Senior Rural Development Programme Specialist

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Senior Rural Development Programme Specialist


Svenska Afghanistankommittén, Kabul, Afghanistan

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SCA has been working in Afghanistan since 1982 and is presently managing development programmes within Health, Education, Rural Development and Disability. SCA’s programming is built on the three strategic means of service delivery, capacity development and advocacy. SCA has around 8,000 staff and manages its activities in Afghanistan through the Kabul Management Office (KMO), five Regional Management Offices (RMOs) and two Liaison Offices (LOs) across 19 provinces. In Sweden SCA has 20 staff working at the Stockholm Management Office (SMO) and around 5,000 members organized in local chapters. SCA is funded by various institutional and private donors, including Sida, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, EU, NDC, FCDO and fund raising. The mission of SCA is to empower individuals, communities, and local organizations, primarily in rural areas and with particular focus on women, girls, boys, and vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, so that they may participate fully in society and influence their own development.

Rural Development Programme (RDP) has four components, namely, 1) Construction, which contribute to construction of health, disability, and education facilities, 2) Water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), 3) Livelihood and Economic and Social and Economic Resilience of the Community, 4) Environmental and Natural Resource Management , where RDP work with both CDCs and local authorities on promoting community governance in light of Rights Based Approach. SCA facilitates Saving Groups  for improving the quality of life in rural communities through savings, revolving loans, vocational trainings, enhancing production, linkages (both forward and backward), networking, market linkages, and other necessary activities to ensure sustainable and complete package and long-term commitment for livelihood intervention.

The Rural Development Programme Unit (RDPU) based in Kabul Management Office (KMO) leads programme development process and provides technical support to the rural development programme teams in Regional Management Offices (RMOs) under the guidance of the Director of Programmes. RDPU’s mandate includes:

  • Strategic oversight of the Rural Development Programme components, including programmatic support, process monitoring, and technical backstopping implemented through Project Management Teams (PMT) in RMOs.
  • Strategic programme development including research, evaluation, studies, assessments, and reviews.
  • Steering, information sharing and crosscutting integrations through facilitation and participation in various meetings and trainings.
  • Capacity and institutional development of the rural development programme staff and major stakeholders of the programme.
  • Networking and coordination with Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock  and other actors in rural development sector at national and international levels.

Scope of Work

The Senior Rural Development Programme Specialist role mainly focuses on two areas that include a) strategic and technical input to the programme development which includes concepts and proposal development, and b) planning and reporting.

Under supervision of the Head of RD Programme, to whom s/he reports, the Senior Rural Development Specialist has a central advisory function in designing, strengthening and developing the programme for ensuring long-term outcomes. The Specialist helps in guiding processes related to policy, strategy and methodology, and provides technical support for improved planning, monitoring, reporting and implementation. The role encompasses strategic work on institutional and system levels as well as capacity development of key programme staff, partner organizations, and counterpart ministries.

Entry Requirements


  • University degree at master’s level, in relevant professional field (Economics, Development Studies, Agriculture and Rural Development, etc.).
  • Demonstrable understanding and knowledge of Rural Development with at least seven years experiences in rural livelihoods; community-based development; agriculture and food security; rural service delivery issues; environmental and natural resource management in a developing country context.
  • Five to seven years of relevant work experience in senior positions in large organisations within international development including processes related to programme and project design, policy, strategy and advocacy preferably in developing countries.

Essential skills and experience

  • At least seven experiences in rural development with speciality in food security and rural livelihoods, natural resource management, WASH, and governance.
  • Experience of mainstreaming human rights and gender equality in programmes and projects.
  • Experience of working with rights-based approach and knowledge of participatory methods and tools
  • Expert in results-based planning, reporting and proposals development.
  • Experience with participatory methods and strong MEAL skills.
  • Ability to mentor and build the capacity of rural development programme staff.
  • Experience in emergency response preferred.
  • Three to four years experiences of working abroad in developing countries, countries in conflict and/or post conflict and Muslim countries.
  • Experienced in team building and being a good team player in a cross-cultural context.
  • Experience in trainings and capacity development of staff .
  • Analytical, facilitation and presentation skills.
  • Excellent command of spoken and written English

Desired skills and experience

  • Work experience of Afghanistan
  • Proficiency in Dari or Pashtu

Key responsibilities and priorities during the employment period

  1. Strategic and Technical input to programme development:
  • Under the guidance of Head of Rural Development Programme, lead processes related to policy/strategy, and technical guidelines/manuals development by feeding in new programme development perspectives/ experience from other countries with similar contexts.
  • In coordination to the Grant Management Unit, search for new and relevant funding opportunities and donors.  
  • Take the lead in developing and designing of programme related concepts, proposals, studies, and evaluations, with inputs from Regional Management Offices (RMOs) based on pro-poor and marginalized groups perspectives reflecting the needs identified at the community level.
  • Ensure that the concerned units at the field level are pro-actively involved in the development of concept notes and proposals, as well as the concept notes and proposals are aligned with strategic objectives, mission, and vision of SCA.
  • To actively follow-up, the progress made towards the recommendations proposed by evaluations, studies, and third party monitoring in accordance to the management responses/action plans.
  • Assist Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Unit, and Human Rights and Gender Unit in capacity development of Kabul Management Office (KMO) and Regional Management Offices (RMO) programme staff on Rights Based Approach (RBA), Results Based Planning and reporting. This can include mentoring, coaching, and hands-on support.
  • The Senior Rural Development Specialist functions as generalist in the programme, however, more specifically supports the programme promoting the rural livelihoods and community governance.
  • Assess the technical capacity of rural development staff concerning their functional areas and work on their capacity building through trainings and mentoring initiatives.
  • Facilitate feasibility studies for new interventions and assessments of implemented projects under the Rural Development Programme.
  1. Planning and Reporting:
  • Leading the annual planning, reporting and proposal development processes within rural development programme unit is the primary responsibility of the Head of Programme, however, Senior Programme Specialist takes active part in turning the Regional Management Offices input into quality narrative drafts and submit to Head of Programme for final review before submission to the next level within the organization.
  • The Senior Programme Specialist takes the lead in strengthening bottom-up planning and reporting by capacity development of concerned Regional Management Office staff. She/he supports the staff in strengthening participatory planning and reporting to ensure that the target groups’ (women, children, and people with disabilities) actively take part in planning, implementation, and reporting processes.

Application information

  • Contract period: 2 years with an initial 6-month probationary period
  • Conditions: Non- family posting. SCA offers a competitive salary, free housing, insurance, and other benefits.
  • Duties to begin: August 2023
  • Last date for application: May 31st 2023
  • Upload a 1-page letter explaining why you are interested in and suited for this position and your CV (no more than 2 pages) in English.


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