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Resource Economist/Rural Sociologist

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Water, Hydrology & Marine Ecology
Town/City Arusha, Tanzania.
Salary Range Dependent on Experience
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Mid Level
Deadline 14/11/2008
Company Name International Centre for Tropical Agriculture
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
International Centre for Tropical Agriculture logo
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CIAT is one of 15 not-for-profit Centers funded mainly by various countries, private foundations, international and regional organizations that make up the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). CIAT conducts socially and environmentally progressive research aimed at reducing hunger and poverty, and preserving natural resources in developing countries. The Center offers internationally competitive salary packages, is an equal opportunity employer and believes that the diversity of its staff contributes to excellence. CIAT is interested in increasing this diversity of its staff and particularly encourages applications from both women and developing country professionals. The Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute (CIAT-TSBF) of CIAT operates as an integral part of the CIAT research program and is housed at the ICRAF Campus, Nairobi, Kenya.

CIAT is seeking to fill the position of a Resource Economist/Rural Sociologist for the African Soils Information Service (ASIS) Project of CIAT-TSBF.

The ASIS Project will develop a practical, timely, cost-effective, soil health surveillance service to map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes and to provide options for improved soil management. The system will facilitate identifying areas at risk of soil degradation and corresponding preventive and rehabilitative soil management interventions based on analyses of what works, and what doesn't.

The project will build on recent advances in digital soil mapping, infrared spectroscopy, remote sensing, computational statistics and integrated soil fertility management to improve the way that soils are evaluated, mapped and monitored, while significantly reducing the costs to do so, and to disseminate innovative soil management methods such as the combination of inorganic fertilizers with organic inputs that improve crop yields while enhancing the environment. Dissemination and training will make the project's outcomes highly accessible to farm communities, public, and private extension services, national agricultural research and soil survey organizations, the fertilizer sector, project and local planners, national and regional policymakers, and scientists. The efforts in Africa are part of a wider, global effort to digitally map the world soil resources, and this project will help catalyze the global effort.

The position

The Resource Economist/Rural Sociologist will report to the CIAT-TSBF Director through the Leader of ASIS Objective 4. The aim of Objective 4 is to provide evidence-based, spatially explicit soil management recommendations to national research and extension providers and services of the countries involved. This will be accomplished by the development of norms and standards for locally appropriate soil management practices; protocols for demonstrations and testing best-bet soil management practices at sentinel sites; collection and meta-analysis of literature and case-based soil management practices; installing and monitoring additional field trials at sentinel sites, modeling all of the above, including expert systems to assist the development of soil management recommendations by national institutes.

Description of the function

  • The Post-doctoral fellow will be responsible for collecting socio-economic data from existing and past fertilizers use extension programmes and initiatives and conduct a synthesis of the findings (concerning adoption).
  • The Officer will provide, based on this review, suggestions for criteria for assessing soil management constraints as far as socio-economic conditions are concerned. This work will include the development of farm typologies. This will constitute a major input to the development of the decision support framework.
  • The Post-doctoral fellow will supervise the socio-economic surveys (and data collection) to be conducted in the 12 selected sentinel sites and process the data obtained from these surveys.
  • He/She will develop standard protocols for the design and implementation of these surveys as well as for defining farm typologies. The Officer will report to the Principle Investigator of Objective 4.


Scientific responsibilities

  • Propose and agree on principles for the definition and characterization of farming systems and farm typologies; and protocols for the rapid assessment for socio-economic conditions and mapping of farm types within the sentinel sites.
  • Oversee the data collection for socio-economic characterization of the sites and farm typologies (collection of existing data, own surveys) for the Mali, Malawi, and Tanzania sentinel sites.
  • Oversee the data collection for socio-economic characterization of the sites and farm typologies (collection of existing data, own surveys) for the for Nigeria and Kenya sentinel sites.
  • Conduct or oversee adoption studies for the proposed (recommended) best bet technologies conducted with reference to farm typologies (NUANCES-DEED project) conducted in Mali, Malawi, and Tanzania sentinel sites as well as for the Nigeria and Kenya sentinel sites in a later stage.
  • Mapping of socio-economic constraints mapped and guidelines for local policy formulation to promote ISFM for soil productivity improvement (including market infrastructure, institutional and organizational infrastructure).

Administrative responsibilities

  • Instruct and supervise students and national staff conducting the surveys.
  • Submit work reports to the Principle Investigator of Objective 4 to be included in the progress reports.

Outreach and communication

  • Assist in organizing and planning stakeholder participation in the field experiments and organizing feed back.
  • Present maps of socio-economic constraints at stakeholder workshops in each of the countries/sentinel sites.
  • Support the work of the policy analyst and present guidelines (policy briefs) for local policy formulation at the relevant national and international meetings organized by the project.


Qualifications and experience

  • PhD in Resource Economics or Rural Sociology.
  • At least 3 years of experience in Africa with conducting farm or household surveys, or conducting socio-economic surveys for site characterization, or conducting rural diagnostic studies.
  • Some proven experience in market analyses and or production chain analyses.
  • Preferably experience with CBOs Farmer Field Schools or other farmer organizations.
  • Proven analytical skills in handling socio-economic data and proficiency with qualitative and quantitative methods for sociological studies.

Personal characteristics

  • Team player with personality traits that enable him/her to motivate and communicate with all levels of the professional and support staff.
  • Self-starting, energetic style, with an ability to work effectively with little day-to-day direction or supervision.
  • Reputation of integrity, high intelligence, creativity, and the ability to exercise good judgment.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to establish rapport and credibility with people at all organizational levels, forming strong relationships, both internally and externally.
  • Committed to transparency and continuous improvement in a cooperative atmosphere of constructive evaluation and learning.
  • Fluency in English and Kiswahili.

Terms of employment

The contract will be for a 2-year period, renewable subject to 6 months probation period and assessment of performance. Starting date: as early as possible, after selection. CIAT offers an internationally competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with the position's responsibilities and the education and experience of the successful candidate.

Applicants should apply by e-mail, sending a cover letter summarizing their relevance to this position, a full C.V. and the names and contact information of three referees knowledgeable about the candidate's professional qualifications and work experience. Applications should be sent to the Human Resources Office at CIAT (a.l.restrepo@cgiar.org) with copies to m.sambo@cgiar.org. The reference name of the position should be clearly marked on the subject line of the e-mail message.

All applications will be acknowledged; only short listed candidates will be contacted.

Closing date for applications: 14 November 2008.

We invite you to learn more about CIAT and CIAT-TSBF by accessing our web Sites at www.ciat.cgiar.org and www.ciat.cgiar.org/tsbf_institute/index.htm, respectively.

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