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Senior Program Officer, Seed Systems

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Operations
Seattle, WA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

The Team

The Global Growth & Opportunity (GGO) division works to catalyze sustainable and transformative socio-economic change. In the face of inequities and market failures, GGO seeks to realize the potential of untapped markets, and ensure that economic and social benefits reach everyone. We focus on the areas of Agricultural Development; Financial Services for the Poor; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Global Education, and Nutrition. We seek solutions that are sustainable, transformative, and inclusive with an eye toward applying technology innovations as well as data evidence to drive change in the world’s developing countries.

Agricultural Development Program (AgDev)
The Agricultural Development (AgDev) program aims to catalyze a country-led, inclusive, agricultural transformation (IAT) process by developing and scaling products, services, policies, and system-wide innovations that benefit small scale producers, empower women, and improve nutritional outcomes. We want farmers in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA) to be empowered with the knowledge, tools, and technologies to improve their livelihoods and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

As a member of the Agricultural Delivery Systems team, you will contribute to our shared goal of catalyzing inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa through analysis, policy dialogue, investments, and partnerships. The ADS team organizes its work along four primary pillars: seed systems, soil health systems, extension systems, and market systems. Your work will focus primarily on seed systems, with a special concentration on the seed systems required to make biotech traits (both transgenic and gene-edited) available to small-scale producers to improve their productivity, resilience, and nutrition.

What You’ll Do

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Support our public and private sector partners in Africa working towards the deployment and adoption of improved seed, including maize seed for insect-resistance and drought-tolerance, cassava seed (planting materials) for disease resistance, pod-borer resistant cowpea, and the potential for new products to benefit small scale producers.
  • Commission and support studies, analyses, and evaluations needed to inform market segregation, value proposition, and distribution channel decisions.
  • Cooperate and coordinate with colleagues and institutional actors supporting conventional seed system development in Africa, including AGRA, the African Development Bank’s TAAT program, and the CGIAR.

Your Experience

  • Experience in the commercial seed sector (production, distribution, trade, quality control, conventional or biotech), preferably in Africa or South Asia.
  • Successful experience in projects or programs aiming to develop functional seed systems.
  • Successful experience in projects or programs involving biotech crops.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the design and management of agricultural investments.
  • Experience engaging with seed system regulations or biotech seed regulatory processes.
  • Deep knowledge of strategy development and end-to-end project management (including process design, team structure, critical thinking, and stakeholder management).
  • Demonstrated program management skills and a successful track record working in a self-guided manner, managing multiple priorities and working towards demanding timelines.
  • Excellent organizational, facilitation, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to ensure that economic and social benefits reach small scale producers.
  • Readiness to travel frequently internationally to interface with grantees designing or implementing seed systems and biotech investments.
  • 7 years of relevant experience.
  • A degree in agriculture or a related field.
  • A Master of Business Administration (MBA) or similar is preferred.

The typical salary range for this role is $149,800 to $278,700 USD. The exact offer will be determined by a variety of factors such as the candidate’s individual skills, qualifications, and experience relative to the requirements of the role.

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Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We strive for a global and cultural workplace that supports ever greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — and we support this diversity through all our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.