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Southern Africa Regional Food Security Specialist - Livelihoods

  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Due Date: July 6, 2023
Southern Africa Regional Food Security Specialist - Livelihoods

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The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) is an integrated set of activities funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is intended to provide timely, accurate, evidence-based, and transparent food security early warning information and analysis. Created in 1985 in response to famines in East and West Africa, FEWS NET provides global coverage through a mix of presence and remote monitoring. FEWS NET’s work is implemented across several pillars by a team of partners that includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Geological Survey, the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Climate Hazards Center, Kimetrica, and Chemonics International (Chemonics). Chemonics houses FEWS NET’s Early Warning Team (EWT), a team charged with integrated emergency food insecurity analysis through a Washington-based technical office and more than 20 field offices.

Based on an in-depth understanding of local livelihoods, EWT members monitor information and data on factors that affect food security, such as weather conditions and climate, crops, pasture, markets and trade, and nutrition. The FEWS NET EWT produces regular reports, including Food Security Outlooks and Outlook Updates, emergency alerts, market and price updates, and global weather hazards analyses. FEWS NET makes reports available at and distributes them globally to governments, relief agencies, and other organizations engaged in humanitarian response and development programs.

The seventh phase of FEWS NET began in 2019. The work of FEWS NET EWT relies on close collaboration with international, regional, and national partners on food security data and information gathering and analysis. Major activities include joint monitoring and assessments, data exchanges, collaborative analysis and reporting, and technical capacity strengthening. FEWS NET supports local and regional food security networks to contribute to achieving the global objective of food security for all.

Position Description
The FEWS NET EWT maintains field offices in Africa, Central America, Asia, and the Caribbean. The regional food security specialist – livelihoods (RFSS – LH) will liaise extensively with Household Economy Analysis (HEA) working groups throughout the region and must be able to articulate the FEWS NET livelihood approach to partners. The RFSS-LH will work with the regional representative (RR), the rest of the regional team, the country teams in the region, and partners to design, execute, and coordinate regional activities in livelihoods and HEA. These will include supporting the preparation of regional decision-support products, providing technical assistance and guidance to country teams, and strengthening capacity to conduct relevant livelihoods analysis both inside and outside FEWS NET. The RFSS-LH will contribute to providing high-quality and effective early warning of threats to food security and support efforts to mitigate food insecurity and prevent food crises through the provision of actionable, evidence-based food security analysis.

The main responsibilities of the Southern Africa RFSS-LH will include, but are not limited to: 

Monitoring, analysis, and reporting

  • Maintaining relevant regional technical databases built from input from national offices and from regional partners
  • Contributing to the monitoring of countries in the region, including directly carrying out monitoring activities through field assessments in both presence and non-presence countries
  • Providing high quality and effective early warning of threats to food security and supporting efforts to mitigate food insecurity and prevent food crises through the effective communication of actionable, evidence-based food security analysis
  • Providing livelihoods-related inputs into monthly reporting requirements in a timely and quality manner, including leveraging outcome analyses and other livelihoods analyses to contribute to Food Security Outlooks (FSOs) and FSO Updates
  • Contributing to other FEWS NET information products required regionally and by the Washington-based technical team
  • Providing sector-specific briefings to the US Government and other partners in the region, as requested

Technical capacity development and guidance

  • Supporting national offices in the region in maintaining a livelihoods knowledge base composed of, at a minimum, livelihood zone profiles, sub-national seasonal monitoring calendars, and technical databases relevant to maintain livelihoods profiles and/or baselines
  • Providing guidance and ad hoc technical assistance to the region and to the project by supporting HEA and food security analysis
  • Collaborating with regional and international partners in food security monitoring and analysis through the implementation of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) protocols, including providing technical support in the use of HEA within those protocols
  • Supporting capacity-building efforts in livelihoods-based analysis for FEWS NET and partner staff
    Leadership, representation, and liaison
  • Overseeing livelihoods activities in the region and participating in strategic planning
  • Seeking collaboration with regional partners to enhance the quality and impact of livelihoods work
  • Representing FEWS NET technical expertise at regional HEA meetings and analyses
  • Assisting the RR in carrying out other technical, management, and representational functions of the regional office upon request


  • Proficiency in written and spoken English is required; French, Portuguese, or other local language skills are desirable
  • Bachelor’s degree in a discipline relevant to the work of FEWS NET, such as economics, agricultural economics, agronomy, nutrition, climatology, anthropology, or social geography is required; advanced university degree (Master’s degree or higher) is desirable
  • At least two years of relevant experience (with PhD), four years of relevant experience (with Master’s degree), or six years of relevant experience (with Bachelor’s degree) is required. Relevant experience includes working on food security information systems, food security analysis, early warning, or other related fields; experience working with UN agencies and/or NGOs is desirable
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively conduct assessments, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and analyze information from relevant sectors using both qualitative and quantitative methods is required
  • Demonstrated leadership capacities and an ability to work independently, when necessary is required, as are strong organizational skills
  • Demonstrated analytical and report-writing skills are required
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required, including demonstrated ability to coordinate productively with diverse partner stakeholders (e.g., UN, non-governmental organizations, host government entities) and multidisciplinary, multicultural teams, and to work effectively with remote- based colleagues
  • Excellent computer skills (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint) are required; ability to effectively use statistical software packages and/or GIS applications is desirable

Location and Reporting

The RFSS-LH position will preferably be based in Harare, Zimbabwe at the FEWS NET regional office; however, the RFSS-LH position may be based in another country within the Southern Africa region where FEWS NET has an operational presence at the discretion of the FEWS NET EWT. The RFSS-LH will work under the technical direction and supervision of the Regional Representative (RR). The RFSS-LH may be required to supervise technical assistants and short-term consultants and act as interim RR, as delegated by the RR. The RFSS-LH will assist the RR in providing technical oversight for FEWS NET’s country representatives in the region. The RFSS-LH will be required to travel frequently within the region, and other international travel may also be required, security permitting.

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