Programme Officer (Livelihood Support Specialist, (highland and lowland livelihoods) at United Nations World Food Programme – WFP Ethiopia

Job Description


 The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  The mission of WFP is to help the world achieve Zero Hunger in our lifetimes.  Every day, WFP works worldwide to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry and that the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and children, can access the nutritious food they need.

For the 1.3 billion people worldwide living on less than a dollar a day and depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, vulnerability to climate-related shocks is a constant threat to their food security and well-being. As effects of climate change increase the frequency and intensity of natural hazards rise, with farmers facing a growing risk that these climate-related shocks will destroy their assets. Understanding how to help communities confront and manage this risk, so they can be resilient to climate-related shocks, is critical for addressing global poverty.

Under the general supervision and guidance of the Climate Solutions Team Leader, the Livelihood Support Specialist will provide technical support and guidance for the Climate Risk Management Programmes to introduce livelihood support, market linkages and Income Generating Activities under the climate solutions umbrella. The Climate Risk Management work plan currently comprises 2 programmes i. R4 Rural Resilience Initiative and ii. The Satellite Index Insurance for Pastoralists in Ethiopia (SIIPE). A brief programme description follows:

R4 Rural Resilience Initiative: R4 has broken new ground in the field of climate risk management by enabling poor farmers to pay premiums for crop index insurance with their own labor. Farmers can access insurance by paying with their labor through Insurance-for-Work (IFW) schemes. When a drought hits, compensation for weather-related losses prevents farmers from selling productive assets and stimulates faster recovery. IFW schemes are built into either existing government social safety nets (PSNP). Assets built through risk reduction activities promote resilience by steadily decreasing vulnerability to disaster risks over time. Insurance also facilitates access to credit at better rates, serving as collateral. Households can thereby invest in riskier but more remunerative enterprises, as well as in improved seeds, fertilizers and new technologies to increase their agricultural productivity.

Participants also establish small-scale savings, which are used to build ‘risk reserves’. Savings help build a stronger financial base for investing – but also act as a buffer against short-term needs and idiosyncratic shocks, such as illness and death. To ensure long-term sustainability, R4 contributes to the creation of rural financial markets, by building local capacity and gradually transitioning farmers to pay for insurance in cash.

Satellite Index Insurance for Pastoralists in Ethiopia (SIIPE): The SIIPE  programme currently provides index-based livestock insurance coverage to 5,001 beneficiary households in the Somali region of Ethiopia. Within the Somali region, the programme started in three districts (Woredas). Similar to R4, SIIPE targets PSNP households who own between 5-11 Tropical Livestock Units. Pastoralists can access insurance by paying premiums with their labour through Insurance-for-Work (IFW) schemes. In 2019, the programme will scale up to cover more than 10,000 households in the region and beyond.


Under the general supervision and guidance of the Climate Solutions Team Leader, the Programme Officer will provide technical support and guidance for the Climate Risk Management Programmes to introduce livelihood support, market linkages and income generating activities under the climate solutions umbrella.



To provide support to policy and programme activities that effectively meet food assistance needs.


The focus of this function will be to introduce relevant livelihood support activities and market linkages (where possible) to increase the incomes of poor farmers and pastoralists in partnership with NGOs, regional government and the implementing partners. The objective of these activities would be to provide a sustainable source of income for the household to increase its overall cash inflow. These activities will be implemented in Tigray, Amhara, Somali Region and potentially Oromia. Such activities must have a climate adaptation lens whilst complementing the existing livelihoods ensuring improved and diversified income sources.

The Programme officer will be working on various workstreams within the unit that require a livelihood related intervention. S/he will collaborate with colleagues in other units who work on similar activities to ensure that efforts are not duplicated, and economies of scale are enhanced. In this regard, the Programme Officer will be responsible for the following:


1.   Liaise with implementing partners, NGOs, UN agencies as well as research institutes to understand the livelihood challenges of the population.

2.   Plan and implement livelihood/IGA interventions for both highland and lowland areas. This includes exploring possibility of introducing fuel efficient cook stoves for women, nutrition sensitive farming for kitchen gardens, formation of primary cooperatives, connecting markets with small scale producers.

3.   Liaise with climate solutions colleagues to ensure that interventions are complementary to other components and ensure a sustainable approach.

4.   Establish technical guidelines, and specifications in coordination with government extension services, micro finance institutions to ensure sustainability of the interventions over time.

5.   Where needed conduct training sessions in collaboration with NGO partners for regional, district and village facilitators.

6.   Provide technical and policy recommendations for the consolidation, monitoring and possible replication of livelihood activities at community level.

7.   Liaise with national counterparts, M&E and VAM teams in Ethiopia CO and global climate team to support effective collaboration, implementation, compliance and monitoring of ongoing project activities.

8.   Other as required.

Job Requirements

Education:  University degree in International Development, Economics, Agriculture, Social science, Management or other relevant field with 2 years relevant professional work experience OR a master’s degree with at least 1 year of professional experience in a related field.

Experience: At least 2 years of relevant work experience working in food security related livelihood enhancement, financial inclusion or rural development projects.

Language: Fluency in oral and written English and Amharic is sufficient. Knowledge of other Ethiopian regional languages would be an advantage.

 Knowledge and Skills:

  • Ability to work independently in a timely and organized manner;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Willingness to explore and experiment with new ideas and approaches in own work;
  • Ability to work in a team and multi-task as needed;
  • A strong understanding of micro finance sector in Ethiopia.

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