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Vacancy Announcement: GFRAS Executive Secretary

The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) is recruiting an executive secretary to lead and further expand its activities, starting from mid-2016. This position will be based at the GFRAS Secretariat in Lindau or Lausanne, Switzerland. The executive secretary’s term is for a four year mandate, renewable only once based on an assessment and decision of the GFRAS steering committee.

Organizational Setting
GFRAS ( is about enhancing the performance of advisory services so that they can better serve farm families and rural producers, thus contributing to improved livelihoods in rural areas and the sustainable reduction of hunger and poverty. Its mission is to provide advocacy and leadership on pluralistic and demand-driven rural advisory services for sustainable development. GFRAS plays a catalysing role, promoting and stimulating interactions between and within the global policy level and the regional and national levels. This space allows regional actors to present their perspectives in global development forums and processes. It also supports the development, exchange, and diffusion of tried and tested extension approaches, tools, and policies and stimulates institutional and individual capacity development. Several donors’ support GFRAS and it is guided by a steering committee with members drawn from the regional networks and other international development agencies. The GFRAS secretariat, led by the executive secretary, is responsible for implementation of the GFRAS strategy and work plans under the guidance of the steering committee.

The Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas (AGRIDEA) hosts the GFRAS secretariat. The employment contract will be elaborated by AGRIDEA on behalf of GFRAS steering committee. Swiss rules and regulations apply to the contracting, as well as internal AGRIDEA rules and standards. Remuneration wouldn’t be a constraint for the right candidate and we encourage applications from around the world.

Key Results
Leadership and conceptual thinking for enhancing the influence and impact of rural advisory services at the global level in accordance with the GFRAS strategic framework (2016-2025) and 5-year operational plan (2016-2020).

Key Functions
 Lead the implementation of the GFRAS strategic framework and operational plan
 Coordinate and strengthen GFRAS working groups and sub-regional networks
 Provide leadership and advocacy for high-level political engagement and dialogue on extension and advisory services
 Represent GFRAS in different fora, seminars, and conferences
 Support the synthesis and development of ideas for improving the effectiveness of RAS
 Enhance interaction, networking, peer exchange, experience sharing, communication, and learning among GFRAS affiliates and members
 Monitor performance of GFRAS
 Mobilise resources for sustaining and expanding GFRAS activities
 Advocate, explore, and maintain partnerships with other organisations and networks
working on RAS

Specific Functions
The executive secretary:
 Provides technical and policy advice to GFRAS regional networks and country fora and
support implementation of work plans
 Manages staff at the secretariat as well as consultants commissioned for specific activities
 Develops strategies and annual work plans for validation by the steering committee
 Is responsible for financial and administrative management; reporting to the Steering
 Coordinates monitoring of GFRAS activities in networks and working groups
 Organises GFRAS Annual Meetings (with support of GFRAS affiliates and members)
 Provides advice and support to working groups
 Performs other related duties as required

Candidates will be assessed against the following minimum requirements:
 Advanced university degree preferably in agricultural or social sciences
 Demonstrated understanding about the role of RAS in innovation and development
 Ten years of relevant experience in managing networks or leading multi-disciplinary
 Demonstrated motivation and passion for GFRAS vision, mission, and principles
 Excellent cross-cultural skills
 Work experience in more than one region of the world
 Experience in partnership development and financial resource mobilization
 Proficiency in modern communication and management software
 Excellent written and oral communication in English (knowledge of other languages such
as French, Spanish, or German would be desirable)
 Working permit for Switzerland, or the possibility for obtaining a working permit

We expect a highly motivated person with an open and generous personality. The function needs a charismatic person that can engage and motivate others. Firm management competencies, skills in capacity development, network development and management as well as thematic expertise are required. The work as executive secretary also involves much travel worldwide (around 30% or so).

Your letter of motivation with detailed CV should reach AGRIDEA, Nadine Manser, by Email:, by 8 January 2016.

If applicants have any questions, kindly write an email to The Chair, GFRAS Steering
Committee (

Shortlisted candidates will be asked for a personal interview during the first fortnight of March 2016.

Expiry date: Thursday, 8 January, 2015
Countries: Switzerland
Institution: Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Original author: 
Global Forum on Agricultural Research

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