 5-7 years minimum of relevant experience is required.
  3. Working knowledge of blockchain technologies including smart contracts, cryptocurrency, DAOs, NFTs, etc.). Experience in technology innovation is a strong plus.

Critical Proficiencies

  1. Experience with technology innovation and product development within humanitarian contexts.
  2. Working knowledge of blockchain technologies and ability to grasp and apply technical concepts.
  3. Demonstrated ability to facilitate user research within both group (+30 participants) and 1:1 environments.
  4. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  5. Strong writing skills (ability to write clearly and succinctly, delivering actionable information).
  6. Organized, responsive, and accountable.
  7. Fluency in both spoken and written English and Chichewa.

Desired Proficiencies

  1. Master’s Degree in a related field and two years demonstrated experience with blockchain-based innovation within humanitarian contexts.
  2. Experience working in blockchain product development, AI, and/or Machine Learning.
  3. Experience with Lean/Agile methodologies.
  4. Experience working with smallholder farmers, men and women.
  5. Basic knowledge of the groundnuts value chain.
  6. Basic knowledge of issues associated with poverty, hunger, and environment.

Trócaire works in partnership with local organisations in developing countries, and with people in Ireland, to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice. Together, we create positive and lasting…