Land O’Lakes Venture37 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit helping communities around the world build economies by strengthening agriculture from farm-to-fork, helping businesses grow, and linking farmers to markets. Since our start in 1981, we have been leveraging nearly 100 years of expertise in crop inputs, agricultural insights, dairy and animal nutrition from our close affiliate, Land O’Lakes, Inc., a farmer-owned agribusiness committed to fulfilling its purpose of feeding human progress.
Our team is made up of nearly 350 employees who are committed to market-led approaches, and passionate about collaborating locally to create lasting inclusive economic growth. By unlocking the potential of agriculture for the last 36 years, the lives of more than 3 million people have been transformed through nearly 300 programs in more than 80 countries. Venture37 has been operating in Lebanon for over 10 years.
Venture37 is seeking candidates for the Cooperative Specialist position for a 5-year Cooperative Development Program (CDP) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project will run until August 2023 and is in its third year of implementation. CDP is advancing dairy, horticulture and maize cooperatives in Rwanda; horticulture and dairy cooperatives in Malawi; and Mouneh cooperative in Lebanon. The project aims to improve capacity, the enabling environment, and resources to meet the evolving needs of their members.
Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until a candidate is chosen.
Position Summary and Primary Responsibilities
The Cooperative Specialist will be responsible for overall coordination, management, and quality of the project’s technical assistance initiatives to cooperatives in Lebanon. S/He will conduct capacity needs assessments of partner cooperatives, work with the Cooperative Development Manager in finalizing scopes of work for responsive technical assistance as well directly manage individual consultants and/or firms executing short-term technical assistance assignments or long term coaching assignments in support of cooperatives and apex organizations.
Detailed responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Initiate capacity building efforts to improve business performance of partner cooperative enterprises (50%)
- Conduct and oversee annual capacity needs assessments at partner cooperatives to inform performance priority areas of improvement.
- Collaborate with the Cooperative Development Manager to conduct periodic performance assessments at partner cooperatives organizations.
- Draft scopes of work that are respond to identified performance areas.
- Follow Venture37 procedures to mobilize and manage individual consultants and firms providing technical assistance to partner cooperatives and apex organizations.
- Ensure consultants and firms providing technical assistance use vetted manuals and materials that are harmonized across technical areas.
- Monitor and track cooperative business performance, and regulary liaise with Cooperative Develppemt Manager for associated reporting and thoughtful planning of future technical assistance, including uploading information to Venture37’s IMPACTs system.
- Monitor and track any trainings provided directly by CD4 staff, consultants and firms and regularly liase with the Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Specialist to ensure reporting requirements are being met on a timely basis. Develop and manage a folder of final training materials and store on Venture37 sharepoint/Devlink site.
- Assist in project studies and data collection initiatives as appropriate.
- Work with the Cooperative Development Manager to plan and execute impactful study tours for cooperatives in Lebanon.
Sourcing, executing and managing agreements with individual consultants and contracts with firms (35%)
Work with Cooperative Development Manager to execute individual consultant assignments in Lebanon. Examples of responsibilities may include posting ads, making inquiries for position, setting up interviews (and conducting interviews with Cooperative Development Manager), collecting relevant documentation from final candidates and finalizing consulting agreements using contracts software.
- Manage a consultant and contractor tracker which records technical assignment start and end dates, payment schedules and deliverables. The Cooperative Specialist will ensure agreements are up to date and if extensions are required will inform the Cooperative Development Manager and initiate extension requests. This will also include monitoring performance of contractors and consultants against the terms of the agreement.
- Work with Project Accountant – Lebanon to ensure timely and accurate payments are made to consultants and contractors.
- Monitor consultant and contractor performance and review deliverables for quality and completeness.
- Assist with any procurements of Lebanese firms to conduct work for Venture37- this includes assisting in drafting scopes of work, issuing RFPs/RFQs, coordinating a selection committee and carefully following all Venture37 policies and procedures, under the guidance of the Cooperative Development Manager.
- Ensure adherence to Venture37 short-term technical assistance guildlines when soliciting, selecting, hiring, and managing consultants.
- Convening and supporting procurement committee to evaluate bids for firms and/or individual consultants.
- Maintain complete and verifiable documents related to obtaining and monitoring technical assistance services following Venture37 processes and procedures– upload all documents to Venture37 internal document management systems.
- Liase with the MEL Specialist to ensure firms and individual consultants are submitting accurate, timely MEL reports.
Assist in Implementation of Project Objectives (15%)
Regularly visit partner cooperatives organizations for meetings; participate in and monitor consultant led trainings, and follow-up on technical support.
- Work with the Cooperative Development Manager to mobilize the right cooperative membership to project trainings.
- Track key implementation lessons, and liaise with Cooperative Development Manager and MEL Specialist to properly document.
- Represent the organization at meetings, as may be delegated by the Cooperative Development Manager, DCOP or COP.
- Work with project team in organizing and executing stakeholders meetings.
- Collect project’s useful information (e.g. M&E, match and leverage) as requested by the Cooperative Development Manager
- Attend project team meetings.
- Assist in other tasks as called upon.
Reporting & Supervision:
- Supervised by the Cooperative Development Manager, based in Beirut, Lebanon. This position will oversee one Cooperative Coordinator.
- Bachelor’s degree in business or any other related development subject or equivalent years of experience in cooperative development.
- Relevant background in developing business development services to farmer cooperatives and/or SMEs.
- Good understanding of agricultural cooperatives development.
- Minimum of five (5) years experience providing and or managing training or coaching of farmers and or leaders of producer organizations (Cooperatives).
- Qualified trainer who can command attention and respect from diverse audience.
- Fluent in English and Arabic.